This is a picture taken right after my tattoo was finished- When I was 10 years old, I was diagnosed with an incredibly rare strain of Poland’s Syndrome. I am one of 7 known cases in the world. I was born without my entire right pectoral major & minor muscles, and the rib underneath was also missing. I have about 30 spin-off diseases because of just this one. Also, the entire right side of my body is different than my left. All of my bones are slightly deformed and my muscles don’t behave the way the ones of my opposite side do. Because of the rarity of my disease, I was told that I’d never be able to dance, swim, perform, run, or even be a normal kid ever again. If i was to be struck in my chest on this side, my lung was basically exposed, and I could be killed. Later that night, I was cleaning my bookshelf when one of my favorite Shel Silverstein books fell open to the poem Listen to the Mustn’ts. It reads:Listen to the MUSTN'TS, child Listen to the DON'TS Listen to the SHOULDN'TS The IMPOSSIBLES, the WON'TS Listen to the NEVER HAVES Then listen close to me-- Anything can happen, child, ANYTHING can be.
From that point on, I lived by that poem. I was horribly teased my ENTIRE LIFE for this. Being a girl, you’re supposed to have two boobs. Not me, though. I had one and a half. By the time my 18th birthday rolled around, I had roughly 7-ish inches difference between my left and right breast. I was told they wouldn’t ever operate on me, seeing as how it would be the first in medical history and ran too high of a risk. But about 6 months ago, I came in contact with a surgeon here in Knoxville, Tennessee. Dr. Becker. He’d worked on one regular case of Poland’s and was sure that he could figure out a way to make me somewhat normal. He went to work for months photographing me, taking my scans/pictures to conferences to get more opinions, and finally coming up with a plan. On August 22nd, 2011, I went into surgery. I was in for almost 11 hours. I had a drainage tube for 3 weeks, and a month on bed-rest. I stand here today with less than a 1/2 inch difference in my silhouette between my left and right breast.
A few days after I got off of bed rest, I had one of my good friends, Nick Moran at American Rebel Tattoo in Pigeon Forge, TN tattoo the last line from that poem onto the bottom of my right rib cage. I chose my favorite Silverstein illustration (the guitar man to reflect me being a musician) and had the words coming out of his mouth.
It wasn’t a wise placement for my very first tattoo, but it was important that it went there. Less than 30 minutes in the chair and I couldn’t be happier with the result. It looks better than the illustration itself.
“A wide field meteor camera at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center recorded this spectacular meteor breaking up in Earth’s atmosphere on Sept. 30, 2011, 8:37 p.m. EDT. Also visible is a star-like object moving slowly toward the upper middle of the field of view — the upper stage of the Zenit booster that launched the Russian Cosmos 2219 intelligence satellite back in 1992. Orbiting 500 miles above Earth, this empty rocket body can get bright enough to be seen with the unaided eye.”