Nikki Black Beat Cancer At 23 And Then Got Mastectomy Tattoos!

Xavier in Stories

More and more breast cancer survivors are turning to mastectomy tattoos to reclaim their sense of identities!

Photo by Lillyan Ling
Photo by Lillyan Ling

At 23, Nikki Black came face to face with something many women dread hearing during a doctor's appointment. It was mid-June when Black discovered her condition but decided to act on it fast by undergoing double mastectomy surgery on the following month.

Photo Courtesy of Nikki Black
Photo Courtesy of Nikki Black
Photo Courtesy of Nikki Black
Photo Courtesy of Nikki Black
Photo Courtesy of Nikki Black
Photo Courtesy of Nikki Black

Expanders were then placed in her chest, followed by rigorous sessions of chemotherapy. It was a rough time for Black as she couldn't handle the treatment well. She was even rushed to the hospital once when a blood clot formed in her heart, causing it to stop for a few seconds.

When she was well enough, she then proceeded into reconstructive surgery.

Recent from Stories

Photo Courtesy of Nikki Black
Photo Courtesy of Nikki Black

Black sought for a way to take back control of her body. Further into research, the now 25-year-old Nikki opted for mastectomy tattoos instead of nipple reconstruction. She immediately contacted The Gilded Lily Design and made plans for her newfound source of courage and spirit.

‘I honestly never really considered getting nipples again,’ Nikki says. ‘I figured, “I’ve done that, it’s probably time for something new.” Women get some really gorgeous designs and thinking about what I might get was one of the few bright, hopeful things I had while going through treatment,’ the LA-based comedian says.

Photo Courtesy of Nikki Black
Photo Courtesy of Nikki Black

The original plan was a pair of hearts where her nipples used to be but Holly Feneht of The Gilded Lily Design showed her the wonderful possibilities for her mastectomy tattoo. She finally settled for a pair of Kois in Art Noveau-inspired style.

“We also talked about incorporating the Pisces fish because I am a Pisces, but they also remind me of the Koi fish in my mom’s pond out back, where I used to sit and meditate while going through chemo. It’s nice to have a happy place on my own body, and she still managed to work the hearts in!”

After an emotional four hours, the session was done. Black felt dizzy soon after but nonetheless, exhilarated and empowered. “They feel like armor, like protection against world. I get to choose what my body looks like.”

Read the rest of Nikki's story here.

Xavier

@Xavier

When she's not writing for Tattoodo, Xavier likes experimenting with art and organizing local music shows. We're kidding, she's probably asleep. Follow her on Instagram @claudia_strife

Follow

More from Author

We Recommend

Recent Staff Picks