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Tattoo artist helps breast cancer survivors cover their scars

She was her own first patient.

Editor’s Note: The video in this story shows survivors’ breast cancer journeys and includes un-blurred images that may not be suitable for all audiences. Viewer discretion is advised.

When women have a mastectomy due to breast cancer, many times their nipples and areolas have to be removed.

What is left are scars, and with implants, something that looks like a Barbie doll. Getting an areola and a nipple tattoo is usually the last step in the reconstructive process. It's the cherry-on-top, so to speak. 

Michelle Brantley started SeaChelle’s Permanent Make-Up LLC in Sarasota just after her she found a lump on her breast and was diagnosed with breast cancer.  She said it was an epiphany and changed her career path.

“I’m not going to go back to teaching. I’m going to dedicate my life to survivors," she said. 

She had a double mastectomy, went through chemo and radiation and after reconstruction, she became her first patient.

“I tattooed my own areolas. And who better to practice on than myself," she explained.

Because of her journey, Michelle says “I’m able to sympathize with them. Give them that love and support and be able to actually help them finalize this journey.”

Click here to learn more about Michelle's tattoos.

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