Marked at radiology 031816.jpg

So I misunderstood somewhere along the way. I thought after being marked up today for radiation, I would then actually start radiation if I felt up to it. Not quite. Joe had the same understanding as me though, so I’m not entirely crazy.

Today was my setup, or mapping, appointment at the radiation oncology office. First step, the nurses had me lay down to get ready for the CT scan, with a nice view of the beach to look at above me. There was a pillow lying flat under my head that was filled similar to the way a bean bag would be. My arms were raised above my head and my head was turned to my right. The radiation oncologist, along with the help of the nurses, increased and decreased the air inside of the pillow while moving me around a bit. The air was then removed and the beans inside the pillow formed a mold of my head and arms. This will help ensure that I sit still throughout the treatment.

Next was the scan, which was done in a number of different ways. I had a regular scan done initially, where I sat inside the machine while it scanned and was then pulled back out. Next I had to hold my breath for 30 seconds while they marked certain areas of my chest. I had to hold my breath for another 30 seconds to verify whether or not I am consistent in the way I move when I hold my breath.   Then I had to hold my breath for 30 seconds while inside the machine. Thankfully, the doctor had told me this ahead of time so that I could practice holding my breath prior to today. It was challenging to expand my chest fully after surgery and after each expansion so I’m glad that I had the weeks to practice. When I have the actual radiation, part of my treatment will require that I hold my breath for 20 – 25 seconds at a time. This helps to lift my chest and lower my heart so that it is not touched by the beams.

After the scans, I was pulled back out and they made some additional markings on my chest and then placed waterproof clear tape over the areas they marked and took pictures. Three down the center of my chest and one on each side, for a total of 5 marks. If the tape falls off or starts to peel, I need to contact the doctor and have them align the tape again. Lastly, the doctor confirmed that the scans were sufficient for her planning.

Next, the doctor will review the scans and determine exactly where the radiation needs to be directed. The markings will be used as the initial roadmap for my next appointment. I will eventually have small tattoos, each about the size of a freckle, which will help guide the radiation beams as well. As you can imagine, their allotted margin of error is miniscule so many precautions are taken to ensure accuracy.

So, that’s that for today. Once the doctor has put together the final plan, and my insurance approves the treatment, the office will call me to schedule the radiation. I should start within 7 – 10 days. I’m hoping for sooner rather than later, since it will be Monday through Friday for 6 weeks.

Side note, why are my glasses always crooked in the pictures that I post here?!  Are they always crooked?!  Eek!

2 thoughts on “Marked

  1. Hi my name is Sharlene and I was blessed by the gift of your inspirational notes.
    Thankyou with no support group other than my daughter who is fresh out of college and just started her first job I pretty much new I had to tackle this beast on my own after my first mammogram it took several weeks to get a letter in mail to say it was suspicious and needed another mammogram.
    Well that was the beggining of my roller coaster ride it was two weeks before Christmas how could I share this with my family.
    It was a tough few weeks the testing poking and prodding . One morning I woke up and my tank was empty had no courage left no will to continue .
    By a sequence of events orchestrated by the angels I found an organization called libbyslegacy and my fight began with an angel from this group by my side at each appointment explaining what was going on.
    They were there each time I needed shoulder to cry on.
    As my journey continues I had a double masectomy and fortunately will not need chemo or radiation I am truly blessed as I have several other major health issues.
    Through all of this I found compassionate hands and heart breast cancer outreach I was overwhelmed by such an amazing group of people.
    My goal is to get through my treatment and pass on the blessings I have received from total strangers in my time of need .
    Once again Thankyou for you most amazing gift I opened my first note tonight it was pink and therefore appropriate and certainly food for thought💕


    1. Hi Sharlene, thank you so much for sharing your story. I am so glad to hear that you have found an incredible supporter to stand by your side throughout this journey. I am happy that the Love Jars are helping to bring you a little love along the way! Stay strong!


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