Inside days, Debbie Casson had a collection of horrible discoveries.
On a Monday in 2012, she was recognized with a uncommon type of nasal cavity most cancers.
Then, on the Thursday, medical doctors discovered cancerous lumps in her proper breast.
It kickstarted months of radiation and operations together with a mastectomy. Her nipple was eliminated within the course of to avoid wasting her life.
The silver lining to all this was a profession change. It impressed her to turn out to be an areola tattooist, a singular type of 3D tattooing that recreates misplaced nipples for most cancers survivors.
Not solely has she accomplished the process on herself however on dozens of different ladies too.
“For me it’s with the ability to put that cherry on prime and make them really feel complete once more,” mentioned Casson, who relies in Christchurch however recurrently heads to Dunedin and Hamilton to tattoo areolas.
Casson’s story in addition to these of three of her purchasers is captured in a brand new Play Stuff documentary referred to as Woman Ink. The producer behind the brief movie, Helen Morgan, first got here throughout Casson’s work in a Stuff article not lengthy after Morgan’s personal breast most cancers analysis in 2018.
“Once I began the thought of taking pictures Woman Ink I believed I might chuck myself in as a part of it,” mentioned Morgan, of her intentions to get areola tattoos after she had her mastectomy and reconstruction surgical procedures.
As a substitute, when she awakened from surgical procedure she found that her physician was in a position to save her nipples. So, she determined to incorporate the three different ladies who bravely bared the earlier than and after outcomes of their areola tattoos for the digicam.
One other particular person within the movie who bared some pores and skin was Casson’s husband, James. He provided up his backside as a canvas for his spouse to follow her areola tattoos on.
On the time of her most cancers battle, Morgan didn’t actually care about whether or not her nipple was saved or not, she mentioned.
“Initially of it, you’re fairly bravado about all of it, not less than I used to be. I mentioned: Come on, let’s simply kind this most cancers out, don’t be concerned about the way it seems,” she mentioned. Nevertheless, as soon as the preliminary shock wears off and most cancers survivors face themselves within the mirror “you’ll suppose oh God”, Morgan mentioned.
However, the documentary and the method of breast reconstruction and medical tattooing isn’t about aesthetics, in keeping with Morgan. It’s about energy, about closing the chapter on a troublesome interval and beginning anew.
“Physiologically, you’re lastly in charge of the present once more. It’s that full level to say: OK most cancers, you have got had your go however now I’m again,” mentioned Morgan.
Despite the fact that Casson’s most cancers analysis is eight years up to now, she discovered it laborious to observe the movie about her story and her work.
“It is extremely emotional for me,” mentioned Casson, later including that being concerned within the documentary was “an incredible expertise”.
Casson mentioned she hopes the movie attracts consideration to areola tattoos and the way they’ll make ladies really feel complete once more.
“There are lots of ladies on the market who have no idea that that is accessible to them,” she mentioned.
Watch Woman Ink on Play Stuff. The Play Stuff app is accessible on cellular and TV.