Carpe Diem Ink!

Tattoo goddesses ♥ -  Carol (the instigator), me & Carolina with tattoo artist, Steve.

Tattoo goddesses ♥ – Carol (the instigator), me & Carolina with tattoo artist, Steve.

Carpe Diem has long been my mantra and I am continually looking for ways to live that out.  However, I never considered permanently imprinting it on my body until my dear friend Carol told me she wanted to get a Carpe Diem tattoo in honor of our journey.  I couldn’t possibly let her do this alone and immediately jumped on the bandwagon – “I’m in!”.

In true ripple effect, a mini-movement began and Carpe Diem ink is happening from Maui to Phoenix, from Tofino to Toronto.  So fun!

It all started in Ghost Town Tattoos, Okotoks (by Calgary) where my two Carols got CarpeDiem’d just above their ankles & I got mine on my left hip.  As previously mentioned, Carol was the brilliant heart & mind behind this whole fab event.  SideNote: She is also lovingly referred to as my SistahWife,  tho’ we don’t actually share a husband :)

Carolina was Kayla’s executive partner for the Kids Cancer Care – High Hopes Challenge fundraiser & very quickly became a special new friend.  I casually mentioned our plan to her at an event and she stepped up immediately – I had no idea she was petrified of needles until we met at the tattoo studio that morning and she was white as a ghost.  What a trooper…nothing stops her!

Luckily it was far less painful than we were expecting – though I am comparing it to when I got new aureolas tattooed on as a part of my breast reconstruction (hmmm, is this another one of those too-much-information moments?) 

Kayla and my sister, Diane got theirs done while we were in Tofino last weekend for my dad’s 75th Birthday party.

Family Tattoos - ♥ Kayla, Shannon & Diane ♥

Family Tattoos – ♥ Kayla, Shannon & Diane ♥

Diane‘s (left forearm) has special symbolism. She asked the tattoo artist to create a butterfly that had the initials of all her family members that had been affected by cancer.  Within each of the wings is an initial: S for me, K-Kayla, W-Wanda & C-Connie (our two sisters that died of cancer in their teens) and E-Evelyn (our amazing mom who passed away in ’03).

Kayla‘s (right ribs under arm – YeeOUCH!) has angel wings over the words, which to me are representative of the angel she is :)

My high school & lifelong BFF, Dawn who now lives in Maui, was a virtual team mate with Kayla. She got hers done in the same painful rib location, at the same time as Kayla was having hers done an ocean away.

My beautiful & loving mentor from Scottsdale, Diane got her fabulous script written vertically on her ankle.

My dear friend from Microsoft days, Lisa & her wonderful hubby Mike from Toronto are getting matching CarpeDiem tattoos as a couple.  Can’t wait for your pics.

Kayla with tattoo artist, Shelley Fox

Kayla with tattoo artist, Shelley Fox

I was so honored when my amazing friends & family offered to do this but I had no idea what a deep impact it would have on me.  To experience this unique connection that comes with such a symbolic, life long imprint of intention & commitment has been really powerful for me.  Thank you, my dear Carpe Diem angels.

And it’s obviously not just me that is touched.  When I got my ink, one of the tattoo artists in the shop was so moved by the story that he decided to get a CarpeDiem tattoo in honor of me that nite.  Pretty cool, Josh.


In the midst of all our ‘Shannon-igans’, we also had MRIs & CTs.  And I’m happy to report that we’re both doing well. 

Kayla’s MRI was clear – YAY!!!  This puts her on track for surgery to insert a titanium plate where her skull was removed last spring.  We meet with her surgeon next week.  At last, a surgery to look forward to :)

As for me, it looks like the painful radiation burn may have been worth it (amazing how the mind can have short memory…otherwise there would be no second children Ha :) The tumor on the rib that was radiated now exhibits signs of necrosis (cell death).  The other tumors (lungs, rib, spine) show no significant growth so I am deemed stable.   Obviously welcome news and I was thrilled when IV chemo was not brought up again….this is not a path I wish to entertain at this time.  We will stay the course with the daily oral chemo and morphine for pain management.

I am also actively involved in alternative naturopathic therapies and am researching a ketogenic diet – intense & even radical by some standards but for me worth a try.  I welcome correspondence/recipes from anyone that may have experience with this type of diet.

Soooo, my road is very hilly right now.  Fabulous highs of powerful moments, deep connection & joyful gratitude.  There are also low valleys of pain, overwhelm & sadness.  Not an easy journey but today I am in FULL celebration after leaving Kayla’s oncology appt with a good report & a wonderful date-nite together.  Oh we do know how to Carpe Diem….I hope you do, too. ♥

Carol ♥

Carol ♥



Dawn ♥

Dawn ♥

Diane ♥

Diane ♥


Carolina ♥

Carolina ♥


About Shannon Duke

I'm Shannon Duke and I’ve combined my business skills with the wisdom that literally saved my life and have built a system that redefines success. Today I am passionate about helping you achieve life-fulfilling and life-enhancing success in both your business & personal life. Read My Story


  1. Stephanie Dea says:

    HI Shannon,
    You asked about the ketogenic diet. I was put on one by my orthomolecular Doctor in Calgary about 13 years ago, and had been on a low fat diet before that. I have never looked back. I continue to eat high fat, low carb ( although mostly whole raw organic foods). I don’t believe I’m in ketosis anymore but I continue to eat a lot of coconut oil and avocados, whole organic eggs, raw nuts, organic butter, and supplement with chlorella, spirulina, frozen wheat grass, etc etc. Always mindful of keeping my carbs low and very nutritious. I avoid all refined foods and grains. And if you do eat some grains, make them whole, raw and sprouted. it was the best thing for me. It stabilizes my blood sugar, my mood, and in fact, I lost three or four pounds in the initial stage even though I was only eating fat at that time, to put me into ketosis. The Atkins diet is based on this. Feel free to contact me for any more details. Much love, Stephanie

  2. Such a positive update! Glad to hear the radiation did the trick – even though it was a nasty burn. Keep on trucking’ Shannon!
    Super news about Kayla.
    Loving those tattoos too!

  3. Melody Williamson says:

    Shannon, Kayla, and Tyler,
    Your latest news is THE BEST NEWS RIGHT NOW!!! Thank you for sharing that!! Thank you for continuing to CARPE DIEM like nobody can!! Again, you inspire all of us, wihout all of the challenges that you face, to live each day to the fullest!!
    I’m not an expert in the ketogenic diet but what Stephanie above describes is absolutely in keeping with what I’ve heard from Drs of Chinese Medicine, naturopaths, etc. High (good) fat and low carbs. Only sprouted grains, if any (I love the Ezekiel sprouted grain tortillas!).

    BIG HUGS to all of you!

  4. Michelle Richardson says:

    Soooooooooo happy to hear this, Shannon. What a great idea and a lovely show of support… it really is a testament to the impact you have had and continue to have on so many people in this world. I love you, dear friend. oxo

  5. Great news Shannon, thank you again for sharing. I love the tattoo movement you created and all those that Bless you in being part of it.
    My good fried Leah Chevialler, founder and owner of BoBebe stores, has created a FB page called the KetoKitchen after her daughter becoming severely epileptic 4 years ago. Leah has become an expert in home cooking with the Keto diet and I am happy to report her daughter has been seizure free for over a year and is now starting to come off the meds.
    Give Leah a shout at [email protected]. All the best!!

  6. Belinda Horvat says:

    Dear Shannon, I was delighted to read the wonderful health news for you and Kayla. That’s your fantastic positive attitude and energy getting you to where you want to be. All the best for Kayla’s surgery next week. I’ll be thinking of you both. And I love the tattoos! What a touching and deeply moving show of support. You and your friends are very inspiring. You most definitely have lots of great people on your side. Sending much love, Belinda.

  7. So glad you both are doing well! Carpe diem! ❤️

  8. Gorgeous, Shannon and all! Much love and… carpe diem!

  9. Right on Girls, may you never run out of ways to seize the day! Or should that be, I hope you run out of ways to seize the day! ….Either way… I am so happy to hear Kaylas good news – ALL of our love and blessings to you – <3
    Jen Anika & Ahmi

  10. So very happy to hear a positive update and SO happy that you and Kayla are doing well and I love the tattoo movement! Carol is not just a pretty face…haha… What a fabulous idea and Bless You both for seizing every day. Sending Love and Prayers your way every day! Carpe diem! xoxo

  11. The Stepan's says:

    Great news for both of you!

    Glad things are working out well & you are keeping up the amazing shenanigans!

    Keep on rockin’!

  12. Cindy Schaber says:

    This news is amazing. So happy to hear both your news and Kayla’s. Even through all your struggles, you continue to shine your Carpe Diem. Your choices are so inspiring and demonstrate courage, love and light. May the good healing continue in your lives. One last surgery for the lovely Miss Kayla, wooohooo. And you my dear, may that healing continue. Love to you all.

  13. Kimberley Lovell says:

    Hi Shannon Kayla, what an amazing result for both of you. I’m continuing to hold you both in my heart and send much love and healing energy for you as you ride the waves. Love your commitment to embodying and embracing your truth and sharing and inspiring others. You are two very bright light souls. May God’s grace fill you both with an abundance of love, joy, health and wellbeing. <3 xxx

  14. Angel of Light,

    What a glorious email to come home to !! Such celebrations for you and fabulous Kayla …. I am sooooooooo happy with all of your beautiful news.

    You were with us daily in Costa Rica, as we each picked from your gorgeous birthday card deck at 6:30 a.m…. among the hollering of monkeys and chirping of birds. Your cards have returned blessed and I look so forward to sharing them here.

    Polly & I have brought you back a little something from our retreat …. and shall joyfully make a doorstep delivery this week.

    All my love xoxox

  15. Barb Myers says:

    Wow! The ink movement is amazing! What a great idea! Love the butterfly one. But on the ribs Kayla? I can’t imagine how painful that must have been. I was so happy to hear your news. You truly are the most amazingly positive people and I really believe that helps so much. A lot of people must be learning so much from the two of you. Thanks again for sharing your journey.

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