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Photo by Jaclyn Moy on Unsplash

Bob has read up on radiation mapping, the goal of the planning session, and warns it might be scary for me.

I knew I would be positioned under the radiation machine to determine the optimal path for the radiation beams. I knew the path would be delineated on my body with tiny tattoos to guide the techs like a template. I just hadn’t thought about the needles that would make those tattoos. More needles headed towards my breast. I looked it up online and Bob was right—it looked scary.

Every time I think about it (which is a lot—this will be done on Friday) I feel myself contort, my arms crossing protectively over my breasts. I’ll be going about my day feeling fine and then wham! I think about those needles and I think, “I can’t.”

I put in a call to Dr. Grant and explain my phobia. Is sedation available? He says the needles don’t go in the breast, let alone the nipple, which was what worried me. Instead, I would be marked between my breasts, above and below, and to the right of my breast, toward my armpit. I could handle that. Plus, “They really are tiny needles,” Dr. Grant says.