SPOKANE, Wash.—Local women are opting to take steps to reclaim their womanhood and their lives after battling breast cancer.

Breast cancer survivors Joann Stebbins, Cindy Markee could all recall the day they heard the news.

Stebbins said she found the lump herself early in April and was in surgery by the first week of June.

Breast cancer survivors use tattoos to help heal_1521466704427.png.jpg

Markee said she was also diagnosed in April.

“It’s news that women don’t want to hear. But I had a really good, supportive group. My family’s been awesome, and I’ve got the best surgeons that you could ever ask for,” said Marklee.

The two women did not know each other until recently. They shared a diagnosis and a doctor.

Dr. Dallas Buchanan said he knows the process can be long and hard for patients.

“I think when they get to the very last part of this process they’ve often undergone multiple operations. It’s sort of the last piece of the puzzle for them,” said Dr. Buchanan.

Buchanan said the last piece of the puzzle was the one part for these women he wanted to entrust to someone else, so he found Caleb Frey.

Frey said when he got the call from Dr. Buchanan he was excited that a doctor was sending a patient his way.

Frey is a tattoo artist.

Dr. Buchanan said he wanted to try and find somebody to do the last piece of the reconstruction puzzle: The nipple tattoo.

“There are several people in the medical space that sort of do that work, but they’re not all that good at it. And so my goal was to try to find an artist to do the art part,” said Buchanan.

Markee said she has her tattoos and that they were last steps for her to feel whole and complete again.

Now, it’s Stebbin’s turn. She said competence was waiting for her on the other side.

“That’s what I was thinking, that that would done and it’s what it is, yeah,” said Stebbin.

Stebbin’s daughter reached out o KREM 2’s Rob Harris and told him it went well and she loved the way it turned out.