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Radiation soon--more blood tests?

Posts: 153
Joined: Nov 2002

In a couple weeks I'll be doing the radiation portion of my breast cancer treatment. Since the beginning of November, I've had to have my blood drawn every single Monday...either for A/C or Taxotere chemo and before and after mastectomy surgery. For anyone who went through radiation therapy...do you have to get blood drawn all the time for that too?

Posts: 29
Joined: Apr 2003

I've never heard of anyone having blood tests for radiation. Your days of being a human pincushion are nearing an end!

Posts: 344
Joined: May 2003

Hi rizzo,
I am a leukemia survivor. was diagnosed at 21 yrs old and I am 29 now. 6yrs remission. I did have to have blood taken everyday during radiation . Now I am guesing it was due to the fact that I had a blood cancer. But I would imagine that you would need blood tested periodically to measure how the rest of your body is working. Also, start applying some good Aloe lotion on the areas and surrounding areas where you will get radiation. It really helped me. it helps to apply it all the time and throughout the rad treatment. But since I didnt have breast cancer, maybe some women know of something better than aloe that they can recommend. Good luck and God bless.

sandytrif525's picture
Posts: 107
Joined: Jan 2003

hey Rizzo, I don't remember all, but I can tell you that you don't have to have blood drawn as often with the rads as with the chemo. It can still affect your blood counts, so they still want to monitor. Some tips: try and think about cold things during the rads, try and use a dio with out aluminum, and use the cream. I used a cream that had vit E in it, but unfortunately I don't remember the name. A friend gave it to me. I did not burn until the last 3 treatments( had 6 weeks). Will be praying for you. God bless. It is almost over. Sandy

bullfrog13's picture
Posts: 216
Joined: Apr 2002

Dear Rizzo15
I did not have to give blood for the rad treatments, however, I did chemo and rad at the same time (something I dont reccomend) so I was still giving blood every week. The ONE thing i learned from Radaiton THE HARD was to ONLY apply CREAMS/ONITMENTS AFTER your treatment NOT BEFORE! I got really badly burned because NO body told me that untill it was too late. Had to stop treatments for about 10 days becuase of the bad burn. Had total of 35 treatments. Good luck and God Bless. This is the last leg of your journey to this planet we call cancer. Jerilyn

Posts: 39
Joined: Apr 2003

Hey Rizzo -- I finished my radiation May19. I had my blood taken once a week just to monitor my levels. Even though you have finished your chemo, your body is still recovering and the doctors want to make sure you are doing okay. As my dr told me once "we can't measure everything", but they do like to see how you are responding. You will get through this next part and then you will be done. Then heal, take time for yourself and cry if you have to. It DOES end. Let us know how you are doing. We are there with you, sister. (((hugs)))

Posts: 206
Joined: May 2003

Prior to cancer I never minded blood tests. Hell, I even gave blood 4 times a year. But since surgery and severe complications of the tram flap abdominal wound, I now cry at the thought of a blood test or IV. I was in the hospital for 17 days after and I&D of the abdominal wound and had IV antibiotics. Bad time. With only one arm to use for blood draws and IV's it gets bad. I should think by now they would have come up with a way to maintain venous access while we are hospitalized and for treatment blood tests and such. Oh well!
Hope you get through with the least number of draws. Discuss with your doctor about what tests are really needed. Sometimes I think stuff just gets ordered and no body ever looks at the tests. If they are consistantly normal or negative the time between them should be elongated. Don't you think? Good Thoughts, Beth

Posts: 153
Joined: Nov 2002

Thanks everyone! Jake10 and Marysun, I am definitely going to ask them how many blood tests are too many. Since they can only draw from one arm after the mastectomy, I am getting more and more sensitive about those guys missing the veins these days. It's taken me a long time to convince some of the blood drawers that I really do know the easiest way to get what they need. When they put the tourniquet on, wait, feel around a long time, then start to pale and start to look around for a more experienced person, I know they have just figured out that I am a "hard stick" (have really small veins).

I always tell them to use a butterfly (small needle) on the back of the hand. Pumping the fingers gently gets the sample in no time with no risk of collapsing a vein. Apparently they teach the blood drawing people that this is painful in the back of the hand...but my theory is that they can actually SEE those veins...and it beats getting stabbed three separate times in the arm.

When I had my chemo port installed, I naively thought that they could get the blood drawn through there. One stab! That was before I was told that at the end of every chemo session they "top it off" with a hephrenized (sp) solution to keep the port clear. It would take forever to get a good reverse flow from there.

Posts: 206
Joined: May 2003

Yes, that attitude that you don't know what works for your body gets old real fast. I had a nurse (male) come in to restart an IV. Told me he NEVER missed. Well he didn't miss but within 10 hours a had an inflamed and ruined vein. I'm a nurse and I know nobody NEVER misses. I just try to be real sweet but instistant that they try it my way first. Works most of the time. Beth

Posts: 482
Joined: Apr 2003

All my blood draws come from the implanted port now ... they draw and discard the first syringe; then, get the sample. That was half the purpose of putting the port in; access for chemo was the other half.

Posts: 2
Joined: May 2003

Yep, when I was having radiation I had blood tests every week. I liked to try visualization for each step of treatment. I pictured a long staircase in front of me and every time I got through a step of treatment I would see myself taking another step up that staircase. Sometimes I needed help to either give me a good push or pull me up- but I'm happy to say I finally reached the top step this week. The view is GREAT from up here! Don't let bloodwork get you down - reward yourself by jumping up a step. You will reach the top in no time!

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