Hopeful ink

Jeff's tattoo

I wondered for a long time if I would get a tattoo.

My opinion is that a tattoo should have a very special meaning. I know it’s something you’ll spend the rest of your life with, so I asked myself what in life has changed me the most?

Two things came to mind: The birth of my son and the battle with breast cancer that my wife, Paige, experienced.

When I reached that conclusion, I knew exactly what I wanted for a tattoo: a breast cancer ribbon.

I haven’t battled breast cancer myself, and for that I’m very thankful, but I lived the experience of breast cancer through Paige.

For several years I wanted to get the tattoo in time for breast cancer awareness month in October, but there were still many questions.

I didn’t want to just walk into any tattoo shop, so I needed to find one that was reputable and had good reviews. Luckily, I know a few people who have tattoos and found the right place.

The second question was where to put the tattoo. For me, it’s personal. I want to be in control of who sees it and when. It’s not something I just want out there all the time.

I also think foot tattoos are really cool. Don’t ask me why, but they just strike me.

Since I work in a professional environment, it again leaves me in control and won’t cause problems with appearance policies, etc.

Getting a tattoo
Jeff gets his foot tattoo

So I knew what I wanted, I knew where to get it, and I knew where I wanted it placed. There was just one more question: I wanted to include my son, J.P., in the tattoo.

That was an easy fix.

For those who don’t regularly follow my blog, J.P. was diagnosed with holoprosencephaly at birth. There’s plenty of information about it in other entries here at NavigatingLifesDetours.com. The abbreviation for his diagnosis is HPE.

Parents of kids with the diagnosis have added the letter “o” and refer to it as HoPE. That’s also the name of the support group for people with holoprosencephaly.

Paige also surrounded herself with hope during her breast cancer battle, so including the word hope in my tattoo had double meaning.

A busy schedule, my training for the Disney marathon and trying to get it scheduled just took longer than expected, so it wasn’t done in time for breast cancer awareness month this year.

But my schedule opened up this week because of some back pain that prevented me from running and we also had a last-minute cancellation that freed up our date night.

I’m glad Paige was there when I got the tattoo. It made it even more special. Plus,I learned this in my research that the most painful tattoos are those on the foot, and I can now say it’s absolutely true.

I managed the pain, but I told Paige it felt like being stung by a bee over and over again and not being able to do anything about it. I think at times it was more like being stung by a wasp or a yellow jacket.

When I told the tattoo artist that I wanted it placed on the back of my foot, his response was, “That’s going to feel nice.”

I was very happy with Hurt’s So Good Tattoos in Altamonte Springs and would recommend Mean Mike as a tattoo artist. He worked with me on placement and design, and thankfully, it only took about 10 minutes to complete the actual work.

So, that’s my tattoo story. Would I get another? Not sure. It would have to be something life-changing. Completing my marathon? Hmmm.

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