A tattoo should tell a story I really believe that. You should wait until you have a major accomplishment or want to acknowledge something and you need to know exactly where you want it, too. otherwise you end up years later at the plastic surgeon painfully removing it (example all those tramp stamps). I have a sun for my four sons, a bird for my mom reminding me a "life unlived is lost", several swallows for the amazing women in my life who have died, a crown for my dad as he is my king and I am his princess, a heart for TFO, an infinity sign with my family 13 of us, a ribbon of hope with my Meggie and Rosie for stregthen and a butterfly that reminds me that when a caterpillar thought their life was over it turned into something beautiful. So clearly I am know what I am doing and it made sense that I would get a chest piece over my stupid dumb foobs. When I marched into DJ's Halo that January 2013 and he told me I was not ready I almost cried, ok I did. But he was right since everything failed shortly after that. I waited until I was healed and we decided to stay away from the scars and it was a go NOW!!! But why do woman choose this? I can only speak for me and will do my best to do just that.
First let me start by saying there are few people my husband would want to touch my breasts at all let alone for this long. My doctors being the only and DJ being the second to only. He came with me but he and Genevieve's husband left to hit some SU bars and have talks about breast cancer and beer, seems normal on a Monday night for a school teacher and college professor. If you know DJ then you he is the kindest-amazingest-spiritual man on the earth so I was at ease. So at ease that the left side where all my cording is and I thought was going to be the hardest, I nearly fell asleep! The right on the other hand where all my nerve damage is and lymphedema is WOWOOWWOWOWO it hurt but weird hurt. I felt nothing then BAM instant pain yet I could not tell where he was. I think DJ found this amusing but would never admit it. Now I will not lie my breast was red, swollen and pained for a few days after for sure lymph reacted. But I added an ice pack and it went down and I am fine now. SHHHHHH do not tell my doctor.
Breast cancer strips us both physically and mentally taking at times our dignity. It comes in like a devil when we are not looking and rips into our femininity like a thief. Leaving us blank. Whether you have had recon or not you look down and see what it has left behind. It is a reminder of both how far you have come, what lies ahead and the pain that you are feeling at that moment. The scars remind us of the fact that we are here, they are the tough skin that has surfaced over trying to heal. Yes the scars should be our mark that we are strong and that is true. But is that enough for us women? No fucking way! I look down and was confused, lost in emotion filled with so much it confused me. I was happy to have the cancer gone, mad to be a mess, confused because they do not look like breasts and yet hollow because I felt nothing. Felt nothing physically which was messing with me mentally. I wanted to regain this back in some frame.
I wanted something to remind me of beauty and growth. Since healing is just that right? Walking one day I said to TFO that I wanted a flower and would he draw it -of course. He went right to magnolia since my love of the Grateful Dead Sugar Magnolia is strong. When I looked up the meaning it meant dignity, PERFECT. See between having a doctor touch, remove, cut, examine and constantly feel our bodies we loose something-like we have no modesty any more, I did feel cancer took my dignity. It took my body which was not perfect but it was mine and made me have to place many scars all over it, lay naked asleep on a table as surgeons and nurses removed the cancer and placed me somewhat back together. It messes with my mind making me lose my confidence and it confused who I was for a brief moment. Which I wanted back.
I had a blank emotion when I looked at my chest, something was missing and I needed to fill that space with life. Adding to the not feeling my chest I wanted to mentally feel something. Flowers for sure mean life they bloom when planted. I want to be able to take my shirt off n front of my husband and he see the beauty not the scars- I wanted to bloom again. OK OK OK I know if he even still reads this god forsaken blog he would say he never saw them. But I felt him seeing them. I want to look at myself and see flowers of plenty because in a wacky way that will make the voices tell me that is what he sees. Damn those voices, if only they would shut the hell up. They see those scars and tell me too much shit I need to take them over and rewrite the story.
My tattoo tells the story of how I have grown through this stupid dumb fucking breast cancer process. How I have learned you have to find ways to heal your mind as well as your body. That cancer takes its toll and we must finds ways to reclaim who we are and create a new us. I have accomplished so much in these past almost 3 years and have so much more ahead of me. I definitely want to acknowledge this this is what cancer can not do this is me. Cancer brought on a straight up shit show, but I am prepared to clean myself off each time! The after math of cancer is so much more than I ever anticipated, finding ways to heal is the only way to live. That and a shiny tiara!
I am wiling to show the new ink even at family events when quiet male cousins walk in.... AWKWARD