Tag Archives: Cancer

The tattoo broke free again…

When Tina and I designed my mastectomy coverup tattoo, I considered it a personal thing that would be seen by me, Tina, Scott, my surgeon and probably a few women that I would show it to now and then. But when Tina was approached by MSNBC’s Michelle Smawley to be featured in the segment of MSNBC Investigates: Tattooed Women, she said she just knew it had to be about our project.

I am a shy person so it took me a long time to cozy up to the idea but my mother and step-mother’s experiences with breast cancer surgery and especially the feedback from women who had seen my tattoo pushed me to tell the story.

Michelle came out from New York City with her crew and interviewed Tina, my husband and me for hours and once the filming was done, life went back to normal….for about two weeks and then the anxiety started. Would she make us look like ninnies? Had any of us said anything particularly stupid? What were we thinking when we agreed to this? Finally, I couldn’t stand it anymore. I called her in New York and told her that she couldn’t go ahead. I was a nervous wreck and losing weight — the works! She laughed and said she had just gotten off the phone after having the same conversation with Tina.

She reassured me that she had made us a beautiful segment and that every morning the whole production crew crowded into her cubicle to watch it and all left with tears in their eyes. The only consideration they were having to consider was whether my topless images counted as nudity or not and Legal was reviewing that. She sent us a VHS tape of the show when it aired and we were all relieved, if not pleased. She will be my pick if I ever need a producer for a show. Afterwards, we would get calls from family members periodically, “You guys were on TV again” or Scott or I would get recognized at work or in restaurants occasionally. Tina and I were once at a Vince’s restaurant together and we ended up with a boothful of waitresses tearfully telling us how much the show had meant to them — it was wonderful.

But none of that compares to the buzz lately. We were at lunch with friends last week and one of them mentioned getting the pictures sent to him by a friend. Another friend from my knitting group got pics emailed to her from a friend in Australia and the tattoos were also featured on the Bob Rivers’ Show Facebook page with 10,870 likes, 7,923 shares and 1,028 comments, most of which weren’t from weirdos. I am not sure why the buzz goes in waves like this but if it helps more women to feel better about their bodies, then I will try to keep my blushes to myself.

Related posts:

Tattoo Tuesday

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Today would be my mother’s 71st birthday.

She died of metastasized breast cancer on the night before Thanksgiving almost 2 years ago. Her first bout with breast cancer was in the late 80s when she was treated and “cured” at that time. She and I participated together in the Breast Cancer Fund’s Peak Hike 2000 at Mt Crested Butte. When she went to an ER for back pain in 2007, twenty years later, metastasized BRCA was found throughout her liver and bones and she was given 2 months to live.

A friend referred her to a wonderful doctor in Orlando who gave her radiation, chemo and hope. She lived another four years surviving some really bad days but enjoying a lot of good days too. She got to spend a lot of time with us in Seattle and attend my graduation, and also to enjoy the beautiful weather and all her friends in Orlando. She was with us when we adopted Rob and she taught him almost all of his tricks. Continue reading Happy Birthday, Mom!

My Mastectomy Tattoo

My Mastectomy Tattoo Story

I got a surprise recently when I spotted pictures of my tattoo on pinterest.  Scott posted pictures of it on his blog years ago and apparently the tattoo has taken on a life of its own. It has been pinned nearly 500 times and is linked on as many websites. Since that many people are being exposed to it, I guess it is time that I moved the pictures to my own blog and wrote its story myself. I’ll keep this post short but I’ll move it to a “breast cancer” tab and keep adding to it as I go.

I have had so many positive comments from women about how much my art has helped them to come to terms with their bodies and their scars that I want this to be a more permanent resource that people can refer their friends to and revisit as they wish. I promise to get some professional pictures done along the way as well.

Continue reading My Mastectomy Tattoo

Summer Solstice 2010

The word Solstice is Latin in origin and translates as, Sol =the Sun, + stitere =standing still. On June 21, the North Pole is tilted most directly Sunward. Those of us in the Northern Hemisphere experience this as the longest day and shortest night of the year. On December 21, the Winter Solstice, the North Pole is pointed away from the Sun giving us in the Northern Hemisphere, our shortest day, and longest night. This tilting of the Earth’s rotational axis gives us our seasons. During each Solstice, the Sun appears to both rise and set at the exactly opposite spot on the horizon. The Solar Calendars like Stonehenge and the Sun Dagger in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico operate by indicating this point.

Symbols of Summer:

The rose, the rampant vine and the bright sun. Modern symbols include flip-flops, icy pitchers of lemonade, beach umbrellas and baseball games!

Foods of Summer:

Grilled foods, salads, tomatoes, zucchini and lemonade.

Colors of Summer:

Brights: lime green, lemon yellow, sunny orange, sky blue.

Stones of Autumn:

Cancer is white stones like shell and pearl. Leo is gold stones like amber and tiger-eye. Virgo is blue stones like sodalite and sapphire.

Activities of Summer:

Barbecues, picnics, lawn-mowing, weeding, swimming outside.

Links:

The Chaco Canyon Sun Dagger petroglyphs

An interactive model of the Sun Dagger.