Radiation Tips and Experiences

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Cindy D.
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RE: Radiation Tips and Experiences - Monday, February 18, 2008 6:34 PM
I finished rads a few months ago, two tips:
 
1. I had a mastectomy and the aquaphor cream stained my clothes. I cut up some old t-shirts and draped the cloth over my shoulder to cover the radiation area, then would put on my bra with prosthesis. This prevented staining my bra and my shirts.
 
2. a gentleman that I met during radiation was there to radiate his head because of a brain tumor, the skin on his head looked great all during his radiation. He was using a cream called Recovery Cream, and he gave me some, it was awesome, not as heavy as the aquaphor, no staining clothes, it smelled nice and best of all, it worked great, no problems with my skin.  The nurses at the radiation center will now start recommending it to others. You can find it online at
http://www.recoverycream.com/.
 
best of luck to everyone,
cindy d.
Mass. 
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

Sandefeet
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RE: Radiation Tips and Experiences - Monday, February 18, 2008 8:26 PM
As of today I have completed 26/36 rad treatments.  The last 6 are scheduled to be boosts.  
1 - I felt tired by the third week.  I can have days of feeling wonderful, then other days like a slug that doesn't want to get off the chair. 
2 - My chest has had a rash since end of week 3.  I am a red head with fair skin.  My nipple hurts at times.
3 - I have spent a lot of money on creams, etc.  Started with pure aloe gel at CVS with no alcohol or perfume. 
4 - Now use CVS 1% cortisone for the itch.  Alternate with
 SBS 40, a medicated skin cream.
5 - also use Domeboro soaks for itch
 
One thing not mentioned here so far are the supplements you take.  My rad onc (and I've read many places) not to take antioxidants during your rad treatments.  Dr. Weil and Dr. Link advise no multi vitamins during treatments.  Dr. Link suggests taking them on your off days (the weekend).  My rad onc said okay to take vitamins but I haven't since I am quite a follower of Dr. Weil.  My vitamins have antioxidants. 
 
Good advise by all since we all react differently.  Thanks for all the sharing!

A Test of Courage~
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RE: Radiation Tips and Experiences - Monday, February 18, 2008 8:26 PM
I am nearing my radiation therapy next week and the hardest part about it was finding a parking space!!  It has not been bad at all but that fatigue does zap you all of a sudden for some strange reason.  I was given sample of the Aqufor lotion at radiation and its good.  I am the worlds worst for applying stuff when needed so I am actually not applying anything at all but I am fine with that.  I try to do it at night so I don't feel gulity about not applying something.  They did recommend something called Domeboro Soaks that you can ask your pharmacist for.  It's an over the counter item but they usually have it behind the counter.  It is tablets or packers that dissolve in one pint of water.  You keep the water refrigerated and just soak a wash cloth in the solution and apply to the affected area as needed for ten minutes, three times daily.  I have not used it but they say it is good stuff! 
38 Years Young :)
Biopsy: 9/11/07 Dx: 9/14/07 IDC 1.3cm Mass
Lumpectomy 10/8/07
STG-1 0-Nodes
Chemo: 11/1-12/13/07 4 Rounds
Radiation: 33 rounds
"God makes a promise. Faith believes it.
Hope anticipates it. Patience awaits it."

Susan
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RE: Radiation Tips and Experiences - Tuesday, February 19, 2008 7:54 AM
Update on my first radiation yesterday. I am being treated from three directions, hence the 10 tattoos.  I was also told that every other day the will use a gel pad on my skin since I had a mastectomy. It is to keep the radiation at the skin surface. With no breast, there is no fat to absorb some of the radiation. She told me it would look and feel like jello. Ruthie says it looks like a gel mouse pad. I never saw anyone post about this gel pad before, so I thought I would let everyone know.
I have my perscription Biafine and found the 100% aloe gel yesterday. I am still searching for deo. that is minus aluminum and mineral salts. I have been using a cake deo. for quite awhile with no aluminum, but she told me yesterday, she thinks I should find one without the mineral salts as well. For now, I only use my cake deo. on the untreated side. Glad it is winter!!! Don't want to get smelly. A friend suggested baking soda...may have to resort to that. 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

Sue W.
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RE: Radiation Tips and Experiences - Tuesday, February 19, 2008 8:41 AM
Lots of great advice here.  I did rads. about a year ago and this time of year is bringing back all the memories of it.  Just a couple of things to add:  I worked 1/2 days during rads. and for about 3 weeks after to help with the fatigue.  If you work and if it's possible, I would suggest cutting back on work.  Having treatments in the afternoon, then having a couple of hours to rest/relax/walk/exercise before supper helped me make it through busy evenings. Also, I always took a bottle of water or juice and a healthy snack to have on the drive home.  Some days my husband would even put a surprise snack in my van for me--always something healthy and something I really liked.  I would think about this snack during rads. and actually looked forward to enjoying whatever it was on the ride home.  It sounds kind of trivial, but it helped me a lot.  Concerning parking---my hospital had 3 or 4 designated parking spaces just for rads. patients.  I thought that was nice, especially when in a hurry or running late.
 Good luck to everyone who is doing this now. Oh one more thing--I found that my back and arm hurt, probably from lying so still in one position every day, even if it was for a short time.  Be aware of this possiblity if you get a backache or arm ache--it took me a while to figure out why my back hurt so much.  I then did Physical Therapy for a while and tried to step up my exercising and walking, but it hurt for a long time afterwards.
Sue W.--now 55
WI
dx 12/21/06 at age 50
DCIS w/ microinvasion, lumpectomy 12/21/06
SNB 1/12/07, 0+/4
ER, PR +, HER2-
26 Rads. 2/26/07-4/03/07
Tamox. 4/13/07-6/28/07
Ooph. 7/25/07
Arimidex started 8/16/07

Judith
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RE: Radiation Tips and Experiences - Tuesday, February 19, 2008 8:52 AM
Hello Susan,
 
I still use the same deodorant I did when getting radiation" Naturally Fresh Deodorant Crystal" Target carries it and also the GNC store's(I think that is the initials). The "Pink"ribbon is on the cover. I see someone noted that Aquafor stained but I never had a problem with it and I went braless(had the perfect tops they were puckered so it hid me well).
 
Judy
JudyHendricks-
Lino Lakes,Mn
Dx:3-25-05@age 58
5-2-05 Lumpectomy DX:invasive ductal carcinoma& extensive dcis
33 rads Arimidex started 7/05 July 2010 stopped
carepage:judyhendricks
Dx Spine- osteopenia 7-06
12-06 started Boniva inj.every 3 months

Cindy D.
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RE: Radiation Tips and Experiences - Tuesday, February 19, 2008 11:58 AM
Hi Susan,
   I also had the gel pad every other day. It's no big deal, at some point in the process the techs come back in and lay it on you, sometimes they need to tape it to you so it doesn't slide down your side... Hope all goes well for you... I can't say enough about the Recovery Cream I mentioned earlier....It's amazing...
best of luck,
cindy d.
Mass. 
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

Indiana
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RE: Radiation Tips and Experiences - Tuesday, February 19, 2008 1:56 PM
I had my 17th of 33 rads today and one thing that wasn't mentioned about the gel pack is that it is COLD.  Brrr.  Also, I have been faithful with the prescription cream and Aquaphor, but am burning on my back around the armpit.  I didn't think of that area while putting on the creams. 
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

JulieS
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RE: Radiation Tips and Experiences - Tuesday, February 19, 2008 2:07 PM
Hi All,
One thing I did remember was that my rad onco wanted me to stretch my arm out daily so it wouldn't get tight from the rads.  I did it daily while in the shower, so I wouldn't forget.  I still feel a little tightness under my arm but think it is getting better.
Good luck to all you rads ladies!
Take care
Julie S

codetwinmom
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RE: Radiation Tips and Experiences - Tuesday, February 19, 2008 3:19 PM
What about tips for good bras?  I am 38C and have worn underwire all my life.  I dont' know what will give me good support and comfort.  Is that possible?  I work in an office and I dont' think sports bras are going to be the answer...help!
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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Mona needs help with bras for rads - Tuesday, February 19, 2008 3:53 PM
Mona, Bless you dear, you may have a problem. I know most of the rads techs tell you to get a very soft cotton bra and no wires, if at all. MINE told me to NOT WEAR ONE whenever possible, so I bought the t-shirts and I layer so you can't tell. Today I had on the tee, a turtle neck pull over shirt and then an open front sweater. I remember discussions about this issue in the past and I hope some of the experienced ladies will see this and give you suggestions on what they did in the bra category. Good luck. 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

Anne S
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RE: Mona needs help with bras for rads - Tuesday, February 19, 2008 4:32 PM
Susan,
What a great thread - wish I had this when I started rads Feb. 2006!  Actually I was one who really breezed through rads (you wanted those of us w/ good expereinces to post!).  I had NO fatigue, so don't assume it is a given.  My rad onc said each treatment was like lying ourt in the sun all day at the beach, so it can be very draining.  I had only minor redness of the skin too, mainly just itchy. Her biggest tips to me, which I followed faithfully:
 Drink tons of water b/c the treatments really dehydrate you (think how thirsty you are after a day at the beach).  Dehydration is a HUGE cause of fatuge. Exercise everyday, whether you feel like it or not. It is energizing. I used no deodorant on that side but was told I could use cornstarch. Use as little soap as possible on the area gettting fried, and make it mild like Dove or Purpose. Better yet, barely let the water wash you off, and for as short a time as possible (I probably smelled awful b/t  no soap and no deodorant but no one complained!). Don't scrub the gels and lotions off in the shower b/c the skin will get more irritated. Pat dry very carefully after showering.  Interestingly, I had no problems w/ bras and even wore my underwire the whole time.  I used Aquaphor healing ointment after rads and again at bedtime.  I did not reapply it again until after my tx, which I had at 2PM each day.  They told me that lotions applied before rads can make the skin more susceptible to burning, kind of like the baby oil we used to put on before lying out in the sun. I cut up an old white t-shirt and put a piece of in inside my bra- it stuck to the Aquaphor and spared wrecking my bras. My techs continued to mark me up w/ paint pens even though I had tatoos, but it eventually washed out. I like Julie's idea about stretching each day.  I did have some tightness on the outsdie of my breast and in the armpit which probably would be less if I had stretched it more. I had a weekly chest x-ray to amke sure the fields were lined up correctly.  I also saw my rad onc once a week and had my blood counts drawn evey 3 weeks since you can become anemic from rads. No vitamins or supplements w/ antioxidants during rads b/c they can actually repair the damage that rads is supposed to cause. Go the same time everyday so the radiation level is relatively constant. Wow that's long, sorry!  But, good luck- it's not so bad!Anne   
Cary, NC
Dx'd Rt IDC 1.6cm 12/22/06, age 46
ER+ 100% PR+ 100% HER2-
lumpectomy 12/06, sentinel nodes negative x 4
31 rads finished 4/9/07
tamoxifen begun 4/13/07
oophorectomy 6/5/07
Oncotype DX 22
BRCA 1 & 2 neg

Susan
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Thanks Anne for sharing a GOOD experience - Tuesday, February 19, 2008 9:17 PM
I can always hope!! I always get the negative from the techs and drs because I am so fair and a redhead to boot.
Someone else mentioned the cornstarch to me, so I will keep that in mind. Being winter I may be ok with just showers. I have a sponge that I just squeeze the soap and water over the radiated area. It would be my luck to remove a layer of skin later on if I didn't. I am very careful with the towel, and if I have time just air dry it.
You offered some wonderful hope and advice here. Thank you so much for adding your story. 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: Thanks Anne for sharing a GOOD experience - Wednesday, February 20, 2008 11:07 AM
Well I am joining the Feb. Rad Team...I started my first rad Monday.  Any of you recall....the first treatment they placed a plastic/napkin over my mastectomy "breast" and zapped away then yesturday they placed a warm/moist towel over and I questioned why...she said the towel will prevent air pockets that may cause burns...I am now wondering did they mess up the first time around ??? My skin darkened with ONE TREATMENT ???  I thought I wasn't going to get dark until 3 weeks into treatment !!!
Oh,  I have an expander too...anyone else ???  They won't expand until 6 months after Rads.  This puts me in NEXT Feb. for final switch out.

Susan
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RE: Radiation Tips and Experiences - Wednesday, February 20, 2008 9:26 PM
thought I would do a short update. I found out today I will have 34 treatments. I was told this last year, but lots changed with me, so I asked the rads onc today how many. He said, "you are half way." I replied, "yeah, right." Anywho, I asked if that included boosts. He wanted to know where I got that name. I told him, ONLINE. He doesn't call them that. He says they are just condensed (I think that is the word he used). No more and no less radiation, just a smaller area than the others...well DUH, you think? I think he needs to visit this board and learn how to speak RADS... How dare he be a rads onc and not know our terms. GSSS, should we make him a dictionary?
 
How is everyone else doing so far? CMFR, how close to finished are you now? Please, everyone, update often. That was why we made this thread, to share the experiences. 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

bethsmom
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RE: Radiation Tips and Experiences - Wednesday, February 20, 2008 9:45 PM
Hi
 
I have completed 26 of my 33 rads, actually doing the boost now. Compared to chemo, this was a walk in the part. For me the hardest part was getting out of my jammies on cold days and getting there on time. Although I am fair skinned I have been very fortunate and have not burned much. If I had to offer advice I would say drink lots of water and "lube the boob" often. I used lubriderm, eucerin or aloe vera gel, depending on where I was. I drink lots of water and herbal tea. I put myself in the habit of lubing the boobie evertime I would visit the restroom. Sometimes I find myself tired by the end of the week, but really who isn't? I have not worn a bra in a very long time, I wear big turtleneks and sometimes a sports bra, I think that has helped tremendously.
 
Peace,
Kathy
Age 44(Now 45)
Dx'd 8/9/07
Surgery/Chemo/Rads/Tamoxifen
CarePage: kathyslongstrangetrip

codetwinmom
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RE: Radiation Tips and Experiences - Thursday, February 21, 2008 3:31 PM
I had my first treatment yesterday, 20 minutes total in and out.  Not so bad.  I also found a bra that provides support without underwire.  Not quite as uplifting as underwire, but it will work.
 
I do have a question...I noticed I have been clearing my throat numerous times since treatment last night.  Anyone else?
 
Thanks sisters. 
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

Laurita60
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RE: Radiation Tips and Experiences - Thursday, February 21, 2008 3:39 PM
Ah1 Found it again! I'm so glad. I've been here before but lost the thread. Anyway, I've had 17 treatments now, 16 to go! I've been feeling pretty good but like one other lady mentioned I've been clearing my throat a lot and even blowing my nose a little more. Is this normal? Also Anne, I'm confused by your comment: No vitamins or supplements w/ antioxidants during rads b/c they can actually repair the damage that rads is supposed to cause.  Do you mean they can repair the cancer cells? No one ever told me about this part and my sister just gave me juices with antioxidants in them to help me. Does anyone feel muscle fatigue from the rads? I've mentioned this to my rad onc and the nurse and they say it's not from rads. From Tamoxifen maybe? Appreciate any advice. I have daily headaches too, low grade but I'm sure that's from Tamox.
Age 47
Surgical biopsy 11/1/07,Lumpectomy 11/29/07
IDC, 1.9cm, Stage I, grade 2
Homone positive
Node neg
Onco DX 18

Guest
RE: Radiation Tips and Experiences - Thursday, February 21, 2008 3:45 PM
I teach so I went every day on my conference period. Never had a problem. Use the aloe gel or whatever they tell you to use and buy a cotton bra. My breast is larger though after radiation.

Trishi
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RE: Radiation Tips and Experiences - Thursday, February 21, 2008 5:05 PM
Hi Mona,
 
I had mammosite radiation therapy so there may be some differences but they did require I wear some sort of non-wire support and sports bras didn't work well for me due to the pressure it put on my breast.
 
I am the same size as you, 38C and found a Warner's contour bra that worked well for me.   As a matter of fact, I purchased a number of them and have not gone back to my old underwire bras even though I finished radiation a month ago.   I love these bras....very comfortable.
Warner's also sells a "friday" bra which does not offer quite as much support especially along the sides but was great for when I was bandaged up after surgery.
 
Kohl's sells both bras.  When I purchased mine they were buy one, get one free.    Link to the Warner's contour bra:  http://www.kohls.com/kohlsStore/intimates/wirefreebras/PRD~253534/Warners+Sleek+Underneath+Contour+WireFree+Bra.jsp  
 
Best wishes,
 
Trish

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