Radiation Tattoos


I didn't have a choice but to get tattoos for my radiation.

cartoon drawing of cancer survivor and blogger, Elizabeth McSpadden

Getting tattoed for radiation upset me. I found out that I didn't have to get 14 ink dots, but it was a convenience for the radiation team everyday. Never was I asked if I was okay with getting these tattoos.

I found out the second time during radiation that the tattoos were unnecessary. Instead, I could be dotted with a Sharpie.

Say what? I had rights? I had a voice?

This third time around for radiation I asked about the dots and was told it was a concience thing. So my instinct was to get my first tattoo when it was all said and done. I had two port scars from a bad port placement.

My first tattoo of choice. My first tatoo of want.

Why was this so important to me?

Getting the right to finally have a say with what happens to my body. Artwork.

Something I chose.

Something I created.

Something that brings me joy seeing it over and over again.

Something that canncer can not rob from me.

Yet I am choosing to have after cancer.

Claiming my body space back.

It is so powerful to say "That is my choice" after having no choices but to die.

This tattoo is from 2020 after my first port exploded. Having multiple port scars, I wanted a warrior tattoo and something meaningful. Remember, the Titans is a huge favorite movie of mine. My cancer was all left side originally. Hence "left side, strong side".

Tattoo of Elizabeth McSpadden

The "Left Side, Strong Side" tattoo that cancer survivor and blogger Elizabeth McSpadden received after radiation.

If any of you are football fans, this football play is real deep. For those of you who arent, it means its usually where you have most of your offensive players on. The men at the front lines making the action plays, at just the special spot to really work hard. This entire tattoo is all about head on tackling cancer stage four and Team Sunshine.

Tatoos give me the freedom to express myself and to decorate scars that remain on my body forever. My body is full of scars. So many reminders of what I've been through.

I'm going to get my masectomy tattoo. However, its not a nipple tatoo or anything as such. Because I am flat, this will be a way to express beauty on my chest. Deformed reconstruction has left my chest with weird scars.

Im ready for a pair of wings and a ribbon in the center of my chest. To represent my freedom from cancer and my own strength.

For me, it is not about covering up these scars. It's taking back a little control over my body and allowing expression to be made. For when my soul leaves this earth and my body is left, my chosen tattoos will be left to show my path with cancer.

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