Fresh Ink!

Written by on March 3rd, 2016 –

tattooSo…this happened yesterday afternoon! It was my Xmas gift from my son. I have been thinking about a third tattoo for some time now and yesterday I finally did it.

The design is a stylised ampersand. (The “&” symbol.) I love the symbol being the font/typography enthusiast that I am, but didn’t want to have the same tattoo that a zillion other people are walking around with. I came across this particular design and fell in love. I did some digging and managed to track down the artist, Beth Sicheneder. I sent her an email to see if she would give me permission to use her design.  She very generously gave me her blessing. It’s important to seek permission to use another artist’s work-It’s the right thing to do and personally, I believe in karma. I want to keep mine good!

I knew that I did not want this done in black ink with thick heavy lines. I wanted it to be subtler and more feminine. Ashley, the tattoo artist I’d chosen to do this piece understood exactly what I meant and suggested we use a tiny needle and dark grey ink.

The actual inking took about 45 minutes. The first 10 minutes is always torture-my brain was basically hollering at me “Ouch! Make it stop!!” Once I got past those first 10 minutes, it realised it wasn’t stopping and the needle just became mildly annoying. (Keep in mind I have no feeling in my arms and hands because of the damage to my spinal cord from NMO, but when I get a simple paper cut on my finger, my brain thinks my finger has been chopped off. Fun! I knew it was going to hurt, but I also knew I could withstand 45 minutes of inking.)

After it was done, Ashley put a clear dressing on it called “second skin”. I took it off this morning, as per my after-care instructions and it’s on its way to healing nicely. (As you can see in the large photo on the right.) Right now it feels like a bad sunburn, but that sensation will fade as the day progresses. My guess is it’s going to heal pretty quickly.

I love everything about this piece. I couldn’t have imagined something that symbolises more perfectly life on the west coast-the trees, the mountains, the ocean, campfires, the wind, moon and stars. It also contains the four elements-earth, wind, fire and water. Beth calls this design “Campersand” and I am absolutely THRILLED to have it for all time. I purposely chose to put it on my left forearm because when I have to go for treatment when I am having an NMO attack, that is the arm that gets the IV. I know it will make me feel better when I look down and see this beautiful piece of art. In a way, I kind of see tattooing as a way of taking back ownership of my body. I think sometimes, as patients, we forget that we own this skin we’re in when we having to have so much done to it that is not of our choosing, thanks to NMO or MS.


Note: If you are considering getting a tattoo, it’s really important to consult with your doctor first and to choose a tattoo shop that has excellent health and safety standards. I am on immunosupressants so I need to be extra careful of infection. I am also on daily steroids, which slows the healing process. Since this is not my first tattoo, I know what steps I need to take in order to do this as safely as possible. Ask questions, do a consult and follow your after-care instructions-your health depends on it!


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