Wednesday, June 29, 2011


In order to line up the radiation the same way day after day, set up for it involves acquiring marks on the skin. Though you can opt for Sharpie marker dots covered with tape (which, with all my swimming and sweating, I doubt would hold up), the method of choice is tattoo.

In case you haven't noticed, I don't gravitate toward pain, not for fun or fashion. I am not a tattoo gal.

And now I have three of them.

Albeit miniscule — just three dots, one at dead center of my chest and one on each side, below my armpits — receiving these was emotional for me. This may seem melodramatic, but considering that I was raised on stories of the holocaust, with recurring nightmares and true belief that the Nazis might show up at any minute to drag me away, I suppose it isn't a surprise. I found myself thinking of the tattoos given to concentration camp prisoners. Of course this wasn't the same thing, but there was a disturbing echo in the utilitarian and permanent nature of the beast.

Luckily the technician was patient with me while I came to terms with what was about to transpire. She showed me her tattooing device, a little plastic contraption with a sharp metal tip that reminded me of a protractor or some such measuring tool from high school math class,. She cheerfully offered to demonstrate on herself, showing off the little dots she had already made on her own forearm in past demonstrations. "It doesn't hurt," she assured me.

To my utter astonishment, she was right. It really didn't hurt at all. And the dots truly are tiny.

One more hurdle in the obstacle course of cancer treatment behind me, which means one less in front of me. Hallelujah.

1 comment:

Maureen said...

I got the magic marker treatment, but would have much preferred the tattoo. They put tape over my drawn in lines and told me not to get them wet. You might be told not to swim. This really upset me, but as I got into the treatment, I could see where swimming would not be helpful to my skin. I will be watching for your blogs and sending you support as you make it through this part of the treatment.