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The Fitting . . . or getting a "Tat"

On December 18th, I have an appointment to have a fitting for my radiation treatments.  I want to go alone so I can get the lay of the land.  After all, I’ll be driving this every day for the next 6 weeks.  I arrive and park in patient parking.  One bonus, the spots are closer.   I walk down the flight of stairs and check in.  Each patient is given a card with a bar code to check in.  Checked in and changed into the requisite hospital gown, I’m led into the imaging room.  I’ve been here before.  This was the machine that found the faulty contura.  I’m more at ease.

When I walk in and I’m greeted by three techs.  I’m to lay down with my arms over my head.  I’m moved into the ct “tunnel”.  It covers my upper body.  Not too claustrophobic. Scans are run.  Once this is completed, they have to make a mold of my head, neck and shoulders.  I will have to lay back into a warm mold.  Since it’s warm it will form quickly.  I begin to lay back and hear, “You will want to remove your wig because the heat could melt it”.   Come on? I’m laying semi topless in front of strangers and now I have to take off my wig! I swear there’s no dignity with this disease!  I reach up and pull it off.  No reaction from anyone.  Then I remember this is an everyday occurrence for them.  They are not here to judge but to help heal. You can’t work in this environment day after day and not be a person of compassion.  I’ve always been treated with the utmost respect and caring.  They are rooting for me.  They’re in my corner.  My own personal cheering team.  They're my angels on earth.

Once the mold is made, I get my tattoos.  Yes, I said tattoo.  I ask James, who is giving me the tattoos, if tattooing is part of their curriculum.  He smiles and says it was on the job training.  I have never wanted a tattoo and am not too happy that I’ll have three.  I really shouldn’t complain there just dots.  I tell him I’d rather have tiny four leaf clovers.  Can he do that?  That would be no.  The time has come, I'm getting the dreaded tattoos. James tells me to stay still and not jump.  Not jump? Immediately, that tells me that this could be painful.  Great!  Deep breath I tell him to go ahead.  I felt a sharp pinch.  How do people handle getting a tattoo?!? He’s put two dots on me.  One on each side, just above my hips.  I will have a third tattoo on the test run.  "Tatted" up and I’m done for the day.

I ask when I’ll begin my treatment.  I tell them of my vacation plans.  I’m told it will take a few weeks to evaluate all the data to come up with my treatment plan. I will get a call in the beginning of the year.  Vacation safe, time to just rest and just be.  It’s going to be a joyous Christmas!


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