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 Radiation Tips and Experiences
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Re:Radiation Tips and Experiences - Sunday, March 20, 2011 7:05 AM
I will be starting radiation in the next couple of months so I am doing my research.  Is there anything else to expect from radiation?  

I know to expect being tired and the dry, sore burnt skin.

Please tell me that there is no nausea.  I read that could be a side effect. 
Loss of appetite? 
Does the skin actually blister and break open?

After nodes are removed and I able to really exercise that arm ( with  3# weights )  How carefully do I have to be to avoid lymphedema?

I was told that I have only about a 20 - 30% chance of getting Lymphedema......I would like a show of hands how many of you suffered/suffer from it!  I am already worried, because I sleep with my arms under my pillow.

I know that I got off on another subject.....sorry!

Kim Taylor,  40, KC MO 
DX 10-13-10 IDC Stage II, 1 node tested was + 
Port 10-28-10 
Taxol x 12 DONE!!!!!
 A/C x 4 DONE!!!
Surgery 4-7-11

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Re:Radiation Tips and Experiences - Sunday, March 20, 2011 5:55 PM
After doing chemo...rads is easy-peasy!    I do not see why you can't exercise with a 3 lb weight.  Of course you should ask your dr first.  When I did rads my onco wanted me to stretch out my arm every day to keep the skin and muscles loose.  I think the nausea is caused if you have rads on your tummy or throat...I haven't heard of anyone having nausea from rads for bc.
With only 1 node removed the chances of lymphadema (sp) are small.  My rads onco mostly told me not to get pokes or sticks, bp taken or continually carry something heavy in that hand.  I try to be careful but don't obsess over it.
Hope 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-
Tricia Keegan

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Re:Radiation Tips and Experiences - Sunday, March 20, 2011 7:08 PM

No nausea at all here, and agree with Julie thats for other types of rads. 

My exercise was mostly swimming which my rad onc said was great for my arm, so can't advise on weights but do check, Elaine may know as she does weights regularly during tx and after.

Rads was a breeze after chemo, but tiring, my skin did'nt blister or open but I met women who's did, I used aloe vera but think it depends on  the type of skin we have.
Good luck!!!
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:Radiation Tips and Experiences - Saturday, March 26, 2011 8:35 PM
My experience with radiation wasn't too horrible, but I was lucky to be able to rest a lot.  I had 25 treatments and 5 "boosts".  I started with aloe from the very first day - from the actual plant.  I took a large stalky-leaf and cut it lengthwise, then scooped out the pure aloe and carefully applied to my skin.  I also purchased some Vitamin E oil and alternated with that.  I did try the Aquafor, but I found it to be thicker and it kind of pulled at my skin when I applied it, so I stuck with the aloe and Vitamin E. 

I also adapted a box to wear.... a rectangle about 10" x 7" by 4".  I wrapped a thickness of fleece around the edge and stapled it in place (so ONLY the fleece touched my skin) and wore it to keep my clothes totally away from my skin.  It really helped! If I wasn't wearing something tight enough to keep it in place, I'd wear an elastic belt around my waist to secure it.

I also found a nylon camisole to be more comfortable than a cotton t-shirt, because the t-shirt was looser and would rub against my red, sore nipple.  The camisole was comfortably snug and, being nylon, would cause my clothes to just glide easily against me and not pull and cause friction.  This was, of course, when I wasn't wearing the box - aka "The Big Square Boob".

My Radiation Therapist said my skin did very well... probably because I was so diligent about keeping it moisturized and protected with the aloe and oil.  He said lots of women wait until they show symptoms of burning or dryness before they start taking care of themselves.  I didn't wait, and that's possibly why I avoided some of the symptoms some others have experienced.

I finished my radiation 5 weeks ago now, and my skin is SO much better.  The nipple still occasionally get irritated, so I'm quick to put on my soft flannel nightshirt in the early evening and get comfy.  

I took my second Arimidex pill this morning - only 1,823 to go!! LOL. I've got my fingers crossed that I do as well on this hormone therapy as so many of the rest of you have.

Her Dotness

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Re:Radiation Tips and Experiences - Sunday, March 27, 2011 2:56 AM
Kim, I've gotten to where I simply use the affected arm and don't even think about possibly triggering lymphedema other than being careful to deal with cuts and scrapes as soon as I notice them as well as all the other basics like no sticks and no bp cuffs.
Like you, I was pretty scared about doing something I was told could trigger it, but the truth of the matter, my surgeon's nurse admitted to me, is that they've identified various things that seem to cause the onset of lymphedema but don't know for certain that they all actually do.

I am NOT going to pay attention to the "no lifting anything over 15-20 lbs" instruction I got unless I get told that's more important than I think when I go in for a lymphedema baseline evaluation this coming Monday.

I'd have to hire someone to do all kinds of handiwork around our place if I decided I ought not lift more than that little bit of weight. I'm careful to balance the weight and to use my leg muscles to aid the lift as much as possible, but I'm not about to let fears of lymphedema restrict what I'd ordinarily do within reason.

Geez, ya gotta live what life you still have, I think, without becoming a quaking mass of Jello. Probably my attitude because I really hate Jello. Ya think?

<message edited by Her Dotness on Sunday, March 27, 2011 2:57 AM>
dx 11/29/10 DCIS/IDC
1/5/11 lumpectomy, SLND 2+, ALND - 
T1c, clean margins!
er +/pr + (My little nasty was an estrogen drunk, said my med onc.) HER2 -
Chemo: TC Done 4/30/11 
Rads:  Done 6/30/11 
Arimidex 7/11-? 
Cindy D.

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Re:Radiation Tips and Experiences - Tuesday, March 29, 2011 12:15 PM
lotion, lotion, lotion......

and you will get more and more tired as the days go on.... I worked all day, went to rads, and as soon as I got home, lotioned up, changed into jammies and crawled into bed.... hubby would serve me dinner in bed, I'd brush my teeth and fall asleep, out for the night.

I tore up an old t-shirt, wore it over my shoulder, over the radiation area. My bra kept it in place. It prevented stains from any of the creams/lotions. No one at work noticed.

take care,
cindy d.
56 yrs old
dx 1/10/07
Stage IIIa
ER/PR +,Her2 -
chemo: 4ac/4 taxol  5/24/07
lump: 6/18/07
mast: 7/16/07
tamoxifen: 7/25/07-2/9/09
rads:  10/25/07
clinical trial: avastin and xeloda, 12/07-11/08
arimidex/lupron: 2/09/09-12/28/11
clinical trial: femara 1/1/12 9 months on, 3 months off

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Re:Radiation Tips and Experiences - Sunday, April 03, 2011 10:59 PM
I had 34 treatments of radiation my last one being 1/28/11.  I am also big breasted and under the breast is where most of my burn and soreness was. 
I would work and then have my radiation treatments at 2:30 - then I would go home and wash with a soft soap and apply a nice coat of Bag Balm on my burn.  If no one else was home I had a little fan I would use to air it out - hold the breast up a little and turn the fan on - it really felt nice.  I also wore sport bras to work.  I never thought my breast would ever look sorta normal again, but it has. Its just a little tanner than the other one. 
I do have a question though.  This past week I have been having like a dull pain in the breast (and we all know if we feel a little pain - we think OH NO)  - so I was wondering if anyone else had these side effects after radiation or maybe I am doing to much - I wasn't told to watch how much I lift or do.  Any help would be appreciated.

But the Bag Balm did work and it is easier to get off then the Aquifor (sp) that the doctors office gave me.
Diagnosed October 2010
DCIS  Rt Breast 
Lump 10/11/10 margins not clear
Lump  11/8/10
Radiation 12/9/10  34 treatments  - last one 1/27/11
Tamox  2/5/11  stopped 2/11/11  side effects
Tricia Keegan

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Re:Radiation Tips and Experiences - Monday, April 04, 2011 4:26 PM

Yes, it's very normal to feel quick twinges of pain or itching in the affected breast for months after rads, I still get it almost six years later!!!
Its also normal some time later to feel a lump which is usually scar tissue from the rads/surgery, but it's still important to have anything worrying checked out by the Dr to make sure:)
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
Army Mom

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Re:Radiation Tips and Experiences - Monday, May 23, 2011 12:23 PM
For myself the rads were not a walk in the park. I think between surgery, chemo and then 36 rounds of rads I was just burnt our phyisically and emotionaly. I was so tired of being touched, tugged, poked etc that for me it was my lowest point of my treatments. I also burned very badly even though I was using the moisturizers etc.
One little hint is go to Walmart and buy thier cotton "sport" type bras. They have very thin straps and you can step into them and pull them up. They are cotton so your skin can breath and they are tight enough to hold you in place. I also used a thick surgical dressing and would tuck it just under my breast, that way any discharge or bleeding would not come through.

When I would sleep or nap in my room I always had my fan going as well and that seemed to help with healing. Once I was done, it only took a few weeks for it to heal with exception of having a pink boobie <g>

I wish you the best of luck !! Keep us posted.

Lumpectomy June 18,2009
4 rounds T/C DONE !
33 rounds of rads DONE !!
1 yr of Herceptin - DONE  !!!
2 yrs Tamoxafen/ taken off due to elevated liver enzymes.
oophorectomy 05/2012

March 27,2015 DX right breast
Lumpectomy April 16th 2015
To start chemo soon

54 years young  :)
Mother of 2 sons in US Army
Wife of wonderful husband
and of course I am now.


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Re:Radiation Tips and Experiences - Tuesday, May 24, 2011 10:44 PM

under my breast, that way any
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