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Alford dad had phoenix tattoo done, in Bourne, after fighting back from major colitis surgery

Recovery from a life-threatening episode inspired a father-of-five to have a rallying cry inked on his back.

The tattoo of a phoenix sits proudly on Chris Martin’s lower back, a reminder of rising up and fighting back after colitis brought him close to death more than a decade ago.

The phoenix is derived from Greek mythology, famous for its ability to be reborn from its own ashes and has become a symbol of renewal – and even immortality.

Chris decided the phoenix would be the perfect symbol for his recovery after colitis 'nearly killed' him
Chris decided the phoenix would be the perfect symbol for his recovery after colitis 'nearly killed' him

“The colitis nearly killed me and the phoenix signifies me rising back up,” he said.

Chris, who lived in Morton, near Bourne, at the time, sought medical help in 2006 after passing blood and was initially diagnosed with piles.

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But a week later, with the problem getting no better, he returned to the doctor and was sent to Peterborough City Hospital for an emergency blood transfusion.

The phoenix from the flames derives from Greek mythology
The phoenix from the flames derives from Greek mythology

“I got blue-lighted to hospital twice,” said Chris, 53.

“On the second time, I was told that if I hadn't gone to the doctors when I did that evening, because I’d lost that much blood, my heart would have stopped.”

Colitis is the swelling or inflammation of the large intestine (colon) and can be treated with medicines which reduce the inflammation, but surgery is needed in severe cases.

Treatment to stop the symptoms did not work, leading to the father-of-five to have an operation to remove his large intestine.

“They kept trying all these different kinds of treatments to stop the bleeding, but they couldn’t,” Chris recalled.

“I ended up gong back in and they decided to operate and did a total colectomy.”

Also: Grandma used to draw smiley face – now I have it as a tattoo

Chris had to give up work as a cook, but in 2011, with the condition under control through careful diet and medication, he decided to illustrate his resolve and determination to live on.

Already sporting a few tattoos, he hit upon the idea of the phoenix and headed into Bourne to have it inked on his back.

“I was looking for a design for my lower back and saw the phoenix and thought that looks good,” he said.

“It would remind me of how I’ve risen from where I was with my illness.”

Having moved to Swinstead and New York before settling in Alford, Chris started his own business as a window cleaner two years ago.

“It still plays up and I have to watch what I eat, but I’m much better now,” he added.

Do you have a tattoo with a special meaning behind it?

Share your story for our Me and My Tattoo feature by emailing: news@lincsonline.co.uk

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