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Sometimes, the best way to recover from a mastectomy is to get a tattoo


WHAT SCARS?: Allen’s ink work has created a cult-like following among breast cancer survivors.

FOR MOST of her life, Heather Lee didn’t dwell on the appearance of her breasts. They were simply an occasionally functional part of her anatomy; they fed her four children as newborns and required occasional shopping for sartorial support. But after being diagnosed with breast cancer in March 2015 and undergoing a double mastectomy, the 40-year-old recently divorced mother feared she’d be left with breasts that resembled “overripe avocados.”

“The way I explained it to my friends is when I looked in the mirror I didn’t want to think, OK, those look almost like boobs,” says Lee, a lawyer in Birmingham, Alabama. “I wanted to look in the mirror and think, I’m a badass.”

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A radical therapy may heal the deepest layers of the brain—and transform the way we treat the often untreatable victims of PTSD.