Yeah so some of you smart peeps knew exactly what that previous post was about 🙂
Yes indeed, it is a true reflection of my feelings, an open love letter to me, from me. So it may be good news for some, and more than probably scary news for others, but applications are still open!
If anyone is interested and more importantly, only if they believe they meet the application criteria, please do complete and application form below and email it to me by the 15th January.
So on that festive note, feeling the overwhelming love in the air, tis the season for that after-all …it’s time for me to start prepping. The prep started yesterday already actually, when I defrosted the meat. Following a self-instituted tradition, I make “party packs” for that very special birthday we’re celebrating on Monday. It’s been a pretty cool happy ‘working’ holiday so far. Looking forward to the next few days spending time with friends and family. Will blog about some of the adventures we’ve been having as time allows in the new year.
The main subject of this blog however is the progress of my tattoo removal … ouch!
So, shortly after I discovered I was getting divorced I decided to get myself inked. A word of advice I can now share with anyone considering getting a tattoo is: Carefully select your tattoo artist. I say again: Carefully select your tattoo artist. I didn’t. Impulsively (as is my nature), I stomped into a pretty upmarket tattoo parlour (thinking the price I was paying would be an indicator of the quality of tattoo – NOT!), consulted on a design and then proceeded with having it done. Everything else was perfect – the person who consulted, a clean sterile environment – even their card machine worked fine! The big problem was the actual tattoo artist who did the work, was also going through a divorce. I casually mentioned that a divorce was the trigger for me wanting a tattoo. Unbeknown to me before the mention, was because of the mention, he felt the need to share his own horror divorce story as me as he worked. The result: An out-and-out “tronk tjappie“.
I paraded this thing for about 7 years before deciding bugger this, it’s seriously time to get it redone. Thing is though, I love my tattoo, what it means to me. The design is perfect – so I certainly didn’t want to change that, I only wanted to get it fixed. But it was just so badly done, the only way to get it fixed was to have most of the inked removed via laser treatment, then only have it redone. It was supposed to be a beautiful butterfly with the words “God Saves” except it looked like the caterpillar from Alice in Wonderland smoking weed. After 6 laser treatments over a period of two years to date, see the before and after pics below. The last treatment was on Wednesday, so in the second picture (on the right), you can still see the site is slightly inflamed and I have a small blister… but it’s nothing as bad to what it looked after the first few treatments.
Before laser treatment
After the 6th laser treatment
So another word of advice I can share is when you have a tattoo removed (or lightened because you want it redone, as I did), also: Carefully consider who does laser treatment for you. Again I thought I was doing the right thing by going to a specialist, a laser clinic that did laser treatments for cosmetic reasons. The problem was they didn’t specialise in tattoo removal per say, so the initial treatment was firstly too harsh (setting too high) and secondly they gave me some sort of clear bandage to put over it to protect the site. When I left the treatment rooms all looked and seemed fine, but a few days later when I had to remove the bandage I realised what a bad idea that was. Upon removal, it removed some of my skin too!
The laser treatment itself is much more painful than getting inked. Getting inked, in my opinion felt like my skin being pinched a bit. It wasn’t painless, but it certainly wasn’t excruciating like laser treatment.
Laser treatment feels 10 times more painful, a hot stabbing unrelenting needle. Of course, you can’t move while it’s being done. When the lady offered me a pillow to clutch before she began, I remember thinking to myself “It can’t be that bad…can it?” Yes my peeps it’s that bad! And I’ve told by health professionals that I have a high threshold for pain. I was 6cm dilated before I realised I was in labour about to give birth. This pain doesn’t compare to labour pains – it’s far worse! Another observation I have on laser treatment is a white frosting seems to form on the skin initially immediately after treatment. This is normal. When I did some research the best explanation I found is it’s a chemical reaction because of the ink in the skin and as a result of air that gets stuck under the skin.
Anyway, the time came to remove the plaster after that first treatment and then this is what it looked like. Pretty raw and ugly and it was sore! You can see from the pic where patches of skin came off with the plaster. The recommended time in-between laser treatments is 6 weeks but I waited 8 weeks before approaching a different place to do the next treatment. In that recovery time the skin on top seemed to form scabs (I’m not sure how much of it was scab and how much of it was ink). The scabs fell off about 2 weeks later.
After scabs fell off
It started looking normal-ish again about 8 weeks later and I decided to do to a tattoo artist with a laser treatment service. There they confirmed my skin had actually gotten hurt, but the laser therapist at No Regrets Tattoo Parlour explained the prognosis wasn’t all bad. The skin could heal itself if I just continued to treat it properly. She encouraged me to rub it frequently to encourage blood circulation in the area. She conceded I already had scar tissue explaining the skin naturally thickens if it’s gotten hurt. But consoled me with saying if I frequently stimulated that area with rubbing it the skin wouldn’t become hard and thick after successive treatments. Although rubbing was uncomfortable, it’s the best way for the skin to heal.
I highly recommend No Regrets to everyone wanting to get inked or getting inked removed. Be that as it may, then next few treatments were similarly painful, but because the skin wasn’t covered with a plaster, blisters formed. No plaster did however mean I had to pay more attention to keeping the area clean but more important for me is it also means my skin wasn’t unnaturally torn when the plaster had to come off. Here are some pics of the next 3 treatments.
Pretty yuck sight uh. As you can see, blistering was pretty hectic initially, but with each subsequent treatment the blistering afterwards wasn’t quite as bad. Also initially after treatment my ankle was swollen and inflamed – I guess one can equate it to intense sunburn? It was really difficult to sleep at night with that pain and for the first night or two I used to take pain killers. Another thing I discovered was Aloe Vera gel. That stuff is amazing – immediately soothes the burning sensation so in the first few days after treatment I regularly periodically and generously reapplied it as frequently as I could. Got some at Clicks for R100 and haven’t had to buy another even though I’ve just finished my 6th treatment. The expiry date is April 2018 – so hopefully all laser treatments will be done with this by then.
Treating the skin in-between treatments after blistering has dissipated also entails using a product. I used a combination of Bio-Oil tissue oil and a tattoo aftercare balm that I bought from No Regrets which also cost me about R100. The effort it takes to keep rubbing the tattoo to prevent scar tissue forming however far outweighs the price I’ve paid for any products.
So gradually my tattoo got lighter. Looked like a smudge more than anything else, by June this year – I had stopped treatment for just over a year before I started again. Now, I can see (evident in the very first after-treatment picture above) the ink is almost completely gone. I have some scarring and some hyperpigmentation (dark colouration of the skin because of the scarring) but I’ll keep on treating that with Bio-Oil for a bit longer before I get inked again.
I think new ink will probably only happen mid next year or even later next year. I’m not in a rush though. I realise it’s much better to wait patiently for something you really want and get whatever it is that you actually desire, rather than rush and get something that you not happy with and have to re-do in any case! – which coincidentally is a very similar message to my other tattoo…
Will definitely post pics of my new ink next year once I have it done.