"When I got it removed, I was so happy. I've never been so happy in my life. It probably wasn't the normal reaction—I didn't mind the scar."
Alison Habbal was only 36-years-old when she discovered a lump in her right breast. It turned out to be breast cancer. But because she was able to detect it early, she had the option to go undergo treatment and a lumpectomy.
Unlike a mastectomy, a lumpectomy harvests only the tumour instead of removing all of the breast tissue.
“The lump had been there for a while and it was hurting. I’d had visions of removing it myself, wanting to cut it out,” she says.
“When I got it removed, I was so happy. I’ve never been so happy in my life. It probably wasn’t the normal reaction—I didn’t mind the scar.”
Following her surgery, Alison celebrated with another curious procedure. This time, instead of an appointment to the hospital, she had one with a tattoo parlor in her hometown Melbourne to decorate her scarred breast.
“I didn’t want a fake nipple made from some other piece of flesh,” Alison told the BBC. “I thought, ‘I’m just going to get a tattoo.'”
The session lasted thirteen hours, and she walked out with a beautiful floral artwork embedded in her.
Alison posted her new breast on her Instagram and Facebook accounts, and immediately people took notice.
“The tattoo is great, but the reason why is even better!!!,” one user said.
“Cheering you on, it’s looking amazing,” said another.
Other users, on the other hand, offered Alison words of encouragement and solidarity: “Amazing…am with you all the way, i have a reconstruction tattoo which I love xx.”
Find out what the tattoo artist thought of the breast cancer survivor