Spalding teacher shares meaning behind ‘life-affirming’ tattoo following cancer diagnosis
A cancer patient has had a ‘life-affirming’ tattoo inked to serve as a reminder to make the most of the present.
Glenys Dawkins, 64, a teacher at Spalding Grammar School, discovered she had stage four ovarian cancer following an initial initial misdiagnosis of diverticulosis, which affects the bowel.
Her journey started in April last year and she started chemotherapy five months later.
In order to celebrate the present and not look too much to the future, the keen singer and ukulele player took the plunge with a first tattoo.
The wording Carpe Diem which means seize the day is now tattooed proudly on the inside of her right wrist.
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Glenys, who lives in Gorefield said: “I had my tattoo done in October following on from the cancer diagnosis.
“I am very easily led – I went for a nice day out with a friend of mine in Cambridge.
“My friend was having a bit added to a tattoo and I decided I’m going to have a tattoo.”
The placement of the tattoo on her arm is significant as this is where blood is taken at hospital visits by medical staff.
She said: “When people take bloods they will see I have a life-affirming tattoo.”
Diverticulosis is a condition that affects the large intestine and bowel, however Glenys felt this wasn’t what was affecting her.
After hearing Woman’s Hour on Radio 4 about the symptoms of ovarian cancer Glenys realised this could be the cause of her feeling unwell.
She said: “I went for a scan and was eventually diagnosed with stage four ovarian cancer which had spread to other parts of my body.
“I started chemotherapy to see if the tumour had shrunk.
“I was glad that I had been really persistent as it is not what they had said it was.”
The tattoo reflects her positive attitude to life since the diagnosis and treatment – which saw her experience hair loss – and living life to the full
She said: “It is what it is – you ‘ve just got to get on with it and I have a positive outlook.
“I try to keep as normal as possible for as long as possible.
“I spent an awful lot of time in hospital and the infection risk is always high.
“I want to seize the day and make every day count.”
This has included spending time with her daughter, attending a Pink tribute concert, booking a mini-break, performing at a comedy night and taking the opportunity to see a film at the cinema on a rainy day and going bowling.
She also wants to bring awareness to ovarian cancer and being persistent with medical staff if something isn’t feeling right.
She added: “If you are not sure about something going on in your body – tell a medical professional.
“To me openness is important – I wear a wig now – I just told everyone.
“I try to do something every day to make it worthwhile.”
Have you got a tattoo with a special meaning behind it? Share your story for our Me and My Tattoo feature by emailing: email@example.com