My Battle Worn FlagAfter coming home from Iraq, I got a tattoo of crossed /rifles for the infantry and below it had all of my deployments written down my arm towards my elbow. To finish it off I had a colored, waving flag that covered alot of my upper arm with my sgt stripes overlaid on the flag. (I am an Army NCO to my death, but Marine Sgt stripes were the only ones big enough to boldly fit. :o) I thank all of my brothers and sisters in arms in every branch. One soldier to another, I love you all.)
It turned out amazing. I have before and after pics that I will try to post.
Then in February of 2012 (Valentine's Day is when we got the call) I was diagnosed with stage 3, aggressive, multi cell melanoma. Not your everyday, run of the mill skin cancer, but the stuff that doesn't follow the rules. It can go from the shoulder to the big toe to the liver and never stop for a beer.
The tumor was right above my Flag.:(
They had to take a 9" x 2 1/2" swath, to the meat, out of that shoulder. Yes it got way intk that tattoo. If I want it repaired, it will be years, if ever, before I can.
I have decided that I won't get it fixed. I have PTSD and several permanent physical issues and injuries that make me 100% permanently disabled.
I realized that the cancer (which, thank god they got to in time) just put the finishing touch on my tattoo. I will wear it proudly as a reminder of the battle worn and weary because all soldiers deserve thanks.
For those of us who are unable to funtion because of the nightmare that is PTSD and recovery, I'm going to add one more deployment to the list. PTSR '06 to Present. It will always be correct.