Those of a nervous disposition, those who do not care to see my nude torso and those whose constitutions cannot handle the sight of a tube entering a chest might not enjoy this post so much. Having visited the Marsden in order to discuss my TBI (Total Body Irradiation), give my consent for it and take the first step in the planning of it, I decided the best way to give you some information would, of course, be to take my top off and show you where I’m at. The last picture I posted didn’t really tell 1000 words, but these should be a bit more informative. Here, therefore, are a couple of annotated pictures:
- In the centre of these two crosses are tattooed dots – I’d never planned to have any tattoos, but life takes unexpected turns…
- The crosses were used, with x-rays and lasers, to work out where my lungs are and measure the distances in preparation for the radiotherapy.
- This is where my Hickman line enters my chest, and then bloodstream.
- These two lumens provide easy access to my bloodstream, to take blood out and put things in (eg hydration, chemotherapy, blood products, antibiotics) through my Hickman line.
- This is where I had my PICC (Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter) lines – hence the scars.
- My hair’s growing back, though it doesn’t seem very thick yet. The radiotherapy should make it all fall out again.
The planning today was to find the spots where they will measure me up to find out what doses of radiotherapy I will need. The lungs are the most sensitive to it, so the dosage is based on what can be done without damaging them. The crosses were just for measurements, so I’ll now wash them off, but the tattoos are permanent, and will provide the starting points when I do get measured for dosage (on Friday 7th April).
If you’re a fan of lines, as I am (getting a new one is always like getting a new toy, which is why I didn’t really mind having four different lines within a few weeks at one point), you might like a better look at the Hickman, so here it is.
The scar just above the curled tube is where the line specialist (the lovely Michaela) first put the tube into the vein, before tunneling it back to where it comes out…I think. I was a bit confused about that bit, but anyway.
The dressing gets changed regularly and means that I can have showers without ruining it; it also of course keeps it protected from the scary outside world of bugs etc.
I can’t remember whether I mentioned that photos of me having the Acute Central line I had (similar to the Hickman but not quite as serious, I think) put in might appear on a poster at some point… What fun!