Like lots of moms, Nicola Hickman wanted to show her love for her daughter by getting inked. In fact, she and her partner of 17 years Leslie Mkwah decided to both get tattoos in honor of their 7-year-old, Chenai. Leslie opted for his daughter's name on his back, while Nicola chose a small, heart-shaped design on her right ankle. It was her first tattoo ... and you'd think her last, after the nightmare she went through as a result!
Not long after having the tattoo done, Nicola began to suffer a severe, painful allergic reaction.
She explained to The Daily Mail:
Getting the tattoo done wasn’t particularly painful. I managed to keep chatting while the tattoo artist worked. At first, it was fine. But then, six weeks later, I noticed that the tattoo was bumpy and the red colour was fading. I went back to the tattooist to ask his opinion, and he said he would be happy to top up the colour when the bumps went down. He advised using antiseptic cream. But the weeks went on and it got worse. I tried to ignore it, but it got to the point where I couldn’t think of anything else. I couldn’t wear proper footwear and I couldn’t sleep on it.
Ughh. This poor woman! Why she didn't go to the doctor sooner, I'm not sure ... but it took her 11 months after initially having the tattoo done to be referred to a hospital in central London, where specialists were able to remove the flaky growth, which was protruding from her ankle.
Apparently, her doctors had never seen an allergic reaction like hers before, and ended up removing the growth, but then Nicola was left with an open wound, which lead to infection. So crazy! In the end, the only thing they could think to blame was a metallic chemical from the red ink in her tattoo. (She since got another tattoo in black ink, which she says caused no problems.)
I feel like pointing to this as a likely possibility of what could happen when you get a tattoo is a bit of a stretch, but it does seem like something to bear in mind. Especially when the FDA notes allergies, infection, scarring, and granulomas (small knots or bumps that form around material the body perceives as foreign, such as particles of tattoo pigment) can happen as the result of getting tattooed.
What a shame Nicola had to go through this when all she was trying to do was pay tribute to her little girl. But perhaps her experience will serve as a cautionary tale ... It's better to know something like this could happen, but more importantly, Nicola's fiasco is a reminder of just how important it is to see your doctor if it does!
Have you ever heard of someone having an allergic reaction to a tattoo?
Image via Ladydragonflyherworld/Flickr