Photo Aug 29, 1 16 07 PM

Just returned from the cancer center, freshly tattooed! It was “simulation day” where for radiation I get my own “mold” and tattoos so that everyday when I come in, the nurses can line me up in the same spot every time. The machine in the picture above is where I spent most of my time today. It isnt the machine I will be using for radiation, it was just for fitting my mold and taking some scans. I did get to visit the room I will be going to everyday because they wanted to make sure my mold fit in the machine correctly. The radiation room is very nice, with lights on the ceiling that look like windows with trees (like its over the top of the building but were in the basement). Nice to have something bright to look at everyday. They also have music playing, which I get to pick what music I want since they have satellite radio. Which is a nice little perk.

Photo Aug 29, 2 06 32 PM

Photo Aug 29, 2 06 27 PM

Getting my mold (pictured above) was interesting. Nothing like I expected, but I didnt have much of an idea in my head. I just knew I would be getting a “mold” made just for me to use everyday. Its hard to see, but in the second photo if you look, you can see the outline of my arms and my head. The mold is like a bean bag chair expect it feels less comfortable. The “table” I lay on is hard, but not unbearable. My mold isnt comfortable but it is not terrible, its just there to get the job done of keeping me in the same place everyday, not to get comfy. With my arms over my head as 4 people (2 nurses, a student and my radiation oncologist – my doctor joked ‘Wouldnt this be nice if you were at a spa instead and all of us were pampering you?’) worked around me to get my mold just right, my arms promptly feel asleep, which I knew would happen from reading others experiences. After they had me in place, I went into the circle of the machine for about 5 minutes and got scanned while staying perfectly still. After getting MRIs, that was a piece of cake. Before I went to get scanned, they put a sticker over my incision (which I was told was once again healing quite nicely) and a few other stickers with skinny metal all over where they plan to radiate. I didnt ask what the stickers were for, I assume for placements.

Photo Aug 29, 3 12 51 PM

This is one of my 3 tattoos I got. I thought I was going to get 2 (cause thats what my radiation oncologist told me last Thursday but I’ll let it slide since I like her so much), one in the middle of my chest, close to my throat cause some lymph nodes lite up there on my first MRI. And the second one being on my breast where the tumor used to be. I did get that tattoo, along with one in the middle of my breasts and one more, not in the center of my chest, rather, above my left breast (as seen in the picture above). What else you can see in this photo is my lovely broken off nails (poor nails) and a Carolina blue circle (they nurses commented how they hope Im not a Duke fan) circle around the tattoo. That is so they can find the tattoos easy the first few times. My neck is also red and a little sticky/dirty looking from the stickers I mentioned they put on me. Telling you, my skin after chemo does not like medical anything on it. It always reacts to things now. Oh and the tattoos didnt hurt much at all! That was the only part I was a little nervous about. The nurse told me it would feel like it does when they prick my finger for blood. The tattoos hurt way less than that and it was only for a fleeting second. Really glad they didnt hurt nearly as much as I thought they would.

Photo Aug 29, 1 18 17 PM

My next appointment is September 9th and I got my early morning spot of 8:30am like I wanted, this way I can go in before work and get it over with rather having it looming over my head all day. When I get radiation I will not feel anything, just have to lie on my back with my arms over my head as the machine rotates around me. The appointment will be 15-30 minutes but the radiation will only be about 2- of that . Takes a while to get me perfectly in that mold. Im posting this photo because I just kinda laugh in my head now when Im told “undress from the waste up” cause Ive been asked that so many times. Also I dont think Ive posted a bald photo since I shaved my head. You can sorta see my head is a little darker. There is some fuzz going on up there but I wouldnt call it hair just yet. Grow hair, grow! Next time I go in, the 9th, I get x-rayed, and the next time thats when radiation will begin. I will also learn about possible side effects and how to treat them (cream for a sun burn like reaction is the big one) from the nurse at that appointment as well. Starting radiation later than I would wish, but I will still finish with all of this hopefully (if I dont get sick or the machine isnt working one day) the end of October.

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