Sunday, February 25, 2018

Beyond Cancer


So many of us are touched by cancer, be it personally or via a loved one. Hearing that dreadful diagnosis creates instant fear and panic.  Today we share the story of a three-time cancer survivor Kelly Davidson.  You would be hard pressed to find a more positive and amazing lady.

This is her Tattoo Tale.
Kelly made headlines when she revealed a tattoo of fairies and butterflies in the place where her breasts once were. She suggests her “tattoo symbolizes a transformation, my metamorphosis, like a butterfly I changed on the outside but remained the same on the inside.”
“It is my badge of honour and strength, a piece of beautiful art that I wear with pride because it  represents how I kicked cancer’s ass and how breasts don’t define who I am as a person or a woman.” 
For sure here is a lady that tries to focus on the positive believing there is a rainbow at the end of the storm. 
The breast cancer was not her only challenge. She was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma at age 11. Then came her breast cancer at 28, with a mastectomy at 28 and again at 29.  Plus at age 31 she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. 

Years after her last cancer diagnoses, she is deemed to be in complete remission.        

Life after cancer? 
I met my husband after the mastectomies and he still saw me as beautiful (even when I didn’t).  We got married in 2013 and a year later we had our beautiful son.  😊 

She says she has grown so much and appreciates everything; taking nothing for granted.  Having had her thyroid and spleen removed, dealing with 33 treatments of radiation starting at age 11 plus enduring 6 chemotherapy treatments for breast cancer, she understands the fear and worry. 


Her advice and wisdom to others:  
Cancer does not define who are.... you may have changed on the outside but you are still the same on the inside.... just stronger and with more knowledge - cancer is not the be all end all .... 
I am living proof of that.  

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

The Awakening



Who among us is so fortunate to have a life without hardships.  Many lament their challenges and cite their difficulties as the reasons they are held back, and can’t possibly take control and improve their situation. Helen Keller once said: Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.   

Here is Betty’s story, her tale of inspiration…

Most of my tattoos are related to a past filled with hardships and the victories that go with them. Many of my tattoos started appearing after my therapy in 2008, I consider myself to have been given a second chance, that is why the word ‘’LUCK’’ is tattooed on my fingers.
I had what many might call a delinquent lifestyle, filled with drugs and violence. It was a lifestyle in which I felt trapped for a very long time.  Then one day I woke with a moment of clarity.  I woke up telling myself I want to understand and change who I am.  

That is why the words ‘’EFFORT’’ and ‘’COMFORT’ are tattooed on my forearms.  I wanted to take the necessary and difficult steps to bring comfort into my life.

Life always gives us challenges to work through, it teaches us to control our demons and understand who we are, that is why I have a demon trapped within my flesh tattooed on my chest, to never forget to keep the demons inside me under control and never let them out.

Today, I am a strong and independent woman who has more control over her life. Never again will I let anyone or anything take that control away from me. I am a strong willed woman with a tender heart. That is why I have several cutesy pigtailed skulls and the word ‘’DANGER’’ tattooed on my lower belly.

I never want to forget why I became the strong woman I am today and that is why I will get tattoos throughout all of my life. Tattoos are, for me, a way to express myself just like a painter and his canvas. It is also a way to externalize the pain of each hardship.

I have learned that my actions and my past do not define me. I can change.  When I imprint tattoos on my body, I ultimately imprint them within myself, shaping who I am, and what I shall become.   
We should all focus forward and n
ever forget - why we are, who we are.


“Your strength doesn't come from winning. It comes from struggles and hardship. Everything that you go through prepares you for the next level.”         Germany Kent

“The most painful moments and memories eventually lead to the greatest strengths and growth in life.”
Kemi Sogunle






Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Beyond the Crutches



The personal struggles of others are often not apparent to us.  We sometimes meet someone who exhibits strength, determination and a sense of purpose.  It’s easy to assume they are one of the lucky ones; born with all the right attributes.  The reality is people, like tempered steel, are often forged in the fires of turmoil.

So it is with Kristen, who needed to overcome a huge setback to become the amazing lady she is today.    She writes:

11 years ago I was in the best shape of my life. I worked out 2 times a day.  I taught hip hop, and ran.  I also played baseball on 2 different teams. Then one night 11 years ago it all changed. I just stumbled and fell. Moments later my legs were in massive pain and I could not move them. It all seemed so impossible.

I always played baseball and was just swinging the bat when my legs gave way. Next thing I knew, they were saying I would never walk again. How could that be?  

I was in the hospital for 6 months. The treatment center in the city was too far for my family to travel regularly.  I felt deserted and alone. Depression was setting in and I needed to get past that. I was not ready to just give up.

So after fighting and fighting with all the strength and determination that I had, we started to see tiny signs of progress.  It was soooo slow but I was able to start walking with a walker. Then 2 years later I progressed to a cane, then from there - walking slowly without it. It took about 7 years before I was able to walk somewhat normal again.

It was 5 years after that accident, during my long recovery that I chose to get a hummingbird tattoo as a token of my progress towards recovery. They are such a strong willed bird and they were my inspiration to keep fighting harder and encouraged me to get to the point where I am today.

Walking was not the only issue. I gained massive amounts of weight and was not happy with myself. I went from 115 pounds to 190, all in about 6 months.
I went from being so active and loving life to lying in a hospital bed for months at a time. With low self-esteem and my family away for much of the recovery period I was in a very dark hard place. It was just one bad thing after another, and at one point I tried to end my life. I had to reach deep inside myself to find strength I was not sure I had. 

Today I have 2 other tattoos that commemorate my struggles.  The one on my arm (with the words  love faith strength) and on my rib cage (always remember). They remind me of those inner demons I fought about 2 years ago.  

I chose the words on my arm (love faith strength) as my new life’s motto.  These are so significant to me.

I need to always remember how important it is for me to love myself, have faith in myself and reach for the inner strength to do this when things are not perfect.

Today I see the world as a different place now.  I remember the struggles and know setbacks can and do happen. It is up to me to rise above them. I look back and see how far I’ve come.

This truly was a life changing experience. 

For anyone reading this, know that others can’t be aware of your own inner demons and personal challenges. We all have personal crutches of one sort of another.  We lean on others, past experiences and various excuses;  telling ourselves we can't go further.  Look beyond these. Look inside yourself, deep inside, and you will see strength and resolve you never knew you possessed.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Metamorphosis



We often meet people who are upbeat and fun, but we may not know anything about their past and the tough roads they may have traveled.  Courtney is one such individual and her attitude belies her history and personal transformation.


This is her story:

From the ages of 14 to 17 I lived on the street, a product of children’s aid.  Badly addicted to hard drugs, I didn't have a very bright future ahead of me; anyone could see that.  Back then I didn’t even have a garbage bag worth of belongings … then I got pregnant. 

My son became my inspiration, the catalyst I needed to change. I went to AA and stayed with my parents as I went through rehab a few times before I gained better control.

Gathering my courage I went back to school and became a law clerk.   



The Courage, Strength and Hope tattoo represents what it took for me to get clean, and stay clean. It was time to build a home, a life and a future for my baby.

I added the butterfly after a year of “clean”.  

 It is a symbol of my transformation, my metamorphosis.  Butterflies start out as ugly caterpillars and end up changing in to thing of beauty.  

Back then I felt I was like butterfly – transformed and ready to fly …  now I am older and  realize I have still not really full evolved.  I want to keep growing, always pursuing self‑help books and seminars. 

Personal growth is not always easy, but it is always possible.