It’s time for P.ink Day Minneapolis! Personal Ink, P.ink, is an organization dedicated to educating breast cancer survivors about mastectomy tattoos as an alternative healing option. P.ink also connects survivors with experienced tattoo artists who can help. As many of you know, I got my lotus tattoo at the last P.ink Day in New York City in October 2013. It has transformed my relationship with my body and with my cancer experiences. So much so, I had to get involved.
P.ink Day is an annual, all-volunteer effort to connect tattoo artists and survivors for a day of healing with tattoos. The next P.ink Day is happening on Friday, October 10th, 2014, and one of the 12 cities participating will be Minneapolis! I am the Minneapolis Local Leader, and I am so excited to introduce you to our six survivors who will participate here in Minneapolis!!
Our first survivor is Kathy. She lives in the country south of the Twin Cities near Northfield, with her husband Don, daughter Ali (15), son Chase (13), and their 130 pound dog, Moose! Kathy is a volunteer EMT in Montgomery, MN, and she is a paraprofessional at the charter school her kids attend. In addition, her family owns a soaring business, Cross Country Soaring, Inc. How cool is that!!?
Kathy is a 3-time cancer survivor, she’s a true fighter! She had cervical cancer in her early 20s, breast cancer in her late 30s, and skin cancer in her mid 40s. She had several mammograms over the course of 9 years due to a strange nipple. The mammograms revealed nothing alarming, so each time she was told to keep an eye on it.
In 1998, Kathy became pregnant and that nipple became pretty painful. She saw a new doctor who said it didn’t matter what the results of all those mammograms were, something wasn’t right. Five biopsies later , sure enough, cancer. Because Kathy was 3 months pregnant, they weren’t sure how the growth of the cancer was going to react to her hormones so they wanted to perform surgery right away.
This is where Kathy’s courage and strength really kicked into play, she elected to have a partial mastectomy and lymph nodes taken under Novocain only. She didn’t want any drugs to reach her baby. Kathy told us it was pretty surreal to see her breast separate from her body, being held in someone’s hand. She also told us it was very interesting to take a closer look at it.
The edges of the removed tissue were cancerous so she had surgery again one week later. Her breast tissue was sent all over the country to try to confirm what it was. It eventually came back as a very rare form of cancer. It sounded like a bad sign initially, but ended up being good, as she never needed chemo or radiation.
About 5 years later she had reconstruction. Kathy tells us that she feels like she has not completely healed from the experience. Kathy is 53 years old and she has never been more ready to rock a tattoo! This will be her first tattoo! She is very excited and deeply touched to be a part of P.ink Day Minneapolis!
Kathy, we are all excited that you will soon be rocking a new, healing tattoo!!
If you would like to donate to Personal Ink, there is a fund that goes to help breast cancer survivors pay for healing tattoos, and donations are greatly appreciated! You can donate here: http://p-ink.org