Breast cancer will always be a harrowing time for anyone, who has to go through it. Despite the higher success rates from proper treatment and surgeries, no one can take away the psychological and physical scar survivors are left with. But some choose to take matters in their own hands to reclaim their confidence and femininity. Some women are willing to go through the pain once more to create something beautiful in place of their scars.
Linda Bright, a 68-year-old great-grandmother from Suffolk, was ecstatic to finally have beaten breast cancer but was distressed over the scars it left. ‘At first I was really happy about being cancer free, but as time went on I hated the way I looked,’ Bright said.
‘When I looked at myself I knew what I needed and that was to cover the scars up. As soon as I took my bra off it stared me in the face all the time.’
Linda underwent mastectomy three years ago and was since then declared cancer-free, but the scars — left from the cancer having travelled to her lymph nodes and into her neck — was ‘horrendous’ and a big reminder of what cancer has taken from her. It took a toll on Linda's self-esteem.
The 68-year-old's family was very supportive through it all, especially Dave, her husband of 48 years. ‘Dave did try to help me overcome my negative feelings with regards to my scars and the way I looked as it didn't bother him in the slightest, but I just could not accept it.’
A lightbulb sparked somewhere in Linda Bright's head, when she came upon pictures of a fellow breast cancer survivor with striking mastectomy tattoos, it was enough to open herself up to the idea. She immediately consulted her surgeon about it who then gave her the thumbs-up to go head to a tattoo studio.
Linda's mastectomy tattoo was finished in June this year after two sittings and a total of almost nine hours of work. The tattoo featured a lacy bra-inspired design with two butterflies on either side and a pink ribbon symbolizing breast cancer awareness. The 68-year-old considered herself a stoic person, but claimed the pink ribbon bit was where she lost it; ‘the worst part,’ as she'd describe it.
The tattoo did wonders for Linda, giving her the confidence she needed to stand back up and hold her head high as a breast cancer survivor. ‘I just feel proud. Some people don't mind their scars, but I wanted them to be gone, and if there are any other women out there who feel similar, they can do the same thing,’ she said.
‘People have told me I'm brave but I'm not, I just needed to have it done for my own peace of mind, and I hope I can give other women the confidence to do the same.’
Her husband shares her relief and joy: ‘I feel brilliant for her now. It is one of these things which is down to the individual who had the operation to make that choice.’