So I had my second laser tattoo removal treatment today. It was immediately after my scheduled consultation with a GP a few steps away that had asked to see me again. I had been using a topical corticosteroid cream on my tattoo in an attempt to calm the redness down a bit. I hadn't really noticed a difference, but he seemed to think it was a bit better. Anyway, he said everything was all good; I could go ahead with the laser session straight after.
I went up to the clinic's desk and I saw Linda (the registered nurse and laser technician who treated me last time) and I said hello and everything and that I was a bit early and sorry for that and stuff. Then she says "Oh, Sarah's going to be treating you today" and pointed at this woman sitting next to her and I was just like "What ...?"
I told her I had a scar, and surprisingly, she became very alarmed.
We went into the treatment room, and I showed them my tattoo.
Sarah was left to take some photos of my tattoo for the clinic's records. I asked the new tech Sarah some questions about how much experience she had had, etc., but I had already decided to ask Linda to treat me anyway. I mentioned in an earlier post that I had received a text message from the clinic advertising that if I booked a session with the new technician, I'd get 40% off. I had also already decided against this. You can't buy experience.
So when Linda came back and Sarah went out of the room, I told Linda I wanted her to treat me instead of Sarah, because firstly, Linda had treated me last time; and secondly, she obviously had more experience. I stressed and stress now that I meant and mean no disrespect to Sarah.
On my tattoo, Linda said immediately that it was a keloid scar, and that it would be problematic to our treatment plan (she also said that she noticed my tattoo had gotten lighter, which is good!) I was really confused, because the GP I had just seen thought there was no problem with continuing laser treatment. He had said that the scar wouldn't get worse with more laser. But Linda was extremely worried about it, and went to get this other doctor, Dr. Yap, who was in the same medical centre but apparently owned the clinic, to come and take a look at it.
Dr Yap came and had a look, and said it was a keloid. He was very, very grim, and said that as I am prone to keloid scarring (I also showed him some scars I had from a previous operation, and he said too that they were also keloids), if I go on with laser tattoo removal, I may end up with more keloid scars. He said it may be that instead of black ink, I just have a scar in the shape of my tattoo, which I had said many times on this site, is my worst nightmare. He basically suggested that I don't go ahead with laser tattoo removal, or if I do, I have steroids injected into my tattoo a day or two before laser treatment. He apologised for bringing me this news, and suggested I have a think about the next step from here, because he thinks I stand a "decent" chance of having another keloid scar elsewhere in my tattoo, which is not good. Furthermore, he said that even if I do have a steroid injection before a session, it could do nothing and I may still get a keloid regardless.
I told them both that I'm here now, I may as well just do one more (without the steroid injection, of course), and see how I go. I mentioned to them that I had been using a topical corticosteroid cream on my tattoo in an attempt to lessen the redness of the scarring that I already have (on advice from the GP I saw earlier in the day; Dr Malek; very nice guy). Dr Yap told me to use the corticosteroid cream after this treatment, on top of the silicone sheet that I have, then to book an appointment with him in a week's time.
Little did I know this Dr Yap guy was actually sort of like the skin doctor (not dermatologist per se I guess, but just some guy who normally treats patients for their skin). If I had known that, I would have booked an appointment with this guy first and foremost, instead of just seeing Dr Malek. I have gotten conflicting information about my tattoo from both of these doctors, which is strange and very confusing.
Anyway, before I go any further, I just want to say here that everyone was really nice to me today, for some reason. Dr Malek (GP) is always a nice guy; Dr Yap (GP whom I just met today) was also really nice. But Linda was nice today too, which was really unexpected, as she wasn't very pleasant on my first treatment. Today I felt I could actually talk to Linda and she actually genuinely cared, as well as being able to casually chat to her.
Anyway, with my decision made (to go ahead with a laser tattoo removal treatment session today, against the advice of the technician and the doctor, and without the steroid injection), I got ready for some pain. Linda said that she wasn't going to laser the keloid scar, because it would make it worse. She also said that she would use extremely low settings, and treat me like I had really dark skin, in order to (attempt to) avoid causing more keloidal scarring.
She did some test patches, to gauge the settings, then when she found the one, off she went. It was over a lot sooner than I had thought, which was good because I was in a rush to get back home.
The settings she used were actually LOWER than the first session.
Spot size 5 mm; 1.8 joules.
The laser was the same: Lutronic Q-Switched ND:YAG 1064 nm wavelength.
Anyway, university starts back up on Monday, so I'll be heaps busy once again (*sarcastic* yay!). Also, I'll be getting a job working as a therapist for autistic children, which will definitely keep my hands full. But I'll be seeing more doctors about this. Dr Malek had asked to see me in 2 weeks' time, and Dr Yap asked to see me in 1 weeks' time, so I can feel less like I'm in this on my own, especially with you guys and the medical professionals here and at the medical centre looking after me :)
It's good that I'll be seeing both these doctors, actually. The more opinions I get (not just on this, but on other things as well), the better. That goes for anybody and everybody. Also, I know I haven't mentioned it yet on this site, but last Monday I was diagnosed with Rosacea. Perhaps there is, like, a review of it I could do here if I ever get laser for it? Anyway, not only is it strange that I have Rosacea, because sufferers are mainly white middle-aged women and I'm an Asian 19-year-old male, but I am at a crossroads as to how I should treat it, and I've already spoken to both my main local GP and Dr Malek about it, but now I can speak to Dr Yap about it (seeing as he is the "skin guy"), which should be good.
Right now, I'm in pain, but of course it's expected. I also expect to have the same hangover-like symptoms in the few days and weeks after treatment, just as I did last session. The laser session saw no pinpoint bleeding which was good. Also, so far as I could tell, frosting was good. Linda did indeed avoid zapping the keloid scar (so she says, but I'll take her word for it; I can't actually see where she zapped and I didn't take a video of it this time round).
I'm soldiering on, I guess.
I'll make a post perhaps tomorrow or the day after, with photos and more thoughts.