Tattoo Artist Covers Mastectomy Scars With Art | This Morning

not this is a fascinating interview coming up in a fascinating story because the next guest was diagnosed with breast cancer three years ago and she underwent a double mastectomy and after four months of intense chemotherapy she had her fight back but all that trauma left breast Lombardo physically scarred naturally and she says in a bid to reclaim her body and her confidence grace looked to tattoo artist David Allen who's also with us this morning and David created a very personal and she says empowering piece of art really graces phase you've been describing it as so tell us how did you hear about David and why did you decide actually this is something I want to do so there had been a front-page article in the Chicago Tribune which is our major paper about David and what he was doing with his art to really give women the chance to reclaim the area of their body that had been scarred and almost mutilated by these surgeries and I had never had a tattoo before in my life but in that moment I knew that this was what I was going to do and I knew he was gonna be the guy to do it and what was it at that moment because you said I've never had to touch you never wanted a tattoo what was it at that moment that you thought yes I think that's gonna be right for me what I was seeing in the pictures of previous work that he had done was that these women were carrying a piece of fine art on their body which really feels like a privilege and it's a way for me to say that I have taken back control for a situation that I had no control of in the first place you say grace after the procedure and to quote your words you're left with the body you didn't ask for scars that you didn't choose now understandably this wouldn't be for everyone why was it for you it was for me because I was in a place where I was dealing with who this new identity was and who I was after cancer is a different person than who I was before and this new person felt emboldened and in powered to really do something to make a statement to see its losses yeah and and so when the two of you you met how did you go about you know creating the design what kind of conversations do you how did you know what you wanted well you know it's really a matter of learning the person I don't want to tattoo something that I necessarily think would be right because it's not my say so it's a matter of spending time and getting to know each other and you learned how someone sees themself in the mirror you know we're really hard on ourselves and we see yourselves a certain way and once you see you know maybe someone doesn't want a scar concealed maybe they want to adorn it because they like it so if I can meet someone where they are then the final product is the first time first time a woman asked you to do this how did you feel about that you know it's a very sensitive emotional issue as well isn't it it's overwhelming I myself I had surgery when I was little I'd open-heart surgery and that I was kind of hesitant at first actually because I know that the scarring that the tissue can be really fickle but having communicated that the first one I did it was moving she was able to articulate the change that was taking place to use your skill or craft to be able to help and you must talk but you know takes hours talking doesn't it depending on the design um you're not two counts no you're a tattoo you're right yes so how did you find that as listening to these women's stories and and being compassionate and understanding there's a point where you realize that the tattoo is not necessarily the healing aspect it's the fact that you're facing trauma we tend to disassociate or not face trauma but when people can sit there and families can have conversations that they didn't have per se like when they went through cancer because they didn't want to add weight when they could talk about it and face it there's healing that happens in that so it's kind of easy to step back and just be part well you've been hard at work today we've been following David putting his skills to use this morning and what he did was he tattooed another breast cancer survivor and that's Harriet so Harriet please would you come on this is Harriet when Harriet and well talk us through your morning and what happened to you milady wanted a dumb well it's it's been an extraordinary morning actually I wanted to get it done because I wanted to I wanted to feel that my body was beautiful again and I wanted to honor it it just feels really important to me that my body always feels loved and the way that it was left looking after surgery I didn't feel that it was necessarily the way out that I wanted to be a do you did you handle reconstruction I do didn't grace I did oh you did sorry you've had reconstruction so it wasn't just about to scar no no it was about the whole the whole appearance and and there's different medical options because I lost my nipple in the surgery and without going into too much detail and I didn't like the sound of any of the medical options whether that's a 3d tattoo or they make you a fake nipple and they put a picture of a tattoo a picture on it I thought well why not instead of a picture of a nipple why not have something incredibly beautiful and empowering so you contacted David I did a lot of research on the internet found one of his pictures spent ages trying to track down who in Earth it was eventually found him and went yes this is the person for me okay so talk us through it this morning so you didn't have a tattoo how did you come up with the design you put on it very quickly and how has it been it's been fantastic we David and I have been discussing things back and forth haven't we but I couldn't have been in safer hands actually David just made me feel so safe and and it was almost a spiritual experience actually it was great he's not doing there did you feel the same it was a spiritual experience I really did there will be a lot of people who will identify with this immediately and say never thought about or what a good idea where do we go and there'd be other people who you know might just say well this is not my thing it's a pretty backed up but the goal is I'm actually teaching and training people to do this as well so it doesn't just end with me I hope more people take this on more tattooers I can get people in I'm finding ways I'm just working more and more and more as much as possible well obviously the word is spreading and you all go away and tell people people will be watching this morning and we've seen there it's a design and you said you're very happy too uncomfortable to show us your I am yes can you do that yes I'm so proud of it so my design extends down this way and it's just so delicate and and it seems to me you do lots of kind of flowers and botanicals is that your choice or the women tend to be asking for that but simply because there might be revisions or maybe even reoccurrence I have to use an organic object to edit it or tweak it in case there's more surgeries and either of you feel you know that this is something that you might revisit now I didn't think jus I might have a bit more color added to that or I might have another flower put on or not the petal yeah well I've never had a tattoo before and I didn't know how painful it was gonna be and we actually made the decision not to put some beautiful leaves down down my ribs but I think now that I know what it involves I can see myself extending it and people do say tattoos could be but it's yeah just just feels incredibly we can't can you well great meeting you guys Harriet and Gris you stay well you too David thank you very much indeed you

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