Cancer, the "Big C" is one of the scariest diagnoses that anyone can get from their doctor. The feeling in the pit of your stomach as you listen to treatment options, the weight of the concern you feel for your spouse or children and who will take care of them; it may all seem so overwhelming.
In all that turmoil, we are here to support you. The Whitney Center for Permanent Cosmetics helps to put lives back together after cancer in more ways than just the physical. With caring, supportive, and knowledgeable staff we help you to transition from surgery recovery to regaining your beauty and confidence. Our specialized procedures cover permanent eyebrows and lashes from chemo loss, nipple tattooing after breast cancer surgery, and scar camouflage.
In your darkest of days we know that there is light ahead. We look forward to the opportunity to care for you or your loved ones as they make the transition through cancer finding their personal beauty with our unique treatments.
The movie, "My Sister’s Keeper" shows a realistic picture of what people look like when they undergo chemotherapy. In the film, the older of two girls in a family has leukemia and the younger sues to stop having to donate her body parts to keep her sister alive. The sister with the illness is realistically shown with no hair, eyelashes or eyebrows.
Often supportive friends and family will, as the mother in the movie played by Cameron Diaz, shave their own hair so they will be bald like their cancer-stricken friend or relative. Even without hair Cameron Diaz still looked beautiful. She still had her striking eyebrows and eyelashes. People undergoing chemotherapy don't. This loss can make the whole cancer "ordeal" even more devastating.
Permanent makeup can help give anyone facing chemotherapy – a child, man or woman – the chance to feel better about their appearance when they look in the mirror. Applied by a professional, permanent makeup can give chemo treatment patients eyebrows and lashes that help them look like their former selves. This permanent addition even helps with a positive appearance even after chemo while the hair is growing again.
It may be better for someone who has cancer to have permanent makeup applied before chemotherapy or in the early stages of treatment to reduce stress and promote healing. A doctor's release should be provided. Alternatively, with approval of the physician, permanent makeup can be applied in the midst of a course of chemotherapy during an off-week when no chemo drugs are administered. This may be a gift of beauty and love that you will want to give to a family member or loved one who is facing the crisis of cancer.
October is breast cancer awareness month. Not only is prevention important but so is treatment for the "whole you" if you are diagnosed. With that in mind, we wanted to bring to your attention a life altering procedure that has become a hallmark for Melany Whitney and has brought her the referral of many cancer specialists at cutting edge treatment centers.
Many words come to mind when describing the specialized art work of Melany Whitney—realistic, natural, meticulously detailed, three dimensional-looking. What makes the descriptions truly remarkable is that Whitney uses a canvas not used by traditional artists—the nipple region of the human breast.
The acclaimed Whitney, a graduate of Cornell University's School of Art and Architecture, helps women recovering from cancer surgery by re-creating nipples and areolas (the circular area around the nipples) through the art of micropigmentation (cosmetic tattooing).
"Melany's work is a tour-de-force of artistry," says Myron M. Persoff, MD, a leading Florida-based cosmetic surgeon. "It's so real-looking—and even gives the illusion of nipple protrusion-- that some patients almost forget that they've had the work done." "We send all of our patients due to her aesthetic sensibility, exclusively to Melany Whitney" says Mia Talmor MD New York Presbyterian Hospital.
Although the trend in early stage breast reconstruction is to conserve as much skin as possible, millions of women are unable to retain the areola and nipple. Such a loss can be overwhelming, since the nipple/areola defines the appearance of the breast and can reinforce a woman's self-esteem.
"My doctor referred me to a nurse-aesthetician whose idea of creating a nipple was to stamp on a round dot of color with no depth or dimension," said one New York woman who had a mastectomy. "but I wanted my breast to look real—Melany did that for me."
Whitney, who began her career as a professional artist and makeup professional, says she's proud of her "mini masterpieces" as well as her work camouflaging surgical scars and restoring brows lost as a result of chemotherapy. "I take into consideration a woman's proportions as in a life drawing and color as in an oil painting," says Whitney, a Diplomat of the American Academy of Micropigmentation and head of New York's Whitney Center for Permanent Cosmetics.
Mostly, though, Whitney says she's grateful that she can help women recovering from breast cancer. "When my client cries after seeing herself looking whole again, I cry also. I am so thrilled I can help each woman regain what she has lost and move forward with their lives."
Here's what one 45 year old woman said about the procedure: "A lot of doctors are so busy saving people's lives that they don't have time to focus on the nipple and areola. Many don't offer that service, or they have the attitude 'you're lucky you're alive, so why care if you have nipples or not.'"
"I had a mastectomy of one breast and wanted the nipple and areola to match my other breast. I met with 10 plastic surgeons. Some wanted their nurse-aesthetician to do the work, but they were only going to put on a pigment or two. I needed someone who could create projections and details."
"So I checked out tattoo parlors, but those that did such work used palettes that were too strong. Finally a doctor referred me to Melany. I checked out her credentials in the micropigmentation field, looked at pictures of her work, and realized she is an artist who works on the body. I had the procedure a year ago."
"Yes, I wanted to be alive. But what you look like is important, too. I feel so good now, and my breasts look so natural, that I kind of forget what happened."