Thursday, 5 July 2018

Babe I'm on Fire

 3 Years of Tattoo Removal Later

So it's almost 2 months since my last session. They said that the last one might be my final but I really don't think it will be. There is good progress, there is a lot of fading. Sadly, I still have a tattoo. I had hoped it wouldn't live to see it's 16th birthday but it will. Many times now I have thought that it will be less than one year before it's gone and each time I have been wrong.

I have no idea the impact here, it's possible that if I just wait it will eventually disappear. However I know that another session will speed this up greatly. I'm going to take my time, I think he said decide in August or September if I want another one, that's still more than a month away. It's possible that by the time my awesome tan fades I won't need another session.

Black ink tattoo fading from picosure laser
5 July 2018
Looking at the photo you really can see how much it has faded. That's my arm with a tan by the way, in case how tanned I am isn't apparent. Factor 50 and avoiding the sun has once again given me a splendid tan. Among the best I have ever had.

The tattoo turns 16 on 19 September. I am still hopeful it won't, but not confident. My next decision will be when is my next session. If this summer weather continues, I'll likely wait until October for the next session. That's still 3 months so there may be some significant progress by then.
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Monday, 14 May 2018

Session 11, Picosure 7: The Force Awakens

Seventh Picosure Session

Just back from my seventh Picosure session.  I had asked for the woman who did the last session and was told it would be with her. However when I got there, I was treated by the man who had done all the others. Nothing against him, he's a really nice guy. I just felt my last session was the single biggest impact session on the whole removal journey, I genuinely felt one more with her may have cleared it. When I went in, he thought it was fading really well. He thinks at this stage that maybe this session will be my last and wondered if I even needed it, he said maybe one more at the end of the summer and then it will just be a matter of patience.

As I feel he goes lighter than he needs to, definitely for me, I suggest he go in as heavy as possible for maximum impact. He said he was going to do a double pass. I was ok with this as the last double pass was the second highest impact session. I should always question though, while she caused me a lot of pain last time, the fading is cumulative, maybe that was unnecessary, I will never know. Anyway, it's currently pretty sore. I did my wine bottle cooler thing with this one. I had expected another really harsh session so left a tea towel in the freezer overnight.  It's just over 90 minutes since the session completed, the below photo was taken after about 60 minutes of cooling. I'm going to wait until this heals before publishing (Apr 21, 15:44 UTC+1).

Tattoo 60 minutes after Picosure removal session
21 Apr 2018

It's now 14 May 2018, apologies to all who follow my blog (all 0 of you) for not updating sooner. I was away for work and too busy. Things are looking good on the tattoo front, it is definitely showing signs of fading. I really think one more, if that, is all I'll need. Going to ride this one out until September and see how I feel. If it's still pretty visible then, I'll go for what I expect to be my last session.

Tattoo One Week After Picosure Laser Removal
28 Apr 2018
The above was take one week later. It's still a little swollen and my skin is a bit red. It's not easy to see in the photo but I'm going by memory. If you look at some of the (much) lighter ink you can see it's more raised than it should be. I think the total healing time was close to two weeks. I was in California for work, while it wasn't hot, it was sunny, sunny enough for my Irish skin to burn. I was applying lots of sun cream, despite being cold.

Tattoo fading from Picosure Laser Removal
14 May 2018

I took the above today, it's getting really faint now. In some light, you can't even see some it it, though it looks visible in the photo. Like I said above, I'll wait until September before deciding if I need another session. At that stage, I'll be approaching 3 years of laser removal, far more than I anticipated I'd need. He only charged me €50 for the session on 21 Apr, it was normally €75. That's a total of €500 I've spent on Picosure, I think there was a €30 consultation fee and I spent €240 on q-switched. So far that's a total of €770 on removal. Still cheaper than the first place I went to. So that's an €80 tattoo that has cost me nearly 10 times that to remove. There's the professional awkwardness and the hassle of removal. If you want a tattoo, get one, but think about it for at least 24 hours. If you regret it, it will take a long time and a lot of money to remove.
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Sunday, 25 March 2018

Waiting For The Miracle

Not much to update. My arm has totally healed, it took time, at least 3 weeks. The fading progress has been good. This was, I think, the session which had the single biggest impact on the tattoo. I'm disappointed that I told my niece last year that I expected about another year before it is gone. Not disappointed because I lied (well, technically was incorrect), disappointed that it's taking so long. It is progressing though.

I thought today was a good time to post. It's roughly half way between sessions. It will continue to fade between now and next month. I'd like to believe that if I get 2 or 3 more sessions like the last one, it really will be gone by the end of it. It's beginning to seem impossible to me that it will ever be gone. Despite the increasing body of evidence to the contrary.

25 March 2018
This was taken just now, not quite my usual spot but same side of my house / similar lighting. Some parts have gotten so much lighter, even since before my last session. Still some dark areas but again, they're considerably lighter than they were. I have given up believing that I'll see a big break in the darker areas. They will always be the darker areas. I'm now just hopeful that in 3 - 6 months, they'll be the only visible areas. My worry is that we're now coming into what we in Ireland call summer. There is always a chance of sunny days / things that could lead to scaring or add delays to session time. The waiting time between the sessions is good, it adds to fading, but my increasing lack of patience means I just want more lasers. As the saying goes mo' laser, less tat'.

My newest dilemma, probably the biggest in my life (I wish that were close to true) is my blog layout. I initially thought I'd need a total of 6 sessions and could chart my progress in the pretty blue bar along the top. However That bar is getting tight. I may have to start consolidating my existing sessions, like so many noughties ads recommended we do with existing debt. I hope I don't cause a financial crash.*

*I'm not an economist
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Sunday, 25 February 2018

Session 10, Picosure 6: The Sixth Sense

As I climb higher with sessions, it makes movie puns even more difficult / tedious. More annoying is how I got the last one wrong. I can't believe I betrayed Police Academy like that. I had actually planned to have this posted a lot sooner after the session. This one was a slow recovery.

My session was on Feb 10th. I met a new technician in the same clinic. I had not seen her before. They seem to have taken over more of the rooms they're in and now have two separate removal studios. I haven't posted until today as I wanted to show the healing. She went at it pretty hard. It didn't hurt much, I think the last one was more painful but this one seemed more detailed. I always thought the other technician was a bit fast / light. Her style reminded me more of the q-switched sessions I'd had. Not as slow / detailed but she seemed to make absolutely sure she got every single part of it. He would more glaze over it quickly. I do think he got every part of it too, but she made sure she did.

This is the worst recovery from Picosure yet. The blisters are pretty bad and there is some bruising. I have not had bruising with Picosure before. I find some of the photos quite funny. I like how on 12 Feb it looks like it has a beard. The swelling and reddening kind of make it look like a yeti. I wish I had done my wine bottle cooler thing but didn't think I'd need to. I haven't had to on any other Picosure sessions, I think I will on the next. The blisters have been bad, I haven't burst any but I have been worried about it. The pain still isn't too bad but it just looks awful.

Tattoo before picosure laser removal
9 Feb 2018
This one was taken the day before the session. I guess this shows the maximum fading of all my previous session.

Tattoo before Picosure removal session
10 Feb 2018
This was before the session. I had shaved my arm here and thought it shows everything a bit clearer. The lighting here is better than the photo from 9 Feb. 

Swelling immediately after laser removal
10 Feb 2018
This was less than an hour after the session. Look at how red my skin was. The tattoo is quite raised from my skin and it was sore. Any sensible person would have put something cold on it. I stuck with aloe as Picosure has a very fast healing time and doesn't blister.

Badly blistered tatoo from picosure
11 Feb 2018
 The morning after the night before. Some good blistering here. The hat, the face an mainly the torso. Not only was I in quite a lot of pain, I now had to worry I'd burst the blisters too. I think at this point I regretted not putting it on ice / doing my wine bottle cooler thing.

Tattoo healing from Picosure
12 Feb
Still pretty nasty here. Very red and swollen. The blisters are still bad and you can see the bruising forming around the edges.

13 Feb 2018
Yep, still blisters and swollen. A lot of redness, it still has a beard, or at least a fat lip. It lost the fight with the laser. Sadly that means I did too.

14 Feb 2018

Aw, Valentine's day and my arm looks like the Elephant man. The hat and torso still look blistered and swollen. You can see bruising around the arm.

15 Feb 2018
Beginning to show signs of recovery. I think the swelling was almost gone, though not the bruising. Still pretty scabbed and blistered. Lot's of spot bleeding still visible.

Tattoo healing from Picosure
17 Feb 2018
This was one week later! We're getting back to normal now. Bruising has mostly subsided, still a lot of scabs. Hard to see but my skin underneath was still quite red. The tattoo still has a bit of a swollen lip.

18 Feb 2018
Beginning to look normal now. You can see my skin still looks wrong. I think I had started to put e45 on it at this stage. That wasn't a recommended ointment (by this clinic) but I knew it would soften the skin. It still looks wrong though, you can see the redness in the clearer parts of the tattoo.

20 Feb 2018
At this stage we're starting to look normal. I stopped taking daily photos because no one, neither you nor me, cares anymore. I was close to accepting that I'd be doing this for the rest of my life otherwise.

22 Feb 2018
Why Paul, what beautiful dried-out skin you I have. I see most of your blisters are gone but it still looks awful. Your tattoo looks bad and you should feel bad.

Tattoo healing from Picosure laser
24 Feb 2018
Two weeks later, still not fully healed. No longer any pain, swelling, blisters or redness but you can see my skin doesn't look right. 

I'm typing this on 25 Feb, 2018 and it's still not 100%. I don't think this will scar, it's just a slow healer. I would say that by 3rd March it will be back to normal. Then the waiting game commences.

That's the longest healing time from Picosure yet. But I'm hopeful it will also make it a significant session. The fact she paid so much attention to every spot gives me a little hope. That was my final session of my paid in advance ones. She estimated I'd need 2, maybe 3 more. She thought it was fading well. I thought it would be gone by now but is not. Next session is April, if it needs 3 more It'll be October.  I said I don't want it to have a 16th birthday but it now seems plausible.
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Thursday, 25 January 2018

First and Last and Always

I haven't really been updating much lately. Basically I've been too busy with real life and the appeal has somewhat vanished. When I started the blog I was confident we'd see a steady progression until there was no tattoo left. I still believe that to be the case, it's just I don't have an end date in sight yet. As Ive mentioned, I always assumed it would take 6 months, 12 max, for the tattoo to be completely removed. I'm now in the 24th month and it's still highly visible. It's challenging [for me] to keep a regular blog about if when I have little else to say.

I joined a gym this month, yes the January cliche. In my defense, I had been planning to join since August but could not afford it. This whole getting old malarky has made me think I need more exercise so gym it is. So far I've been pretty good about going, but it has only been 3 weeks. Of course I'm currently sick so can't go. This has impacted my gym momentum, or gymentum as they say (they don't say that). Healthy immune system and fitness is important in tattoo removal. I'm hoping that the additional exercise will help the removal. I don't think it will help in any quantifiable manner but when the ink is all gone, I'm going to say that some is down to me joining a gym.

So, most importantly, a picture. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. If you're only here to see how my tattoo looks then it's definitely worth more than a thousand of whatever nonsense I spout words.

Tattoo fading after two years of Picosure
25 Jan 2018
That's definitely fading. I weirdly feel a bit sorry for it. I don't think it's sentient, yet. But it reminds me of the cartoon acid in "Who Framed Roger Rabbit". Not as severe but being erased from time. I have booked my sixth Picosure session. It's on 10 Feb. I think today is 3 months since my last session so a little over 3. I do think I've noticed some fading since my anniversary post. But not enough that I want to wait another 3 months. I'm curious to see what they'll recommend. They initially thought 6 Picosure would do it. I no longer think it will. I have no idea what they'll suggest next. Still I'll continue with the process, blogging as I go...

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