There are plenty of reasons to get a tattoo. Maybe you want to declare your never-ending love for your significant other. Perhaps you're looking for a way to get in touch with your spiritual side. Or, if you're Michigan resident Stephanie Kelly, you get one to cover up your scars after surgery. Enter: Post-mastectomy tattoos.
Whether it's etching on a nipple or getting a full design that stretches across the entire torso, women everywhere are embracing the post-op movement. But these tattoo designs are a little different than the average stick-and-poke trend — they are also meant to celebrate these womens' strength and mask the glaring evidence of the mastectomy procedure. Kelly's tattoo, however, announces her win against the breast cancer fight.
When Kelly tested positive for the BRCA1 gene mutation, she immediately scheduled a preventative double mastectomy, according to People. Kelly told the publication that breast reconstruction surgery wasn't ever really an option, due to her other existing health issues, so she instead decided on a symbolic tattoo. Her ink of choice? An ode to Wonder Woman.
“I have always loved Wonder Woman, and during this time I began to joke that I was going to be like Wonder Woman and be strong and unfazed by the things I needed to do that scared me,” Kelly told People. “Friends and family sent me little gifts of Wonder Woman figurines, cards, clothes, even a full robe. It all helped me feel stronger and it was a way to feel all the love and support I had and bring that along with me.”
In addition to Wonder Woman's signature gold armor, Kelly added a phoenix to the design. She explained that she was drawn to the myth behind the creature, rising from the ashes of its former body more powerful than before. Now, whenever Kelly looks in the mirror, her scars won't remind her of her struggle — but her triumph.
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