Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Tattoos!

Today I got my first tattoo. Heck I got 3 of them!
They aren't anything cool though- just 3 little blue dots for Radiation.

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Thanks to the Web :0) Here are the answers to your questions!

Why do I need tattoos to get radiation?

Tattoo markings that are used for radiation therapy are very small (around 1 millimeter), about the size of a freckle or the head of a pin. They are necessary so the radiation therapist can precisely pinpoint the area needing treatment. These permanent markings are crucial for ensuring the accurate targeting of the tumor area. It also allows the technician to line up the treatment fields quicker making each of your treatment sessions run more smoothly.

What do the tattoos look like?

The tattoos are created by placing a drop of dark blue or black India ink on the skin and then using a sterilized needle to implant a bit of the ink within the skin layer. The process feels like a pinprick, much less painful than when you have blood drawn. Each tattoo is often smaller than a freckle, which, in most cases, would not be seen by anyone other than the patient who knows that they are there or the therapist.

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Actually, not really! Its a quick simple procedure and so far I haven't had any side effects.
I do have to go EVERY day (except weekends) which sort of sucks but at least it doesn't take the 7 hours that chemo treatments did.
The whole thing takes anywhere from 30 min to an hour depending on the day and if I need to have slides, or ct scans done or if its my day to see the Dr.
X-rays or Slides are done on Mon and Wed, Mini CT scans on Friday and I see the dr once a week.

The machine they use is pretty cool.
Here is a picture of a machine similar to the one they use

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All I do is lay on the table while the whole thing rotates around me.
The head unit is capable of doing the x-rays, ct scans and administer the radiation.
Before we started, they did a complete CT scan of my chest and they used that to make a virtual "me" in the computer. From that image, they map my radiation treatments.
On Mon & Wed when they do the scans, they compare them to the virtual "me" to make sure that I am in the right place. Same with the CT scans - they compare those to the originals and adjust as needed. Prior to todays tattoos, I had permanent marker "x's" covered by little clear sticker. These are the external points that they line me up by to begin with. Then they can move the table or equipment to make sure they are in the right area. Pretty Cool!

As for that cool tattoo, I still may get it.
I never have wanted a tattoo before. But now I kind of do. Sort of a reminder and celebration of all that I've been thru.
I'm still not sure what or where but have been thinking of getting a pink cancer ribbon that dissolves into butterflies. I like the symbolism of the cancer dissolving into something beautiful. Cancer is just the caterpillar stage of my life. But I'm confident that I can transform into a beautiful graceful butterfly soon! At least thats my goal!

I kind of like this tattoo. Although I don't think I want mine to be really big or purple and of course this one doesn't have the ribbon. If any one can draw or comes across a picture, please send your ideas my way.

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1 comment:

Queen of the Chub-Chubs said...

Wow, to work in a hospital, I know virtually NOTHING about cancer treatment. The tattoos are a really good idea, but I wonder if every patient is willing to get them or if some stick with the marker "X"? Also, the cars in your last post, are those electric? How do they work?

Thank you for responding to my post about the moth! Realizing how patient God is with me is very humbling. I'm so glad you enjoyed reading it =)