Radiation Tips and Experiences

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Susan
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RE: Radiation Tips and Experiences - Wednesday, February 27, 2008 4:28 PM
Just wanted to say that after #8, I am itching...why am I itching? They have burned the rash off I guess. I have had a rash for 4 months...doesn't itch, get radiated, the rash goes away and now I ITCH.
My skin is looking better than it has in 4 months...for now.  Just wondering if anyone else experienced this ITCH. Did I mention that I itch? HUGS.
Susan in TN
dx 3/05/07
IDC 3 cm.,10% DCIS/Stage IIB/T2/G2
6/9 + lymph nodes
ER+ 90%/ PR-/ HER2-
A/C,Taxotere
Simple rt. mast.
Arimidex 
Radiation
carepage:blackeyedsue

My2giftsRmy2girls
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RE: Radiation Tips and Experiences - Wednesday, February 27, 2008 5:22 PM
Susan ~
 
I too am on # 8 !
 
I read a thread that the little hair follicles start to get irritated...and therefor a rash, or itching presents itself.
 
I read HyrdoCortizone helps...and if it get really itchy the Rad.Onc. can prescribe some over the counter Cortizone.
 
Hang in there
<message edited by My2giftsRmy2girls on Wednesday, February 27, 2008 5:26 PM>
Nov.19
DCIS Stage 0 grade 3
0/3 lymph node
mastectomy
Feb.18 Rads
ER- PR-
25 Rads 10 Boost

KarenL
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RE: Radiation Tips and Experiences - Thursday, February 28, 2008 10:25 AM
I finished rads January 21st (and quit smoking the week before woo hoo).

My advice is:  go without a bra whenever possible, all the time if you can.  Get some cami's with a shelf bra in them if you need some support. 

Pure aloe, from an aloe plant.  Cut the aloe leaf off and slice through it lengthwise, and the juice will just be there ready to smooth on.  I have a sunroom which is a bit on the cool side in the winter, so the aloe felt nice and cool.  You could cut the leaf and wrap it in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge to get the same effect. 

That worked really good until the last 2 weeks of radiation, and then I moved on to a product they sell at the pharmacy behind the counter called "RADIX".  This has a ton of lidocaine in it along with aloe and really helps with the pain from the burn. 

I am rather large chested, so I got terribly burnt along the side of my breast and underneath.  When I was at that stage, I could barely put anything on it.  The onocologist recommended I use the magic mouthwash (benedryl, maalox and lidocaine) they gave me for gargling during chemo for mouth sores.  I applied it GENTLY with a cotton ball to the blisters and burns. 

Hang in there.  Radiation sucks, there is no burn worse painwise, it hurts more than a bad oven burn on the wrist.  The onky will keep you in pain meds, JUST ASK if you need them.  The last 2 weeks I shed a lot of tears from the pain, but now I can tell you that I survived the ordeal!   Again, if you are small breasted, you probably will not have the same problems I did.  The onky said the reason I burnt so bad was because of the size of my breasts, and when I laid on the table for treatment it sort of folded on itself and therefore got a double dose on the side and underneath. 

REST as much as you can.  My appointments were at 2:15 daily for 33 sessions, including boost, and it was a PITA breaking up my day every day, but while you are in treatment, you need to listen to your body and rest as much as it tells you too.  

I still tire easily, but my oncologists both told me it would take me about 1 year from the day of diagnosis for me to feel back to normal completely. 

One last thing, and I am sorry if this doesn't sound upbeat, but this entire cancer ordeal was really hard on me...when radiation ends, I crashed emotionally.  My doctor prepared me for this right before I started the boost treatments.  He told me that most women feel sort of, not abandoned, but well, you are in daily contact with a RN, and the radiation techs, and you see your doctor once a week, and all of a sudden you are done and alone, and for me, that was when I realized what I had gone through. 

I think when we get the diagnosis, we are so busy waiting on labs, waiting on pathology, and then plugging along doing whatever needs to be done to insure that you kill the beast, that the truth of the word "cancer" really doesn't hit you.  When I finished rads, I sort of stopped dead in my tracks and said "whoa"...I cried, sobbed actually, for days afterwards.  And then I joined a Breast Cancer Support Group.  I couldn't have gone to any meetings during treatment, I wouldn't have had the strength, but let me tell you, once I got there, I felt totally normal and realized everything I was experiencing emotionally was ok.

Best wishes...hang tough.  Its 33 days.  Then you are done :))

(oh my gosh did i just vent?)  lol[sm=whew.gif][sm=whew.gif]<--------this is me now on tamoxifen  freaking hot flashes

Karen Sandoval age 51
IDC RB Stage 1 gr 2
lumpectomy RB 8/31 1.1mm clear margins
HER2- ER+ BRCA1/2 negative!
A/C DONE!! 11/13
Rads DONE! 1/21/07 Tamoxifen 5 years visit my blog!
http://karen826.vox.com

JulieS
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RE: Radiation Tips and Experiences - Thursday, February 28, 2008 11:49 AM
Yep, hydrocortozone (sp) was what my onco recomended for the ITCH!   It did help some but not totally.  Not very polite to scratch the itch either....sort of felt like Ma Kettle. Okay I am ageing myself here.
[sm=laugh.gif][sm=laugh.gif][sm=laugh.gif][sm=laugh.gif]
 
Take care
Julie

Suzy
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RE: Nicki - Thursday, February 28, 2008 12:13 PM
I start radiation Monday, 3/3...so thanks for all the advice...I was informed that I could take a multivitamin, but will not.  I don't want to take anything that could interfere with radiation....same as I did with chemo...nothing...Susan
Susan Black, Kingwood, TX
DCIS 2/03 Rt.Mast.w/TramFlap
Rt.Brst Recurrence 6/4/07
IDC Stage 2, Grade 3
Lumpectomy 8/7/07
ER/PR+ HER2-
A/Cx4;Taxolx4:9/14/07
Chemo end 2/6/08
Rads:30 end 4/15/08
8/7 Port/out
Carepg:Susanrocks

Susan
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Thanks Karen - Thursday, February 28, 2008 1:57 PM
Until you mentioned it, I didn't see it as a vent, but perhaps it was. I appreciate you sharing. I am wondering how being DONE is going to effect me emotionally too. Thanks for the heads up and knowing it will just all be normal. HUGS.
Susan in TN
dx 3/05/07
IDC 3 cm.,10% DCIS/Stage IIB/T2/G2
6/9 + lymph nodes
ER+ 90%/ PR-/ HER2-
A/C,Taxotere
Simple rt. mast.
Arimidex 
Radiation
carepage:blackeyedsue

Jenny
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RE: Radiation Tips and Experiences - Thursday, February 28, 2008 5:33 PM
I had my 3rd radiation appointment today.  It's amazing to drive 1 hour, spend 10 minutes at the Dr.'s office and then 1 hour home.  Good thing I enjoy books on CD that I listen to in the car.
 
Anyway, I met with the nurse about skin care today and she suggested that I pick one product and only use that product.  If it starts to not work as well or if I begin to have reactions to it then switch and try something else.  Right now I'm using 100% aloa vera gel.
 
She also said to make sure my skin was COMPLETELY dry after my shower before I put any lotion/gel/cream on.  She even suggested using a blow dryer on the cold setting.  And to not use anything 3-4 hours prior to treatment.  She said moist skin burns quicker. 
 
I'm walking everyday because I'm training for The Breast Cancer 3 Day walk in D.C.  Walking is suppose to really help with fatigue.  I hope they are right!
 
Good luck everyone receiving radiation.
age 41
11/20/07 first mammo, 11/30/07 core biopsy,
12/06/07 dx with DCIS, 1/10/08 lumpectomy
2nd tumor found during lumpectomy,
30 rads finished 4/7/08
Walked in The Breast Cancer 3 Day in D.C.

Susan
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RE: Radiation Tips and Experiences - Friday, February 29, 2008 4:36 PM
OK, 10 down and 24 to go!!! Nurse said one third today...true if you don't count the boosts. So far, so good. No sign of skin problems yet and the itching only lasted a few hours that one day.
 
HUGS.
Susan in TN
dx 3/05/07
IDC 3 cm.,10% DCIS/Stage IIB/T2/G2
6/9 + lymph nodes
ER+ 90%/ PR-/ HER2-
A/C,Taxotere
Simple rt. mast.
Arimidex 
Radiation
carepage:blackeyedsue

Sandefeet
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RE: Radiation Tips and Experiences - Friday, February 29, 2008 7:25 PM
Laurita, I was told by my rad onc and I've read (Dr. Weil and Dr. John Link)  that the anti oxidant supplements counter the radiation treatment.  I've included info below.  I did not take mine and only took my multi-vitamins on weekends.
 
from Dr. Andrew Weil's web page:

"As things now stand, we need more research before we can confidently advise patients one way or another. However, I posed your question to Donald Abrams, M.D., an integrative oncologist at the University of San Francisco and a graduate of the associate fellowship at the Program on Integrative Medicine here at the University of Arizona. Dr. Abrams told me that questions about antioxidants are the most frequent ones he gets. In the absence of strong evidence, he now advises patients as follows:
  • For those being treated for a possible cure (meaning that their tumors have been removed and that the goal of chemotherapy or radiation is to destroy any remaining cancer cells): Don't take antioxidant supplements on the day before, the day of, and the day after chemotherapy. Otherwise, it is okay to take supplements.
  • For patients undergoing radiation therapy: no antioxidant supplements throughout the course of treatment.
  • For patients with advanced cancer who are being treated in order to prolong survival and relieve symptoms: it is okay to take antioxidant supplements. Because chemotherapy agents differ in their mode of action, it would be helpful to know whether the particular drugs being used work by an oxidative (free-radical-generating) mechanism. Ask the medical oncologist treating you for that information.

By the way, there is no justification for telling patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy to avoid antioxidant-rich foods."

 
 

terri67
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RE: Radiation Tips and Experiences - Sunday, March 02, 2008 7:13 AM
I have just finished chemotherapy 3 days ago and I have my first consultation with my Radiologist on friday 3/7.  I am just curious on who decideds how many radiation sessions I will need ? My Oncologist or my Radiation Oncologist.?
age:41
Dx: 9/24/07 IDC
10/17/07:lumpectomy & sentinel node.
10/22/07:re-excision. & 1/18nodes+
Stage: 2a.,ER/PR+,HER2+
11/12/07: port
11/15/07: 1st.chemo.
Taxotere,Carbo.,Herceptin
5/12/08:Radiation finished.
Tamoxifen

Coco
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RE: Radiation Tips and Experiences - Sunday, March 02, 2008 7:37 AM
Terri.  I believe it is a standard protocol to gibe 33 rads.  29 radiation the entire breast and the last 4 targeting the tumor area.  You can ask your radiologist this question.  I would be curious to hear the answer myself.
Claudette
Age 67
DX 10/8/07
10/29/07 LUMPECTOMY RT BREAST INVASIVE DUCTAL CARCINOMA
LYMPH NODES NEG Stage 1 Grade 3
Triple negative
4 cycles of Taxotere and Cytoxan Finished 1/29/08
35 Rads finished 4/11/08
Malvern, Pa

Sandefeet
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RE: Radiation Tips and Experiences - Sunday, March 02, 2008 2:57 PM
When my rads are complete - 2 MORE DAYS - I will have had 36 treatments.  The last 8 have been boosts.  My rad onc told me boosts were either 5 or 8 - I drew the short straw and got 8. 
 
My tumor was right under my skin so the margin there was small.  All other sides, were large.  My surgeon and pathologist did not see the need to do more surgery to remove more skin.  I had a 5mm DCIS, low grade.  My rad onc thought I should have had another surgey to remove skin but since my tumor was on the aerola, this would have deforemd my nippled, etc.  I chose not to have the surgery so I got 8 boosts!  I'll live with that but boy I'm tired and am lacking energy.

Susan
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Sandefeet - Sunday, March 02, 2008 5:11 PM
Must be nice...two more!!! TRADE YA.  We will celebrate with you. I know you are going to be SO GLAD to be done. I thought my 34 was bad. When did the fatigue hit you? I thought since I had FOREVER between chemo and radiation that it would be later in the game for me. I just finished two weeks and I am beginning to feel tired already. I keep telling myself it is the trips getting to me, not the rads. Hope it works. HUGS.
Susan in TN
dx 3/05/07
IDC 3 cm.,10% DCIS/Stage IIB/T2/G2
6/9 + lymph nodes
ER+ 90%/ PR-/ HER2-
A/C,Taxotere
Simple rt. mast.
Arimidex 
Radiation
carepage:blackeyedsue

Sandefeet
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RE: Sandefeet - Sunday, March 02, 2008 7:15 PM
Susan, I started feeling tired/lack of energy at 2 1/2 - 3 weeks.  I realized if I conserved my energy by trying not to overdue anything, I did pretty well.  BUT this last week, I got a cold and between that and the rad side effects (week 7), I've lost all energy.  I don't want to do anything.  Fortunately, I am not working right now but I do have things I want to do.  I hope I get past this stage fast; I'm used to being busy all day. 
 
Best to you!
 
 

Coco
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RE: Sandefeet - Monday, March 03, 2008 10:14 AM
Hi all,  I just had my 5th treatment and found out that I will be getting 35 treatments.  I was given biofine cream and told to apply it 3 times a day.  I have also been having muscle stiffness for the past week or so.  The radiologist says it has nothing to do with the radiation but with the chemo.  I don't know if I buy this as my chemo was over Jan 29th and the stiffness just started last week.  Has anyone else experienced this?
Keep posting.
Claudette
Age 67
DX 10/8/07
10/29/07 LUMPECTOMY RT BREAST INVASIVE DUCTAL CARCINOMA
LYMPH NODES NEG Stage 1 Grade 3
Triple negative
4 cycles of Taxotere and Cytoxan Finished 1/29/08
35 Rads finished 4/11/08
Malvern, Pa

Susan
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Claudette - Monday, March 03, 2008 10:20 AM
If you are talking about muscle stiffness in the radiated area, YES, I have that, but expected it since the radiation dries out the skin. Of course, I can  tell that it is my skin that is drawing and causing the muscle stiffness feeling. Yours might be something else. I am drinking even more water than before the rads. and using Aloe Vera Gel too. SO, I am putting on creams and gels about 6 times a day, and it DOES GET OLD.  Hang in there. If your muscle aches are elsewhere, maybe you should see your primary care physician. Try to keep the area as moist as possible.
Susan in TN
dx 3/05/07
IDC 3 cm.,10% DCIS/Stage IIB/T2/G2
6/9 + lymph nodes
ER+ 90%/ PR-/ HER2-
A/C,Taxotere
Simple rt. mast.
Arimidex 
Radiation
carepage:blackeyedsue

codetwinmom
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RE: Radiation Tips and Experiences - Wednesday, March 05, 2008 2:24 PM
I would love to hear updates from my fellow sisters getting rads right now.  I have 9 treatments down and 27 to go!  For the most part, I feel fine.  My boob is a tad bit tender, but most days I don't think about it.  When I get home, I slather lotion and change into cotton tees.  No real fatigue yet, just normal day to day stuff I think. I have had a cough since day one. 
 
We are taking the kids to Disneyland on Friday. I figured we'd better do it while I still have the energy. 
Mona
45 years old
Stage 1/Grade 1 IDC
Lumpectomy and sentinel node removal 1/16/08
Clear margins
Start rads 2/20 (36 total, 28/8 boost), done 4/9/08
Tamoxifen and Lupron started 2/14/08
Living with NED

Susan
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Hi Mona - Wednesday, March 05, 2008 2:30 PM
I guess you can tell I update some.  I completed number 12 today, 22 to go. I am turning pink but was told with my very fair skin (redhead), this was normal. The rads. nurse told me she would watch it closely for when my skin needed a break. I DON'T WANT A BREAK. I WANT TO FINISH,  but, I also want to keep my skin as healthy as possible.
 
Go enjoy that weekend. I was really tired at the end of last week, but after resting up all weekend, I have bounced back for more. HUGS.
Susan in TN
dx 3/05/07
IDC 3 cm.,10% DCIS/Stage IIB/T2/G2
6/9 + lymph nodes
ER+ 90%/ PR-/ HER2-
A/C,Taxotere
Simple rt. mast.
Arimidex 
Radiation
carepage:blackeyedsue

Indiana
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RE: Hi Mona - Thursday, March 06, 2008 2:47 PM
I had my first rad boost today.  This is #29 of 33 total rads and I've got some of the heat rash and itching going on.  Other than that, I don't really feel as tired as weeks 3 and 4.  Maybe it's just from knowing I'm closer to getting done that gives me a mental boost too.
Vickie
39 yrs old
dx 7-18-07 @ 38 yrs old
8-10-07 rt lumpectomy
nodes 7+ of 33 removed
er+/pr+/her2 -
8-29-07 rt side mastectomy
chemo started 9-25-07
4 A/C 4 Taxol Done 1-2-08!
radiation done 3-12-08
tamoxifen to start soon

Birdlegs
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RE: Radiation Tips and Experiences - Thursday, March 06, 2008 6:54 PM
Susan -
Thank you thank you for this radiation thread. Perhaps we could even make it a separate message board forum??
Started radiation today (first of 30-35) and am glad I checked because no one at the business end of the linear accelerator mentioned how often one ought to apply the aloe and ointments. Will continue to check this thread for suggestions on topical nostrums.
 
My husband made a delightful observation - he said the waiting area of the radiation facility is like a beauty parlour - except that most of us have no hair. Just lots of cameraderie and cheering up for each other.
 
Cheers and love to all -
Lynne
Lynne, 61, VA, dx 11/1/07
11/5/07 Invasive ductal carcinoma ER/PR positive, HER-2 neg. 12/14/07 LB Lumpectomy, lymph nodes, bilat recon. Stage IIa. 1/3/08 Chemo Taxotere, Cytoxan. 3/4/08 radiation 6 wk. Lyphedema 3/11/08. Arimadex.

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