Most of you know that I had a “rough time” growing up. We won’t get into all that, as this is not the forum for it. Nor do I see any need to put my (and others’) business out there like that. Anyone who has met me also knows that I have a tattoo on my right hand. I got it when I was 14 years old… homemade tattoo gun. When you’re 14 you don’t really think about things in a long term sense. Especially at that point in my life, it was hard for me to see beyond adolescence. So, I’ve lived with this tattoo for almost 20 years.
As with any tattoo, it meant a lot to me at the time. Saying good-bye to it is a bit strange. I have preferred it to be gone for quite some time. It has caused some interesting queries from friends and strangers alike, lots of rumor mill gossip from the offenders I once supervised (as a probation officer), and some unfavorable comments from both potential and actual employers. In Korea, tattoos are rather taboo and there still lies a “stigma” with those who bare them. It is not because of this, that I chose to remove it. I had checked into getting it removed in my late teens but at the time, it would have been a costly procedure, having to pay for each laser treatment it required– the consulting doctor estimated 12-15 treatments. He also informed me that since it was the quality it is and done in a blue based ink, there would always be a faded image of the tat. So I thought, “Why bother if it’s just going to still be there and cost me so much money!?!” So, I lived with it… then, just before coming to Korea, I learned of a home tattoo removal kit~ it didn’t work.
A fellow foreigner here suggested I go to his plastic surgeon for a consulation. He is getting a tattoo on his back removed and said the doctor could likely help me as well. Since the office is in my area, I decided to at least have a consultation.
~ WARNING: PICTURES MAY BOTHER YOU IF YOU’RE SQUEAMISH ~
The CONSULTATION: I started the treatment that day! The first treatment took less than an hour (including consult and numbing time). Besides having some issues with the numbing injections (will be using a numbing cream from here on out), the first treatment was a great experience.
The PROCESS: I go in, get some numbing cream (which, if you ask me doesn’t do it’s job AT ALL), wait 30 minutes and then the doctor traces my tattoo–first with a cauterizing lazer — ahh the smell of burning flesh– then with the “deep penetrating” lazer— uh, yea, no kidding!?! IT HURTS!. Go home, put some anti-bacterial ointment on it for three days and come back in 3 weeks for another treatment. In the interim, the tattoo bubbles and bleeds a bit… but begins to fade!!
The PROGRESS: I have decided to publish this blog before the finished product.. I will keep adding pictures of the progress so keep checkin it out!!
This is a video during the second treatment… after it was burnt, during the deep penetrating lazer treatment. She asks, “Are you ok?” I reply, “Yes, I’m ok.” …what else am I gonna say!?! hahaha
Treatment # 3 (below)… Because I knew it was going to hurt, I was a little more mentally prepared and able to endure it a bit more. It does, however, hurt FAR more than getting a tattoo. The yellowish stuff you see is my skin.. they burn it, scrape it off to expose the ink (which makes you just want to reach in and scratch it off) and then use a deep penetrating lazer to hit the ink. Yaaouza!
Treatment # 4 (below)… The left side hadn’t healed enough in the 3 week interim, so I could only get the right side treated. The photo on the left is when I took off the bandage (20 hrs post treatment). It’s wet due to washing/showering and the ooze of the wound~ oh yeah, nasty!!
The RESULT: I had a total of 7 treatments. The doctor says that this will be the best it (the ink) gets. It will take some more time for the scar to heal, but still VERY satisfied with the results.