• I really want a tattoo (my first) to celebrate my 5 yrs in remission...a purple (survivor) ribbon. Advice?

    Asked by LisaLathrop on Saturday, February 8, 2014

    I really want a tattoo (my first) to celebrate my 5 yrs in remission...a purple (survivor) ribbon. Advice?

    16 Answers from the Community

    16 answers
    • leepenn's Avatar
      leepenn

      i do have advice!!!!

      i LOVE tattoos - I have two, and my chest piece is a work in progress.

      if the purple ribbon moves you - go for it!
      but - my advice would be to think outside of that box. what makes you who you are? what do you love?

      my first piece on my chest is actually a piece of art by my child, and it's gorgeous and right next to my heart. i plan to extend the piece to include things important to me - sustainability, bikes, the mississippi river, eagles… it's coming together, but i'm still working on my concepts.

      get recommendations from people you see with tattoos you think are beautiful. take your time… make sure you feel confident with the tattoo artist. and take your time! ooops - already said that. anyway, it is worth repeating because the tattoo is pretty much permanent!

      one last piece of advice - if possible - go with a tattoo artist that has experience working with cancer patients. the reason i suggest this is because those tattoo artists just have an extra bit of passion for working with people like us.

      oh wait - one last piece of advice - put the tattoo somewhere where it's easy to show off when you want…. and easy to cover when you want… i love the one by my heart for that reason. when i wear a sleeveless shirt with a lower neckline, it shows… when i wear professional shirts, it does not.

      good luck!

      about 7 years ago
    • GregP_WN's Avatar
      GregP_WN

      Good view point and good ideas Leepenn

      about 7 years ago
    • JeanB's Avatar
      JeanB

      I think this is a beautiful idea. Make sure you do your research on the tattoo shop, and the artist. The artist should have a portfolio on his or her work. We would love to see pics of the finished tat.

      about 7 years ago
    • LisaLathrop's Avatar
      LisaLathrop

      I was more looking for advice on infections, risks, etc. About 2 years ago my Oncologist advised against it. 5 years will be considered "cured" but I'm a tad hesitant about infections. Something inside me says "just go for it!". The advice about seeking someone who has worked with cancer patients is helpful. We have a place in mind...my kids have gotten theirs there before (ha ha aging myself) and were very happy with the quality of the work and care of the staff. Regarding the "think outside the box" I am an artist and have designed the ribbon a bit differently. Will post a pic when I finally get it done.

      about 7 years ago
    • Clyde's Avatar
      Clyde

      Good advice from LeePenn. I would add that I love tattoos.......on other people. I know myself well enough to realize that I would probably hate it shortly after getting one and regret it so make sure you really, REALLY want one first. You might also try getting a henna one in the place you are considering as a test run.

      And the advice about making sure you can cover it when you need to is the golden rule where tattoos are concerned. No point losing a job because that pesky little skull and crossbones on your cheek just didn't set the right tone at the interview.

      about 7 years ago
    • Clyde's Avatar
      Clyde

      Oh yeah, ask what sanity procedures the parlor uses in advance and ask to see them. A good tattoo parlor will have no issue with this and will probably be happy to show them off. Most legitimate tattoo parlors are pretty safe actually. Liability is too high and they are watched too close by health departments. If you are NED and you have no major immune worries, it should be fine.

      about 7 years ago
    • leepenn's Avatar
      leepenn

      the tattoo artists with experience with cancer patients should be able to help guide you in infection prevention - starts with clean skin, clean shop, and solid after-tattooing-care. follow their instructions to the T!!!!!

      and awesome - i totally want to see your ribbon design!!!!! stoked for you!

      i'd say - go for it go for it go for it!!!!! but that also shows my bias for loving original tattoo art. the tattoo artist and you should essentially collaborate until you like exactly what will go onto your body… then, it's go time!!!! my artist and i spent over an hour on my son's artwork. she was amazing. i am currently designing the river and eagle portion - i live right by the mississippi river and see eagles on a regular basis. they are beautiful and wonderful…

      about 7 years ago
    • BabsWon's Avatar
      BabsWon

      I had been considering getting a tattoo to cover my port scar. But thinking back on how painful the four "dot" tattoos I needed before radiation were, I am changing my mind. I don't think I want that kind of pain again. I guess I'm not a fan of needles. I did have some fun with putting a black rose tattoo (the removable kind} over my scar last summer. They look fairly real if you don't look too close and only last about 3 days. I may buy some for next summer too and change them to go with what I wear. I'm kind of a silly 67 year old gal!

      about 7 years ago
    • Neecer's Avatar
      Neecer

      Many tattoo artists mix their own inks, check the heavy metals and other components in the ink. I have thought about a tattoo but at this time I don't what any other toxins in my system. In the end you have to follow where your heart leads you.

      about 7 years ago
    • Jessrae's Avatar
      Jessrae

      I am Irish so I was going to get a large purple ribbon and where the ribbons cross in the middle put a four leaf clover. You could find something else small that has meaning to you and do it!

      about 7 years ago
    • LisaLathrop's Avatar
      LisaLathrop

      Agreed regarding the toxins. But I am adamant about this...yes, I've earned it and thought about it over and over again. I am PROUD to be a survivor and my Livestrong band is getting a little worn out ha ha....thanks for the advice on what's in the ink. Didn't think about that before only about what the needle could do/infect/etc. I think overall the degree of sanitizing has escalated exponentially in the past decade so just the slightest bit of worry here. And I'm not going to stress over it...I want it...and will do it...not that I'm a rebel or anything (really serious here). Just sometimes ya gotta say "what the f***"...you only live once. :)

      about 7 years ago
    • Jessrae's Avatar
      Jessrae

      Well said LisaLathrop!!!

      about 7 years ago
    • Juddmaster's Avatar
      Juddmaster

      Get it!

      about 7 years ago
    • MPerrin11's Avatar
      MPerrin11

      First of all… CONGRATS on reaching 5 years! And I think you should definitely go for the tattoo! I got my survivor tattoo about a month after finishing treatment :) I got a small purple ribbon and since I'm a Beatles fan, I got the phrase "ob-la-di, ob-la-da" along with it. (The song goes "Ob-la-di, ob-la-da, LIFE GOES ON…") I got it on my wrist so I could easily show it off but also easily cover it with a bracelet if needed. I also love that it reminds me every day of what I went through and what I overcame. My profile pic is my tattoo, but here's another picture: http://www.melissabeatslymphoma.com/2014/01/my-survivor-tattoo.html

      As for risks and infections - as long as you go to a reputable place, you shouldn't have any issues. You'll need to wash it several times a day with antibacterial soap and keep a good lotion or antibiotic ointment on it for a couple weeks. As long as you take the time to properly care for it, it will heal quickly and beautifully without any issues. A good artist will give you all the "aftercare" instructions you need. Be prepared, the tattoo itself if a little painful but if you can survive chemo, it will be a piece of cake :) Look forward to seeing it once you get it done!!
      -Melissa

      about 7 years ago
    • Liha's Avatar
      Liha

      I don't hear much of people having trouble with them anymore, if they do them at popular, reputable businesses and take care of their injections. They are made up of many small injections that don't go very deep, but still need care.

      I am a blood cancer fighter for a second time, relapsing one year ago after being in remission for 2-1/2 yrs. People kept asking me when I was going to get one, but I've decided, being a blood cancer patient I'm not going to get one. I'm ready for my port scar to disappear someday, but since it was implanted twice, in the same location, chances may be I will have the scar 'tattoo' forever.

      Good luck and best wishes~

      about 7 years ago
    • LisaLathrop's Avatar
      LisaLathrop

      Thank you all for your helpful suggestions and tips. Liha...I feel for you. I too had my AML come back just 6 weeks after my first BMT. Hopefully this last one did the trick for good. Blessings to you in your 2nd fight!

      about 7 years ago

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