Before I get to molds, scans and tattoos, I will bring you up to date since my last post. I had the post op with the surgeon on Sept 5th. Since I already knew the pathology results, we mainly talked about when I would see her next (March 2014), when I would have another mammogram (March 2014) and a little about plastic/reconstructive surgery. I had great plans to have EVERYTHING completed by the end of 2013. But, that is not to be. I will need at least 4-6 months of healing after radiation before I can have any reconstructive surgery. Best laid plans …
On Sept 10, I had a consult with the radiologist. We mainly went over things that were discussed at our first meeting way, way, way back in February. When I mentioned that Scott and I were going out of town for Thanksgiving, she assured us that I could start radiation on Sept 30. Since there will be 34 sessions (the first one being the practice and information session and the subsequent 33 being actual radiation) I should finish on Nov 14.
Before the meeting, I thought that the area being radiated was the tumor site. Goes to show you what I know. I will have the entire breast, armpit, supraclavicular lymph nodes (nodes above the collarbone) and internal mammary lymph nodes (nodes beneath the breast bone in the center of the chest) radiated. The effects will be fatigue and burns. This is a lot of area to be radiated. The burns will start about half way through treatment.
Another side effect to radiation will be scarring of my right lung. I was originally told a small bit of lung would be in the radiation field. Well today I found out it will be about 30% of my lung. I don’t consider this a small bit. To me a small bit is 1%.
Today, I had the prep work done for the radiation sessions – molds, scans, and tattoos. The mold was made so I will lay down in the same position every session. It was made from material in a big blue envelop that was filled with s substance that must be like the spray foam used for insulation. The blue envelop grew around my head, neck, arms, etc like a mutant pillow.
Once that was done, the radiologist placed tape of some kind on various parts of my body that will receive radiation. Since my head was turned and tilted, I couldn’t see them. Then it was into the CT scan and out of the scan. Tape adjustments were made. Back into the scan and then out of the scan. Then back into the scan for a few minutes. Then out out of the scan.
After the last scan was completed and the radiologist okayed everything, I got my tattoos. They will be used to help aim the radiation to the treatment area. Yes, they are permanent. Yes, they are very small. Mine are blue.
This has been some kind of journey! I will always have the tattoos to remind me of this year. I don’t know how I feel about that. I already have scars from the three breast surgeries, the axillary node dissection and the port. I believe I will start looking at the scars and tattoos and instead of thinking of everything I have gone through, I will think of everyone who has been with me on this journey.