Kick It With Donna episode 62 – Physical Restoration of Breast Cancer Survivors
When a woman gets a breast cancer diagnosis, her life comes to a complete stop. What happens if she has to have a mastectomy? Is there a way to restore her self confidence and physical appearance? Paramedical tattooing exists.
Show notes: Lauree Prieto is my guest today. She is a paramedical tattooer. The procedure used to be called Cosmetic tattooing.
A little history on Lauree. Her mom died of breast cancer when she was 59 years old. Lauree was one of three daughters and a son and was the one who noticed something odd on her mom’s breast. It was off to the side and not visible to her mom. The cancer diagnosis was not far behind. Her mom went through twelve years on her journey before she died. The lump was removed in that breast and she went into remission. It came back and presented in the lymph nodes and spread from there. This happened in the early nineties. Her mom wasn’t very open to discussing the process of journey. Lauree felt that she didn’t want to be a burden and was ashamed that she had cancer.
If we fast forward to today, the 5 year survival rate of breast cancer is 99%. The information and discussion is more open and women are more likely to share their experience with their children. Cancer isn’t anything to be ashamed about. Unfortunately, women who have mastectomies are left without breasts. Just imagine for a second that your breasts were removed. How would that affect your self worth?
Lauree always wanted to work with cancer patients and had this desire to become a paramedical tattooer. Years went by and the desire hit her again. This time, she saw her dream through and has completed the training and is certified. I believe her mom’s battle with cancer was a subconscious, motivating force.
What is paramedical tattooing? An instrument is used to tattoo the areola onto a breast cancer survivor’s breasts. An eye for detail and a steady hand is an absolute. A compassionate tattooer is so critical to the success of maintaining a patient’s trust and confidence. The team effort involved in helping a woman achieve restorative breasts is a process. Measurements are taken from the clavicle to where the areola should be and size and color are pertinent. Skin is taken from just under the fold of the buttocks and placed on the breast area. Keep in mind that skin from any part of the body is not expandable like skin on natural breasts. Fat from some part of the woman’s body is inserted into the breast. The the skill of a paramedical tattooer creates the areola.
Lauree watches the transformation of the woman’s body language and facial expressions over the restoration process which can take seven months to a year. This is quite a physical and emotional journey for a woman. I have nothing but respect and admiration for those who go down the path of helping others feel whole.