Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Tattoos and Beavers

So there are two things that, for sure, I never thought I would do.One is get a tattoo as noted in a previous post.  And the other is to allow my bare crotch to be photographed. Not only were both done today (I have 3 permanent tattoos--welcome gifts so I can remember my ray-cation) but they were done by men other than my husband (although he was present in the room and took a photo as well).

But let's begin at the beginning. Here is the cat scan machine where the simulation took place.

Once I'm naked from the waist down the consent to treat form appears. Can you say "vulnerable"?
Next up was to make a mold of my legs so that I will be in the same position for each treatment.

Next up was positioning me with the lasers and marking those spots with permanent marker. Then a catscan to make sure everything was lined up. Tattoos were next on the agenda but not before a dry shave (why oh why did I not foresee that I would have this again?!). I now have three of them: 2 on either side of my thighs and one in a rather delicate area as you can see below.
The tatts really are small--about the size of freckles--but still. The tatts serve as the center of very large purple crosses drawn on and then covered with tape (tape on my newly dry-shaved delicate lady parts...but not so shaved that some of the tape is clear of becoming a wax job, sans wax, when it comes time to remove it).

These lines will help them aim the radiation beam precisely at the tumor each time.
I'm set to begin radiation on Tuesday but there could be a snag in the start date. They are still working through processing insurance from IL to TX. If I were getting normal "standard of care" radiation (which means my entire pelvis and probably everything else would be lit up) then insurance is covered. Since I am having IMRT which is a highly specialized and precise form of radiation given at much lower doses, I have to have written appeals from my doctors, etc. This all means that my start date could be pushed back by as much as a week until that is approved unless I am willing to sign a waiver agreeing to pay for it out of pocket. Considering treatment begins at $85 grand I think I'll wait it out.

In the meantime I'm not allowed to swim (!!!!) or bathe in a tub. Only quick showers. For 2 months. So that sucks.

The girls are starting to ask questions about why I'm not swimming with them and Daddy and where I'm going. I've shown them my purple drawings from the doctor and told them the doctor is going to use those marks to give me vitamins every day so that my tummy will feel better. Since none of the marks are on my tummy this makes for even more questions from Kate who is smarter than she should be frankly. Lucy talks about going home every day so we're teaching her that home is where your family is and that our family is here in Houston for a while. Since this kind of talk from Lucy did not happen in July while we were in FL for two weeks I'm wondering if she is just more attached or if she senses that this isn't really vacation.

Tomorrow we're going to explore the park and figure out how far things like the zoo and the museums are from our place. Houston is not a walkable city at all and there is a large golf course between us and the playgrounds, zoo, etc. Hopefully we can find some trails that will take us on a nice walk so we don't have to drive and park. The good thing is that we always have the pool to fall back on for entertainment and to tire the girls out.


Jodie said...

It has been my experience over the last 10 1/2 yrs that dealing with insurance issues has at times been WAY WORSE than the actual disabilities that come with MS. If I'm having issues walking I can have physical therapy. No problem. If insurance is trying to keep me from medicine that is needed....there's not a dang thing I can do and the anxiety over that is maddening.

Having said all of that I think you are handling everything wonderfully, my friend. I'm not surprised, though. You are so much stronger than I think you even realize. HUGS AND LOVE!!!! xoxoxo <3

Elizabeth said...

Oh Lisa, my best wishes, thoughts and prayers to you especially, but to all of you at this challenging time. What a day you had today. Why a dry shave? Could they not let your shave at home in the bath/shower before you came in? Your outlook and attiude seem very positive although now you are in Houston I am sure it has become very real. Sending lots of positive your way,

Keeks said...

I live in Houston and you can walk either inside Rice U or around the Museums.

The good trails are in Memorial Park whc would be a bit of a drive. But really fun, especialy the Arboretum. :-)

If youre up to it, The Historic Heights District is also a nice place to visit.

Best of luck on your treatment!

Lisa said...

Thanks Jodi!

Elizabeth, I'm not sure they new exactly where the tattoo would go beforehand & frankly, I doubt it occurred to them to even notice that it might be there & suggest a more comfortable alternative.

Keeks, thanks for the suggestions! I hope we can check those out while we're here.


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