Four Leaf Regret - Portland, OR

A number of years ago I thought it'd be a great...

A number of years ago I thought it'd be a great idea to get a matching wrist tattoo with the person I was dating at the time.


Fast forward to 2012 (and now 2013). Yeah, not the brightest idea. Ironically I have a fair amount of tattoos, this one being quite small, though being that it is on my wrist it serves as a constant reminder of how much I hate it (and regret ever doing it). I've researched laser tattoo removal for awhile now and felt it was my best option. Obviously, not a decision to be taken lightly, as it is quite costly, and requires time and commitment (seeing as how the aesthetics of the tattoo changes quite substantially throughout the duration of laser treatment sessions).


Today marked my first session in a series of "x" amount of treatments to remove my aforementioned grand wrist endeavor. Though I wasn't quite expecting such substantial swelling, the pain has been extremely minimal, and the procedure itself was a total breeze. (I had been told by a number of people that tattoo removal is "so painful--a great deal more so than a tattoo itself". I'm so glad to be able to say they were hugely mistaken.


In the coming months I hope to regularly update my progress to potentially be able to help others who may be facing similar circumstances. This is not a decision to be made in haste. Starting the process means severely altering the appearance of your tattoo and skin...achieving the results we want will require time and patience. It's important to understand laser removal is not a quick fix. (For as small a tattoo as I have, the prognosis for treatment is estimated to take a year, possibly more.) I feel blessed to have the means to make this possible, but also foolish that I made the decision in the first place.


I suppose when it all comes down to it, this certainly has not ruined me--I chock it up to life experience and, unfortunately, sometimes making mis-steps. Good luck to anyone thinking about this procedure and to those who are/have undergone the process. Feel free to ask questions, and I'd more than happy to provide insight if I can!
Be well!

DAY 2 To sleep through the night I used one of...

DAY 2

To sleep through the night I used one of the Tegaderm-Film dressings my Dr gave me (which are very handy because they’re so thin and don’t restrict the area/range of mobility whatsoever, versus using a thicker more cumbersome bandage). To ensure the bandage didn’t slip or lose adhesion throughout the night I cut off the top half of a tube sock and used it as a sleeve. It worked perfectly, and also was helpful when I went to the gym tonight.

There was absolutely no pain today outside of minimal soreness, and the site appeared much less red and inflamed, although the generalized area is still considerably swollen. I did take some Ibuprofen, which was recommended, to help with swelling.

I showered with the area completely uncovered (last night I wrapped it in saran wrap simply to prevent the water from hitting it too harshly directly). Several of the blood blisters have dissolved and flattened out. In the areas where healing has begun to take place I can see that the ink is much lighter and/or non-existent.

I'm actually quite surprised by how well the area has responded to treatment, as most reviews have indicated that change is either minimal or non-existent until at least round 2.

DAY 3

The area is healing quite nicely (although the pictures appear otherwise; it is not the prettiest-looking site)--the blood blisters are healing well and beginning to dissipate and lighten. In their place is evidence of much lighter ink. Along the perimeter of the tattoo outline are areas that have become dark from bruising, and the swelling remains about the same. Today the area has at times felt like a very superficial scrape, but the discomfort is very minimal and hardly worth noting.

It's hard to believe that my wrist will potentially be in heal/repair mode for about a year. I really feel for people that have much larger pieces...though I have no complaints thus far, I surmise a bigger tattoo would be quite an under-taking and pretty inconvenient. Silver lining, eh!? :)

Day 6 The area has been somewhat sore. As the...

Day 6

The area has been somewhat sore. As the skin has begun to heal, it has tightened and dried out, so it feels similar to a pretty good scrape. Still nothing unbearable. Because it is in a precarious place on my body I have kept some kind of bandage on it to prevent exposure to germs as well as unnecessary rubbing. The individual laser points look like mini cigarette burns, and as the blood blisters have begun to heal they look almost "splattered" under the skin.

I'm not sure if this is normal, but the tattoo itself and the skin about a quarter of an inch around it feel numb to the touch. I'm assuming this is just residual effect of the laser. It's not of any major concern at this point.

The pictures I've posted are a bit rough--they definitely look a lot worse than my wrist feels. Each day that the area has become less inflamed, I can see significant lightening of the tattoo ink; which is very promising and encouraging! 23 days until my next treatment--can't wait to keep going!

Patience, I feel, is the key!

Day 6 The area has been somewhat sore. As the...

Day 6

The area has been somewhat sore. As the skin has begun to heal, it has tightened and dried out, so it feels similar to a pretty good scrape. Still nothing unbearable. Because it is in a precarious place on my body I have kept some kind of bandage on it to prevent exposure to germs as well as unnecessary rubbing. The individual laser points look like mini cigarette burns, and as the blood blisters have begun to heal they look almost "splattered" under the skin.

I'm not sure if this is normal, but the tattoo itself and the skin about a quarter of an inch around it feel numb to the touch. I'm assuming this is just residual effect of the laser. It's not of any major concern at this point.

The pictures I've posted are a bit rough--they definitely look a lot worse than my wrist feels. Each day that the area has become less inflamed, I can see significant lightening of the tattoo ink; which is very promising and encouraging! 23 days until my next treatment--can't wait to keep going!

Patience, I feel, is the key!

A little over two weeks into treatment one and I'm...

A little over two weeks into treatment one and I'm pretty amazed at the results I'm seeing already. After reading a lot of people's experience, I know it's common not to see any marked difference in your tattoo until sometimes the 2rd or even 3rd treatment. There are parts of the outline of my tattoo that are completely non-existent (see most current picture).

The area is a bit numb to the touch and has a kind of sheen to it, like any normal scar (I have read this is common and will eventually go away with time).

My next treatment is February 25th. Couldn't be happier with my results so far. Look forward to continued progress!

I completed my second laser treatment on Monday....

I completed my second laser treatment on Monday. The laser was turned up .1 so I did notice it felt a bit more intense than the first treatment. I do apologize, I know my pictures are kind of gross (the blood blisters are a bit gruesome) but I wanted to give an honest portrayal of my healing/experience. The blistering that has taken affect already is markedly different than round one. I would say that the evening of treatment 2 actually looked more comparable to pictures from day 4 or 5 from my first treatment. This is encouraging.

So I noted that when I got home from my 2nd treatment my wrist began to hurt quite a bit--I kind of panicked, because I had not experienced this with the first round. I have found though that ice and ibuprofen are the two best components for my healing. The pain subsided within an hour, and I continued to ice through most of the night. (It's still crazy to me though, even with ice, how much the area is swollen! But that happened the first time too and lasted for about a week.) I also make sure to wash with mild soap twice a day, let it dry thoroughly before covering with vaseline (as instructed by my doctor) and then covering with the clear dressing.

It's hard sometimes to tell that my tattoo is making any fading progress (since I see it every day), but looking at pictures in order is a good reminder of where I started. I was trying to locate a photo of my tattoo before any treatment at all...still looking (though I'm positive I didn't take any pictures that would showcase my tattoo because I hated it from the get go, lol).

Each day is closer to the end result. :) Next appt is March 25th.

Hope everyone else is doing well in their process!
Be well.
Heather Onoday

I was referred to OHSU because of their accessibility to the specific lasers I needed for the colors in my tattoo (The Ruby Laser). Though I have only undergone my first session, I was very impressed with Heather Onoday's knowledge and approachability. She spoke very candidly about the potential risks and even the possibility that my body may not respond to treatment at all, which was very helpful. Although I have very high hopes that this treatment will yield positive outcomes, I appreciated the fact that Heather did not present me with any false hopes or lofty expectations. She was very compassionate and kind and spent a good amount of time addressing all of my questions and concerns. Originally my appointment was supposed to only be a consultation, however, she allowed me to start my first session as her schedule permitted. I was quite pleased with her willingness to accommodate me! Each session costs $150, and she estimated that I will need anywhere from 4-12 treatments, depending on the way my body responds and the level intricacy I wish to pursue. Her care was excellent, the procedure itself was a breeze, and OHSU is an excellent institution! Time to heal, heal, heal! More updates to come!

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
5 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
5 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
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Comments (3)

Wow! I can see a difference!
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Awesome! AMAZING 2 week progress!!!
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"I chock it up to life experience and, unfortunately, sometimes making mis-steps" I like this - good way to look at it! :)

Hope things are feeling ok today, and looking forward to seeing more updates from you.

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