I’d always planned to get rid of my tramp stamp – an illegible scrawl of Thai writing on my lower back.
After just 5 years, the black script had already faded to a deep navy like some sort of prison tattoo and a small part of me worried that it actually translated as ‘Chicken Pad Thai’…because who knows, right?
But a drunken decision in Bangkok led me to choose to cover the relatively small inking with a big, ugly, mulitcolured carp fish.
I’d seen a girl on Miami Ink get something similar and thought it suited my 27-year-old style, which (during this brief rock-chick phase of my life), it did.
I didn’t feel particularly wreckless having this etching carried out becuase i figured I’d just get the tattoo lasered off when I got bored of it, easy come, easy go….or so I thought.
When I did bore of my fishy friend (which happened sooner rather than later), some research into laser removal revealed that surprise surprise…green ink is nearly impossible to remove, and double whammy, the same goes for tattoo cover-ups.
Resigned to the fact that Nemo was going nowhere, I put the tattoo to the back of my mind (or in this case the back of my back), and only thought about it when someone noticed I had a giant inking.
That was until I met my current partner, when he caught a glimpse of my tatt durin our first date, his face crumpled into a look of disgust, and uleashing his full brutal honesty, he revealed he hated tattoos.
Normally, I would have been massively offended and ended the date there and then, but there was something special about this guy, and I actually found his lack of bullshit quite refreshing.
So I, not so honestly, said the tattoo wasn’t a permanent fixture and I was planning on getting it lasered ( at this stage I still thought laser wasn’t an option for me, but I didnt want a stupid fish to come in the way of me and Mr Right.)
I also thought he’d just get used to my tattoo and talks of laser would fade into the background as talks of our future plans took hold.
Not so, this guy was obsessed, and took matters into his own hands searching for a laser removal clinic that could tackle my tattoo.
Through his research he found the Quanta Q-Plus C, a laser that had recently been released onto the market whose ruby laser promises to remove green and blue inks, while also promising to blast through coverups.
My surprise and delight from hearing that I could actually have my old back back was soon replaced by fear…laser removal was going to feel like my flesh was burning off….all of a sudden a lifetime supply of Dermablend seemed like a much better option.
Panicked, I started searching for real-life reviews of the Quanta Q-Plus C and was somewhat relieved to hear bloggers assurances that this type of removal was much less painful than the original inking.
Still the skeptic in me was not silenced until I actually got under the laser myself during my first appointment at Fade to Blank, in Leichhardt, Sydney.
Due to a heavy handed tattoo artist, the black ink outline on my fish was so thick that some parts were raised and bumpy (which made my partner grimace because he could feel my tattoo even when he couldn’t see it).
It also meant that blasting the black ink was painful, but with James (the laser technician) holding the cyrogenic cooling machine over the tattoo as he lasered it, this pain was manageable.
I also found distracting my brain from the pain by opening and closing my fists was helpfull too.
Things got better with the green ink, while the red was barely noticeable…why oh why hadn’t I chosen a tattoo of a big red snapper?
The best thing about the removal process was I felt no pain afterwards.
Unlike my original tattoo, (which I got the night before a long haul flight, and then found it excruciating to sit back in my airplane seat) , my freshly-lasered tattoo felt fine.
There was no post-treatment pain or blistering, just a little itching…and instant results.
After just one treatement my tattoo looked a little blurred, the black ink was no longer raised, and the red had faded significantly.
As the ink fades with each treatment the pain is reduced, so I’m actually looking forward to my next appointment to see how much of Nemo will be no-more.
I’ll track my progress here on my blog, so stay tuned for more updates.