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 Radiation Tips and Experiences
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Re: Krista - Sunday, July 12, 2009 4:12 PM
I was given (from the Cancer Resource Center) some samples of a gel called Regenecare. It has 2% Lidocaine in it and it helps with pain. It relieved the burning and itching. The Walgreens drugstore had to order it for me.

Surgery 5/13/09 lumpectomy
Sentinel Node biopsy
margins 1.8 cm
Radiation started 6/18/09
Radiation completed 7-28-09

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Re: Krista - Monday, July 13, 2009 4:04 PM
Thanks again to everyone for sharing advice and personal stories. It really does help us new folks.

Is anyone familiar with "accelerated partial breast irradiation" also called breast brachytherapy? It has only been around 5-7 yrs according to the oncologist. They insert a catheter into the cavity left after a lumpectomy. You go for radiation treatments twice a day for 5 days and then the catheter is removed. The radiation is given from the inside out.

Wondering if anyone has gone thru this?
Tricia Keegan

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Re: Krista - Monday, July 13, 2009 5:57 PM
Malia, glad you found the right forum, here's a link to get you started on your research
<message edited by Tricia Keegan on Monday, July 13, 2009 5:58 PM>
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

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Re: Krista - Monday, July 13, 2009 11:50 PM
The link Tricia sent you to is discussing rads for prostrate cancer (am guessing you don't have that:-)) so the SE's won't be the in the part talking about having bowel problems.
Here is the link to the breast cancer rads, not as detailed about the different kind of rads but does discuss brachytherapy.

Hope this helps you to decide after reading up on both types of rads.

Hope and strength,
Julie S :-D
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-
Tricia Keegan

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Re: Krista - Tuesday, July 14, 2009 1:46 PM
oops sorry lol....thanks for watching my back Julie:)
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

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Re: Krista - Tuesday, July 21, 2009 1:57 PM
I just had my first radiation treatment today.  I hear that some of you get really tired and some of you hardly get tired.  Compared to chemo, which really floored me, I can't imagine being that tired with radiation.  I guess it depends on the person.  My question is, is it realistic to think I can go back to teaching first grade while doing radiation treatments?  Other patients who've had radiation treatments tell me it's not as bad as chemo and I should be able to teach.  I may have to take half days near the end of radiation, though.
46 years,Diag. 9/9/08
Right breast mast. 12/2/08
No reconstr.,Started first chemo 2/18/09
Deb Allen

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Re: Krista - Wednesday, July 22, 2009 1:31 AM
km, the tiredness from radiation tends to have a cumulative effect, and it does affect some worse than others.  Just nap when you can, be sure to keep hydrated, and don't try to over do anything.  A lot of times the amount of time your body is allowed to recuperate between chemo and rads makes a huge difference.  For me, I had less than a week between finishing chemo, and beginning rads, but I managed to work (for the most part) throughout.  I took to using my lunch hours to take a nap in my car at the local Sonic, with my doors lock, and would sleep for 45 minutes, then order a quick chicken wrap and a lemonade and take them back to eat at my desk.  We do what we have to.  You do the same, and come back with any and all questions.  Everytime you post, you also help someone else.

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


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Re: Krista - Tuesday, August 11, 2009 2:26 PM
Hi! I haven't visited the boards in awhile, but thought I'd add my experience with radiation. I finished 33 rads on 5/13 and for the most part, other than the time it took to drive there and back, it wasn't too bad. I used pure aloe vera for most of the time, but switched to Aquaphor toward the end. And yes, the fatigue is real. I had to cut back on work. The techs told me it would be like a roller coaster - some days, no problems and other times so tired I couldn't move. I had very few of the "hit a wall" days, but when I did, I took a nap and was ready to go again. I was tired on and off for 2 - 3 weeks after. I did tan and got a little pinkish, but it faded and went away. One thing that really helped was exercise - walking on the treadmill and other strengthening exercises. I actually went right after radiation and was able to stay awake while driving home! Anyway, I'm still exercising and moving on.
I would also recommend an excellent book: Anticancer: A New Way of Life by David Servan-Schreiber, MD, PhD. It's written in terms that are easy to understand by a doctor who was a cancer researcher and then was stricken with cancer himself. Each of us has our own part to do in keeping healthy. Keep your spirits up!
Carolyn, 56, Texas
dx 12/24/08,  ILC, .8 cm, ER+/PR+, Her2-
lumpec./SNB 2/20/09
Grade 1, Stage 1, nodes/margins clear
33 rads completed 5/13/09
started Femara 5/20
Dance like nobody's watching...
MaryLiz in Michigan

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My experience with radiation therapy - Thursday, August 27, 2009 12:51 PM
Here is what I learned when I underwent radiation therapy:

1) When they pricked me to make the tattoos, it hurt like bee stings. (Be ready for it, if you are going to have your own tattoos soon.) They only made three dots on me: one right in the cleavage and one on each side of my ribs.

2) Somehow, seeing those tiny blue dots on my skin made the whole cancer thing seem more real to me. I cried about it for a bit, then I felt more clear headed after I accepted the fact that I was no longer "invincible."

3) At first, it was difficult for me to give up aluminum-containing anti-perspirant. I don't sweat a lot, but once the bacteria get to work on my sweat, it ain't pretty. My own artpits aren't the problem -- if the sweat gets on my clothes, it can reek after a couple of hours. Something about my personal body chemistry. I had to think of something fast!
For me, the solution was Tea Tree Oil. It is an essential oil that I bought at the health food store. I would put a couple of drops on my fingertips, then rub it under my arms. I kept using tea tree oil long after radiation ended in January, but switched back to the aluminum-containing stuff only after the weather got extremely hot and steamy this summer.

4) I had all my radiation appointments scheduled for the early morning. That way, I could be in and out before the day really started. I never had to wait long.

5) I did radiation during the winter (in Michigan) and there were a few snow storms that made it very difficult to get to treatment. I allowed plenty of time, and even when we had to go around the long way because a road was blocked, we still got there on time.

6) I drove myself to nearly every appointment. The only time someone else drove was when my hubby had vacation from work. Some of those were the snow storm days, so it was reassuring to have someone else in the car.

7) When I came home, I would take a nap right away. By the time I woke back up, half the day was already over. I just had to cut back on my expectations and keep my TO-DO list short.

8) Toward the end of RT, I started to lose my appetite. Or else it started to seem like too much trouble to cook for myself. Not sure. But I ended up buying some healthy vegetable soups (V-8, Amy's) and some of those vegetarian patty things from the frozen food section. I had that for lunch on the days when I didn't have much appetite. When I cooked dinner, it was always something simple that didn't require me to stand in front of the stove for a long time. I would make extra so that I didn't have to cook every day.

9) I had gotten the house really, really clean before RT started. After the fatigue began, I tried to keep up, but ended up just letting the cleaning go for a while.

10) Before RT began, I stocked up on non-perishable foods and stuff like toilet paper and tissue, so that I would only have to shop for fruits and vegetables and meat.

11) Hospital gowns are always falling off. Bring a large safety pin to hold the opening closed. Better yet, wear two gowns, so that you will stay warm while you wait your turn. They keep those rooms cold because the machines require it. It might be nice in the summer, but in the winter, it's freezing in there!

12) If I felt the least bit of anxiety as I lay there on the table receiving my dose, it helped me to be able to pray for all the other people receiving radiation therapy, and for all the therapists, too.

13) I was fortunate. I never got much of a burn. I also used a product I got at the health food store, called Boiron Calendula Gel, right after each RT treatment before I left for home. At home, I used gel from an Aloe Vera plant. Just break open a leaf and rub the gel on your skin.

14) In addition to the tattoos, the therapists are going to make marks on your breast, to help calibrate your body to the machine every day. These marks are going to rub off on whatever bra or camisole you wear. So make sure you pick one that can get marks on it without your minding. My therapists used a Sharpie marker, and once therapy was over, the Sharpie ink actually washed out of my designated "radiation bra" just fine, to my surprise.

15) Before RT starts, shave your underarms. You might be too sensitive to shave on the "radiation side" after RT starts. I noticed that after a few RT sessions, all the peach fuzz fell out all over the affected breast, and about half of the armpit hair, so shaving there was not much of an issue for me. All the hair that fell out has grown back.

<message edited by MaryLiz in Michigan on Thursday, August 27, 2009 12:54 PM>
MaryLiz in Michigan

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Re:Radiation Tips and Experiences - Wednesday, October 14, 2009 11:22 PM
I wish that I had found this thread when I was going through radiation.  I got along well with radiation.  I listen to what the techs. told me and used some called Special Cream.  You have to ask someone behind the counter at the drug store or I got mine at Miejer. (You had to ask for it there also. )  And yes, it really is called Special Cream!  I rubbed the cream on the affected area 3, 4 or 5 times a day.  Remember do not have any cream on you before you have radiation.   I was told not to wear a bra during the time that I had radiation.  I thought, gosh, how can you go 6 weeks without a bra.  Believe me it was not easy at times, but found that nothing rubbed my skin and I got a little red the last few days of radiation.  I wore a lot of dark colored flowing tops!  I also heard recently that if you drink a glass of wine (red or blush) everyday that would help.  Well, I did that and didn't know it was suppose to help! 
Lumpectomy 4-24-08
2nd. Lumpectomy 5-08-08
Radiation started 6-10-08
Finished Radiation 7-25-08
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