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Free tattoo with suspected diagnosis of colon cancer!

Updated on July 12, 2011

That's right. Up the bunghole

You read it right.  Make no mistake about it.  I did indeed get a tattoo in the place where the sun never shines.  Yeah.  That one.   Tattoos are meant to be seen, so why in the world would anyone get a tattoo on the inside of their.... (OK, just spit it out.....)  colon, and what's more, what kind of a tattoo parlour would do such a thing and how would they do it? 

You won't find these people in the yellow pages under "tattoos" or at some sleazy strip mall or seaside drunken sailor establishment, but believe me there are a raft of qualified professionals in every major town who will be happy to tattoo your colon for you  if the situation warrants it. 


A picture of a polyp similar to mine.  Mine really did look more like a weenie.
A picture of a polyp similar to mine. Mine really did look more like a weenie.

It's not a fashion statement

I hit the age where it's recommended to get a colonoscopy, and that age is younger than normal (50) for me because I have a younger sister who had colon cancer at the ripe old age of 35. I came to get my colon tattoo because my colonoscopy results were precisely what you don't want to hear.

I woke up from the procedure unaware that it had happened. Not even a twinge. I had somewhat expected to have a sore orifice but otherwise go out and have something to eat and get on with my day. I would have taken a week with a raw and bleeding bunghole over what I heard next:

"Ummmm... you have a very large and most likely cancerous polyp in the splenic flexture (the bend in the colon on the left side.) It is too large to remove with the endoscopic snare (the tool they use to snip small polyps). You will need to have a bowel resection at the earliest possible date. The surgeon will call you to schedule a preop appointment and get you on the surgery calendar."

Then they proceeded to show me a picture of this thing they had taken during their visit. I had to laugh at the thing despite my shock. It looked like male genitalia. HA HA SUCKERS! I FINALLY GREW ONE I was thinking in my irrational and drug induced stupor.

When the nice mellow drugs wore off, I got busy and Googled. I looked at pictures. I read up on the procedure. Mindful of how easy and painless the colonoscopy was I thought it would be infinitely easier on me if there was some kind of roto-rooter they could just put up my ass and scrape it out and spare me the pain of being cut open. My paranoia and suspicion of the whole screwed up USA pharmo-medical miscagenation caused me to seek out a second opinion. But the more I read up on it, the more I realized that there was really no choice. Maybe natural cancer curing methods can clear a few odd cancer cells in the body here and there but I wasn't going to chance that on a large actively growing polyp. Even if the thing wasn't already cancerous and never became cancerous, it would eventually create an obstruction, and then I would be up shit creek (or more precisely shit creek would be up me.)

This is what they ended up doing to me
This is what they ended up doing to me

The shocks continue

My family doctor called ME. When does THAT ever happen? He said he could make time for me to come in and discuss this with him. Normally it's about 2 months to get an appointment with him. Only people who are going to die get treated that nicely. Ay ay ay!

I also had my appointment with the surgeon -- a complete stranger in whom I was going to place my absolute trust with a variety of sharp objects. Your body doesn't know the difference between what these guys do and what might happen if you walked in the wrong part of town at night. Regardless of who wields the blade, surgery is still a brutal assault with a number of potentially deadly weapons--both those that cut and those that alter your chemistry. It's just that they have a license and they have protocols so you don't die--at least not usually. Small consolation at that moment. I was a surgery virgin. I had never been cut before and that was just fine with me. My imagination was working overtime. My skin was crawling. I felt sick to my stomach. The nurse arrived to take my blood pressure, which is normally just fine. I could FEEL my heart racing. I told her not to even bother, that under the circumstances it would give a false and totally atypical result. She took it anyway. It was off the charts.

I had 2 pages typewritten of questions to ask the surgeon. It was then that I found out about the tattoo. One of my questions was "How do you know where to cut?" They said that was easy, they looked for the black marks.

"Black marks?"

Yes, the endoscopist tattooed the inside of your colon where the cancer is, and the ink stains all the way through to the outside so we can see it. The tattoo is pretty permanent, actually, but so what? We're going to cut it out.

I had not failed to notice how easily he said "cancer" instead of "polyp". "Polyp" sounds sort of warm and fuzzy, kind of like "smurf" or "tele-tubby." "Cancer" sounds evil like "Green Goblin."

"You said C-c-c-cancer," I remarked.

"Yeah, I'm pretty convinced that polyp has cancer in it. It's just a question of whether it's gotten out or not.

I was in for yet another shock.

"Oh, by the way", the surgeon said casually. "If your spleen turns out to be involved we'll take it out too."

I had visions of them taking out my various innards one by one and tossing them in a pot on the floor for dog food.

"Nope, this thingamajiggie is no good either. Mmmmmm. My dog is gonna eat good tonight."

I was gripped by that terrifying image and I missed the next thing the surgeon said.

"I'm sorry, could you repeat that?" I stammered.

"Oh, I just said depending on the stage of the cancer, you may need chemo afterward."

CHEMO -- that's where they pump toxic substances into your body every two weeks for six months in the hope of killing the cancer. If you don't die from it you wish you could.

"No way am I getting Chemo," I said reflexively. "Not going there. No way, No how." I was thinking, Ding Ding Ding..... this sounds like a major upsell and I ain't buying.

"Well, we'll just take it one step at a time," said my surgeon, who I just met 20 minutes ago. And that was that.

I'm not a particularly pious person but I thought it would be a good idea to head off to confession, and while I was there I requested last rites AKA "sacrament of the sick" just for good measure. There's no penalty if you don't die, and you're allowed to do it again. That was the first time in my life I had ever felt the need for that particular sacrament.

A raft of other bloodwork, some cancelled appointments, and a gallon of the most GOD AWFUL stuff known to man later, I was ready for surgery.

.....continued in Part II


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    • hot dorkage profile imageAUTHOR

      hot dorkage 

      11 years ago from Oregon, USA

      Sometimes it takes a bit of hell to make one appreciate the truly good things in life. I am profoundly grateful that it ended up benign, i.e. it's OVER! and my other adult and emerging adult children are really doing me proud, and even son#1 will come through in the end, I have to believe that. Thanks for all the kind words, you guys have no idea what they mean to me.

    • marisuewrites profile image


      11 years ago from USA

      hot dorkage...I'm really touched by your experiences, both in surgery and with your son. Seems like you've had your own version of hell, but you've come thru with humor, grit and determination, the real ticket out of hell!!

      Bless you, and lots of hugs your way from me!!

    • hot dorkage profile imageAUTHOR

      hot dorkage 

      11 years ago from Oregon, USA

      The irony about this son is that he is the one who is most like me in both looks and temperament. Well I don't have a beard, but you get my drift. So I think who he really hates is himself. I don't love him more than the others but I identify more with him. He is 23, My doctor says that young men like him often come around at age 25 or so. So I pray for that and I light up like a Christmas tree every time he voluntarily interacts with me in a positive way. Like last night he shared his chocolate with me. It is small, but it's a start and I went to bed feeling nice.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Just can't help leave you some words about your son who has been mad at you. I happened to have a family member just like your son who hates his mother for many strange reasons. I saw how much my mother love this son (more than any of her other children) but the son seemed not appreciate what she has done for him. I have seen how painful being a mother who has an angry son who blame all his problems on his mother. I think it is a good approach to accept the fact that he is just "different". And just enjoy your own life.

      Wish you the best luck.

    • hot dorkage profile imageAUTHOR

      hot dorkage 

      11 years ago from Oregon, USA

      Oh well, if that's what it took to get your son unmad at you.

      My son has been mad at me since he was three. Apparently I am the cause of all his trouble. It's so convenient to blame all your problems on your mom, Then you don't have to do anything about them because they're not your fault. My son did not appear to change his heart toward me even during the scary part when we thought I was first steps on the death march. It hurts me a lot the way he feels about me because I did my absolute best for him. It hurts more to watch him steadfastly refuse to take responsibility for himself but I refuse to let it ruin my life. My son has problems yes. He needs to take them by the horns and realize that it doesn't matter who or what caused them. All my other kids support me and my husband and they try to tell this guy that he is just "different". Only HE can solve these issues -- there is nothing I can do about it.

    • Dorsi profile image

      Dorsi Diaz 

      11 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

      I was very traumatized for the first 2 weeks, then after I saw him and talked to him I felt a little better. The bullet went from his ear to the top of his head and bounced off his skull. We had been disconnected for a couple months because he was mad at me. ((All is well now though))

      I am glad you are doing OK, save the

    • LondonGirl profile image


      11 years ago from London

      very best of luck - hope all goes well.

    • hot dorkage profile imageAUTHOR

      hot dorkage 

      11 years ago from Oregon, USA

      I dunno how much sense of humor I would have if my son got shot in the head. Of course I've seen too many of those movies where peoples faces are gone when they get shot in the head, so I guess your son must not have gotten one of those. I'll eventually be OK and I'm bummed because I can't create enough abdominal pressure to sing. This incision is still very painful. I went off pain meds after one day at home. Don't believe in 'em. I have a shitload of vicodin I didn't even touch if you need any. :)

    • Dorsi profile image

      Dorsi Diaz 

      11 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

      Thank God you were the 1% Hotdorkage. I think our outlook on how we handle things like this matters a lot, and your attitude and humor are very evident. I would be hard pressed to poke fun at such a serious thing....however I was able to poke fun at my son getting shot in the head. It took me a couple weeks to be able to do that though....

      I am soooo glad you are OK.

    • hot dorkage profile imageAUTHOR

      hot dorkage 

      11 years ago from Oregon, USA

      Thanks for the Hugs Sally's! There is a photo of the tattoo, I have to talk my surgeon into sending me a copy. I think they should ask you if you want Mickey Mouse orr Donald Duck. I think mine was "blobby Bob" or something. No snacks provided after, but that would be a nice touch I might suggest to them. And no footies either for the colonoscopy, they let me keep my sox on for it though.

      The worst part of the colonoscopy is the prep. You have to drink a liter of stuff the night before, and then another one on the morning of and you go and go and go until you're pooing clear yellow water. It was not pleasant but I did not have any trouble completing it. Colonoscopy is painless.

      Gut surgery is anything but. The prep for gut surgery is 4 liters of much worse tasting stuff and once you start on it you are not supposed to stop until you puke. Everyone should get a colonoscopy. My whole expensive painful ordeal would most likely have been avoided had I gotten a colonoscopy right when my sister had her cancer. The polyp would have been small then and they probably could have snipped it with the endoscopic snare.

      My surgeon estimated the probability of cancer at 99%. It turned out that the polyp was benign. HEHEHHEHEHE I couldn't be a happier woman about that.

    • Sally's Trove profile image


      11 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      HD, your wit and humor will see you through everything.  I had no idea you get a tattoo at the site of the problem.  Is there a photo of it?  Surely, some MD can see it and read it.  You might start a new art trend.  :)

      Your telling brings a lot of comfort to people who have never had this procedure.  Truly, it is painless, and you don't even know it happens.  I don't know this personally, but my mother had her third or something last year, and I went with her to hold her hand.  But she didn't need mine.  The staff was outstanding.

      Did you get cookies and apple juice and coffee afterwards?  Mom did (and so did I).  It was like being a kid again, although in a strange way, with all these marvelously caring people hovering over you.  They also gave her slippers for her feet, which my mom, the ultimate frugal woman, took home, washed, and gifted to me.  (I do have them still, but I have strange feelings about them. LOL)

      Thumbs up in every way, not only for this Hub, but also for you. And may I add some ((((((hugs))))))?

    • Aya Katz profile image

      Aya Katz 

      11 years ago from The Ozarks

      Hot Dorkage, so sorry to hear that you are going through this. Hope it all turns out okay.


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