I adore my tattoo. I have waited so many years to find a tattoo that I knew I would love forever. I thought about it on and off over the years, but I could never think of anything important enough to have permanently etched on my body.
Then some stinky shit entered my families life when my mum was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer.
It had already spread to her lymph nodes so we were told early on that it was treatable but not curable.
This was a massive shock to everyone, as you would imagine. Mum had, had a cough come and go for years and we always put it down to a colds or asthma. Her doctor had given her an asthma inhaler but it didn’t do much. Her cough got so bad a couple of years ago that we were all telling her something must be wrong. I was thinking along the lines of pneumonia or serious asthma. Mum had had a scan done and there was a small spot on one of her lungs that her GP had told her to get checked out by a specialist. Mum being mum, didn’t want to worry anyone and so didn’t tell us anything for a long time and wanted to wait until after Christmas to have it checked out.
That spot was a tumour and that tumour was cancer and that cancer had spread.
The day I heard the news from my sister, I was ironing. I’ll never forget it. I went straight to Sydney to stay with mum for a few days. I don’t know why, I just needed to be near her. The cough she had always had was soul destroying to hear each night now that we knew it was cancer causing it. I cried and cried the first night I was with her. The early days were all so scary. A close friend of mine had recently lost her mother to the same cancer and I had witnessed her go through the most horrendous ordeal. I wasn’t ready to do it myself. Turns out cancer doesn’t give a fuck whether you are ready.
Over the next two years, mum had chemotherapy, radiation and immunotherapy. She lost some of her hair, not all of it but a lot. I was so scared visiting her in person for the first time, not knowing wah tto expect. I called my sister in tears and she very wisely said “she’s still mum sis”. I gave myself a mental shake then. Pull yourself together woman, this is your mum and she needs you.
Today she is well, she is fit and active and while the cancer is still there, it has shrunk a lot in size and seems to be under control. Her hair has grown back thicker than ever and it has a wave to it now, it used to be dead straight.
She has immunotherapy every few weeks to keep it at bay and the last few scans she has had have indicated that there have been no changes. It hasn’t shrunk any more but it hasn’t grown either so we are all happy with that.
So, all of a sudden, I knew what I wanted to do. I decided to get my first tattoo in honour of my mum and my heritage. I had my maiden name ‘Lane’ tattooed on the spot where mums cancer originated.
It is, quite possible the smallest tattoo on record, but it is exactly what I wanted and I absolutely love it. I will never regret it and I am proud to share it’s meaning. My mum loves it too and my daughters love to ask me about it and I am more than happy to tell them what it means to me.