Patty: “I didn’t want the scars to be all I saw”

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Each month we feature the inspirational and transformative Stories of few post-mastectomy cancer survivors and the artists & ink that help change their lives. Please support these Warrior Women by sharing their stories with those you love! And remember- Get your exams, ladies!


Warrior: Patty

Artist: Shane Wallin

Shop: Garnet Tattoo Studio, San Diego, CA

Here’s Patty’s Story:

In 1991 my father was diagnosed with breast cancer.  That was a shock since we didn’t realize that men could get that particular form of the disease.  Over the next seven years he underwent a mastectomy and many rounds of chemo before passing away in 1998.  In 1997 my sister Robin was also diagnosed with breast cancer. She had a mastectomy and went through many rounds of both chemo and radiation as the disease metastasized.  Robin passed away in 2004.

After speaking with her oncologist I decided to see some experts.  One genetic counselor and many doctors later I had a prophylactic double mastectomy and reconstruction.  My surgeons were fantastic and things went very well but after 2 1/2 years and two serious infections the implants had to be removed.  By 2014 I had undergone two more surgeries and received new implants.

Every time I looked in the mirror I would have very mixed feelings.  I didn’t want the scars to be all I saw everyday but these were scars that I chose, and that I would choose again.  My father and sister didn’t have that choice.

IMG_1313I started looking at mastectomy tattoos online.  My husband was very supportive, as he’s been through all of this and my kids were on board as well.  My mother was even excited about it.  I found Shane Wallin of Garnet Tattoo through an organization called P.Ink.  My husband and I went to the shop and met Shane and his wife Toni.

I brought some photos and drawings of ideas that had been floating around in my head.  Shane understood right away what I wanted.  He took my idea of soft and feminine tattoos and made them soft and feminine and powerful and joyful!  He is such a talented artist.  Shane and Toni are kind and compassionate and they made me feel safe and comfortable.  I feel lucky to have found them.


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I’m thrilled with the tattoos, every time I see them I smile.  My friends love them (I’m flashing them constantly) and when my daughter saw the tattoos she said “whoah mom, that’s badass!”

She’s right.– — [button color=”pink” size=”medium” link=”” target=”blank” ]P.Ink Day is Oct.10 — READ MORE HERE[/button]

 — This is a tattoo topic that matters. Real artists making a real difference in peoples’ lives through the power of ink in skin. The stories of these courageous women are meaningful and moving. Courageous first in battling and surviving cancer, then in mustering the confidence to take their lives and bodies back, reclaiming dignity in a rather unconventional way– through their new tattoos, and also showing courage by sharing their experiences with TAM and our readers; all they ask is that we share their stories with friends, family, and anyone who might benefit from hearing Stories of HOPE!

Thanks- TAM[divider]


Related Articles:

NEW POST: Breast Reconstruction Process, Carrie

Patty’s story: “I didn’t want scars to be all I saw!” 

*NEW BLOG: “Why I wanted to tattoo my creasts” post-mastectomy testimonial by Juanita!

*WOW! post-Mastectomy Testimonial from Janine!

*NEW ARTICLE on Mastectomy Tattoos and the artist Shane Wallin helping women reclaim their body and their femininity! 

Beautiful Mastectomy Scar Tattoo

Mastectomy Scars Transformed on P.Ink Day

Women Finding Beauty In Tragedy[divider]



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Tattoo Artist since 1990 and creator/publisher of Tattoo Artist Magazine since 2003

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One thought on “Patty: “I didn’t want the scars to be all I saw”

  1. I just chanced upon this, i’ve only ever commented on line a handful of times in my life – you look super beautiful! Hoping all is well with you. x

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