Happy June everyone! Can you believe it’s June?! This is just insane to me. Time is going WAY too fast and needs to slow down. At least summer is on its way!
On Monday, I start my next step in this crazy journey. I start my first round of radiation and I’ll need a total of 27-33 rounds. My doctor told me I will know my exact number of rounds when I meet with him next week. Just like every other step in this process, it’s something new and I am nervous. I’m nervous about the side effects and how I’m going to feel. Granted, it won’t be like chemo (Thank God!), but I still don’t know how my body is going to react. I wonder if I will get burnt and how bad it could be. I’m already fair skin so I hope it’s not that bad. My doctor also advised me to cover up the area during treatment so the sun doesn’t make it worse. Yes, that means no maxi dresses and tank tops for this girl all summer. Bummer! (Hey, that rhymed. 🙂 )
As you all know, I need to be prepared with everything. I just purchased some Aquaphor healing ointment and I’m going to apply that to my skin three times a day per my doctor’s order (I can’t apply it four hours before my treatment.) I’m hoping this will help. I should be okay to wear deodorant.
I’m also really excited that I have an amazing care team. I got approved for proton radiation and this targets the exact place where the tumor was and doesn’t affect any healthy tissue or organs. I’m so happy for this because I’ve been seeing a cardiologist and they are keeping an eye on my heart. I also need echocardiograms every month now, but that’s a topic for another blog post.
I also received my radiation tattoos about two weeks ago. That was a crazy process. I wasn’t nervous at all, and then the nurse had a difficult time accessing my port for the contrast. She tried three times before calling another nurse. So, I wasn’t prepared for this and the thought that my port may not be working! I didn’t even get to numb the area because I thought I would need an IV. For my ladies with a port, if you haven’t asked for the numbing cream, do it! I never feel anything when my port was accessed through chemo. Another nurse came over and was able to access it. I was so happy that everything was okay because I need my port until February for my Herceptin infusions. Anyways, on to the tats…
For this test, you need a CT scan with contrast either through your port or IV to help the radiologists with mapping out your treatment area. I had to lay down on a table with my arms above my head and I could not move. The techs use a laser to pinpoint the exact area and you will stay in this position throughout your radiation treatment. Then, they put you in the CT scan and scan your body a few times and move you until everything is perfect. Once they have you lined up, they actually tattoo little tiny dots on your body to help you line up with the machine. Yes, these are permanent and they just look like tiny freckles. I have a high tolerance for pain, and one of them hurt a bit. After the fiasco with my port, I wasn’t expecting to get poked three times and then have the tattoos hurt! Oh well, they are just battle marks from this whole crazy journey.
These images are from Google, but it gives you an idea of what I’m talking about:
Can you even see one of my radiation tattoos?
For anyone who has already been on this radiation journey, are there any tips that you recommend?
Stay strong and beautiful.