Kidney cancer survivor gets a tattoo to help protect against recurrence and protect his grandson

The dagger tattoo to protect Scott from his cancer coming back and to protect his grandson Rocco














Scott was 59 and things were going great in his life.  He loved to golf, listen to music (especially punk music) and spend time with family and friends.  It was the 4th of July weekend.   At a time when everyone else was celebrating and happy, he found that he had a mass on his kidney.  He didn’t know why it was there, or what caused it, but he knew it might be cancer and that it could kill him.  Those next two weeks as he waited to get into a specialist were the two worst weeks of his life.  During those long 14 days, he began planning his funeral and reflected on his life.  One thought that kept coming to his mind was his new baby grandson Rocco.  Would he even get to know his own grandson? Would Rocco ever know his grandpa?  Or could it be that Scott would be nothing more than a photo and collection of stories that Jackie (Scott’s daughter) tells to Rocco?

The tumor in the upper portion of his left kidney.


When Scott finally got into see the specialist on Friday July 14th, 2017 , he was told that he was

very unlikely to die from this cancer.  A flood of relief and happiness poured over him and the despair and depression he’d felt in the previous two weeks made this Friday the best one of his life!  On a day that was probably just as forgettable as any other Friday in your life, Scott was overwhelmed with the thought that he may just yet get to see Rocco grow up.

Scott was told that he needed to have his entire kidney removed because of the location and size of his tumor, but he decided to get another opinion at the University of Minnesota.  He was so pleased when he discovered that, not only could he keep his kidney and have the cancer removed, but it could all be done through a few small, puncture incisions with the aid of a surgical robot.


Scott underwent surgery almost 1 year ago and it was discovered the cancer was caught early and his chance for it to come back was very low.  No chemotherapy would be required and no radiation!

As soon as Scott felt up to it, he headed to the tattoo parlor to get a new tattoo. Tattoos are meaningful to him and all his tattoos have personal significance.  This new one, would be extra special though.  He chose a dagger with a skull on the handle.  This dagger symbol is one of protection.  In those dark days of uncertainty after his diagnosis, Scott felt so vulnerable.  Now with a new lease on life, he desires protection of his grandson Rocco and protection against recurrence from his cancer.


Scott’s advice to patients who are newly diagnosed with kidney cancer, stay calm, find out all the information you can and get a second opinion.

One of Scott’s favorite golf courses, Dinosaur Mountain at Gold canyon AZ
Scott at the Punk Rock Bowling festival in Las Vegas
Scott (left) and my daughter Jackie (right), Rocco’s mom, with Brendan Kelley, bass player for the Lawrence Arms
Scott with Rocco, his grandson and motivator