SPOKANE, Wash. — It is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and one survivor said she never expected a tattoo could bring her so much closure. She is encouraging other women who have had mastectomies to do the same.
KREM 2 first brought you a story back in March about "On the Level Tattoo". Tattoo artist Caleb Frey closes down the shop each Monday to tattoo women who have had mastectomies.
Lynn Smith was one of these women and she said the process was like nothing she has ever experienced before.
When Smith was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago, she was not alone in the fight.
"My husband was in the middle of cancer treatment himself, he had stage four lung cancer," she said. "So we were all focused on that and so I was just, I'm sure different than some people, but I was like okay let's get it done."
It all happened so fast. After countless appointments she had decided to get a double mastectomy.
"I never thought I wouldn't survive, I thought it would be great and I wasn't worried when I had my surgery," Smith said.
Fast forward to August of 2018. Smith was making another bold move.
"I've never been in a situation like that obviously because I've never been in a tattoo place," Smith said, while pointing to a picture of her on the table inside the tattoo shop.
Smith went to "On the Level Tattoo" in Spokane to get a nipple tattoo in the capable hands of Frey.
"Caleb was super nice and super --- made me feel really comfortable," she said.
She had decided to bring her daughter along after speaking with Frey before her appointment.
"He said, 'Lynn this is kind of a big deal,' and, it wasn't 'till then, that kind of sunk in," she said in tears. "Everything had been going on here with my husband and I just got things done and I hadn't processed it. It's just amazing, it's 3-D so it looks real."
Smith hopes other women in her situation will take the next step like she did.
"It finishes things, you're done," she said.
Both Smith and her husband are healthy and cancer free.
She wants to remind women just how important it is to get an annual mammogram saying if it wasn't for the 3-D mammogram, she does not think they would have found the cancer when they did.