This Woman Covered Her Mastectomy Scars With A Rad Wonder Woman Tattoo

When Stephanie Kelly tested positive for the BRCA1 gene mutation, which signifies a high likelihood of developing cancer, she decided to get a preventive double mastectomy. Having seen her own mother battle breast cancer twice, she was confident it was the right move and completely unfazed by the test results.

“With the family history and just my general luck about things, I’d always expected breast cancer to play some role in my life,” she told People. “It would have been a great surprise if it had been negative, but I completely expected to hear it was positive. The genetic counselor joked that she’d never had someone be so calm and matter-of-fact about positive results before.”

But while her mother served as inspiration, 42-year-old Kelly had another role model to help her get through the operation and its aftermath– Wonder Woman.

“I have always loved Wonder Woman, and during this time I began to joke that I was going to be like Wonder Woman and be strong and unfazed by the things I needed to do that scared me,” she said. “Friends and family sent me little gifts of Wonder Woman figurines, cards, clothes, even a full robe. It all helped me feel stronger and it was a way to feel all the love and support I had and bring that along with me.”

Kelly identified with Wonder Woman so strongly, she decided to get the superhero’s iconic phoenix imagery on her chest, much like a protective breastplate. She worked with tattoo artist Jamie Epsy at Lovely Monkey in Michigan to come up with the design.

Session #3 Get yerself a tattoo shop like mine.

A post shared by stephanie kelly ? (@stephanie_jane_kelly) on

“Along with Wonder Woman, I was also drawn to images of the phoenix and how the bird reconstructs itself from the ashes of it’s former body.”

Kelly says the tattoo has changed the way she thinks about her body, giving her a necessary boost of confidence and self-love.

“With my other health issues, I’d never really been very confident of my body,” she says. “But now, I already don’t fit the mold of what the world expects, so there is a sense of freedom that comes with that. But then on top of this, I have this image of strength, power and fearlessness across my chest and that continues to build me up. I see my scars now as entirely positive.”

Although, if we’re being honest, it seems as though Kelly is a Wonder Woman herself. Not only did the mother of four make the swift and brave decision to go through with the preventative double mastectomy as soon as possible, she did so while suffering from fibromyalgia (constant chronic pain everywhere), gastroparesis (a digestive tract illness) and lingering injuries from a car accident. In other words…Stephanie Kelly is a superhero.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual campaign to raise awareness of breast cancer risks, the value of screening and early detection, and treatment options available to women and men who are diagnosed with one of the many forms of breast cancer.

Approximately 1 in 8 women in the United States will develop breast cancer over her lifetime. In 2017 alone, an estimated 252,710 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women.

If you have a history of breast cancer in your family, make sure you speak to your doctor about developing a screening plan tailored to your situation. The Breast Cancer Resource Center is an incredible source for answers and assistance.

Make sure to check yourself monthly for any unusual changes. This picture really helps.