I think I mentioned that I went away, into the woods, the weekend before last, no? What I didn’t mention was that I was with a group of women I met when I was in treatment. We were all diagnosed young. We were all scared. Now we’re all lucky enough to be at least 5 years out (well, almost for me).
We’d met that way before, in a big house with a gigantic deck and a hot tub where we could talk about our issues and have them be normal and relatable. We talked about our multi-racial families, about problems with the medical establishment, about our friends who were, very noticeably, absent. We didn’t talk about the mound of vitamins I took with every meal, or my bottled water, or my sleeping pills, it’s one of the few situations where these conversations don’t need to happen.
But my favorite part of the weekend was when we’d all been in the hot tub for about 30 minutes and Judy told us about the tattoo she got for her 41st birthday and 5 year cancerversary (yes she was diagnosed on her birthday).
She tells us how she brought the tattoo artist photos, images of buildings and sculptures, paintings and artwork for inspiration. When he outlined the design on her shoulder, they stood in front of a mirror and looked at it from every angle. She moved her shoulder and flexed, first her deltoid where the design curved around the muscle, then her bicep where it straightened. Then she opened and closed her elbow where the ink rolled into a coil and unintentionally pointed to the vein where blood is drawn.
I love this story. I love picturing her there with the tattoo artist studying her arm, watching the lines change as they slide over muscle and bone, redesigning themselves with each movement. And I love hearing about the creation of art, I think it may be what I love most.