Now with tattoos!

November 16, 2010

Today I had my second radiotherapy treatment and so far so good. It is a bit of a different experience than chemo – very non-invasive and space-agey. I particularly like that it doesn’t involve needles – or at least not after you have the tattoos…..

Last Monday I was in to be scanned so they could plan the radiotherapy – this involves tattooing little marks on me so that they can line me up precisely with the machine so that it zaps me in exactly the same places each time – apparently with 1mm precision which is fairly impressive. Luckily the marks are tiny – basically it looks like someone has made little dots with a biro – and I have so many moles already I’m not sure anyone will ever notice them (except that they are blue!).

Hubbie came with me for the first zap yesterday when I also had a meeting where they could tell me what was about to happen, about the lovely side-effects I can expect and how to deal with them etc. It is invaluable having him there for these meetings so that when things start happening to my body I can discuss with him rather than just panicking! He was also allowed to come into the room and see Mr. Machine. He is impressive! (not my hubbie – Mr. Machine! – though my hubbie is fairly impressive too!).  

Then it was down to business. They start by spending quite a bit of time lining me up – the machine has lasers which they line up with my tattoos so that I am lying exactly right. Then they all leave the room and I’m left alone with Mr. Machine. I have to lie completely still while he does his stuff – he rotates around me going “bzzzzzz” for 20 seconds at a time – I think it is 13 times in all. You don’t feel a thing. Actually I really don’t feel a thing at all in my arms – I already have a problem with my hand sleeping but I have to lie with my arms above my head so my arms go completely numb which is really uncomfortable.

They suggested I bring my kids in to see what they are doing to me so I took them with me today and I was totally impressed with how sweet they were with them. While I was being lined up they explained to them exactly what they were doing and while I was being zapped they got to sit out in the control room and saw my x-rays (they take two x-rays before they start each time) and could watch on the camera while Mr. Machine did his thing. The main reason for taking them was to demystify what they are doing to me, but I think most people would probably find it quite interesting! (though I probably won’t invite any more of you along since I am naked from the waist up while it happens – for the same reason I won’t be posting any photos you will be please to know!).

Apparently it is going to take about a week before the side-effects start to kick in, so I’m enjoying the calm before the storm. The only thing I have to be careful with just now is not to use perfumed products on the zapped areas, so I’ve put away all my lovely smellies and procured some boring perfume free stuff to use in the meantime. I am actually not supposed to use deodorant at all, but this is a bit of a bad combi with hot flushes so I’m trying with a perfume-free one and crossing my fingers!

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One Response to “Now with tattoos!”

  1. Margaret Robinson Says:

    Hi Kirsten, just found your blog (via Rebecca D). I see the Scottish humour is still intact. That day we walked around the running shops in Germany I think I mentioned that running was not good for you – vindicated or what? I hope things improve fast, we need you for the Scottish Commonwealth games in 2014! Hope your journey back to health is quick and painless.

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