Breast cancer survivor's diary

Oct 16, 2015, 18:00 IST



She was devastated when she learnt that she has breast cancer. And post the therapy sessions and surgery that followed, she started to hate her body. But soon enough, she realised, that this was no way to live life and she couldn’t let cancer win over her determination to be happy.

This is the story of 25-year-old Nikki Black, a comedian from Los Angeles, who was detected with breast cancer when she was 23. She had to undergo double mastectomy and felt like she was losing control of her body. But then the unstoppable Nikki did something totally amazing to reclaim her body and bring happiness and confidence back in her life.

Talking about her experience to various media, Nikki expressed, “When you have breast cancer, you lose control of your body in so many ways. I literally lost my breasts, lost feeling in parts of my chest, didn't even get to keep my nipples, had to deal with a different type of pain every day.”

She became body conscious especially when she had men commenting on her ‘no’ or ‘new’ breasts. “It's an extremely sexualized disease,” she says adding, “I had guys asking me what size I was planning on getting, telling me that they would miss the boobs I had. I had somebody tell me I could probably do fetish porn after I recovered.”

Nikki decided to cover her surgery scars with tattoos to regain control over her body and feel beautiful all over again. She worked with a tattoo artist to create a design with elements of her astrological sign (Pisces) and the koi pond in her mother's backyard – the result is two heart-shaped tattoos, one on each breast.

She has shared her before and after photos in the hope to give women undergoing similar experience a positive outlook.

Talking about how the tattoos helped her, she says, “The tattooing was like therapy, a surgery for the soul. They remind me I can heal myself.”

She also has a message for all women to not to take their bodies for granted. Relating her own example she says that neither she nor her doctor thought of breast cancer when she complained of pain – since she was so young and since she didn’t have a family history. She advices women to be more careful with lumps and pain in the breasts since you can never guess what is happening inside your body.

She also learnt an important lesson which she wants other women like her to remember too to overcome the difficult phase, “You're not going to heal right away, so just let yourself feel. Know that you are beautiful and whole."