To Tat Or Not To Tat?

I think I surprised a few people at my last appointment. I asked about getting a tattoo as the appointment was winding down. I had wanted one for years, & thought maybe during the period that I was finally off the immunosuppressant I could maybe get one safely.

I was afraid to do so before because of the infection risk.  The immunosuppressant I take does make me more prone to infection, plus slows my body’s ability to heal wounds. (I think the superficial cuts & scrapes from my car accident took more time to heal than most people’s would).

After discussing it with my team, I decided I will remain tattoo-less.  (Or, I’ll stick with an occasional henna tattoo for kicks).   I figured they would tell me no, but my gemini curiosity did get the better of me. I had to ask the question, & get an honest opinion.

I’ve known a few transplant patients who have had tattoos before & after transplant.  They have gotten them in spite the risks.  I don’t judge that decision.  It’s a form of expression, it’s body art.

Other people may differ in their opinions of them, but I’ve never judged anyone with piercings or tattoos. In fact, I admire them. I know when they choose a tattoo it means something to that person on a deeply emotional level.  I know several gifted tattoo artists, even grew up with one.

So when I came across this story, it drove that home for me that significance in yet another way.

In fact, when I started searching, I found an archive of some great stories from the Gift of Life Donor Program’s Second Chance blog series, “Inked: The Permanence of Love.” This blog series highlights thirty stories in thirty days of personally touching stories behind both transplant recipient & organ donor tattoos.

(This series was almost lost in the mix of an overwhelming amount of links to medical sites advising against tattoos. While I understand it & didn’t find it surprising, I was hoping for a few more links to meaningful stories behind these tattoos instead in my search. At least I did find that series.  It was a fun one to click through.)

Yet, I would be remiss if I forgot to mention that I’ve also seen some impressive art in the area of rare disease.

Two of my long-time volunteer friends that help organize the Community Alliance in my area have the tuberous sclerosis complex awareness ribbon tattooed to their legs.

A few other LAM sisters have feathers or cool & unique lung tattoos or inspiring quotes.

I’ve also seen some beautiful tattoos in the chronic illness world as well.

When I see all of these works of art, I typically know the people who have them & the stories behind their body art. I admire their creativity & their self expression.   It gives me “warm fuzzies”.




5 thoughts on “To Tat Or Not To Tat?

  1. Do you have an email? I couldn’t find it on the site, if it’s even there. I’d love to talk with you, if that’s something that interests you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tattoos are great I have lots with meanings. I have one up my spine dedicated to my son who has tsc.
    Good luck xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have never gotten a tattoo for some of the same reasons you’ve listed, plus I don’t know what kind of autoiummune or allergic reaction I would have (I’ve got crazy, rare allergies and autoimmune disorders galore), but if I ever bite the bullet, I’d get another stamp in my passport and head over to my former classmate who now lives in Sweden. I wanted to get a big Spanish rose on my noggin, but I’ve had so many surgeries on it and have some more to go that the art would probably be immediately compromised. Anyway, here’s Vic’s work:

    Liked by 1 person

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