I had already begun the tattoo addiction on my right arm before being diagnosed with lymphoma. Once diagnosed and well into treatment, I knew that getting a tattoo once I completed treatment was a must. Although I didn’t yet know exactly what I wanted.
Following my chemo treatment, I was on blood thinners, so my cancer tattoo had to wait a little, which meant I had more time to decide what would be a good permanent representation of my experience with lymphoma.
I wanted my tattoo to have meaning and depth, while still being a beautiful piece of art on my skin that I will have on me forever. A part of me knew that my new tattoo was going to somehow involve a sunflower because that was my mascot through treatment. It was a symbol to remind me to keep looking up at the sun and not at the shadows. I also wanted the amount of chemo I completed to be represented, along with some sort of awareness about the kind of cancer I had without flat out putting a ribbon on this specific piece (the ribbon tattoo comes later).
So, about six months after completing all treatments, and triple checking with my oncologist, the time came and I got my first color tattoo.
Elements of my first tattoo dedicated to my experience with cancer include:
- A sunflower to remind me to stand tall, stay positive, and always face the light.
- Twelve completed leaves (you’ll notice the rest are not fully closed or full) to represent the 12 rounds of chemotherapy that I completed.
- Lavender (Hodgkin’s lymphoma’s ribbon color) drops of watercolor to represent and raise awareness for HL.
Over a year after I got this beautiful sunflower, I decided to get a ribbon tattoo as well. Two of my best friends, both lymphoma survivors, got a matching tattoo on the outside of their wrist and asked me to join in on the fun! In September 2017, Blood Cancer Awareness Month, I took the plunge and got a lavender ribbon!
There you have it! My two tattoos that represent my journey and remind me of where I’ve been! I highly advise that if you are looking to get a tattoo after you complete treatment — whether you want to cover up a port scar or want a daily reminder of what you’ve been through — please consult with your doctors and fill in your tattoo artist on all of your medical history.
Do you have a tattoo that commemorates your cancer experience? Share it in the comments below!
Note: Lymphoma News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Lymphoma News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to lymphoma.