The Start of a New Journey! -

I wouldn't necessarily say I made 'mistakes', but...

I wouldn't necessarily say I made 'mistakes', but rather succumbed to poor impulse control and lacked poor judgment with the choices I have made in regards to a few tattoos I've collected through the years that I have grown unhappy with-an uneasiness that has led me to this forum with you fine folks and ultimately led me to seek laser tattoo removal. I guess Mama was right after all, haha! Well played, ma...well played.

Tattoo regret? Sure, but I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and so this is my lot in life (for now) and if enduring some emotional and physical suffering metamorphosis into valuable lessons learned, gained insight, & imparted wisdom that I am able to in turn share with others who have found themselves in the same crappy boat, so be it. I hope by sharing my experiences I am able to restore hope to the hopeless and faith that everything is going to be okay-then this will all be worth it-much like how many others on this forum have slayed my darkest of days with their bright lights of courage and persistence-to all of you sharing, thank you! The support on here in unbelievably soothing. Your stories have been uplifting and in turn catalyzed me to make the decision to undergo and commit to laser tattoo removal despite my fear of the agony that awaits me, the monetary expense of such a commitment, and the overall process from the dreaded laser pulses through my flesh (many describe as similar to that of hot grease being splattered, and rubber bands snapping repeatedly on the skin-ouch!), to the swelling, bruising, blistering, oozing & itching, that follow-again, of course...the waiting, waiting for the lymphatic system to clear the ink and then there's the process of fading...and repeat-which lets be honest doesn't sound pretty, yet somehow has a victorious ring and merit to it...the breaking up of those tattoo lines that have encased many of us in bouts of depression and self-loathing. #WINNING

I suppose I should also mention that nothing worth having ever comes easy. It IS easy however to wish we never got tattooed in the first place, of course, but let that sentiment go-what's done is done and so it is...time to move forward! I once read a quote on Instagram from a gal that posted a photo of herself undergoing laser tattoo removal that read "being proactive about things that make me unhappy." This quote put everything into perspective-that we have the power to change the course of our journey, and given the technology available to us now-I no longer feel I have to live with the results of my said poor impulsive control for the rest of my days. Everyday is a new beginning so, LET'S DESTROY SOME INK PARTICLES! This is the my journey...

My consultation

Went in for my consultation at Dr. Schwartz's office this past Monday, met with Nicole-the laser technician. After much research I came prepared with all of my questions and concerns. She observed the area(s) and gave me a price quote-I will need at least 10 treatments for the first tattoo I am targeting which is also very large (pics and videos to come, I promise). I was/still am quite fearful of what is in store for me in regards to the threshold of pain I can tolerate whilst undergoing the treatment, as well as the aftermath of the healing process. Nicole has been nothing but great-very accommodating, informative and reassuring-I have bad anxiety & my head gets the best of me sometimes.

We also discussed options to make the process more comfortable: ice packs, lidocaine (numbing cream), nitrous oxide, taking extra strength Tylenol beforehand to minimize discomfort afterwards, & eating prior to undergoing the laser. Nicole did a small test patch on the darkest pigment to give me an idea of what the laser will feel like at its worst & it hurt pretty bad-felt like bacon grease being splattered on the skin repeatedly-but mind you I did said patch test with no numbing cream, no nothing. The test patch healed alright-it didn't hurt as bad as I was anticipating afterwards. It felt like a bad sunburn here & there but I was able to resume my life as usual. The test site remained swollen for several days and developed a few little blisters that resolved themselves. I'm ready!

Pre-PicoSure Photographs

My First PicoSure Treatment

Underwent my first PicoSure treatment this afternoon! To be honest I was pretty frightened, but fear always seems to be worse than the real deal and I am ever so thankful for that reality and especially in this scenario. Initially I was to come in at noon to numb and prep for an hour or so and begin treatment at 1pm. I had anticipated being zapped for 45 minutes to an hour and a half (depending on if I needed breaks). Not the case, given the large size of my tattoo and mainly just my anxiety, really-I decided to zap only half of it today to see how I feel, heal, etc. I was fearful that undertaking too much at once may shock my system so for my heads sake I just went for half.

Here's what I did to prepare myself: I took 500mg of Tylenol, ate a decent-sized meal despite my anxiety rendering me not hungry, I also fixed myself a fresh juice with an added vitamin and mineral supplement powder (for immune support just in case), drank 4 glasses of water and placed two large soft cold-compress packs (purchased at Walgreens) on my leg as I made the trek to the office (about a 25-minute drive). When I arrived, Nicole applied topical lidocaine cream to my leg-she rubbed it in really good and wrapped it in plastic for about 15 minutes, then...SHE ZAPPED ME! We zapped for about 15 minutes? I could be wrong, the time went by quicker than I had imagined it was going to-again, there's that fear talking. Yes it was quite uncomfortable, but it was also bearable. The dense black ink hurt most, and I was especially tender the closer we got to the knee (the only time I needed to take a 10-second break).

For those of you fearful of the pain-just look at this big mess I got myself into-I was able to get through it just fine, you can too! I probably could have zapped the whole thing but again, I wanted to see how I heal first without shocking my system (again, that's my head talking). When it was done, Nicole applied some aloe Vera gel (ahhhh, so soothing!), bandaged me up like a mummy and that was that! All in all I was in & out of the office in a little under an hour. Nicole reiterated aftercare and I left the office feeling quite proud of myself, proud for not only muscling through my fear, but for also being proactive about something I have been so unhappy with for too long-this, my friends is called growing up!

I am writing this review 8 hours post procedure, the site is pretty darn swollen, red, raw, throbbing and feeling like an awful sunburn-but again, tolerable-just don't bump into my bum leg haha! The light blue is already pretty non-existent, as is some of the lighter shading. I'm feeling pretty optimistic as this is only the beginning. That PicoSure sure is a beast! I'm looking forward to zapping the other half after this first half heals and then I'm thinking I may just zap the entire thing in the sessions to come-dependent upon how I feel in the next couple of weeks, I am a Bartender so my job is very physically active-can't let anything slow me down, I need $$$ to get that Pico! I'll keep you guys posted on my progress! Happy zapping!

Day 1 post first session...

HOLY BLISTERS!! I developed some blistering about 12 hours after my procedure. Despite their grim appearance, they don't hurt. Surprisingly enough the pain is pretty mild overall-I expected much worse-I hope I'm not speaking too soon haha. I haven't taken any Tylenol since an hour before I got zapped. I just removed the bandages & washed it for the first time in the shower about a half an hour ago and it Hardly stung at all. The area is still pretty swollen and red/sorta rash-like, but all in all I am able to get around and walk just fine. One of the blisters is so big it looks like it could reach high heaven-I've noticed most of the blisters developed on the areas with densest black ink. Sorta itchy around the area, but again, it's tolerable. I will just be taking it easy today in hopes of not bumping into anything.


Well, I sorta got one thing right, I scheduled my procedure on my Friday, allotting myself two days of R&R befor I resume work-I'm a bartender, and my job is pretty physical. So here I am behind the bar in soooo much pain! YIKES! I have a blister about 2 inches long and about an inch high, and several other dime-sized blisters. I currently have them loosely bandaged and am wearing loose pants-I thought these preparations would be a good idea as an extra measure of protection in case I bump into something and avoid any pathogen. But man I'm uncomfortable. The pain is really resonating. Not a happy campy today :( On a side note, I'd like to thank everyone who has sent me private messages and left encouraging comments on my reviews-I'm sorry you guys are all feeling this, but it really means so much to have you all in my corner, I don't feel so alone. Much love to all of you. Stay strong and keep your eye on the prize! Xo

5 days post Pico

Hi y'all just a little update: my blisters got HUGE-3 decent sized blisters joined forces into one GIANT blister, couple of them popped on their own, and I induced the largest one as it was just extremely uncomfortable and protruding-however it did not fully drain so I just left it alone half-drained. I took the night off of work last night as my leg was still pretty uncomfortable to stand or walk on for extended periods of time-last shift I worked (Sunday, 2 days post Pico), my leg swelled up to twice its size and was extremely painful after being on it for 8 hours. I also panicked haha. I must admit the healing process has been intense to a certain degree.

Today I report that the fluid inside my blisters has gone from yellow to a reddish-yellow, has anyone else experienced this phenomena? There is some red ink in my tattoo-but not so much where the blisters have formed. On the plus side, most of the blisters have started to resolve on their own and so far my leg doesn't feel as tight as it has been, and I don't feel tingly when I stand on it after resting periods. I'm going to phone the office later just to be sure the reddening of the blister fluid is normal so my mind can be at ease. Hope you all are healing well and having a great day!

Day 8/phase 3

So now that the dust has settled...massive blood blisters have been gone for a couple of days now, swelling has subsided since I woke up Thursday (6 days post treatment), And the best part is I can sleep on my other side now (YES! HAHA)...things have improved overall which brings me to phase 3: The scabbing - the remnamts of the blood blisters are pretty unsightly, looks like someone placed some pepporoni slices over my scabby post laze tat, not cute. I didn't take any photos, but I will.

The itching is sooo intense-the kind you can feel in the core. Up until this point I have not been moisturizing the area, I feel I tend to heal faster and better when I allow my wounds to dry out rather than slathering a bunch of stuff on it, but by George I may just start lubing it up to keep me tempted from scratching.

So far I see a pretty good amount of fading and I'm only 1 week in after my first session so I'm feeling pretty optimistic. I am undertaking a large piece and I know this is going to be a long and grueling process, but after talking with some of you on here I am okay with the reality. I'm okay with taking it slow and perhaps even tackling smaller sections rather than blasting half or the whole thing off at a time which is what I initially intended to do, at least for now while there is so much dense ink. I have read and heard people saying it gets a little more comfortable as the dense ink breaks up so that's something to look forward to.

I have 4 other tattoos I'd like to start the process of removal on-sounds like a drag, doesn't it? As much as I'd like to turn back the sands of time and NOT get inked-what's done is done and now it's time to restore myself to my original glory-at least as much as I can :) well that's all for now, folks. Hope everyone is doing ok out there!

Hope you're not eating as you read this!

So here we have a photographic gallery update of my scabby phase-the scabs are starting to lift on their own, I took a little peek under the loose ones and can see some areas are a little pink, but all the rest is looking good! Doesn't hurt, itches a little bit-but it's an improvement :) looks pretty disgusting actually, but I like to think of it as a small success! What was once blue has turned into a shadow-I imagine one more pass will eliminate the remnants. The light black shading is also pretty non-existent, and some of the dense black ink is starting to break up in some areas. The red is pretty unscathed at this point, I don't have much faith in the PicoSure to get rid of the red-I'm currently looking into other lasers to get the job done.

I suppose it would be helpful to mention this is day 12 post Pico So yeah! Take a look at the little gallery I put together and see for yourself. Hope you all are having a good day, wherever you are. Stay positive and love your life!
Dr. Michael Schwartz

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