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Caring for a cancer patient is an intricate continuum of service provision. You, as an integral part of a patient’s care team have witnessed shock and suffering, followed by will and courage. Many win the battle with your help. Many do not. When you can tell a patient that your work is done and they no longer need you, the experience is equally exhilarating and melancholy. You, all you–physicians, clinicians, nurses, and caregivers are imprinted on that patient forever. You have meant more to that patient and their family than you will ever know. You will always be remembered.
When your breast cancer survivors leave your clinic for the last time, their journey is not entirely over. While there is much emotional healing to be done, there is also the focus on becoming physically whole again. When a patient loses one or both breasts to cancer, receiving the news that they can move on with their lives means planning ways to return to wholeness. Indeed, they are physiologically healthy, but you know the complex meaning of health—and the eradication of the disease is only one piece.
The work you have done reconstructing your patient’s breasts is nothing short of astonishing. New techniques of creating a nipple from specialized surgical stitching helps them feel the breasts they once had. However, even without this extra step, the surgical reconstruction work we have seen is exceptional.
When these patients resume their lives and go to the gym and change, wear light clothing, emerge from the shower, re-engage in intimate relationships, there is one last missing piece. Their confidence and self esteem issues stall the completion of the process. An intricately shaped and designed areola completes the restorative process. That last final step allows us to join in the continuum of care – witnessing joy and tears of happiness when a patient looks in the mirror at their new breasts. In an instant, she or he can forget losing them. With their new perspective on the value of life, love, humanity, beauty and themselves, we welcome these survivors and walk them through the final components of their journey back to wellness through the healing art of areola tattoos.
The practice of areola tattoo is much more complex than applying ink to the skin. A paramedical tattoo artist must carefully mix various pigments and execute the treatment carefully to respect radiated, thin and/or compromised skin. No detail is missed. Realism so deceptive that not even a doctor can tell is what we aim for.
Anna Burns’ background in visual arts, combined with her years of experience in permanent cosmetics, paramedical tattoo, and new artist training have placed her in the top tier of North America’s best areola tattoo artists. She is called upon to speak regularly at conferences nationally and internationally where she willingly shares her expertise to help other artists accomplish what she does in her Atlanta clinic.
Anna wants her clients looking in the mirror at areolas that ARE real. Only the patient need to know it is a tattoo. When done perfectly, even the patient forgets over time.