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Cut n' Peel

So usually I'm fairly well though out in my body mod plans. I think long and hard about the mod I want, research, investigate, all that jazz. But about 3 days ago while hanging out at my friend Dan's, I mentioned that I had an old scarification on my left inner ankle that I was planning on touching up myself (I had originally done the cutting myself), and he was like "Hey man, I'll do it for you. I'll do it for free." and I was like "Yeah, sweet!" Then his roommate, and tattooist, volunteered to draw up a larger, awesomer design to fit over what was already there and extend up my calf. I was like "Yeah, super sweet!"

The next night I went back to Dan's and he showed me the design he and Adam had come up with. What I had already were 3 concentric circles on the ball of my ankle with 3 lines radiating from the outer circle. The design kept these, and then they had added a tribal wing extending 6 inches up my leg. I was super stoked, and I could tell Dan was too. It was going to be his first cutting, and what is a relatively new type of cutting from what he told me. He showed me the portfolio of an Australian cutter whose IAM name I can't remember, who had apparently perfected the technique.

The difference between deep cutting and skin removal is pretty much how it sounds; In deep cutting, the same, deep cut is retraced until the cut is deep enough to leave a good scar. In skin removal procedure, the shape is traced with a shallow cut and then 2 or 3 layers of skin is flipped up on one side, and using forceps, the artist shaves off those layers of skin.

The next day I arrived at Sin on Skin to be cut. Dan was late, but not too late, which was good. Adam traced the design on my ankle to make the transfer of the design. Dan readied the 2 types of scalpels, the forceps, the large amounts of gauze and paper towel for the blood we all expected. They asked if I wanted freezing jelly, but since I was the first to receive this type of mod in the Halifax area, possibly in the province, I declined so I could tell others what type of pain to expect. We started at around 4:45.

Dan was super excited and super nervous. I guess I was glad to see he was worried about doing a good job, so I just kept telling him how awesome he was doing. First, all the shapes were traced with a scalpel. Right behind my ankle was the most painful, just so you know, followed closely by the soft spot on the front of the ankle, just above the top of the foot.

The first actual peeling, Dan was understandably the tiniest bit hesitant. He flipped up the edge ok, but had some trouble peeling the whole shape in one piece. By the time he reached the third shape, He was holding the forceps himself, which was probably what made it so much easier for him, and cutting deeper and more painfully. But it went faster and looked awesome. On the shapes where he was peeling away from me, I could see the underside of the piece of skin and it just looked pink and weird. As he cut, the skin of my leg would be bare flesh for a second, with bright red or purple spot that were veins that were being severed, and then the blood would pool and it would just look red. When the skin he was peeling off got too thin, I could tell because the skin would look whiter from being closer to the surface and would warn him to start cutting deeper or risk have to reflip the edge. It was truly an unreal experience.

As for the pain, the tracing was no biggie. Again, down behind the ankle was the worst. The first two peeled shapes felt like nothing, except I could feel the hairs snapping as the scalpel cut through the follicles in the skin. The third shape and the ones after, after Dan was working the scalpel and the forceps himself, hurt a good deal more. I didn't cry out or flinch, but I made a couple faces and wished some of the longer cuts weren't as long as they were. It felt really... really... strange. Sometimes, when he grabbed the edge of a shape, I could feel the forceps pinching, and then when he started cutting I couldn't feel them anymore. It's a weird feeling to know that any second the piece of flesh is going to stop being a part of you and start being a worm-like piece of meat on the table and then to see and feel it happen.

During the procedure itself, it didn't bleed nearly as much as we thought it would. No squirting, no gushing, just a gentle seeping. We still used most of the gauze, but it wasn't that bad. We finished in just under 2 hours, at 6:30. Dan washed it up, took some portfolio pics,  and sent me off with some bandages and tape. I went directly to a staff party and danced for hours (not smart). About 5 hours after getting peeled, I looked down to see my pant cuff soaked in blood. I then realized my shoe was making swampy gooshy noises. I became slightly worried.

I walked home, and immediately went to the bathroom to check on it. I took off my shoe, which was dripping with blood, took off my sock, which was soaked, and then the bandage, which was almost unrecognizable. There was like 30 seconds where I just sat there looking at it, almost puking. Under the bandage, the wounds had tried to grow or clot together or something, and there was a giant mass of slimy purple/black/redness over the whole area. When I touched it, I was pretty sure I could feel my finger and thought very calmly that my leg had exploded and that I was feeling bare tissue or muscle. So I thought Step 1 either way should be to wash it, and as soon as I did the lump started to slide away and I was really glad it did.

I washed for about a half hour, and then sat with my foot propped up against the wall of the tub to decrease blood flow, as the cuts were still freely bleeding. I sat that way for another half hour, and did not stop bleeding. So I decided just to go to bed and bleed there. The second I brought my foot down, all the fluid ran back towards it, and the pressure increase was the more painful than the actual cutting and the bleeding increase by at least double. I spent the next 3 hours in bed with the foot propped up, dabbing at the wounds to keep the blood from running everywhere so it would clot.

The next morning I called in sick for work, because although when I woke up the wounds looked scabbed, when I brought the foot down, the pain increased and it began to bleed freely again. I went back to sleep for several hours, then bled my way to the bathroom. When I saw the way I had left the bathroom (blood in the tub, blood on the floor, blood on the wall, bloody sock, bloody shoe, bloody bag of bandages, bloody footprints leading to my room, coincidentally a copy of a non fiction book about cannibals on the back of the toilet), I wondered what my roommates must have thought....

I could barely walk on my left leg. Not from the pain, although there was a great deal. Every time I took a step, it felt like I was making the wound reopen. I had rebandaged, but could see a growing stain. I sat around the house all day, practicing not walking like a tard. I felt a little embarassed to be so incapacitated by something I had gotten done on purpose.

By about suppertime it had stopped bleeding. Soon after it also stopped hurting as much. When I changed the bandage later (midnight) there was NO pain and NO bleeding! I was pretty happy. It still looks like a grisly, gross open wound, but way better then it did before. To anyone thinking about getting this done, I'd say it's definitely an interesting experience, so go for it, but my one piece of advice would be to make sure you can take the next day off. PEACE


submitted by: Keegan Ink
on: 27 Nov. 2005
in Scarification

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Artist: Dan+Wiseman+%28IAM%3A+WishingForPluto%29
Studio: Sin+on+Skin
Location: Blowers+st.+Halifax

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