A bare-breasted mermaid, plunging into an ocean of finesse, on which a pretty sailboat sails. This aerial line drawing, Elisabeth Lefebvre wears it, tattooed on her left breast. Four years after the announcement of the cancer that changed the course of her life, the 50-year-old Finisterienne offers a radiant face. “I had unparalleled medical, emotional and professional support. It’s a chance whose importance I measure, ”she wants to clarify from the outset.
Pink October and its awareness-raising operations, the Bannalécoise admits “that she doesn’t really like it”. But alongside Eve de La Guerrande, at tea time this Tuesday at the end of September 2022, she lets herself go more willingly. The two women met for the first time in September 2018, “five months after the removal of my breast”, notes the former patient. And only six months after the announcement of the disease. “I had spotted a bruise on my left breast on January 2. I ended up showing it in March and had surgery in April. The pick-up was very quick. Psychologically, it was the post-treatment that was the most difficult”.
I was in a hurry to reclaim my body
At the CHU de la Cavale Blanche, in Brest, Elisabeth Lefebvre benefited from a first tattoo of the areola and the nipple, carried out by a nurse. A medical act “essential for me to regain my femininity”, she says. But not successful enough for his taste. “The colors quickly faded. The idea of making another tattoo, more realistic and elaborate, quickly imposed itself on me. I was in a hurry to reclaim my body.
Improve the psychic reconstruction of women
It was at this time that Elisabeth Lefebvre heard of Eve de La Guerrande. The young woman was then finishing her studies in general medicine at the University Hospital of Brest, with an appropriate thesis subject: “A comparative study of the two types of areola-nipple tattoos, the medical and the non-medical”, details the interested party. Or how to improve the psychic reconstruction of women by leading aesthetically to their physical reconstruction. “I discovered an exciting universe and enormous medical possibilities”, assures the 28-year-old Fouesnantaise.
Elisabeth was already enthusiastic at the time “for the delicacy of the line” of the future doctor, who was trained in parallel with a tattoo artist from Finistère. “The long line of tree life that Eve carries on her arm inspired me enormously”.
I am not a magician and there is no going back. I prefer a no than regrets
His big tattoo day arrived in March 2022. The time for the scar to be stable, but also for the project to mature. “I am not a magician and there is no going back. I prefer a no to regrets,” adds Eve de La Guerrande. Active in southern Finistère since last January, the young professional is now divided into three thirds: one in the general medicine practice, the other to perform the act of “repairing dermopigmentation of the areola » (reimbursed by Social Security), the last outside a medical office, for artistic tattooing.
Unique in France
Elisabeth had a hard time waiting but today she thanks her. “In 2018, I was still angry. I imagined getting a shield tattooed on my chest. Four years later, the chosen drawing speaks of the sea and the mermaid. “He is softer, and I am more peaceful”.
The result is extraordinary, the added value that the tattoo brings to the care, by masking the scars, is invaluable.
Professor Weiguo Hu, who operated and followed her, recently discovered 3D drawing. “The result is extraordinary, the added value that tattooing brings to care, by masking scars, is invaluable,” enthuses the head of the plastic, reconstructive and aesthetic surgery department at the University Hospital of Brest. I also knew Eve de La Guerrande, because I was on the jury for her thesis. His journey, so far unique in France, deserves to be welcomed and encouraged”.
He notes the importance of reconstruction in the treatment of breast cancer. “Only a third of women do it, often out of ignorance. And yet the benefit is enormous.” Hand on her siren and on her heart, Elisabeth Lefebvre confirms: “Me, it was my deliverance”.
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