3/4 Sleeve and So Much Regret - San Ramon, CA

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I have been following many tattoo regret stories...

I have been following many tattoo regret stories and felt compelled to tell my own. I started getting a peacock sleeve tattoo in October of 2014. At first it was the black outline, which I was pretty stoked on. The first few sessions were all black shading, too, which I was fine with. Once the color started coming, I started to become self-conscious of the imbalance of color. I kept signing up for appointments thinking that I just needed to be patient and let it all come together. Now that it is complete, I can't stand how dramatically the color changes down my arm. I'm horrified to wear short-sleeved shirts because of how the sleeve hits the tattoo. Then I decided it would look better to have my inner arm full of stuff too, so decided to put a woman's face profile (still unfinished) there. This was just a week ago. It's pretty, but too complicated. My arm feels like a mess.

I've had a few moments before the face was added where I actually liked the tattoo, but mostly just the feeling that I had made a horrible mistake. In the past week I've cried every single day and had near panic attacks even more frequently. I think a lot of this drop off has come with my decision to stop drinking alcohol for a while. I drink regularly and feel that my drinking problem definitely influenced my decision to get and continue to get tattooed. My artist, who is a wonderful artist and a wonderful person, is a full-blown alcoholic. I gave him a lot of trust with my arm and feel that my suggestions did not quite come through in reality. It somehow has seemed ok for me to bear with the tattoo until now when I finally feel woken up.

Everyone around me tells me the tattoo is great and suits me. I feel that I need this reassurance to stay barely afloat, but I can't convince myself to like it. My boyfriend likes it and is super supportive of it. The only problem is that he freaks out whenever I have a moment where I'm feeling down on myself about it. I feel stuck and with no one to speak to. I signed up for a therapy appointment, which I hope will help sort things out. I'm nearly certain that I need to get this thing removed, but feel that I should go into it with a level head and create fair expectations of my journey out of this ink.

It feels like such an embarrassment to have everyone in my life know about this tattoo and to then explain that you are about to pay thousands of dollars to get the damn thing off of you. I hope I can continue to tell myself that there is some important lesson learned from all of this. It may be to suck it up and deal with your choices and come to piece with that. Or it might be the patience of the removal process that feels like it will suck years from my life. Either way, I hope I can find some good in this. I've always been self-conscious and this might have been my cry for help. Getting a tattoo seemed like it would hide the arms I've always thought were too big for my body, but it has only made them more unbearable. I hope that I can come out loving my body for whatever it is at any point in time.

I'm now looking for a practice that performs Picosure in the Bay Area. I haven't decided anything yet, but wanted to get my story out. I love reading everyone else's story to feel like I'm not alone out there. You all are so supportive and brave and I'm so happy I found this community.

Consultation but no commitment for removal

I had my consultation last week, which helped to put my mind at ease. I was quoted at $400/ picosure session, 3-8 sessions. If I needed more sessions after the 8th they would be free. This is actually better than I expected for being in the Bay Area. The clinic is a long ways away and it sounds like the appointments will take over an hour and a half (I'll need to get the numbing cream one hour before my session). I still feel full of anxiety about this tattoo, though I'm trying to stay positive and am trying to make my self like it. As with everyone on here, there are good days and bad days. I left the clinic feeling confident about keeping the tattoo, never wanting to go through the pain and money that it takes to get it off. Then I went shopping for dresses the next day and was reminded of how much it bothered me. I guess that is how it will be for a while - on the fence!!

4th Picosure session done - Sorry I've been MIA on here!

It's been so long since I last posted, but I have indeed decided to seek removal treatment. I actually just finished my 4th Picosure session and I am not sure how confident I am in the procedure. Sorry for not posting my progress along the way - I've been ridiculously busy and have been trying my hardest to pretend the darn thing isn't there. My first session seemed promising, as it made a huge difference right away. This one was performed by Dr. Riopelle himself. The second and third sessions were performed by a Nurse practitioner (Dr. Riopelle's wife, actually) and did not achieve the same results. I was told that she performs most of the tattoo removal sessions at their office, but I think that she was being to gentle. I have a very high pain tolerance, but she kept asking to see if I was doing ok. On these sessions I had only minimal swelling compared to the first, and the down time after the treatment was only a couple of days. For such a large area being treated, I don't think this should happen.

My fourth session (January 13th) was also performed by Donna, and this time she cranked up the intensity and it did achieve a better result in my opinion. Of course, that comes with quite a bit more pain but that is absolutely worth it for me. I was swollen down to my wrist for a little over a week. Most of the blisters occurred in the green tail-feather section, which is the part with a tremendous amount of ink.

It's hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but in looking back to my original pictures I do see a bit of fading. Still not as much as many people on here, and for that I blame my 2nd and 3rd sessions that didn't accomplish too much. Again, sorry for not posting sooner. This has been a huge source of anxiety for me and my response is to avoid at all costs! I try not to look at my right side in hopes that that will make it just disappear. Either way, it does feel good to be back on here and knowing that we're all in this struggle together. I remind myself that there are good days ahead and good days now if you allow yourself to see it that way. I keep thinking that I've ruined my life with this tattoo but that is simply not true.

On a different note, I noticed that that miracle tattoo removal cream just came on the market. This is the one that everyone has been talking about - that student in Canada that has been formulating this for years. Has anyone on here tried it? I'm very curious and wonder if it's possible to use between laser sessions to help expedite the process.

Dr. Riopelle and his wife Donna (nurse practitioner) are great. Both of them are able to perform the tattoo removal procedure. They are very concerned with their patients' comfort and health during and after the procedure. The pricing is also very reasonable, especially for such a huge tattoo like my own. I've never felt embarrassed about what I'm doing with them. My only complaint is that it is hard to schedule because they are often so busy. The doctor does work every last Saturday of the month which is very helpful.

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