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Breast cancer survivor’s lumpectomy tattoo goes viral and it’s amazing

"When I got it removed, I was so happy. I've never been so happy in my life. It probably wasn't the normal reaction—I didn't mind the scar."

Alison Habbal was only 36-years-old when she discovered a lump in her right breast. It turned out to be breast cancer. But because she was able to detect it early, she had the option to go undergo treatment and a lumpectomy.

Unlike a mastectomy, a lumpectomy harvests only the tumor instead of removing all of the breast tissue.

"The lump had been there for a while and it was hurting. I'd had visions of removing it myself, wanting to cut it out," she says.

"When I got it removed, I was so happy. I've never been so happy in my life. It probably wasn't the normal reaction—I didn't mind the scar."

Following her surgery, Alison celebrated with another curious procedure. This time, instead of an appointment to the hospital, she had one with a tattoo parlor in her hometown Melbourne to decorate her scarred breast.

About last night - about half way #painismybitch #likeafuckingboss

A photo posted by Alison (@secretary925) on

"I didn't want a fake nipple made from some other piece of flesh," Alison told the BBC. "I thought, 'I'm just going to get a tattoo.'"

The session lasted thirteen hours, and she walked out with a beautiful floral artwork embedded in her.

Alison posted her new breast on her Instagram and Facebook accounts, and immediately people took notice.

"The tattoo is great, but the reason why is even better!!!," one user said.

"Cheering you on, it's looking amazing," said another.

Other users, on the other hand, offered Alison words of encouragement and solidarity: " with you all the way, i have a reconstruction tattoo which I love xx."

Find out what the tattoo artist thought of the breast cancer survivor

Meanwhile, the Hamilton-based tattoo’s artist Makkala Rose was all praise for Alison’s courage and perseverance, especially for sitting through 13 hours of intense work on painful, sensitive areas.

"Alison was pretty clear about the idea that she had and what she wanted it to look like, but she also gave me a bit of freedom," Makkala said. "Tattooing a breast is quite different to tattooing a leg or a back or something.

“It's a bit challenging to design something that would fit and work around it. "It's quite humbling and it puts a lot of things in to perspective. That made it really cool to be able to do for her."

But perhaps the reason why the photo resonated with so many people is the fact that despite the cards she had been dealt with, Alison continues to be a positive person and see the light in her situation.

Alison thinks that the appeal of her viral photo had something to do with the combination of the tattoo's execution and the fact that she's smiling in the photo, “adding a layer or emotion missing from breast-only shots.”

READ: Viral post highlights rare sign of breast cancer women should know

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