For the first time this summer I awoke well before my alarm. In truth, I had a fitful night’s sleep and after waking for what felt like the sixth time, I rolled over and got out of bed.
What does one wear to their tattoo removal? I stood in my closet and stared at my clothes before opting for comfort. I figured if I threw up from nerves, at least I would be in my comfies. But I knew that wasn’t going to happen because I had just read The Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes and she said that by putting “it” out there, it wouldn’t happen. So in case I threw up, pooped my pants or passed out from nerves, I would be in my comfies. There . . .now nothing would happen.
I took my time changing out of my pajamas. I stood looking at my naked body one more time knowing that this was the last time it was going to look like this. I wondered how many times I had that revelation. When I found out I was pregnant for the first time, I stood in the mirror and took in my 25 year old non-mother body, but I know for a fact that I did not look at my 18 year old naked pre-tattoo body with the same reverence that I am right now. I have so much more respect for my body than I did at 18. This body that has bore me 3 children and that I treat with more care now than I ever have before.
I arrived at The Plastic Surgery Clinic in time for my early morning appointment. The clinic is a beautiful modern building just off the highway with ample parking. An older woman was waiting beside me and I told her that I was having my tattoo removed. She replied with a gentle wave of her hand, “Oh honey, if that’s the worst thing you regret about your 20s you’re golden!”
The downstairs is reserved for the skin clinic. I made my way down and checked in with the receptionist and moments later was ushered into the examination room where my technician was waiting for me. Dorota is the same technician that I had my consultation with and she greeted with a warm smile that immediately put me at ease.
Dorota reviewed the procedures with me one more time and asked if I had any further questions. Dorota excused herself to notify the Registered Nurse that I was ready to receive the local freezing. It’s important to note that not all tattoo removal clinics offer local freezing and only an RN (or someone with certified qualifications) should be administering this type of medication.
After several non-painful injections to completely freeze the site, Dorota covered my eyes with protective eyewear and turned on the laser.
Due to the small size of the tattoo that I am having treated the lasering process took about 5 -7 minutes and I felt not a thing, after which Dorota removed my eye covering.
The first sight of the area was shocking. The skin was red, raw and bubbling. I had visions of Freddie Krueger. Sensing I was about to panic (not vomit, poop or pass out – I had already put those out there, so they wouldn’t happen), Dorota calmed me down by saying that it would look bad for a few days before I would see improvement.
She then got to work dressing the wound and explaining in meticulous detail how to care for the site over the next few weeks.
It’s been four days since I had my treatment and I am following the aftercare directions to the letter. I am amazed every time I change the dressing how much improved the wound is, and by how little it hurts. I was anticipating a considerable amount of pain, although in truth it’s like a mild sunburn, but I am most anxious to see what remains of the tattoo once the redness and bruising (a side effect from the freezing needles) subsides.
Because You Asked:
Q: What does it typically cost?
A: The short answer is, it’s expensive. It’s much more of a financial and time commitment than getting the tattoo in the first place. The Plastic Surgery Clinic has a base starting price of $450 + tax per treatment and using a grid based on the size of your tattoo, the price increases. The number of treatment ranges depending on a variety of factors, some of those include:
- How old if the tattoo?
- What colour(s) ink is used?
- Is it professionally done?
- Is the tattoo already fading?
The Plastic Surgery Clinic often has specials on PicoWay. This allows clients to buy sessions in bulk and save money.
Q: I see tattoo removal offered on coupon websites all the time. Why don’t I just go there? Or why not go some place less expensive?
A: To this I respond, why? You already got yourself in the predicament of wanting to remove a tattoo, so why not learn something from your past decisions. The Plastic Surgery Clinic may be more expensive but it has the most current laser technology so you may in fact end up paying less in the long run because you require fewer sessions. But finances asides, this is the place where you want to be. The technicians are highly trained, there are registered nurses and doctors on site if ever there were a problem that required immediate medical attention, the clinic offers freezing so you don’t feel the pain and therefore can get the most of your sessions and it’s a clean, safe environment where you will feel well cared for.
Why am I doing this?
I made a choice almost twenty years ago and, I have changed. I am an evolving being, and I hope I continue to change and challenge my own beliefs and assumptions. It’s actually quite simple. It’s worth noting this is not a regret that I feel shame about and nor do I feel any embarrassment about having this removal done. I have had people say, “See, that’s why you shouldn’t get tattoos.” I have some bite marks on my tongue. Perhaps I should not have got my tattoo. And perhaps they should not have done some of the things that they have done. I am not looking for judgment or restitution. What someone else thinks of me is not my business.
This experience has afforded me the opportunity to have meaningful conversations with my sons about personal growth, change and owning our past. One of my sons tearfully asked me if I was a bad person. As much as it stung to see him hurting, I pried open that window and talked with him about where those feelings were coming from. Was he worried about what other people thought of me? Was he worried about what other people thought of him? We talked more (and will continue to talk) about how perceptions of people and their skin colour, and their appearance can lead to stereotypes and how very dangerous those can be.
So no, I don’t regret getting the tattoo and I certainly don’t regret starting this removal process.
If you have specific questions for me, send me a message or leave a comment. If you’re thinking about your own removal process, reach out to The Plastic Surgery Clinic for a personalized consultation.
To read part one of this series click here.
Thank you to The Plastic Surgery Clinic for the opportunity to have my tattoo removed at your clinic under the care of your skilled technicians. Please note that all opinions expressed are my own.