Monday, August 22, 2005

A winged skull, a bleeding dagger?

No, just three dots. Late, as usual, for popular trends, I got my first tattoos today. I went in to the radiological medicine specialists for a calibration, of sorts. I was placed on an MRI machine, similar to the platform I will rest on for the radiation treatments, and a mold was made so that my arms, shoulders and back will rest in the exact same position each time. Then stick-on metal targets were added to calibrate the machine, I gather, and finally three little pinches as marks were permanently tattooed on my skin, on my chest and either side of my rib cage. They are just little blue freckles, you'd hardly notice them (I have a fair supply of the natural kind) but they will suffice to allow the radiation techs to line me up in the machine.

The goal of all this is for the radiation to accurately hit the tumor, without irradiating my healthy tissues too much. Later this week I will climb in again to complete the modeling process - "designed" especially for my chest and tumor - and then the actual radiation treatments will begin Monday. I've been warned of the side effects; tiredness, trouble swallowing, sunburn-like effects and so on. The literature states that the actual effects may lag a week or more behind the treatments, like the chemotherapy. But the goal is the same; kill the cancer, leave Dave. Sounds good to me. Maybe later I'll expand the tattoo into a battleship, or something.