Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tattoo Tuesday

I'm going to start with a pretty picture. That's ANDY and VALERIE ZUCKER, who hosted us for a very nice dinner Monday night as we closed out our long La Jolla weekend. Things to note in the photo: high chair, big glass of wine, baby monitor, big glass of wine. Now that's parenting done properly. (And yes, Andy wanted to have me over because I have less hair than he does). Valerie is also wearing the top she bought at the "Shop to Stop Breast Cancer" event. She just didn't, you know, buy it in time to stop mine.

So now on to the less pretty pictures. Today was the CT scan at the radiation oncologists and much to my surprise it was also tattoo day. Yep. I'm tattooed. I thought they'd be tattooing me with the "radiation alignment" points next Tuesday, but I was wrong.

It was an interesting appointment. I was at least able to figure out the parking (last time I parked in the parking lot and then had to walk all the way around the building and the ambulances to get to the entrance; the trick is to park on the street). I started the little routine I'll be doing each morning--check in with receptionist, head to the changing room, strip from the waist up, put on ever-so sexy hospital gown (open to the back), put belongings in the locker and take the key, wait in the little waiting room with other similarly attired people...and their spouses (and yeah, that's just weird; when I'm in my hospital gown I want other hospital gown people and medical personnel only please). I had a little time to get caught up on People magazine (8 babies? seriously? She had 8 babies?) and then the radiation tech came out and got me for my CT scan. I've never had one before.

Not surprisingly this involves me laying down on a table, exposing my already over-exposed breasts and then reaching up over my head to hold on to a bar while the doctor draws on me. Yeah, draws. With a marker. That's what you see in the photo (and yeah, the marker came off on my bra afterward; nice). Then the doctor leaves, the technician draws a little more and then--the tattoos! She said it would be like a bee sting. The middle one? That's quite a bee. For those of you with real tattoos that you actually chose to do, all I can say is wow. Really? Wow. And why??? The needle for these tattoos apparently goes deeper than with a "normal" tattoo (I didn't ask why; I assume it's to make it darker?). We'll see when I wash off all the marker, but I don't think these look like freckles. And did I mention I bled? From all three "tattoos"? I've been stung by a bee. It did not make me bleed. So, what you are looking at in the photo is all the accrued external damage from the treatment for cancer (after all, the cancer is, we hope, gone...so you aren't looking at that.) Top scar is from the sentinel lymph node surgery; the one just outside the bathing suit top is from the actual lumpectomy (and no, it won't show normally when I wear a swimsuit; I adjusted for the picture; and remember these scars are "only" four months old, so they'll look better eventually), one of the blue markers is also shown (it should go away soon) and then below in the cross shape is the markers for the tattoo and the middle dot is the tattoo. Here's a closer view on the left. I happen to have a mole right below where they did the tattoo so it's confusing, I know but there you have it. That's the tattoo on my right side, then there is one in the middle just below the breast bone, and of course one on the left. That's my alignment.

The CT scan itself wasn't much. They move you back and forth under the scanner tube and there's something spinning around me (scanning, presumably) that made me feel, oddly, that I was in a washing machine without water, or movement...so yeah, I don't know why that's what I thought. Not a big deal really. My appointment was at 10 and I was back in my office by 10:40. With just a few little bandaids over my new tattoos for my trouble

I get a blood test Thursday and my appointments are now set for the actual radiation. 9a.m every morning starting the Tuesday after Memorial day. So there we have it. I am officially no longer chemo girl. I am now Radiation Girl.

OH! And my assistant Michelle did the eyelash research for me. Apparently it's common that they fall out after the 4th or 5th round of chemo! Wow. Wish I had known that before. And it takes two months for them to grow back after chemo stops (so for me, that's two months from now). I'm pretty sure my eyebrows are giving up a few as well. Mid July really will be the end of all this. I should be done radiating, have some eyelashes and have about maybe an inch of hair. Super excited about all that. Aren't you?


  1. OUCH! I am happy to hear you are radiation girl now. Which I think deserves it's own shirt, for both being strong enough to make it to this point and because the name reminds me of a super hero. Is it sushi time yet?

  2. Yeah, I've been looking at the scars for so long now they look better to me, so I forget they might look bad to others. The tattoo thing though, that's a weird one.

    I'm officially off sushi restrictions tomorrow. Woo hoo. Super hero indeed!!


Comments mean you care. That's all I'm saying.