Hearts on my Sleeve - Two Years On
Two years ago I wrote an story about my first (and to date, only) scarification experience called Hearts on my Sleeve. This is the follow on to that story and details the healing process and the experience of living with a arm full of scarification in the two years since it was done. A detailed account of the scarification itself can be read in my original experience, which was written two months after it was done, but I'll recap quickly here. At BMEfest 2004 Vampy performed a standard scalpel scarification on my right arm, cutting the outline of five curly hearts from the top of my shoulder to my wrist. For about a month after it was done I used a mixture of Vaseline and sugar twice daily to irritate the cuts to encourage scarring and prevent them from scabbing.
On re-reading my original experience the first thing I noticed was my comment that despite the twice daily irritating, how quickly the scars seemed to be healing and fading from a deep purple through pink into white. I surmised that they would be completely healed to white within the year - and I was wrong. Within a year I was only about 50% healed, and two years later I'd say it was now about 75%. Keloiding was slight to moderate in most places and in those parts the scars are now totally healed and white. But in the other 25% of scars that did raise more significantly the colour rages from dark to pale pink still, and given my healing rate so far I would imagine it is going to take another two years for those parts to fade completely to white. This difference in keloiding means that while overall the scarification is even, some lines are quite thick and some have faded into almost nothing. About a year in I considered the necessity for some places to be touched up, but as it gets paler I am okay with it's slight imperfections and am happy to leave it as it is.
The tight, contracting feeling of the scars disappeared entirely after about six months and the scar tissue now appears to be as 'flexible' as the rest of the skin surrounding it. Most of the significantly increased sensitivity I experienced when touching the scars or area around them also disappeared, though there is still a slightly noticeable difference in sensation between my right arm and my unscarified left but this is nowhere near as much as in the months immediately after it was done. The itching (which drove me to distraction at times) decreased too at a similar rate, although the scars that are still pink and unhealed do still itch from time to time and I have found that occasionally and seemingly for no reason a scar or part of it will 'flare up' and become puffy and irritated for a few days before settling down again.
Overall the scarification is much less immediately noticeable than it was in the time right after it was done, of course. For me, being someone who doesn't like to be stopped on the street and asked about my appearance this has been welcome. I do still get people asking the usual question of what it is, how it was done and whether it hurt, but both the questions and the open stares on the street and much less frequent than they were. The predominant question I get asked now is whether it is a tattoo, a question that I either answer yes or no with an explanation to depending on who is asking and how I feel at the time. Reactions from strangers on the street tend to be one of general puzzlement even if I've given a detailed explanation and a favourite secondary question is whether or not it's permanent which baffles me every time. In contrast I'm also a regular visitor to BDSM clubs and the people there have a completely different reaction and set of questions - the view is overwhelmingly positive but framed within the context of the club, so most think it was performed upon me as part of a play session or ritual of ownership by a Master or Mistress which never fails to amuse me.
All things considered I am very pleased with the look of my scarification sleeve two years on. I had hoped that healing would be quicker, as my goal for the scarification had always been a pale 'embossed' look and I don't really like the blotchy effect that having the scars all different colours gives, but I'm still confident that when it's completely healed it'll look as I imagined it would. I think with the knowledge I have now of how it would look and heal I would be less tentative and modify the design to have been more ornate, to make the hearts more intricate and cover more of the skin of my arm. I have considered in the past couple of years adding more to it, but right now I think I will leave that decision until it's fully healed.
submitted by: Anonymous
on: 25 Dec. 2006