Jun. 13, 2018

Lab work, tattoos, and hugs

It’s time for another episode of the Adventures of Ceej.  It has been a while and I’ve posted the previous few on my personal Facebook page.  However, this one means a lot to me and you’ll see why.  My hope in sharing is that my message will touch someone or maybe even inspire them.  Please be warned, this is a long one.

Yesterday, I went to get some lab work done.  It’s pretty routine for someone like me, who is fighting several illnesses/conditions.  Once I was finally in the seat, I had to warn the phlebotomist that I’m a hard stick, meaning it’s hard for them to find a good vein to access in order to draw blood.  I even have a port-a-cath in my chest for IV infusions. 

The one that called me back had to get someone else to help.  When that person came back, he looked at the orders, looked at me with my cane, and whispered, “I’m so sorry for everything you have been going through.  I hope things get better for you soon.”  How sweet and thoughtful is that?  Some may say it’s unprofessional, but to me, his words and the sincerity behind them meant so much to me.

Then, as he was looking for a decent vein, he noticed the tattoos on my right forearm.  You see, I have several awareness ribbons.  They are for HIV, diabetes, carcinoma, CRMO, mental health, cerebral palsy, miscarriage/still birth, pseudotumor cerebri, breast cancer, cervical cancer, and leukemia awareness.  Some of these affect me, others are for people that I care for.  He asked about them:

Guy: I hope you don’t have all of these, but if you do, I’ll send some extra prayers up for you.

Me: Thank you.  They’re not all for me.  They’re for people that I care for.

Guy: That’s quite a tribute.

Me: Even though my wish to take all their pain and suffering onto myself will never come true no matter how hard I wish for it, this is just my way to send them love and prayers every second of the day.

Guy: (looks up at me with a look of surprise) That’s amazing.  And really touching.  May I call a coworker over and show her your tattoos?  I promise it won’t take long.

Me: Sure.

Guy: (gets up from his stool and goes behind the wall behind me, then less than a minute later, he comes back with a small woman in scrubs like him) Julie, this is Ceej.  I want you to see her tattoos.

Julie: (moves her hand to take my wrist) May I?

Me: Of course.

Julie: (gently turns my arm left and right until she sees the pink ribbon, then she gasps) This is a breast cancer awareness ribbon.  It’s beautiful.

Me: Thank you.  A friend of mine passed away from breast cancer, and an aunt beat it.  This is how I send them both prayers and love.

Julie: (tearing up) You’re an angel.  (visibly swallows) I’m a breast cancer survivor.  Seeing this means a lot to me even though you didn’t get it for me.  Thank you.

Me: No thanks necessary, but you’re welcome.  From now on, I’ll add you to the list.  And you see, I’m a cancer survivor, myself.  And I proudly show off my tattoos.  Not because I like to show off, but I do it with the hope that I can give someone else hope, even for one small moment.  One person did that for me at my lowest moment and I want to share that whenever I can.

Julie: (sucks in a slow breath) That’s a beautiful thing to do.  On behalf of everyone suffering from cancer, thank you for the prayers and the pure love of a kindred spirit.  (Glances up when she hears someone call her name then looks back at me) I have to go, but may I have a hug?  (I acquiesce and hug her warmly, and she whispers) Thank you so much.  You have just made my day.

Guy: (smiling the entire time) Thank you for that.  She had a hard time. (Glances at the clock) Oh man, I’ve kept you here too long.  Let’s get this done.

(He searches my arms and finally finds a vein then proceeds to complete the orders)

Me: Thanks for your time and effort.  I’m sorry I’m such a hard stick.

Guy: (stands up and hands me my cane so I can do the same) May I have a hug as well?  (Hugs me after I agree) Thank you for making my day, too.  I’ve always wanted a tattoo but had no idea what to get.  Now I do.  Do you mind if I do the same as you have?

Me: I’m honored to have inspired you.  Please do it.  The more love we spread in this world the better, right?  (I pull out my blog business card and write my cell number on the back.  I hand it to him.) Please don’t take this the wrong way. (I laugh.) If you do get ribbon tattoos and want to share, please feel free to text me a picture.  I’d love to see it, but do not feel like you have to share them with me.

Guy: I will.  Thank you again.


Again, I apologize for the long post, but I wanted to share that even when you do something for a friend or loved one, you may be touching and inspiring others.  Never be afraid to share love.  We need so much more of it in our world.