I Got My Tats

 Courtesy xkcd.com

Last week I had my first appointment to get set up for radiation. I am going to have 25 doses to my chest wall, my underarm, and the lymph nodes above my clavicle.  I gather that it’s a pretty aggressive plan. My radiologist, Dr F, likes to use the analogy of a broken glass. Chemo and surgery go after the big shards, and radiation is like vacuuming up the fragments left behind.

I met with a nurse who went through everything with me, including how to take care of my skin during the treatment. I got a little tour of the facility and then went to the dressing room to change and lock up my things before going into the procedure room. I had a marvelous technician who explained what he was doing every step of the way. I was positioned on the machine and all of the placement settings were verified. He and Dr F drew all over me with sharpies. I had to raise my arms over my head and was given a rubber ring to hold, and had to keep my head turned to the side. They did a series of CT scans so they could plan out exactly where the radiation would be focused, then the tech came back and tattooed me. They are three tiny dots of black ink that will be used to align the machine. He also took a dozen photos of my position and the machine settings. It’s going to be all about consistency when I’m getting my daily dose. I’m told that the longest part of the appointment is going to be getting changed every day! It’s great that at my hospital, the oncology radiation center is off to the side and has a private parking lot, so it makes it very quick to get in and out.

I will go back this week to simulate the treatment plan that the doctor is developing, then will start treatment next week. It’ll give me some time to gather all of the skin products that they recommend.

So another new adventure that I’m about to embark upon. I really hope that this will be easy and that I won’t be plagued with side effects. I’ve had just about enough of that, thank you very much.

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2 Responses to I Got My Tats

  1. Andrea says:

    Hi there…I’m a new reader, just began working for your husband in the past month or so. I, too, am a breast cancer survivor…you and I must have been diagnosed at nearly the same time.

    I finished radiation in mid-March. I think you’ll find it has its own issues, but generally is easier to take than chemo. What skin products are you hoping to use? And if your experience is like mine, it will definitely be quicker and yes, easier, to deal with. I did have some redness and even a little peeling nearly at the end, but it healed pretty nicely. And I’m a pretty fair skinned person.

    Hang in there…
    ~Andrea, in Ohio

  2. Pauline and Gary Sager says:

    Hi Kathy – I am reading your blog and cheering for you. I too have tatoos, although mine are in a very different place. Good luck with radiation. Mine took a while because I had to have several different sites. I hated the noise it made so took my IPod in which really helped me. I’ll be thinking of you and checking in on you. Gary and I send our love to you and Cecil

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