We’ve decided to go with the UW team of oncologists, Dr. Chamberlain and Dr. Halasz. They’re tops in the Brain Candy biz and I’m super-lucky to have access to such great talent (huge shout out to Al and Sue for making that happen!).

With these two at the helm, I feel like I’m in a highschool science fair and Steven Hawking is my partner.

Another reason we’re running with the rock stars at UW is the proton radiation machine, of which there are only a handful in the world.

The theory is this: Normal photon radiation blasts your cancer with photons, but as the rays exit your body, they can damage other organs. Now this is a big deal for me, because they’re radiating most of my brain and my entire spine, which means the rest of my brain and every major organ could be permanently damaged by the exiting photons.

BUT, with a proton accelerator, the protons strike the intended locations and then die – not exiting past their target and causing additional damage.

These machines are newish, but recent studies do show that they are indeed less harmful in the long run. And at this point, I assume we’ll get Sara to leave, but I want to have as much functioning Deirdre left after.

So this week, I was fitted for my radiation. Because my body has to be placed in exactly the same position each time, they make a body mold, a head mold, ear fillers, and a very creepy-looking face mask, all of which locks me into place for each treatment (40 minutes a day, five days a week, for six weeks, starting in a week or two).

See the photo above. That’s me own personal mask. Think Hannibal Lecter visits The Matrix.

And I finally joined the tattoo generation. They gave me six tattoos as guide points for the lasers for each treatment. OK, the tattoos (on my stomach) just look like freckles, but hey, they’re for-reals tats y’all!

So now, whenever anyone asks if I have any tattoos, I can smugly respond that yes, I have six of them.

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