Radiation markings

This post is original to Toddler Planet and may not be reposted without permission.

Would you like to know more about radiation?  Would you like to understand a bit of what it means when a friend says, “I’m in radiation, but it’s okay,” or “I’m in radiation, and “I’m so tired,” or even “I’m in radiation, and my skin is so tender?”  I’ll happily answer questions or even walk you through a radiation session, if you’re interested. 

Today, however, I’ll show you a picture that illustrates just how much of my body is being irradiated each morning. 

(picture deleted to protect my child’s privacy)

I originally wanted to post this picture (despite my bad hair day) to show you the sheer joy that is my three-year-old.  He is the light of my life, my heart walking around outside my body, and I would do anything to ensure his happiness.

But then I realized that the picture was taken the morning after I had my tattoos and markings done at the radiation center, and I got shy again and kept the picture to myself.

But this too is reality.  See the markings on my neck?  My chest? My shoulder?  Those outline the top radiation lines.  The radiation extends over my breast area and down almost to my belly button.  I know.  There are tattoos at every turn that will remind me of them forever.

When I have radiation, it’s done in several steps.  First, they irradiate my upper chest, part of my neck, and my underarm area where the lymph nodes were removed.  Then a broad sweep across my chest.  And finally, an odd angle to get the back of my lymph nodes and more of my chest, but at a different angle that spares most of my lungs.

Each day, I get these three treatments, and then I am helped up.  I change, wipe the permanent marker markings off my skin, apply a special cream to help prevent sunburn-like damage, and go home to finish breakfast with my children, send Daddy off to work, and start the day.  It’s not an ideal way to begin the day, but, for now, it’s what I must do.

27 Responses to Radiation markings

  1. Heather! says:

    You know, if you hadn’t mentioned the tattoos, I don’t think I would have even noticed. The smiles! Oh those smiles!

  2. I didn’t notice the dots until you mentioned them and then I had to go looking. All I saw was those huge smiles! Your 3 yr old is simply adorable – as are you! Look at all your hair!!! 🙂

    You are beautiful. You are brave.

  3. JR says:

    In some parts of the world (including the south Pacific, where I was born) young men and women traditionally received tattoos or scars as part of rites of passage. Maybe those are your warrior marks.

    (Having looked at the picture before I read the post — and being the bespeckled type myself — I did just think they were freckles or moles.)

    The two of you look so radiant.

  4. Amy says:

    I’ve been reading your blog for quite some time. I’m glad to hear that things are going as ‘smoothly’ as they can go.

    You are a brave soul! You’ve endured more than most women shall ever have to overcome. You’ve been in my prayers! Thanks for keeping us up-to-date and sharing even your hardest moments!

  5. MammaLoves says:

    I see them on you as a badge of bravery. One that is WELL-deserved.

  6. Thanks so much for sharing…..I suppose I’m 8 months or so behind you….I’m only on my second chemo session. I really appreciate the details…..if you wonder if they are important….they are to me! I have no one to ask and there is never enough time in a dr. appointment….

    Thank-you….you are an inspiration!

  7. Kacy says:

    You say the little fella is the light of life and rightly so, I would say with a smile like that he would light up many lives.

  8. Mama DB says:

    I had no idea there were tattoos until you mentioned it. I was dazzled by the gorgeous smiles of the photo before I began reading the post.

    You both look so happy. It made me happy just to see the picture.


  9. diva65 says:

    Faces filled with pure joy and love is all I see!!

  10. workoutmommy says:

    I have to agree, I never even noticed the markings because I was focused on your adorable little boy! Mine is a little bit younger, but makes almost the same big smile!

  11. He has your smile. And you are both gorgeous!!

    BAD hair day??! I think not!! I can’t believe how fast it’s growing!!!

    I love JR’s idea above of regarding your tattoos as “warrior marks”. That’s just about perfect!! Although… as many others have remarked, I would never have even noticed them, had you not pointed them out. Those smiles are all you see in that photo, WM…

    xo CGF

  12. Smiling Mom says:

    Wow. Radiation means you are close to done. Hang in there!

  13. clairej says:

    those are cool tattoos … join ’em up, make something bold come to life 🙂

  14. Hair? Meh. It looks fabulous to me.

    Tattoos? I thought they were moles. I had to look really really closely to see the slight pattern to them.

    Smiles? Beautiful. Radiating love.

  15. Sarah S. says:

    I did not even notice the tatoos until I read your post. I just love the picture. The thing that is most evident in the picture is LOVE!

    You are looking so good!

  16. mamma says:

    I saw your smile and your hair, both beautiful btw, I honestly didn’t even see the marks..your hair has grown so much, looks like a cute short do…love it!!!!!

  17. tracey says:

    Yeah, what they said… I thought they were freckles! All I saw were your 2 huge smiles! And I thought you were remarking on how radiation was “radiating” throughout your happy faces… 🙂

    I like the warrior markings comparison. Especially since you are definitely fighting a battle.

  18. Brett says:

    I never would have noticed those- the only thing I saw in that picture was the pure joy and light coming out of your beautiful smiles!

  19. What a beautiful picture!!!

  20. OMG!!! Is he not just the cutest, happiest little boy?!?!?!

    And you, girl, bee-a-uuu-TI-ful!!!!

    Thank you for sharing 🙂

  21. Ally says:

    Who can see little dots when there are huge smiles and abundant love present?

    Keep up the good work you are doing. I know this can’t be easy.

  22. liz says:

    thank you for sharing this. very brave.

    if you hadn’t mentioned it i only would have seen that beautiful smile on your son’s face and yours.

  23. Susan K says:

    OK, so showing how nerdly I am… are you a Trill?

    (Star Trek Deep Space Nine alien for the uninitiated).

    You look great Susan! As does your little guy.

  24. twithhoney says:

    I knew what was coming and even planned to look for those tattoos. But I was completely distracted by the huge grins on your faces that I forgot until I continued reading your post.

    Keep that smile on your face and that will be the first thing anyone notices about you!

  25. […] radiation, after the first appointment where you meet with the doctor, and the second appointment where you get all marked up and then get tattoos.  (I need to clarify here: the markings I showed in my last post are just […]

  26. “my heart walking around outside my body,” that is the most beautiful way I have ever heard anyone describe anything. I might have to borrow that line. I lurk here a lot, and keep you in my thoughts for health and happiness.

  27. OH, he’s a looker, that little guy! So sweet, what wonderful smiles on you both!

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