Monday, June 26, 2017


     I went to my first radiology appointment and sat in the exam room with the nurse. She explained the procedure and asked, “Any questions?” No. By this time I had adopted the philosophy that if I didn’t ask questions there would be no answers I didn’t want to hear. 

I knew they would tell me the big stuff, the little stuff, and the “what ifs” could sit on the shelf. I learned that lesson the first time I searched for cancer information on the internet. It was way too overwhelming, and everything looked much bleaker in black and white. I turned away from the computer with dwindling hope.  

During my radiology appointment I just kept nodding my head. I needed to be there again the next morning at 10:00 AM. No problem. They were going to make marks with a permanent marker on my stomach. Not too bad, I’d had much worse. They were going to make a cast of my legs in big blue foam that would be used each session to keep my body in position. OK, kind of cool. I couldn’t wait to see what that looked like. They were going to take a CT scan to double check my body placement. OK, CT scans were now second nature.

So I was surprised at my next appointment, lying on the table with my legs in the blue foam, when the radiologist said, “Now we are going to tattoo you.” What? A real tattoo? “Oh yes, real. Three of them. Very small, pinpoint size. We need them to line you up with the laser for placement.” A permanent tattoo? “Yes permanent. Very small, they won’t take long.” All right, a tattoo! Wait until I told my mother.  

Feeling like a real rebel and three tattoos later, I left the radiation room with a big smile on my face, and headed straight for my brother.
“Notice anything different?”
“I got tattoos.” I walked a little straighter now, with a bit of a swagger. Yeah, I was bad. 

When I got home I e-mailed my friends and let them know about my new tats. Everyone was impressed, except my son. “Where are they?” he asked. I pointed them out. “I still can’t see them.” I pointed them out again. “They are so small. You can hardly see them.” “They are still tattoos!” I said in a huff. “OK.” he answered.

For some reason a permanent mark seemed to validate my suffering. I had the scar on my abdomen from the surgery, the scar on my chest where they inserted the port for the chemotherapy, and now tattoos for the radiation. Fortunately all these physical milestones could be hidden with clothing, but I knew they were there. They felt like war wounds, battle scars. These things did happen to me and the marks proved it. 

I felt the same way about scars left over from my back surgery long ago. Yes I suffered, but I survived. The scars were a reminder of past trials and in a strange way made me thankful. God brought me through that trial. He brought me through the trial after that. And He brought me through the trial after that one, and on and on.  

In the Old Testament God’s miracles and acts of salvation were often remembered by altars, songs or feasts, and festivals. It was important to remember what God had done in the past. 

It is still important. Remember what God has done in your life, the blessings He has given and the trials He has already brought you through. It helps us continue to trust Him with our future, and to be thankful.

I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will meditate on all your works and consider your mighty deeds. Your ways, O God, are holy. What god is so great as our God? You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples. (Psalm 77:11–14)

- All photos courtesy of

- "Tattooed" is an excerpt from Sara's book, The Bald Headed, Tattooed, Motorcycle Mama's Devotional Guide for Women Battling Cancer & Those Who Love Them copyright 2013, available on

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