It's been almost 3 years since a tattoo saved my life. It was early December of 2012 as I was laying on my back in the tattoo shop, head hanging halfway off of the table, while my throat took in layer after layer of ink. Underneath those layers of skin, sat a tumor that had grown to the size of a golf ball and had likely been attacking my thyroid for longer than I realized. Subsequent blood and ultrasound testing showed that at least part of my thyroid needed to be removed. Immediate surgery was scheduled, the partial thyroid incision happened, more tests were run, and it was revealed that I had cancer. Round two of the surgery was performed to remove my entire thyroid. In almost three years of taking medication to replace my thyroid, the doctors have still never gotten my dosage right. The medication doubles as a thyroid replacement and cancer suppressant. In short, without proper dosage, the risk of the cancer returning is high, because thyroid tissue still floats around my body and can become cancerously active.
After my surgeries, but not immediately, I started to appreciate aspects of life that I'd never appreciated before. I'm still a work in progress, but my perspective started to change, albeit slowly and painfully. The idea that every day is a gift and that I should make the most of each day became a needed reminder in my daily life. If not for that tattoo, I would have never gone to the doctor and within a year, it would have been too late. I'd go so far as to say that despite acknowledging a new mentality that needed to be adopted, I didn't really pursue rewiring my brain to this need until recently.
Every day, I'm faced with an opportunity to respond in a new way that I've never done before. I can stand up for myself when necessary now, much more than I could ever before. I can bite my tongue when I know that my words are only going to inflame a situation more. When someone does something wrong, I can fill my mind with all the things that they've done right, choosing to dwell on successes instead of mistakes. Rather than speak negatively, I can actively work on being positive and speaking in love. It's too bad that it took a situation that could have taken my life to have started the ball rolling in this direction, because I can only wish that I'd have been pursuing this years ago. The thing was, and is, is that I'm stubborn. I knew I needed to work on things, but I didn't WANT it. Selfishness overruled all in my life and it took rock bottom to create the catalyst.
My challenge to myself, as well as any of you, is to find something inside of you that you know you need to work on. Pride. Stubbornness. Communication. Forgiveness. Lying.
Acknowledge it, but take the steps to follow through with making positive changes. Confide in a friend to help you with it. Accept prayer from others. Be a friend to someone who needs support in their own struggle. There's so, so much more to living than just being alive. #UntilWeMeetAgainProject Day 66.