An addition to my Endo Tattoo

Me receiving tattoo on upper backside of left arm near armpit

Many of you already know I have a large tattoo on my left shoulder, which represents my journey after I was diagnosed with Endometriosis in 2014.  And many of you also know that each time I have a surgery because of Endometriosis, I add a blood droplet to that tattoo.  And each time, my best friend and Seester (Rosie) comes to be with me during the tattoo session.

So, this year I not only wanted to add another blood drop but I felt a need to somehow honor my sterility since my fallopian tubes were removed, and with them any chance or choice of continuing our family line.

Knowing I’ll never give him a son or daughter, knowing we’ll never hold them in our arms, change diapers, watch them grow up, all the glorified things that my heart aches for.  About a year ago, Jim and I shot a film project for a friend of ours.  We were parents of a beautiful infant girl, Emily.  And while we weren’t filming, he continued to hold her and just seeing him rock her in his arms, coo at her, smile when she made cute bubbly baby noises, smell her head – it filled me to the brim with warm feel-goods.

Although both my husband and I have wanted children at some point during our lives (or shall I say our prior-to-meeting-each-other lives), we no longer felt like we did at our age (I’m pushing 40, he’s pushing 50).  So why couldn’t I stop sobbing?  During my grieving process, I tried to better understand why I was so very upset. Lots of soul searching led me to a conclusion.

Yes, the chance to procreate and to hold our own child in our arms was now gone.  We could adopt, but as I stated above, we truly did not want children at our age.  But if one happened by mistake…we both would have been so happy.  Wait…I’m digressing once more. I already covered that.

So, where was I?  Yes, my sterility.  The choice to remove my fallopian tubes was made prior to my laparoscopy.  If it even remotely had any chance of ceasing the progression of Endometriosis, let’s do it (yeah, yeah, I know – retrograde menstruation is a sneered-upon theory, but it’s worth a shot).  And even if the decision hadn’t already have been made, my fallopian tubes would have been removed during surgery anyway because of the state they were in.  But…they are gone.  My uterus is a now a sealed tomb that will still continue to shed and bleed and remind me each month that it, at least, is still there and functioning.

Wait…I digressed again.  Obviously, I’m still dealing.  Back to the tattoo…

I wanted something that represented not only my sterility, the end of our bloodline (well, I have brothers, a niece, and a nephew, but I mean the direct bloodline of myself and my husband), and my coming to terms with it, but truly accepting the fact that my illness has robbed me of something I did want so many moons ago…

And suddenly it came to me.  I wanted a lit candle, burnt almost to the point of extinction.  Smoldering.   If you’ve followed my previous tattoo posts, you may remember that my artist’s name was Will Novotny.  Sadly, he passed away last year…I’ve been his client since 2009 and no only had the pleasure of being his client, but of becoming his friend.  And now my choice of tattoo had an even greater meaning: not only am I expressing my sterility and acceptance, but I am also lighting a candle in memory of Will…directly adjacent to the last tattoo he inked onto me.

I wrote my friend, Mia, who is a tattoo artist here in San Diego at the Jade Buddha Tattoo studio and explained what I had in mind.

Mia added the suggestion of the candle being held in the palm of a hand, wax dripping.  Then she expanded on that thought: have it held in my hand.  Our waning existence, mortality slipping between my fingers, and me grasping and accepting that very concept.  It was brilliant.

Then the creative process took off!   Not only did I love the journey, but it was so therapeutic talking about it.  And a HUGE thank you to Rosie for being there to comfort me during the painful 4.5-hour session.  And to Mia for her friendship, understanding, and talent!  This piece means SO very much to me.  It’s incredibly beautiful, seamlessly wound into my existing Endo tattoo, and it’s amazing!  I want to cry even just typing about its meaning and yesterday’s wonderful experience.  Oh, and if you can’t find it, the third blood drop is lingering at the bottom of one of the pieces of dripping wax.

Mia tattooing my underarm
A smidge of humor 😛

Some photos! You can click on a thumbnail, and click once more on the image it opens and it will open a full-size version.

And here’s a few videos trying to better show the entirety of the piece!  Neither the photos or videos do it justice!

(don’t mind the little peeling flecks all over the tattoo haha)

oh…and if you’ve made it all the way to the bottom…here’s my favorite photo taken during the session!  God, this piece hurt so much. So worth it!

Close up of tattoo in progress; covered in blood

If you’re in San Diego, I highly recommend Mia at the Jade Buddha Tattoo!!!

My Endo Tattoo

Tattoo with owl, blue lotus blossom, barbed wire, yellow ribbon, and blood

It’s finished!  My tattoo memorializing my diagnosis and excision surgery of Endometriosis.  It’s fresh, hot off the presses, and still gooey, a bit wet and shiny, but I didn’t want to wait before sharing!  I’m sure there will be better photographs in the future. 🙂 I love it, so very much.

If you don’t yet know what Endometriosis is, it’s an invisible, chronic disease that effects 176 million women worldwide.  Implants grow inside of our abdomen, causing severe pain, inflammation, bloating, and other complications such as scarring that weaves our organs together. Doctors can surgically remove the growths that permeate our abdomen, but they grow back and subsequent surgeries are required.  Many women control their symptoms with diet and supplements, but it doesn’t work for all women.  And there is no cure to Endometriosis, nor effective treatments.

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Endo Tattoo – Sneak Peek!

Text that reads "sometimes things happen and you feel that you need to mark them down" by Scott O'Connor

So, I’m no stranger to tattoos.  But it’s been five years since my last one. My ink needs to mean something to me…and after my diagnosis and new journey with Endometriosis, I knew what I wanted.

Yesterday, I had my first session (go back in in 2 weeks to complete it…) with Will Novotny at Bad Influence Tattoo.   You, my blog followers, get a sneak peek at it before I share it on Facebook with my friends and family 🙂 I’d like to wait until it’s finished before I share it with them. But I cannot wait to share it with you!  Please be aware it is not yet finished, but when it is, it will be AMAZING!  And all color will be added during my next session with my tattoo artist.

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