Private Little Quote Gone Loud

Posted: February 6th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: breast cancer, mastectomy, Uncategorized | Comments Off

Most everyone in my inner-circle knows that on October 21, 2013, my journey through breast cancer  was blessed with a most beautiful gift of closure — tattoos to cover my mastectomy scars. Thanks to Personal P.INK’s premiere mastectomy scar tattooing event in New York City.

Yesterday, I got to watch a video clip of a South Carolina television reporter interview my beloved tattoo artist, Shannon of Indigo Rose Tattoo Studio, about that event. She not only did a great job with that interview, she’s on her way to California to be interviewed on “The Doctors.” So proud of her!

After watching the news video clip I realized that I hadn’t fully absorbed my tattooing experience though. Or, just how deeply significant is has turned out to be within my life and possibly others.

I apologize for not knowing how to embed the video of that interview into this blog article … A link here will just have to suffice.

Tattoo Artists Use Ink to Help Breast Cancer Patients video link

After watching the news video to the very end, I had the strangest reaction …  Ms. Pragmatic; roar back into the face of cancer; “Buck It Up, Sunshine”; crying ain’t gonna change a damn thing, so keep moving on — well, that gal? She broke down into humbled and honored tears, nearly uncontrollably so.

It was sort of odd to hear my name said on television; hear snippets of my story being told; know that photographs of my tattoos were viewed by strangers. But I had willingly signed a release form allowing all of that to take place.

What unexpectedly hit me hard, moved me to my core, was watching another woman — a professional, trained to hold her emotions intact, a news anchorwoman — have to check her emotions when she heard a reporter repeat my most intimate of intimate moments in my entire breast cancer journey. My heartfelt response to Shannon upon seeing my tattoo for the first time in the mirror that day. “It’s not ugly anymore [my breast]. I’m not ugly anymore.”

What you need to realize is that right before I said that to Shannon, my brain had to do a triple check at the reflection of me in the mirror — it didn’t, at all, recognize who it was looking at. My left breast was covered in plastic wrap while an anesthetic cream was soaking into my scar tissue on that breast. Only my right breast, with the new lace demi-cup bra tattoo, was visible. My brain literally did not recognize who it was looking at.

There was no longer a hideous 8″ scar spanning a breast to instantaneously recognize as a marker … “Scar. Oh, that’s Chérie.” In a flash of a second, I recognized what my brain had done.

I turned to speak to Shannon but deep emotion welled up into my throat. I heard myself choking back tears of humbled gratitude, totally indescribable joy and inexplicable reverence. I can still see Shannon’s serene and focused face looking up at me, looking with anticipation of what I thought.  A hushed and quiet voice came out of me, “It’s not ugly anymore. I’m not ugly anymore.”

After watching the news interview, hearing repeated that quiet little moment that changed my whole life, I now realize it has the capability of  wafting sweetly within our  breast cancer survivor’s community.

You can feel beautiful again, lovely one. You deserve to feel beautiful again. It is possible. There are people willing to help make that possible for you.
Honest, lovely one. Honest.

 

But more importantly? I now realize that my private little quote has the capability of ringing loudly throughout our medical communities.  A private little quote gone public. A private little quote gone loud … for the collective good. It desperately needs to be heard.

“It’s not ugly anymore. I’m  not ugly anymore.”

Thank you for donating to Personal P.INK.

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“Forever Bonded Email”

Posted: October 30th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off

Ever since the first-ever, premier Personal Ink – P.INK event in New York City on October 21, 2013, the emails between P.INK, the tattoo artists and survivors have been flying! They are filled with so much joy. After several attempts of my trying to respond (and getting email error messages) I wanted to make sure that what I wrote back to everyone, did indeed get put out there into the Universe. Here is my email response back.

……………………………………………………………………..

{{{ Everyone, literally EVERYONE!! }}}

Every time I’ve read one of ‘our’ emails — yes, we are an ‘our’ … a forever bonded band of souls — because all of us now have a sacred bond, as we are the very first group of women to have experienced this life-changing blessing together — Every time I read, and then go to chime in? Something that rarely EVER happens with blabber mouth me, does indeed happen … I find myself speechless, unable to articulate everything that’s been swirling inside of my heart, mind and soul.

Shannon tattooing me while I'm in a deep meditative state.

It took three days worth of attempting to write, work through waves of overwhelming emotions, to finally get out of what was bubbling up from my heart and soul into words.

Here is a link to where I did finally get at least a chunk of it out … “Forever Thankful”  (Please understand, this isn’t meant as a plug for my blog. It’s meant as a means of not ending up in a huge puddle of tears, yet again, by writing it all out in an our emails. Seriously.)

It feels like it will eternally be impossible to ever express my depth of gratitude, to everyone. Literally, to every single person that was a part of making October 21st possible.

Thank you to Molly, [founder of P.INK] for acting upon wanting to share the joy she felt with feeling beautiful again after her tattoo. To her gracious, warm family and friends that encouraged and facilitated “let’s do this!” being possible.

“My Tom” “My Mom”  and Noel … y’all rock! [This is how Molly affectionately introduced her husband and mom. Noel is her brother-in-law and is an integral part of P.INK] I could just hug y’all ’till you wanted to squirm! You know, like that obnoxious Aunt Milly, who, in utter smothering terror we all run from at family reunions?

Thank you to every single staff member of P.INK — whether you made phone calls; performed techo-wizardry; coordinated anything, right down to picking up a lunch; brainstormed on how to make goals possible; cleaned up the office; picked up a paperclip! … without you, we survivors would never have been blessed with feeling this beautiful again.

Thank you to each and every tattoo artist, your support staff and families. The enthusiasm, patience and respect in each of your voices, faces and your artistry assured us survivors, indubitably, with total confidence, that our battle scars would become a source of joyous beauty, forever more.

Shannon, I don’t know what I did in some other lifetime to have deserved to have “fallen” into your extremely talented hands. But I do know I will eternally owe you blessings for all of your warmth, humor and generosity. Hot damn, you deserve to be anointed as a queen in some chunk of our known Universe!

And, although I didn’t get to really meet and chat with any of my fellow survivors (I so regret that, my one and ONLY regret of this entire life-changing experience) … Please, allow me to thank each and every one of you! Our collective total lack of inhibition, and our cheerful curiosity of one another’s tattoo choices, made for that day to be a totally wondrous experience!

Everyone involved created palpable joyfulness in the studio that day! It was magical!

But, what moved me the most? Was the quiet “it’s a given” mutual respect and admiration for one another, as survivors. For us just being there. For taking back what the ravages of breast cancer, the scars, had robbed us all of … a sliver of our intimate feminine confidence.

Again, thank you to EVERYONE that made P.INK’s premiere possible!!

“I’m a P.INK’s Premiere Diva!”

Sincerely,

Chérie

P.S.: Told y’all I was a blabber mouth! haha

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Forever Thankful

Posted: October 25th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | 4 Comments »

It was three years ago that “L’idiot Blog de Chérie” came to be. Initially it was intended to merely be a means with which to keep my inner circle of loved ones abreast of, well, my breasts. Instead of repeating the latest news of my breast cancer a bazillion times on the phone — I figured I’d write it once, everyone could read it and I’d continue to boogie on down the road of roaring back in the face of breast cancer.This blog transformed from a cancer patient update spot to a platform for a survivor to write about living life audaciously.

Please donate to this great cause!

Cue three years later, I’m back to writing about procedural news again. But, this time it’s with euphoric completion news! It was three years ago on October 28th, that the bilateral went down. A year later the near-agonizing reconstruction process began. After that, nipple reconstruction surgery was attempted, only one took, the other flattened to nothing. And then over the span of another year’s time, the now infamous three attempts at tattooing my areolas took place.

Even though I have always emphatically stated, “My sexuality, my sensuality, my worth as a woman does not reside in my boobs. It does, however, reside in my BJ skills!” — There was always a sliver of uncomfortableness about my perky, ample new foobs. On the outside they looked beautiful. Underneath clothing, they were ugly. Just plain ugly.

Underneath, with no nipples or areolas, and an 8″ gash like scars horizontally spanning each breast, they looked un-human, alien like. I’d often catch myself jokingly talking to my reflection in the mirror, in a flat alien drone like voice, “Screw meeting your leader. Provide me young studs and copious amounts of tequila. My species must procreate.”

Three times I went through excruciatingly painful tattooing sessions with my doctor. A year ago we tried one last time, splotchy horror. To my doctor’s credit, he had taken up the tattoo needle because he was tired of fighting against medical loopholes. My state has mandated that anyone performing cosmetic tattoos for breast reconstruction must also hold a nurses license. Stupid. And, insurance refuses to cover the expense of going to a professional tattoo artist. My doctor did the best he could, but insurance refused to pay for my getting “corrective tattooing” done either.

Since the last areola, I’ve brushed off my foobs ‘underneath ugly.’ I marched on with being a good little trooper. But, since I’ve always been starkly honest on this blog — truth be told, the ugliness had begun to slowly erode away at my intimate feminine confidence. I might be beautiful from the inside out, but my breasts would always be physically ugly ‘underneath.’

Shannon drawing while I watch with awe.


You know, I can write about all of the horror and ugliness with no tears. Yet, every damn time I start to write about the most poignant moment in my entire waltz through cancer — the most beautiful — my mastectomy scar coverage tattooing made possible by Personal – P.INK ? I break down in tears. It’s why I haven’t been able to write about it immediately upon arriving home.

My lovely tattoo artist, Shannon, owner of Indigo Rose Tattoo Studio, had just completed the outline of the black lotus lace demi-cup bra tattoo on my right breast. She instructed me to stand up, take a look in the mirror. Her sweet gentle voice asked me, “What do you think?”

I turned my head away from her to look into the huge mirror. At first I didn’t recognize my own reflection. I had to do a double take — because the ‘underneath ugly’ was gone. It was gone!

I gasped as I felt a flood of emotions well up from my solar plexus into my throat. Standing there trembling, fighting back a flood of tears, I looked away from the mirror.  I turned to Shannon and somehow I managed to joyfully speak through my tears. In a hushed voice I choked out, “It’s not ugly anymore.”

Near final drawing of my demi-cup tattoos.

Taking in a deep breath, I looked back at my breast’s reflection. Gazing at it in total disbelief I whispered to it, “You’re  not ugly anymore!”

The tattoos turned out beautiful! Shannon’s exceptional artistry gifted me gorgeous high-end lingerie. Lingerie that is so artfully fine, if it wasn’t tattooed on? Any lover would be inspired to rip it off within about 3 minutes flat! Except I’ll get to wear it forever. And now, I’m forever freed from seeing any ugly scars.

I still struggle not to cry every time I speak of my tattoos, words that emote from my heart, “These tattoos have changed my life. Gone is the only “ugly” of my entire breast cancer journey. Gone, made possible by the kindness of strangers. I am forever thankful.”

All of this was made possible by, Molly, the survivor who wanted to make it possible for other survivors to feel beautiful again too. I will be indebted to her, her entire team that comprises Personal P.INK, and to Shannon, for this sense of peace and feeling beautiful ‘underneath’ again … for as long as this ‘forever art’ remains on my body, forever.

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