How a tattoo made Karen feel like she had breasts again


KAREN Deegan's cleavage has gained nearly 12,000 likes in just two days.

But it has nothing to do with the fake implants others call her breasts.

It is to do with the tattoo artwork of flowers across her chest that has made her feel like a woman again for the first time in years.

Now the Birtinya mum is bravely speaking out against the misguided and often hurtful comments people make about breast reconstruction.

Before and after images
Before and after images


"I'm so very over uneducated and ignorant people who just don't understand the journey of a woman who loses her breasts," she said.

"I've had a double mastectomy followed by breast reconstruction and they had to redo the breast reconstruction again.

"After two years on this journey, I've never related to the reconstruction as breasts. They certainly didn't look nor feel like them.

"I've read so many stories about how upset women get with uneducated people's comments about how lucky they are getting fake boobs and also women who've had fake boob jobs compare themselves to breast reconstruction.

"It's nothing alike, I can tell you."

In 2009, months before Karen's 40 birthday, she found the first lump in her breast and a partial lumpectomy.

"I was one of the lucky ones as I didn't need to have radiation and chemotherapy."

But her cancer journey was only beginning. Four years later and they found a growth on her uterus and she had to have a hysterectomy.

When they found more lumps in her breast, they recommended a full mastectomy.

Karen Deegan's breast tattoo
Karen Deegan's breast tattoo


It took Karen five months to the follow the advice.

She had never been emotional about her breasts, but losing them was a different story.

"It was a big decision to make, but I wanted to be there for my children.

"I never had an emotional attachment to my boobies, but it literally nearly killed me.

"I thought I would never be the same, they never looked like breasts to me.

"I haven't liked myself for two years."

She lost close friends because of comments made about her cleavage.

Then she put her name forward for Brisbane tattoo artist Whitney Develle's offer to cover up scars with tattoos for free.

She was thrilled to be selected and Whitney's work has changed her life.

"My fake boobs felt nothing like boobs. They were two mounds.

"With tattoos, oh my God, they look like breasts again."

Ms Develle's Instagram pictures of her work on Karen's chest became an overnight internet sensation, gaining 11,800 likes.

Not all the comments were positive, particularly those noting Karen had no nipples.

She was advised not to have nipple reconstruction because of the complications with the mastectomy.

"People don't understand how upsetting it can be to read these comments," Karen said.

"I didn't ask for my breasts to be removed.

"If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing."

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