Jay Lake (jaylake) wrote,
Jay Lake

[cancer|photos] Tattooing my scalp

Yesterday I went back to see artist Eric S. Quale at Sea Tramp Tattoo. It's only been a week since I got my wrist tattoos updated. This time I was getting my head tattooed.

I wanted "If you can read this, I have cancer again." on the back of my head, where it would be covered up as my hair grew in once more. That way, the tattoo will be a marker if I have to do a third round of chemotherapy and lose my hair again. Otherwise it will be a crypto-tattoo, hidden by the hair that is a marker of my health and a signal of my self-image.

I'd been being a wimp about the pain, but in talking to my therapist a few days ago, I realized it was important to me to flip the bird to cancer in a big way. Instead I cheated, apply some EMLA to my scalp (topical anesthetic cream) and popping a Lorazepam to mellow me out. Also, at the last minute, I added one of each of my wrist symbols to the tattoo — the zodiacal sign for cancer, symbolizing my surgeries; and the biohazard glyph, symbolizing my chemotherapies.

[info]mlerules and her friend E— took me in, as with a Lorazepam on board I wasn't fit to drive, and besides which, I needed someone to do photo documentation. Here's how it all went down….

Saran wrap to protect the EMLA on my scalp

The art for the tattoo — Note the symbols matching those on my wrist

Eric S. Quale at work on me

A closer shot of the same thing

Me showing off the finished product, note the tattoos on my left wrist

A close up view of the finished product

As usual, more at the Flickr set.

Photos © 2012, Joseph E. Lake, Jr. and Emily Siskin

Creative Commons License

This work by Joseph E. Lake, Jr. and Emily Siskin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
Tags: art, cancer, friends, health, photos

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