Breast cancer survivor says post-mastectomy tattoo brought healing

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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – A Savannah nurse and breast cancer survivor is five months into recovery from a mastectomy and implant reconstruction.

Bernette Anchors says as she healed, the changes experience packed an emotional punch.

“I’ve found that in the last couple of months since everything’s healed and settled in and I’m back to work, that I started to feel a little sad,” she explained. “I realize that I’m fortunate, but having a mastectomy is not the same as having neck surgery and sinus surgery that I had.”

“It’s, you know, the removal of a very personal part of my body,” Anchors continued, adding, “And I’m reminded of it every time I see myself in the mirror.”

To reclaim her body and cover some of the mastectomy scars, she decided to get a 3D nipple tattoo to enhance the realistic appearance of her reconstructed breast.

Her surgeon guided her tattoo artist, Kelly Borders, through the process.

“I’m honored, which is a part of our name,” said Borders, owner of Honor and Grace Tattoo.

“They don’t have to choose us. They could finish these things out with their doctors,” she said. “But it’s a really heavy thing, and it’s something we don’t take lightly. And we try to give it as much respect and honor as we can.” 

For someone who never thought she would ever get a tattoo, Anchors said this experience changed her mind. She also got two visible tattoos that are very meaningful to her.

“I’m overwhelmed. I feel complete,” said Anchors, looking in the mirror. “It looks wonderful. I’m so grateful.”

“This is why we do what we do,” said Borders. We’re thankful for the trust. It’s overwhelming for everybody.”

Anchors said she’s already back to feeling better.

“It’s everything I had hoped it would be, and probably more,” she said. “It’s just amazing.”

For those considering a 3D nipple or post-mastectomy tattoo, Anchors encourages you to get advice from your doctor first.

To explore the work of the artists at Honor and Grace Tattoo, visit here.

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