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fr o m t h e e d i t o r

Nora sneaks a peek at her Grandmother’s tattoo.

Tale of the Tattoo


Mothers and daughters. Over the years that relationship has expanded my world and enriched my life in ways I never imagined. A few months ago, my grown-up daughter Erin posted on Facebook a photo of a young woman, unblushingly staring at the camera with a breast cancer ribbon tattooed over her mastectomy scar. “Perhaps inspiration for your first tattoo?” she wrote. I facebooked back, “Hey, not a bad idea!” But inside I felt not so sure. She didn’t let go. “You should!!” she responded, “ Nora (my granddaughter) and I would take you, bday gift, perhaps?” Now she had my attention. Yes, I did indeed face one of those not so fun birthdays where a Medicare card looked to be the signature gift. And who wants a surgeon’s scar to have the last laugh, anyway. So I answered back, “Oh man, I’ll have to think about that. I like the concept— a way to dance on the dreaded C—just not sure I can take the leap.” Going online, I googled “breast cancer tattoos” and in two minutes found a simple butterfly with the iconic pink ribbon integrated cleverly into the design, no bigger than an Oreo. “I could do that,” I thought to myself. Wanting more feedback, I talked to, emailed, facebooked more friends and family. Responses were overwhelmingly positive: “Whoo hoo,” “WOW” and “You go girl,” were followed by, “It will be beautiful,” and “Love it, Meg, celebrate you, celebrate life that rises again and again.” How could I not feel buoyed by the support! By now I was hooked, though extended conversations face to face brought up more 6

Summer 2012 | her voice

photo by Erin Chisholm

PUBLISHER Tim Bogenschutz

issues. Questions included: Was I going through (another) midlife crisis? How many times would I actually see the tattoo? Tattoos are forever. What was my pain tolerance? Are the inks carcinogenic? All good questions requiring more research. I knew it had to be a woman tattoo artist. After finding her online, I checked out credentials and we emailed questions and answers back and forth until I was satisfied and ready to commit. I was prepared for pain, nothing I couldn’t handle after bearing three children, but the process was amazingly painless. (Not always so, I’m told, depending on the tattoo placement) and the appointment took less than an hour. Erin continued to cheer me on, drawing her own breast cancer tattoo designs that Nora colored. At one point 4-year-old Nora exclaimed poignantly, “When I get breast cancer, this is the tattoo I want.” We didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. And I can’t promise she won’t ever need that tattoo, with one out of eight women contracting the disease at seemingly younger and younger ages! But I can live my life facing forward, transforming a surgically scarred body with a symbol of life and hope. And so a butterfly now rises where once there was a breast. This summer edition of Her Voice celebrates new life in multiple forms; new growth, new gardens, new mothers and daughters, new families, new dreams. Celebrate the season!


Meg Douglas, Editor

EDITOR Meg Douglas ART DIRECTOR Lisa Henry PHOTOGRAPHER Joey Halvorson





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Her Voice - Summer 2012  

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