Tattoo Me

When I was first diagnosed with cancer, after all the panic and tears and research and questions and appointments and tests and FREAKING OUT, I started work on an art project.


This is a tree of life and it’s pretty large, big enough for a large throw pillow. There is oak for strength and long life, pomegranate for a juicy, passionate life, vetch (wild sweet pea) for tenacity and because I hate peas as much as I hated chemo, and blackberry vines, also for tenacity, for juicy goodness, and healing.

I got this far before the chemo ruined my finger tips and  made it very difficult to hold something as small as a button or a needle.


I don’t know if I’ll pick it up to finish or not but when it was time to think about tattoos I happened to have this close by.

I have see-sawed back and forth about whether I would tattoo my double mastectomy scars or leave them be. I’m also a little afraid of doing anything else that hurts in that area. I have had enough pain and it still isn’t gone. I have some bad pain days still. My boyfriend could care less about tattoos and why have something no one would ever see?

My first tattoo was years old and while it was a dedication to the Goddess at the time I got it, it was a bit worn out and sad looking. Partly due to time and age and partly due to the fact that back then tattoo ink had nickel in it, which I am allergic too. I decided that covering it up wouldn’t change the original intent and this would actually add a good magical boost to it. I would design the tattoo based on this embroidery I may never finish so my cover up tattoo is really a microcosm of the tree of life.  These are phone pictures (I really need to start keeping my camera close to hand again for better quality photos) so apologies for the fuzzy-ness.


Oak leaves, vetch, rose, bleeding hearts (no lie), pomegranate, lavender. I decided not to do the bee. I don’t know why as I LOVE bees.


Hee “I’m so fucking happy!”  I do sometimes make random notes on my sketches. I was momentarily happy because of this sketch and that wasn’t something I was used to feeling recently.  Worth taking note.

I love my new tattoo. The central rose was really difficult because it was covering almost total charcoal. It was hard to figure out the colors and have them be bright with that underneath but after this healed the colors deepened and brightened. I’m really happy and looking forward to warm weather to show off what may be my last tattoo. Oh! But wait. I have four little tiny dots where the radiologist marked me so they could align the radiation beams 150% accurately. No mistakes could be made (not like okay with radiation ever) because I had a tumor that was inoperable under my sternum and the angle brought the beams so close to my heart they had to be even more careful than their usual 125%. I still lost 25% of my right lung but the left lung fills up the space so most of the time I don’t get too winded and between 2 lungs I really only 12.5% total lung capacity. Anyway. Those dots are now covered with little magenta hearts.  THOSE are probably my last tattoos. Except maybe I will need to add bees.







1 thought on “Tattoo Me

  1. Pingback: Tree of Life Part Deux | Stitch Witch Cottage

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