My Very First Tattoo...not what I expected

As I told you in earlier posts my first month at Dana Farber was a bit of a fog. I know I was given a PET scan but have absolutely no memory of it. I know I had chemo, radiation and procedures but in what order I am not totally sure. People came to visit, called, sent flowers and brought food but when and who, that I can’t say. Some things I remember clearly, some are foggy memories and other things I can’t recall no matter how hard I try.

One clear memory I have is of seeing my very first tattoo. It was almost like I woke up from a long sleep and there it was. Actually, I was laying down on the radiation machine. I had blue marker drawn all over my abdomen. Big X’s and lines, kinda like you would expect to see on a person who is getting plastic surgery. I remember asking what that was, why it was there. The radiation therapist explained it was to help them guide the machine, it showed where the radiation beam should be aimed. The therapist explained that I also had tattoos, four small dots around my waist. One tattoo below my belly button, one on each side of my hip and one on my back. This is how the machine worked. It would rotate all round my body, the radiation beam hitting each of these four tattoos.

Before these four small tattoos I had none. I never wanted a tattoo and never thought I would have one but now I had four. I know they are small and most people can’t see them or don’t notice but to me they represent four very permanent things that cancer gave me. Every time I see the one bellow my belly button I think, “That is where the tumor was”. Just recently, while showering, I noticed one of the tattoo’s on my hip. It made me sad. I can’t explain exactly why. These tattoos symbolize a difficult time in my life and the many things that were taken away from me!


Terri said...

So refreshing to read a cancer blog that uses the F word. Best of luck to you and thanks for the excellent writing.

Terri said...

P.S. Holla if you'd like an invite to my super-secret blog.

Obsessedwithlife said...

I have my 'special tattoos' also. It cracks me up if people ask if I have a tattoo-I say yes, 4. They look stunned ;).

patti said...

this does need to be talked about.. long after the teatments have ended i still daily pain from this terible disease

Anonymous said...

Warriors have always had to carry battle scars.

Anonymous said...

This post really had an impact on me. I completely understand how you feel. I dont have these tattoos, but I do have a really large scar on my left elbow where they removed the tumor and a whole bunch of skin and muscle. Everyone says "you can hardly notice it", but I do, I notice my 'zipper' as I call it every single day. I notice the scar in my armpit where they took the lymphnodes from, and i cant help but stare at the 4 small holes in my shoulder from the last surgery I had to correct nerve damage from the cancer everytime i look in the mirror. So...when someone says "You cant even notice those.",somehow it doesnt help, it just makes me feel worse because, those are my scars, they are the proof for me that I beat it, that it didnt get me. I dont know, maybe this doesnt make sense, but I feel better for reading your story and telling you mine. Keep it up, Kate

Meaghan said...


What you wrote make perfect sense to me. I understand exactly how you feel because I feel the same way. Its so hard to put into words but I think when you've been there it makes sense.

I am very protective/sensitive of my cancer! Its hard to put into words but there is a definite feeling.

I'm glad I wrote something that reached you and I hope I continue to. Please feel to write to me anytime,

Anonymous said...

I can so relate to the feeling of Cancer taking something away from you. I am 30yrs old, breast cancer survior. I had a doulbe mast. with reconstruction. It has been 6 months cancer free. Everytime I look at my breast they look and feel different. It really sucks. I am now in the process of tring to find funding to get them repaired because I do not have health insurance and this time everything is out of pocket. So untill I can get the money together I have to be unhappy with what I have. Sounds stupid but I am very upset with CANCER!!!!

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