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 Radiation Tips and Experiences
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AimHigh

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Re: Krista - Wednesday, July 08, 2009 12:57 PM
Does anyone have any tips on how to best prepare skin for radiation in advance.  PABA (oral or topical), Vit E, Aloe, anything else that might make me radiation ready?  I'm finishing chemo Mon and will have surgery (not at cancer sight) before rad starts.  My skin is very fair and sensitive and if the skin gets too affected I'm in for a TRAM flap reconstruction in 6 mos.

Thanks all!
Age 39, Stage 3B Multicentric DCIS (4.5 and 1.5 cm tumors), 7+nodes, ER+/PR+ HER2+, 3 kids 6-11, one wonderful exhausted husband of 16 yrs.
Plan:  4 A/C, 4 Taxol, double mast, oophorectomy, 6+ wks radiation, 12 mos Herceptin, 5-10 yrs Armidex. 
Deb Allen

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Re: Krista - Wednesday, July 08, 2009 6:32 PM
moisturize, moisturize, but use what your doc/rad onc recommends.  Drink lots of water to hydrate the skin from the inside out.  No harsh soaps or chemicals in laundry detergent.  Think new baby skin, and what you would wash baby clothes in.  Go with that idea, and again, moisturize.

Deb/aka Mimi
Deb/aka Mimi
Dx '03, ER/PR+, Her2+, Grade II, Stage III
SNB, 18 wks chemo  36 rads; 
Rec in 07,
Bi-mast/DIEP 08/29/07; MRSA in abd incision w/resulting hernia, difficult healing
Still alive and kicking and ornery as ever...butterfly kisses to all




27islucky

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Re: Krista - Wednesday, July 08, 2009 8:16 PM
I am so tired. Beyond tired. Is that the radiation?

My oncologist said it is stress, not radiation. Whatever it is, I wish it would go away.

She gave me Aquaphor to use. I have a hard time washing it all off before the treatment. Any suggestions? The tech washed off the remainder this morning. He used cold water on a washcloth. Not fun.

27islucky
DCIS, LCIS
Surgery 5/13/09 lumpectomy
Sentinel Node biopsy
margins 1.8 cm
Radiation started 6/18/09
Radiation completed 7-28-09
Deb Allen

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Re: Krista - Wednesday, July 08, 2009 8:21 PM
27, while stress does cause tired, trust me, rads were the most fatiguing treatment I went through. 
Each day it felt like someone had put another brick on the load I was trying to pull, and the load got heavier and I got weaker.  I'd bet money your onc who told you rads don't cause tired, has not had rads.  Kinda like a male doc saying "now, this won't hurt a bit..."

As far as the Aquaphor, try applying after rads, not before.  That's what I did.  You can get through this.  I know you can.  Baby steps, baby steps.  Sleep for a while, and remember each day you are one step closer to the end of this treatment.

Deb/aka Mimi
Deb/aka Mimi
Dx '03, ER/PR+, Her2+, Grade II, Stage III
SNB, 18 wks chemo  36 rads; 
Rec in 07,
Bi-mast/DIEP 08/29/07; MRSA in abd incision w/resulting hernia, difficult healing
Still alive and kicking and ornery as ever...butterfly kisses to all




27islucky

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Re: Krista - Thursday, July 09, 2009 3:59 PM
I wonder what will come next for me. I see that many of you have had recurrances of cancer and that so many have had much more extensive treatment than I have had.

Right now I will have 12 more radiation treatments. Will I then be considered cured? What will my status be at that point? What do I have to expect?

You are all so supportive and positive in spite of what has happened to you. I know in my mind that I am lucky that my cancer was very early stage and that I am going to get past this part safely, and compared to so many of you, very easily. I am trying hard to be positive and to keep taking each day at a time toward the end of this process. It is the unknown that makes me nervous.

The doctor told me that I am doing better than I think I am. For me - because this is the only experience I have with cancer, it is both the best and worst experience I have had with cancer. I want to believe her because she clearly has more experience than I do.

What does the doctor say to you when treatment is complete?

Thanks for letting me tell you my worries.

27islucky
DCIS, LCIS
Surgery 5/13/09 lumpectomy
Sentinel Node biopsy
margins 1.8 cm
Radiation started 6/18/09
Radiation completed 7-28-09
Deb Allen

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Re: Krista - Thursday, July 09, 2009 11:20 PM
Krista, your doctor will say there is no evidence of disease.  What we call NED.  NED is our best friend.  Hon, you are already a survivor, your cancer is already on the run away from your treatments.  Some docs declare a remission, some say your cured.  Hey, this was my first experience with cancer on a personal level also.  When it is you sitting in the chair, hearing the words, it becomes so much more personal than you ever thought.

When treatment is complete, your doc will tell you when to come back for follow up tests, blood work, etc, but that is NOT to worry you, but to make sure you are healthy, and can go on living a rich productive life.  Your treatment per se may never be "complete", but monitored, and that is a safety net that we all rely on.  Remember, NED is the best man in your life, and don't let anyone tell you any different..No Evidence of Disease...NED.

Deb/aka Mimi
Deb/aka Mimi
Dx '03, ER/PR+, Her2+, Grade II, Stage III
SNB, 18 wks chemo  36 rads; 
Rec in 07,
Bi-mast/DIEP 08/29/07; MRSA in abd incision w/resulting hernia, difficult healing
Still alive and kicking and ornery as ever...butterfly kisses to all




JulieS

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Re: Krista - Friday, July 10, 2009 12:30 PM
Lucky,
Don't discount what you have been through.  My treatment was very similar to what you are doing and I feel fortunate not to have chemo but still was hard to go through surgery and rads.......let alone just the emotional stuff of being dx's.
I did get tired from rads, especially toward the end and for a month after.  I would be doing fine, then just hit a brick wall and have to lay down.  If I would nap for 20 minutes or so I felt so much better.  It is different than being tired from working all day or being sleepy........it is more like you just feel like you can't lift your arm or legs....not even one more time.   
I was fortunate to have my rads earlier in the day and wasn't working.  So I would get up, slather on my aloe, eat, walk on my treadmill, shower, and go to my rads, goop up again after and then several times more that day.....and repeat! Ugh, that seemed to be the hardest was going every day.  Towards the end, the treadmill went out the window but I still walked up the stairs at the hospital.  Remember to drink lots of water, it does help.
Let us know when you have finished and we will send you some dancing 'nanners.

Hoe and strength,
Julie S
Bothell, WA
dx 5/07 IDC
lumpectomy 6/14/07 1.5cm
er/pr + Nodes negative
finished rads 9/13
Tamoxfen 9/07- 8/09
Arimidex 8/09-
AimHigh

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Re: Krista - Friday, July 10, 2009 12:57 PM
Krista, Thanks for the advice.  As for the fatigue, I find the nurse oncologists sometimes are more straightforward/down to earth than the oncologists--maybe just mine, but all the same--I went in after 7 rounds of "dose dense" chemo (1ce per 2wks v 1ce per 3) thinking it must be time for radical action to combat fatigue.  She said, relatively speaking, chemo (notorious for fatigue at regular doses) & radiation, both cause roughly the same fatigue.  It's not stress or "in your head."  Also:  radiations' effects linger longer, so don't be surprised if it continues.  My radiologist explained that chemo affects cancer cells' (and all rapidly reproductive cells') reproductive cycle--thus sticks around longer.  My radiation onc. said to expect to need a nap by about 2:oo everyday after the first half of rad'n.  As for the Aquafor--My skin's so sensitive I've used it many times before any of this.  My guess would be something water soluable before; something like aquafor after--but that's just a guess.

Good luck!  Hugs.
<message edited by AimHigh on Friday, July 10, 2009 1:07 PM>
Age 39, Stage 3B Multicentric DCIS (4.5 and 1.5 cm tumors), 7+nodes, ER+/PR+ HER2+, 3 kids 6-11, one wonderful exhausted husband of 16 yrs.
Plan:  4 A/C, 4 Taxol, double mast, oophorectomy, 6+ wks radiation, 12 mos Herceptin, 5-10 yrs Armidex. 
Tricia Keegan

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Re: Krista - Saturday, July 11, 2009 8:33 PM
I would definatly recommend natural aloe vera, I'm fair skinned and used it after my daily treatment and before and am sure it helped me avoid being burned. I was fortunate that I only went itchy and pink!!

Lucky, I was soo tired during rads too, my onc said not but I know thats what it was...hang in there because you will get your energy back soon once you're done:)

To the best of my knowledge, few onc's will say you're cured after treatment. There is no cure for bc, but many ladies do not recurr but on message boards like this you tend to see the bad news rather than the good.
We assume we are cured, as Deb says NED is with us...it's important to call your onc though if you have any  persistant
pain or symptoms for further investigation.
Many of us are fine, and I hope you will be too but please don't waste precious time worrying about what might happen...chances are it never will:)
Tricia Keegan...From Ireland Dx July '05 IDC 3/9 nodes pos..triple positive..a/c x 4..Taxol/herceptin x 12
Herceptin 1yr ..rads x35 oophorectomy Aug '06
Currently taking Arimidex /Zometa 1 x yearly
Carepage- survivortricia
JoGrif316

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Re: Krista - Sunday, July 12, 2009 1:42 AM
The fatigue is very, very real.  About half-way through my radiation treatments (and I didn't have chemo before!), it hit hard.  I would have my treatment at 11 a.m and about 3:00, I would feel like I'd hit a wall.  I never nap, but I had to lay down.  Luckily for me, I wasn't working and had the luxury of giving into it...

It took 2-3 weeks after treatment ended for the fatigue to start to lift.  My understanding is that it can take much longer for those who also went through chemo.

Joyce
Portland, OR. DX: 6/09/05 IDC lb Age: 54 PR/HR+ Her- Lumpectomy/SNB 6/22/05 Nodes Neg! 33X Rads Comp 10/12/05 Tamoxifen: '05-'10 PT for lymphydema in breast '06 BRCA Neg 7/08! Tamoxifen induced uterine issues '07-'11 Total LA hysterectomy 12/11
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