Thursday, September 3, 2009

Middle of the Night Scratch Fest...

In the middle of the night for day eight going on to the ninth day, the itching was waking me up, and I kept trying to satisfy it by scratching around the tattoo. It wasn't helping, and while asleep I accidentally scratched the tattoo. It woke me up, and I was afraid to see what I had done. But I think it was a good thing! I peeled off some skin and decided to go for the whole lot of it. I started peeling, and what came off was black and brown skin. It came off really easy, and it was only the skin atop the tattoo. What was underneath was a now a pink rose and pretty good looking skin!

Days 6, 7, and 8....Itching!!!

So, now I have gone through bruising, burning, bumps, oozing, and now insatiable ITCHING, like crazy. I will spend a couple of days like this and not quite sure what to make of it. Then after my shower on the 7th night, I noticed the skin was moving around on top of my tattoo when I applied the creme. It would wrinkle and bubble. It was obvious the skin was only attached at the perimeter. I thought I would scar if I did anything, so I let it air out a bit. I stopped wearing bandages and limited my creme. Well, day 8 fades into the night, and after my shower, the skin is fogged up underneath and the itching is too much too ignore. (See Skin Fog Photo)

Day 4...Ooozing

My skin is yellowing from the bruise fading immediately around the tattoo, and the bumps are oozing a little yellow especially if the movement in my arm squeezes the bandage which squeezes the blisters. At this point, I would take extra precaution to over tape the bandage to prevent clothes from getting stained.

This feels like a divorce....

At this point, I realize I actually got it done after all of these years of wanting to and debating, and now it's sad. It feels like a divorce. I am not sure how I will actually handle having it gone and not being able to see it anymore. I really liked my tattoo some days, but the days I didn't...I hated it with a passion and those times took precedence. I didn't take many pictures of it cause as the years went on the color faded and the original tattoo came through pretty well to make the rose really dark, so it was a depressing...dark flower. I thought about at times having it redone to make it look blue, but I knew from far away it would like a blob. I am kind of sad about this, but I have wanted this for so long. I realize if anything I can have something of my choosing put over it if it comes to that.

Day 4....Bumps!

On the fourth day, two things changed. The first was that the bruise was creeping down all the way toward my elbow it was as if my muscle had been bruised. It looked like I lost the fight! Also, the whole tattoo turned into mini "bumps" which were probably blisters. I kept pouring on the polysporin. I was advised not to let it dry out and keep it from sticking to anything, and I am still changing my bandages which were tefla pads and paper tape twice a day (morning and after my shower just before bed).


Day 2 and 3...Keepin it Covered

For the second and third day, I didn't do much with my arm but take pics and keep it covered. It still felt a little alien from the creme, bandage, and the soreness which was spreading down my arm. It looked as if a tennis ball was placed under my tattoo.

The Next Morning...

This was the first morning after getting my first treatment!

The first shower…later that night:

For anyone that has ever been burned, scraped, or slid through rocks, the first shower is always scary, and I was not looking forward to the water running over a fresh wound. The shower went fine. It was not painful like getting dragged through the rocks which meant my skin was still intact. I did keep it out of the stream as that would of been to much pressure on the skin. When washing it, I gently rubbed some soap on it. The soap I use is pretty clean meaning no chemicals or nasty stuff. I used the Method Brand bars of bath soap (I love those!) and then I just splashed some water on it to get the soap off. There was still a little ointement residue, but I do not recommend trying to get it all off. It's protecting the skin more than anything and preventing scarring is the ultimate goal, so we do not want to disturb the injured skin. After my shower, I was interested to see what I would find with most of the polysporin and blood removed. There was a lot of bruising. The entire perimeter was bruised, and there was a giant fluid sac of a bruise spanning an inch below the tattoo. This was the pain and soreness I was feeling. No burning, just pain to the touch. When looking at my tattoo from the side, it was clearly raised and swollen about 1/4 inch off of my arm. It really looked beat up! But felt great compared to what I was expecting.

Removing the Bandage...Day One

After 7 hours of wearing the bandage they put on me at the Doctor's Office, this is what I found. Not too bad, only a little blood from the needle pricks. It smelled pretty foul though. I would not recommend going to work or school afterward. You smell and you're really tired.

Hour One Post Procedure:

I was told the pain would not come until the anesthesia wore off, so as I got in the car, I started getting nervous again. As time went on, maybe an hour later, the pain came. It was a burning like a sunburn when you are still in the sun. You feel this need to cover your arm as if it will help. Then I started feeling like someone had punched me in the arm over and over again. I knew there may be some muscle weakness, so I chalked it up to that.

After the first four hours, I couldn’t feel anything other than sore.

The first procedure: August 27, 2009:

Well, I must admit when going to see doctors and the like I am not one to ask too many questions, so it was no surprise when consulting with the dermatologist's office about getting my tattoo removed, I did not ask any questions. Basically, when can I do it? An important question would have been, does it hurt? Luckily, PA Allison remembered after our consultation to tell me that I would get anesthesia. However I took this to mean I would get a topical kind of some sort but still feel it. So the day of the procedure, I was nervous. As I laid down in the chair, I started to get super nervous. My heart raced. My hands started shaking, and I started holding my breath which is exactly what I did in anticipation of the pain when I got my first tattoo. I almost passed out eleven years ago, so it was easy for me think of the ways in which I was going to fade out this time.

The anesthesia came and to my surprise it was injections or local anesthesia. The anesthesia had epinephrine in it, so if you are sensitive to caffeine, you may want to prepare for a good buzz. (My tattoo eraser told me later to have a good meal before hand which would be good advice if you get nauseous from nerves). I got a lot of the injections, and before the treatment even started, the PA checked my "awareness" with a poker of some sort to see if I could feel anything. So needless to say, I couldn’t feel much during the treatment. I maybe felt 10-12 of the “pops” on the edges of my tattoo. Considering I was so very well anesthetized, I doubt I really “felt” those in full intensity anyway. I got two lasers one was the laser for black and the other was the laser for the red and green. The only difference was the “green” laser came off a little hotter. I guess I felt this from the neighboring nerves but I had not sensed any heat from the “black” laser. The procedure itself took maybe 20 minutes, and the majority of the time was really spent numbing my skin.


Current Tattoo: Rose with a red flower and two green and yellow petals on both sides
Colors Included: Red, green, yellow, white, and black
Size: 4" X 1 ½"

Originally Tattooed: February 1999
Cover-Up: End of 2000

Cost Per Treatment: $350

Trivantage Laser (candela)
532- red/yellow/orange
755- green/teal
1064- black/purple

Time in between treatments: 8 Weeks
The PA said my immune system will remove the particles for up to 8 weeks after each treatment, so getting them done any sooner is a waste of money and increasing the scarring or pigmentation problems.

I started this chronicle in a notepad, so you may notice the dates don't match up or I may fix that later. Let me know if you have any questions about my tattoo removal or anything I may have left out about the process!