On October 9, 2013 I was diagnosed with stage 4 Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). After a brutal year of fighting I took a "celebration of life" trip to Thailand. While there I decided to get a traditional Sak Yant bamboo tattoo. Sak Yant, is a form of tattooing practiced in Southeast Asian countries. Sak means "to tap [tattoo]", and yant is Thai for the Sanskrit word yantra. Sak yant designs are normally tattooed by Ruesi wicha (magic) practitioners, and Buddhist monks, traditionally with a long bamboo stick sharpened to a point (called a mai sak). My tattoo is written in Thai, placed in the center of my back, and reads: Pheīyng hî wāy ńâ which translates to, "Just keep swimming". Just keep swimming has basically become my life mantra as I've had to remind myself to do so many times over the past year.
And though I can't always see it I know it's there to remind me of my amazing travels, and even more importantly, to just keep swimming.