Nipple, Areola Tattoos Prove Life-Changing For Breast Cancer Survivors

By Daysi Calavia-Robertson
Newsday

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) For six years now, every October Olga Lucia has been hosting a “Day of Beauty” for breast cancer survivors at her office, giving them complimentary areola tattoos and enlisting a professional makeup artist and a hair stylist who treat the patients to free services.

MANHASSET, N.Y.

Snezana Matovic wore her nicest black jacket and an excited smile into a permanent makeup clinic in Manhasset. After all, it was a very special occasion, one she had waited more than five years for: the day she’d finally get her nipples back.

“Will it hurt? Will the tattoo hurt?” she asked, turning to face a thin woman wearing a baby-pink smock and medical mask. The woman was Olga Lucia. Born in Colombia, Lucia is a cosmetic tattoo artist who for the past 25 years has been helping Long Island breast cancer patients regain their old sense of self by tattooing areolas on their new breasts after reconstructive surgery.

“No, it won’t,” Lucia said.

“Well, I had my eyebrows tattooed and that hurt,” Matovic retorted.

“That’s only because you didn’t have them tattooed by me,” Olga Lucia said jokingly.

Matovic, who in 2013 was diagnosed with breast cancer after noticing a small patch of orange peel-textured skin on her right breast, said the cancer broke her threshold for pain.

“When all of that was said and done,” she said, “the last thing I cared about were my nipples. I was too scared to go through a procedure of any type again. It felt more important then to just be alive.”

That changed two years ago when Matovic met and married Peter Aber, 60, of Bay Shore, a man she describes as “so loving” and “100 percent understanding.”

“But I only let him see my breasts once,” she said. “It was hard because I, myself, didn’t even like looking at them in the mirror. He said ‘I don’t care. I love you,’ but he knew this was important to me.”

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