I have been writing this post since April and life just keeps getting in my way. Yes, it's October, thus by association, it's all about the breasts. Feels a little toned down this year but this isn't about that. It's about mine. Breasts that is. Or shall I say, their stand ins?
For me, it's reall all about cancer. But for today, I'm sticking with breasts and with the self-image issues that some of us (many of us, most of us, certainly not all of us) deal with or have dealt with at some point in this process of altering our bodies.
In April, I had an appointment with Olga Lucia to see about having my nipple tattoos redone. Yes, I know, I KNOW. It's technically the areola but I'm sticking with the language that makes me comfortable.
And yes, there are some pictures below, mostly headless. I have no intimate attachment to my implants. They aren't part of my body, they never have been, but I must admit, they are pretty great accessories when I want to dress in a strapless gown. They stay exactly where the surgeon put them, no sewn in cups or strapless bras.
Olga Lucia is warm and loving and passionate. She's also quite talented. The story of how she found herself in this field is interesting. I hope the article is legible.
The story of how I found myself in her office, is quite ordinary, I was given her name, where else, in the hair salon. Cue Billy Crystal in City Slickers. "The beauty parlor, they know EVERYTHING in the beauty parlor." If you haven't see the movie that's one scene worth googling.
I had her phone number for several months before I finally got disgusted enough with my appearance and I finally made the call. My tattoos were done in my plastic surgeon's office by the PA's not once, but twice. They faded. Both times. Rather quickly and I hated the way I looked.
I arrived at her office, she took a look at whatever was left which was nothing more than a pink blotch which some very white skin. I thought the white skin was mine but Olga explained it was the pigment used and that it would be a challenge to cover. I was confident I was in good hands just listening to her explain the way the pigments interact with the skin. I love when anyone who is going to touch my body explains things to me, even if they are well above my pay grade.
She began the process and we chatted throughout. We began talking about different types permanent makeup and the mention of someone wanting to have her eyebrow procedure videotaped. "Wait, WHAT?" And then I got annoyed. Why didn't I think of that. Very quickly, I realized she was doing two sides and although one was done, she hadn't yet started the other side.
This is what I looked like. I had that mess on the left and yes, what looks like a too dark nipple on the right.
I asked Olga if her assistant could come in and videotape her as she tattoo'd the other side. I think she was in shock. "You really don't mind having someone else in the room with us?" Her first concern was for my emotional comfort. Yes, that was her reaction. I'm sure I began laughing. I really didn't care how many people were in the room.
Let the photos and videos begin.
First an embrace.
Then a let's get this party started.... and this is the ONLY photo in which my face appears with a semi- exposed chest.
And, as expected and told and fully explained, first, they would be too dark.....
And then, they would be just right. And they are. I don't have a picture of how beautiful these things turned out and frankly, I'm too lazy to get up and take a selfie or a mirror photo. They are 3D even though I did have nipple reconstruction.
(UPDATE: Olga sent me the photos she took with her camera. The before, right after and the all done pictures are at the end of this post)
The size, the shape and the shading? You just would never know because yes, Olga is just THAT good.
For any of my friends in the NYC or Long Island area, this week, on October 26th, Olga has a day of beauty planned for all breast cancer patients/survivors. The information is on her Facebook page. In addition to tattooing, there will be a wig stylist and make-up artist helping with this Day of Beauty.
Call her to learn more and make an appointment. 516-627-0722.
Two of the video snippets are below.
Note: This is NOT sponsored content. I went because I needed to fix this. I was just a regular patient. Unfortunately, this is an out of pocket expense because it's not in a doctor's office but trust me, I working on that now, too. This shouldn't be a luxury for those who have the means. It's a quality of life issue and while this was painless, having it done once a year but mandating the work be done in a surgeon's office by someone who isn't a specialist is a waste of my time and our insurance money.
Skeptical on the painless thing? Let's go to the videotape. Trust me, I'm no hero. In fact, I'm a big baby. If she was hurting me, you would have heard it. Instead, what you hear is chatting. I can't say enough about the way I was treated and how I finally feel whole again.
...then the other
This is what I looked at each day when I stood in the shower. I believe in a prior post, the plastic surgeon's very technical term for this was, "Ick." ICK doesn't begin to describe how I felt.
Right after Olga was done, they were dark and did get even darker as they began to heal, and then, they got too light. I still don't quite understand the concept but she did explain it.
And VIOLA! After three months, which happened to be in mid July when I was spending endless hours walking outdoors, I'm normal again. And happy. And as a footnote, there was one little spot that I didn't even notice when I was in Olga's office for my follow up. "I don't like that, I want to fix that." She grabbed her things and fixed what I didn't even see. Yes, she's a perfectionist and I am thrilled with the outcome!
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