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Eyebrow tattoo a major marker on WNY women's cancer recovery

Carla Lynch clipped an article out of WNY Refresh in July 2013 about Custom Beaute, a paramedical cosmetics and wellness center in the Northtowns that includes eyebrow tattooing for those who have lost hair during breast cancer treatments. Lynch had been diagnosed nearly two years earlier with invasive carcinoma in her left breast, which doctors addressed with a lumpectomy, chemotherapy and radiation.

Lynch, 60, of Youngstown, lost all of her hair during those treatments and slowly began rebuilding her life in the years that followed. The eyelashes came back, a bit at a time, but the brows returned haphazardly. She mustered the courage three months ago to visit Custom Beaute (custombeaute.com) in West Amherst and asked owner Sherry Hale to bring them back to uniformity, an hourlong treatment that costs about $600. Her husband, John A., and sons John W. and Connor, weren’t sure it was such a great idea.

Q. What was the family reaction?

You’re a little bit afraid. You’re getting tattooed on your face. My sons were saying, “Are you crazy?” My husband was saying, “Whoever heard of such a thing?” I said, “I’m not going to look like Mike Tyson with a face tattoo.”

Q. This came after you dealt with other effects from chemo. What was the significance – and reaction?

When you’re done with treatment – I call it the comeback process – you look in the mirror and you don’t have hair, eyebrows, you say, “Now I’m going to bring myself back.” I was penciling in my eyebrows for years. One day this stroke would be up here, another day this one would be down there. When Sherry showed me the mirror, I just started crying because I thought, “Now I’m back.” It was liberating. The transformation was unbelievable.

Q. What’s the best piece of advice you can give to those who have gone through the hardest days and are starting to recover?

The rebuild process is slow – but it happens. You’ve got to take it a day at a time. Don’t get discouraged. You got through the rough part. During the rebuild part, you’ll start looking like yourself again.

email: refresh@buffnews.com

Twitter: @BNrefresh

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