Mid-tattoo removal… trying to internalize the pain.
Like many of you out there, I initially started Googling tattoo removal simply out of curiosity (or so I thought). I kept telling myself that I wouldn’t actually want/need to remove one of my tattoos, but perhaps I just wanted to know that it was an option. Well, sure enough, a few days ago I decided to bite the bullet and go in for a removal consultation & treatment. To be completely honest, the only thing that was holding me back from ever booking the removal was the cost – there’s countless places in town (and all over North America) that charge upwards of $300 per session (there’s even a company in town that charges you by the square inch of your tattoo..), and it’s common to need anywhere from 7-10 treatments, depending on a wide array of factors (which I’ll get into later).
After spending a bit of time online one night, I came across Gastown Tattoo Removal (located in Gastown Tattoo Parlor at Abbot & Cordova) – the only place in town that seemed to have affordable removal options. You’ll need to go in for a consultation, but it could cost as little as $75 per treatment (their minimum charge) or up to $150. Hallelujah! A tattoo removal company that was open and honest about their pricing!
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-tattoos.. In fact, I have another tattoo (on my spine) that I will never get rid of. If anything, I’ll actually be going back to Gastown Tattoo to get it touched up. I know plenty of people with amazing body art, and I’m all for it. This one on my forearm just wasn’t doing anything for me anymore, though. I just want my forearm back!
I went in for my consultation and met with Ed, who is hands-down one of the most personable, friendly, no-bullshit people I’ve ever met. Another major thing I like about Gastown Tattoo Removal is the atmosphere. I know a lot of dermatologists offer tattoo removal now, but this place has character – the staff is all incredibly knowledgeable and friendly, there’s cool artwork and stencilings all over the walls, there’s music playing… I guess it just had a relaxed, safe feel to it that helped put me at ease about the fact that I was about to endure a ridiculously painful removal process.
The consultation was a pretty smooth, worry-free process. Ed asked me several questions about my health/lifestyle and had me fill out a questionnaire to make sure there were no red flags (If you’re thinking about tattoo removal, the person doing the removal has the right to request a note from your doctor as he/she sees fit) Luckily, I passed with flying colors.
So my adrenaline began to kick in around the time the laser turned on. Suddenly it became real. All the horror stories I had read about the excruciating pain began popping up in my head. When I asked Ed if it hurt, he told me straight up that it’s painful. And he was correct. Gastown Tattoo Removal actually let me and James bring in cameras to document the process, so there’s going to be a video posted in the coming weeks, where I embarrass myself in front of the internet. No, but seriously, the video is going to document the entire removal process – from consultation to completion (which is a long process, let’s be clear), but there’s little to no full documentation of an entire removal process online, so it seems like a video that could help a lot of people better understand the whole removal process, see the progress of my removal over X amount of time, see what kind of weird things might happen to me along the way, and get to know Ed & Gastown Tattoo Removal. So far, so good – it’s been 2 days since the removal, and I’m showing no signs of swelling, peeling, or blistering. But I still have anywhere from 7-9 more treatments to go! Look for our video in the coming weeks!