Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Susan gets a tat

Yup. I got a tattoo today. It's to help line me up on the slab so the radiation will go where it's supposed to go. Here's a couple of pictures:
See that lil' dot?

Here's what it looks like way up close:
Hello Kitty!
Today's visit was to make a mask & to take a CT Scan, with contrast, which is iodine injected into the blood stream. You are warned that your genital area will heat up and many people fear they are wetting their pants :) Been there, done that, checked myself. I feel like an Old Hand at some of this stuff. Once again, my juicy veins were oooo'd and ahhhh'd over by the lovely Nurse Pat. Then she stuck me.
"Just a leeettle pinch now..." they all say.

Next, The Mask. Before the scan, the two nice techs had me lay on the slab that moves in and out of the CT scanner and proceeded to nudge and move me around until I was lying Just. So. They bolted down my shoulders (that's what it seemed like ~ accuracy is obviously very important) and started putting a white gauze shroud around my hairline, covering my hair. I asked them how I would look as a nun and started singing the first line of "How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria" from the movie, The Sound of Music

Next, The Mask. It starts out looking like this:
The Mask

It feels like it's made out of the cloth similar to the disposable Olay face cloths I use to remove make-up. It is wetted with warm water then put on my face & quickly molded to my lovely contours. The edges then feel like they are somehow bolted to the slab, and there you are... Trapped and trying not to feel claustrophobic & wanting to be a Good Sport and Model Patient for all these nice people who are just trying help me, for cryin' out loud :) 

A Song! A Song! I desperately cast about in my head: I have to have a song to sing in my mind or I will rip this thing off my face and leap up off this table. Of course, the only song I could think of was "How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria" from the movie, The Sound of Music. Next, I trotted out the catchy: "Doe, A Deer, A Female Deer" from the same movie, picturing those mischievous Von Trappe children hanging from the roadside trees all dressed in their homemade drapery clothes. I sang these two songs over & over in my head for three hours while moving in & out of the scanner. Okay, it was probably more like 15-20 minutes. 

"IGNORE THE PHANTOM ITCH ON YOUR NOSE, Susan. No, you do NOT have to cough. HOLD STILL!" These stern Susan admonishments were interspaced between the verses I sang in my head. 

It wasn't bad. It's Mind Over Matter, fighting down the claustrophobic issues. Here's some cool pictures of The Mask. I get to keep it when I am done treatment, although one tech told me most people never want to see it again. I'm thinking some kind of artwork...
Cool, huh? Damn, my eyebrows look great.

Here's the slab, er, CT Scanner

My Hannibal Lechter impression. Can you understand the claustrophobic feeling?

This is Dr. Peter Ahn, another "Top Doc" in my book.
After all the scans were done, I went to see Gina, The Scheduler for the radiation appointments. I start on November the 9th with a "dry run", where they sit me down and arrange me for the actual radiation machine. Then the treatments will begin on the following Monday and continue for five days a week for six weeks. Thanksgiving & Black Friday OFF :)
I asked several of the tech's how long they thought I would be able to drive myself and they said between three & four weeks, so hopefully, I will only need two weeks of rides. Which I hate to ask for. Just ask my friend, Jill, who has been hovering over me like a mother hen, bless her heart. I hate asking for help. 

Hate, hate, hate. 

If you want a thrill-filled ride on the Schuylkill Expressway with a cranky patient, please leave a comment below or email me & I will email you Jill's email: she is scheduling rides, damn it. I'm trying to get scheduled for 11:00-11:30am slots, but Gina told me the schedule can change. She says to allow an hour for the treatment, although the actual radiation only takes about five minutes. Craig & I have dubbed it "Penn Time", as Penn's time is different from ordinary time, just sayin'. I have clocked the rides at about an hour each way, knocking on wood for bad weather & over-turned semi trucks scattering who knows what on the road. 

There! I've really talked it up, huh?

Next, a post-post op with Dr. O'Malley on the 30th. What food item should I bring in for them?


  1. Will they let you borrow The Mask for Halloween? You could take it back with you on the 9th!

    Then I guess you get it back around Christmas....hmmm...wonder how it will look in green and red....

    Take care of yourself up there....and DO let others nearby help! I hear you on that one.

    Dinah Lee

    1. Thanks, Dinah Lee; I have taken your wise council under advisement:)

  2. I am thinking you need to bring fava beans and a fine Chianti.

    Oh how you have probably relieved your friend Jill's stress. Helpers wear their canines down chomping at the "I wanna help" bit.

    Any luck you will have this knocked out before the snow! You are gonna power right thru it lady!

    Today at around 3 my time I was also singing "Doe an Deer". I am not kidding.

    Thinking of you whether I want to or not I guess.

    1. So funny about the "Doe a Deer" coincidence!

      Always love to hear from you, Miz. Munch. Hope all your parts are healing nicely & that you are making headway on your noble plan to hand-make your Christmas gifts.

  3. I have to admit the first thing I thought of was, Mrs.Doubtfire!