Tattooing your body is a personal preference. Not everyone is willing to mark their body with permanent ink. I had debated walking into a tattoo parlor for years, but I never knew what I wanted. In fact, I wasn’t even sure I wanted something so permanent. What would happen if I changed my mind? Isn’t the removal process more painful than the tattoo process? There are too many factors to consider.
After my diagnosis of breast cancer, which made me the third generation breast cancer survivor, I decided it was time. If I was going to get some ink, I wanted it to have meaning, it needed to represent something, and it needed to inspire me. I started searching the internet for ideas; I knew I wanted the breast cancer ribbon and the word “Hope.” I wanted something to signify the three generations that have fought the battle, but I was unable to determine what that was at the time. Once my sister was diagnosed, I knew I couldn’t wait any longer. I walked into a tattoo parlor to discuss what I was looking for. Together we came up with something that means more to me than anything I can put into words.
Just weeks shy of celebrating my one year anniversary of closing the chapter on my reconstruction journey. I walked into my appointment with my nerves wrapped up in a tight ball. I couldn’t believe I was really doing this. This was an idea I sat on for a year and even then took a few months to really make sure I was confident in my decision.
The photo above is of my tattoo. You are definitely able to see the word “Hope” with the breast cancer ribbon. The word hope means a lot to me. Not only am I proof of hope and the strength it provides, but there is hope for the future generations. You’ll notice the flowers on the bottom. Each flower represents one of us – my grandmother, my mom, my sister, and myself. Birthstone colored flowers will be added each time a new member of the family is diagnosed with breast cancer. Although I’m hoping that will never happen, I’m still planning for the possibility.
I’m proud of the tattoo I wear on my back on a daily basis. I placed it on my right shoulder blade – a location that can easily be hidden for professional purposes when needed. It’s not something I can see every time I need to be reminded, but I know it’s there. It is my little way of carrying hope with me everywhere I go.
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