FVCK CANCER - A Tattoo Story

That's right.  Fvck it.  That's, you know, Roman... or Latin or whatever... for "fuck".  In case you were wondering.

So last week, I went down to Voodoo Monkey Tattoo to finally get my cancer tattoo!  The whole thing came about in an odd and convoluted way.  Which I am going to share with you now.

So, in case you don't recall...  right after my diagnosis, my ex-step-mother and still very huge part of my life, Mary Pat, went to visit the Monastery of the Poor Clares on my behalf.  I am not Catholic, Christian, anything of the sort, but I do believe in the collective power of prayers, positive thinking, and living the best possible life you can when you want something bad to turn around.  So Mary Pat asked the Poor Clares to pray for me, which they said they would.  And then they gave her a Saint Peregrine medal to give to me.  I have, despite my lack of religion, always loved religious icons and whatnot.  I immediately put that medal on and I STILL wear him, to this day.  During my treatment, I found myself constantly reaching up to my neck to wrap my fingers around him when I was feeling afraid.

My Saint Peregrine medal.
The thing that REALLY struck me about this, though, was the fact that it was Saint PEREGRINE is the patron saint of cancer patients.  I could not believe it.  Because here I am - non-outdoorsy, un-interested-in-nature, daughter (and also daughter-in-law) of avid birders, and I don't give a fuck about birds.  Any bird.  Except peregrine falcons.  No shit!  I became obsessive about peregrine falcons several years ago, when a friend who is a Shaman (am I supposed to capitalize that?  I dunno... Anyhow...) discussed the hole "spirit animal" biz with me.  I felt like this was the bird I would always see when I felt like I needed extra help in my life.  For as long as I can remember, and ESPECIALLY since moving to Ohio, peregrine falcons seemed to follow me whenever I was "in need".  I figured I was just bananas.  That I was not really seeing these guys from time to time.  I mean, do they even live around here?  Well, it turns out that they DO.  There is a website I found which documents all of the known nests in this area - some even have webcams you can watch!  And sure enough - a lot of the places I remember seeing these beautiful birds... there are nests!

Anyhow, during the year leading up to my diagnosis... my bleeding year... I saw them more and more.  I'd even see them IN DOWNTOWN CLEVELAND!  (I figured I HAD to be crazy there, but nope - there is a pair who nest on the Terminal Tower right here in my beloved city!)

So when I finally got my diagnosis and the Mary Pat told me about Saint Peregrine - it all, in some spooky, woo-woo, wackadoo kind of way, came together.

From the day the radiation team put the three little tattoo dots on my groin and hips, I have been thinking about what my "cancer tattoo" would be.  The more I thought about it, the more I could see it forming in my head.  It had to be a peregrine falcon.  AND it had to be Saint Peregrine.  And the more that idea gelled in my head, the more I knew that my friend, Eric Kaplan, had to do it.  He is an amazing artist as well as an amazing tattooer.  And he just HAPPENS to paint animals dressed up as religious folks from time to time.  How bout that?!  Huh?

So I sent him my idea.  And he was on board immediately.  Several weeks passed as he worked on research and design for what he was going to do exactly.  And then one day, I get a text...

Kaplan: Do you want your falcon holding a cross
or any kind of religious brick-a-brack? In all of the
paintings of Saint Peregrine, he was holding a tiny
cross. I wasn't sure how religious you wanted to
go with this tattoo.

[My brain immediately takes a completely ridiculous turn...]

Me: Could he be holding a speculum? Is that
too weird?

Kaplan: Hahaha. Weird? Yes. Outside the range of
possibility? No.

Me: Do it up!

Kaplan.  Hahaha. Sweet.

So there it was.  Settled.  I was going to get a tattoo of a bird.  In religious garb.  Holding a medical implement used for gazing up into a vagina.  And it was going to say "fuck cancer" beneath it.  Only it was going to say "FVCK CANCER".  Because then A) I wouldn't REALLY have the king of the bad words tattooed on my arm, and B) it seems more like the old Roman Catholic religious artworks I saw when I was on my post-cancer trip to Italy.  

It all came together.  In as twisted, silly, beautiful and awesome a way as it should have for someone like me.

Mirror shot directly after.

Kaplan helping me get a better photo.

Difficult angle to get the whole thing in.  But all healed in 8 days!

Love it!

The artiste at work.

The point as which I realized that it still pretty much says "Fuck". Oh well...

I totally fucking love it.  And anyone who wants to be offended by it... can kiss my fucking cancer-free ass!

Xxo, Phoebe


gregkirmser said…
Love it!!!! On so many levels.
Anonymous said…
PERFECT! You deserve to put whatever you want on your body after all you've been through. Maybe you should submit this to the oncology radiology department! :)
mizzjoz said…
Amazing. It looks fantastic! But you don't need me to tell you that.
dawn said…
not the "king of bad words"; the king of bad words is "hate". it is a beautiful work of art you've got there and completely appropriate that it says "fvck cancer". even if it said "fuck" that would be appropriate.
dawn said…
anybody who disagrees, well, i tell people who disagree with my body art choices that hey, i didn't put it on THEIR body.

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