Today's radiation planning session went very well. It took about 30 minutes for the technicians and doctors to get me placed properly and calculate where to place the dreaded tattoos. I've heard some horror stories about having to stay in the same position with your arms over your head for up to 45 minutes. I'd say that I was in that position for just a few minutes, maybe less than five. Then I was allowed to relax my arms while they were back in their "command central" doing whatever they do. There was one CT scan (which showed those notorious internal mammary nodes to be looking normal) which took less than a minute. The doctors and technicians came out a few times to check and make sure I was comfortable. After they were sure about placement, the techs came out and one of them did 6 quick tattoos. They didn't hurt physically - very small needles were used. I asked about alternatives to the "lifetime" reminders but they had nothing to offer. Only one is likely to ever be visible to the public - it is in my "v-neck" area. And if my skin had any freckles or marks at all in that area, it would probably blend in and be unnoticed.
Dr. Harris told us that they will be able to radiate my chest wall without involving my heart and lungs. That is very encouraging as heart and lung damage has been a real concern. The electron beam technology allows them to calculate angles that can direct the radiation to the right areas and avoid damage to vital organs.
While we were waiting for the valet to fetch our car, I got a call from my medical oncologist and she informed me that my tumor markers (CA 27.29 test) were in the normal range. The top of the range is 38 and I was at 34. That's ten points less than they were seven weeks ago, so I am happy about that.
Today's round trip to Boston was just over four hours. We didn't encounter any unusual traffic on the way in, but it was raining a little when we left for home. And we were leaving just after 3 p.m. which is the beginning of the evening rush hour. Hopefully with the upcoming holidays, we'll be able to trim some time off this run. With students going on semester break and workers using up leftover vacation time, the traffic should gradually decrease during December.