A breast cancer survivor is regaining her confidence thanks to a tattoo of a lace bra over her mastectomy scars.
Great-grandmother Linda Bright, 68, had her left breast removed three years ago and would not even allow her husband to see her naked.
But she then took back control of her body with a beautiful black bra complete with butterflies, little pearl droplets and a pink ribbon to signify being a cancer survivor.
Linda, a retired clerical worker from Felixstowe, Suffolk, said: “At first I was really happy about being cancer free, but as time went on I hated the way I looked.
“When I looked at myself I knew what I needed and that was to cover the scars up. As soon as I took my bra off it stared me in the face all the time.
“But now I can’t tell you just how happy I feel and I want to help others feel the same way I’m feeling now.
“Now when I get undressed there is something pretty facing me rather than the scars, it has given my confidence such a boost.”
Linda was diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2011 and had six months of chemotherapy followed by daily radiotherapy.
She underwent a mastectomy in February 2013 but because the cancer had travelled to her lymph nodes and into her neck the scarring was “horrendous”.
Doctors spent hours using fat, skin, and blood vessels cut from the wall of the lower belly and used to rebuild the breast.
Unfortunately Linda was unable to have a breast implant due to the scarring and ended up being left without a nipple.
But after seeing a picture of a fellow cancer survivor with tattoos over her scars she consulted her surgeon who gave full permission for Linda to head to a tattoo studio.
The mother-of-two had the tattoo finished in June after two sittings totalling between eight and nine hours of needle work.
Linda added: “I know I am not a youngster anymore but I still have feelings.
“I used to cover up whereas now once I have put the cream on my tattoo I just wander around the bedroom topless, so my husband has definitely noticed a difference.”
Linda and husband Dave, 70, a retired HGV driver have been married for 48 years and have two daughters, eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
She added: “Dave did try to help me overcome my negative feelings with regards to my scars and the way I looked as it didn’t bother him in the slightest, but I just could not accept it.
“The tattoo was sore at first but I have been told over the years that I am quite stoic, but the worst part of it was probably the pink ribbon in the middle.
“I just feel proud. Some people don’t mind their scars but I wanted them gone, and if there are any other women out there who feel similar, they can do the same thing.
“People have told me I’m brave but I’m not, I just needed to have it done for my own peace of mind, and I hope I can give other women the confidence to do the same.”
Husband Dave said he never minded Linda’s scars but said it was amazing to see his wife happy with her body again.
He said: “I feel brilliant for her now. It is one of these things which is down to the individual who had the operation to make that choice.
“I always supported her and now she can look in the mirror again and she’s not ashamed to get changed in front of me any more.
“It is the best thing that I think she has done and she is an inspiration as there are probably many women out there who felt similar to how Linda did.”
Linda also wanted to thank the tattoo artist, Tom Emmerson, who works at Inkspirations Tattoo Studio, for “changing her life”.
She added: “Tom deserves the credit because it is him who has made me feel happy with my body again.”