Scheduled my First Pico Appointment - Baltimore, MD

Hi everyone! I've had so many questions about...

Hi everyone! I've had so many questions about picosure and tattoo removal in general, and i've found other people's experiences on this site very helpful in making my decision, so i'm going to share my experience and hopefully i can help others/give helpful information in return!
Anyway, the tattoo i'm having removed is 17 years old, it was my first. I still like the idea behind it, but it's in a very visible place (my forearm) and it's a Japanese character, and i'm not Japanese, nor do i read Japanese. And apparently it doesn't mean exactly what i thought (shocker! lol) it's not a complete miss, but it's not exactly what i thought, so…not very cool. And it also translates somewhat differently in Chinese, so i have had "fun" conversations with Chinese folks about it. Honestly i'm sick of answering questions about it, i feel ashamed/embarrassed anytime someone asks me about it, and i'm in my mid-30s now and feel like its time to move on! I recently heard about picosure being a huge advancement in removal technology and started doing my research. Unfortunately since this is relatively new there isn't an overabundance of info out there, and everyone seems to have different results and experiences. So i'm going to post my journey, hopefully i can help others, like other peoples journeys have helped me make my decision.
I went for a consultation last week, and everyone at the office said "oh that's easy/simple!". the tatt is relatively small (1.25" x 1.25") and all black. They said it would likely take 5 treatments, could be 6, could be 4….i hope it's 4! But they said it all depends on the ink used, how deep it is, and we won't know until we start treating. they also said i should wait 6-8 weeks between treatments, and that the first 2 treatments would yield the most dramatic results.
i'm a little nervous, for a couple of reasons. It's still warm out, and i'm nervous about having a visible somewhat-removed tattoo….but i guess that's not worse than a visible tattoo that i don't like! i guess i can always use bandaids to cover it during the process….second, and more importantly, it seems that different doctors have different perspectives on treatment (what lasers to use, how much time in between, etc) and i wonder how much i can trust these people. I have read reviews on here where people have said that the first treatment didn't seem to work that well, and so the doc "turned up the laser" on the next treatment. This makes me wonder if its possible that they would not use the laser as strong as they could, making you come back for more appointments, and so more money for them. The place i'm going seems reputable, but this is a cosmetic procedure, they are trying to make money, so are they going to prolong the process to keep me coming back? honestly this is my biggest concern. But there aren't many places with this laser so i suppose i just need to go and hope for the best. My first treatment is this thursday, less than a week away. I'm supposed to arrive early for numbing cream, and they said the treatment itself will take about 15 minutes. Although i am anxious, i'm also really excited to start the process. I am posting pics of my tattoo and will post another update with pics after i get my treatment this week :)

Had my first treatment - not so bad!

My appointment didn't start off very smoothly...I arrived when they told me to - when i made the appointment they said it was for 3:00pm and to arrive early for numbing, at 2:45.....well i got there and they said they would be applying a cream and i would need to sit for an hour! i was supposed to get back to work, PLUS i just don't like being given false expectations, so this was disheartening and frustrating/annoying. i was already anxious about the whole thing and then was given incorrect information and had to wait longer than i thought. THEN they tell me my appointment is for 3:30, and at this point it's 3 o'clock, so that's only 30 minutes of numbing, not the hour they said a few minutes before. i tried to just calm down, but let them know this isn't good practice, people have schedules and lives!! anyway, at this point i was already there and ready to have this done, i just wish they were more "together". It's no hole-in-the-wall place, either, it seems nice, but i guess the person who scheduled me didn't know what they were doing. Anyway. they put on the numbing cream and let me sit until 3:30, at which point the prep nurse came back and removed the cream, and cleaned the tattoo area. She left and i waited about 5 more minutes until another nurse came in. She told me it would be another couple of minutes until the procedure, and gave me what looked like a lint roller, but the roller itself was metal, and told me to start rolling it over the tattoo to cool it down. It was extremely cold and i just rolled and rolled until the Nurse who would be administering the treatment arrived. She finally came in at about 3:40 and described the procedure and the after-care, i asked her a few questions about how long she had been doing this and how many times she has removed tattoos (many times!), so i was finally being put at ease. She seemed competent and i was feeling better. Then she put a cloth down on my leg, told me to put my arm down there, and gave me special glasses to wear to protect my eyes from the laser. I asked her if it was OK to record the process and she was fine with it. So then she started, it was all happening quickly at this point, and the first "shots" of the laser did kind of feel like rubber bands snapping my skin, like other reviews have said. But REALLY snapping! Pop, pop, pop, she steadily moved the laser along my tattoo, with little white dots where the snaps/pops had occurred. Some shots/snaps seemed stronger than others, and she pretty quickly had gone over the whole tattoo. After the first round she grabbed a magnifier that had a light on it to look through, and went back over again to get areas in between the first shots. I lost track of time while it was happening - she had told me it would take about 20 minutes, but looking back at my video it was only about 6 minutes total. i survived and it wasn't that bad! After it was done she had me go into a room where there was an alpha wave light? maybe i have that wrong, and i forget what she said it was for, but basically a bright light that flashed on my arm for about 30 seconds, and then she brought me back to the treatment room and put ointment and dressing on the area. It looked red and swollen, and was ashy too, so it was hard to tell what was really going on. I also had a lot of adrenaline pumping. I wish i had taken some photos before she wrapped it. Once i got back to work (less than 10 minutes away) i felt waves of intense heat on the area. i would forget about it for a couple of minutes and then BAM ouch ouch ouch! bearable, but definitely noticeable. if you went through the pain of getting the tattoo, this really isn't terrible, but you DO feel some pain. sometimes much more noticeable than others, but definitely felt like a really bad burn. I am writing this about an hour and a half after the treatment, and those waves of heat are subsiding. she told me to keep the dressing/bandage on for 24 hours and not to get it wet, and after 24 hours to change the bandage and can start my regular regimen again. I am anxious and excited to see the progress...hopefully the healing goes ok and without incident. it is feeling less noticeable every minute...thank goodness!
I will post photos soon :)

pics of days 1-7 after first treatment

i am finally posting pics, will label them by day….not much to see yet, it has scabs now and just seems DRY. I'm trying to keep it moisturized and out of the sun! can't wait to see some real progress, right now it just seems like the "wound" is healing…looks like the ink under the scabs is doing SOMETHING, but i can't quite tell yet…will post pics by week :)
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