“The tattooing was like therapy, a surgery for the soul.”
This is Nikki Black, a 25-year-old comedian from Los Angeles. At age 23 while doing stand-up in Philadelphia, Black went to the doctor to get a biopsy of her breast tissue. The next week the doctor’s office called and told her she had breast cancer.
Black told BuzzFeed News that she was devastated by the news. Her brother was with her when she found out, and she called her mom to let her know. She was also shocked by the diagnosis because she was so young and had no family history of the disease.
Her treatment for the disease was a double mastectomy, followed by chemotherapy. She said dealing with treatment was “extremely difficult,” but her family and the stand-up comedy community in Philadelphia were extremely supportive.
In coping with her diagnosis, Black turned to art, makeup, and photography as a form of therapy and expression. She would draw designs on her head and had photographs taken as a way of dictating how her body would look.