Are you going to regret this when you’re 80?

17 May

May 17, 2011

That’s probably the first question people ask when you show them your new tattoo…

That and…

Were you drunk?

Are you having a mid-life crisis?

Did it hurt?

No alcohol was involved. No mid-life crisis (at least I don’t think so.) The reasoning behind my tattoo is that it’s something Bob and I have always talked about doing. When our 10th anniversary rolled around and we knew we weren’t going to Las Vegas like we had always planned (to renew our vows with an Elvis impersonator or drive-through chapel!) we decided to do something crazy anyway. So we finally got our tattoos! Bob created his own design which signifies his love of film and mine is a pink ribbon.

There was no doubt in my mind that I’d get a pink ribbon. I’m proud to be a two time survivor. Whether I like it or not, breast cancer and all that it involves is a part of me, and always will be. I believe it was the path I was given to walk.

Did it hurt?


Ignorance is bliss so I happily and willingly went first. I wasn’t worried at all, knowing that I have a very high pain tolerance. Heck, I just finished a grueling few months of chemo…this would be a piece of cake.


It hurt like hell.

Sandy, the woman who did my tattoo, was wonderful but I was screaming, laughing, telling her I hated this, asking her when she’d be done, screaming, laughing, telling her I hated this…hating every minute of it. All the while, Bob was doubled over with laughter–along with the people in the waiting room who were listening to me too.

And finally it was over. Bob’s turn. I really didn’t know how he’d be able to handle it since his tattoo is a lot bigger than mine but he sat there calmly in the chair, talking and laughing, uttering an occasional “oooh… that stung.” I was impressed. I had no idea he was such a brave tattoo warrior.

So there. We did it. We have tattoos for the rest of our lives. And how will I feel about this when I’m 80?


When my grandchildren ask me what that thing is on my ankle, I’ll be able to explain to them the story of how I fought breast cancer and won. I’ll be able to tell them that their daddy was only 7 years old when it happened and that he helped me to fight. He helped to cut my hair before the chemo made it fall out, he made me laugh, he warmed my heart, and he gave me the biggest reason in the world to fight. I’ll tell them that when I look at my ankle, I’ll always be reminded to never give up. That things always get better. That life is worth fighting for.

Will I regret this tattoo when I’m 80?

Absolutely not.

It will be a beautifully wrinkled reminder of how blessed my life has been.


5 Responses to “Are you going to regret this when you’re 80?”

  1. Tricia Vanover May 17, 2011 at 9:53 pm #

    You are such a wonderful writer!!! So where is Bob’s tattoo, in an un-mentional place? Ha ha


  2. Helen Mackie May 18, 2011 at 7:45 am #

    I love it!! So very cool Cathy.

  3. Nancy Wunderlich May 18, 2011 at 7:53 am #

    I think it is marvelous. I think you are marvelous. What a journey you have been on. I am honored you let me be a witness to it through this touching, honest, heartfelt blog. Wear you tatoo with pride! You earned it. Besides, do ankles wrinkle that much!?:)

  4. Fawn May 18, 2011 at 5:28 pm #

    It’s the perfect tattoo for you!

  5. Noreen May 26, 2011 at 1:42 pm #

    Perfect tattoo, no way will you regret it! And I’m really curious about Bob’s tattoo too!!

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