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Starting 36 Rads on Monday 7/2

Attygirl's picture
Attygirl
Posts: 121
Joined: Jun 2012

Getting nervous and anxious.

MAJW
Posts: 2515
Joined: May 2009

I certainly understand your anxiety, as we all do...fear of the unknown......but honestly radiation is nothing to be afraid of...I am assuming you've had your simulation done...that does take time but your actual treatment will be over in less 4-5 minutes...it takes longer to "set you up" than the actual treatment...you won't feel a thing, I promise....I've had rads 3 times...if your radiation oncologist hasn't given you any creams please ask for them......on Monday, ,as they are prescription strength.....for me, I think that's why I didn't burn but some do, everyone is different....I used them faithfully ...as soon as I finished before I put my shirt on I applied it..carried it in my purse, and then 3 more times, but NEVER within 4 hours of a treatment.... What I did was keeping my eyes closed....as soon as I laid on the table....worked wonders and I just let my mind go somewhere else..usually I prayed and it would be over before I knew it...plus you only have to take off your bra, if you're wearing one and your top...they had gowns in the dressing rooms...

Do you have anything to take for anxiety? If so you might want to take it....unless it makes you drowsy and you're driving yourself....once you get used to the routine, I think your anxiety will lesson with each treatment....but remember everyone is different and we react differenty to our different types of treatment...

I wish you the very best and keep posting...
Hugs, Nancy

missrenee's picture
missrenee
Posts: 2137
Joined: Apr 2010

I know--fear of the unknown can be really strong. However, I'm with Nancy--it was so much easier than chemo for me. I know there have been several recent posts about severe redness/burning with rads, but please know that many of us (including me) got through it with just some pinkness towards the end.

In the beginning, the 33 sessions seemed like eternity, but then I changed my way of thinking and thought--I'm going to treat this like going to work every day--but, I only have to work 15 minutes--and I get to lay down!

You're going to do great--just use those creams/ointments religiously and rest as much as you need to.

Hugs, Renee

DebbyM's picture
DebbyM
Posts: 3295
Joined: Oct 2009

You can do this! One good tip is to start using any creams your rads oncologist gives you from day one.

Good luck, Debby

LoveBabyJesus's picture
LoveBabyJesus
Posts: 1650
Joined: Jan 2011

Hi - You will do great! For me radiation was very easy compared to chemo. I had 21 sessions (with boosters). All you need to remember is to use sunscreen, use the creams/lotions Doctors recommend, and use them daily -- also try to wear comfortable clothes. Remember everyone is different. The breast will heal with time and each day after treatment will be a better day for you.

Radiation is less than 5 minutes. It's quick and the entire treatment will go super fast. You'll see!

We'll be here to help answer any questions or concerns you may have.

HUGS. And you can do this!!

XOXO

Attygirl's picture
Attygirl
Posts: 121
Joined: Jun 2012

I couldn't sleep then remembered I posted this earlier and hadn't checked for responses. They each were just what I needed to hear and I feel much more at ease, so thank you! I know I will be fine.

Angie2U's picture
Angie2U
Posts: 2993
Joined: Sep 2009

Rads are not easy, but, I know you can do them. Get lots of sleep, use your creams, be gentle with your skin and make sure your rads oncologist sees you at the least, once a week.

I will bump a post up that has lots of good tips for you.

Hugs, Angie

NancyJac's picture
NancyJac
Posts: 96
Joined: Jun 2012

I agree that the rads themselves are nothing to be anxious about. However, the time it takes, how wide an area is irradiated, the side effects, and what you take for those side effects vary for each of us, just like with chemo. There are no universal "rules" for how long it takes, what creams (including suntan lotion) you should and shouldn't use and how long before rad to avoid them, etc.

I have 5 more rads to go. Each of them has taken between 20-30 minutes. They irradiate me differently on alternate days. One even days I wear what they call a bollis (sp) which is basically an adhesive half vest that goes over my chest and underarm area and it is basically like a huge ice pack. They tell me this directs more radiation toward the skin level (I had inflammatory breast cancer). I also have what is call the breath hold method, meaning I have to hold my breath during each radiation burst. That is to protect my heart and lungs during rads. At this point with just 5 more to go, I have some burning, especially around the edges of the areas they are irradiating and I have just been using an over the counter lotion on it. My RO's only stipulations were that I not use any creams or lotions that contain vit E or other antioxidants (they can mitigate the effect of the treatments, no perfumes of any kind, and to not use any creams, lotions, deodorants, etc. for at least 6 hours before treatment.

debi.18's picture
debi.18
Posts: 847
Joined: Jun 2011

Wishing you luck tomorrow. As some of the others said, for me rads were a breeze compared to chemo. I used fresh aloe and it worked wonderful. Follow all the instructions they give you as far as creams, etc. Let us know how it goes tomorrow.

Hugs, Debi

Kylez's picture
Kylez
Posts: 3765
Joined: May 2009

How did your rads treatment go?

Hugs, Kylez

jnl's picture
jnl
Posts: 3873
Joined: May 2009

Almost a rad grad! Can't wait to celebrate this milestone with you!

Leeza

debsweb18
Posts: 190
Joined: Jun 2012

Good news, I only had to work 8-2 so I could make my appointments. Bad news, 86 miles from home to work to drs to home. Good news, missed evening traffic! I first felt burn under my arm and developed rash on my chest and back during the last 2 weeks. My skin tends to be sensitive. I couldn't stand aquaphor sp? by itself so I mixed it with aloe-not as greasy. The dr mixed it with lidocaine once. My skin healed beautifully. Only have a tan square on my back shoulder. Just don't scratch the rash if you get one!

Once, due to the stretch of my arms over my head and nerve endings repairing themselves, my breast started having spasm-like feelings on the way home. It probably won't happen to you, but if it does, don't let it scare you. It's the unknown that's the worst.

You'll do fine. Just use the time to take a short nap!

Good luck!
Deb

Angie2U's picture
Angie2U
Posts: 2993
Joined: Sep 2009

You can do the rads and we are all here to cheer you on! It takes longer to undress than for the treatment. Be gentle with your skin, get lots of sleep, keep your creams on and don't rub your body like you normally do when you take a shower or bath..be gentle.

Good luck,

Angie

DianeBC's picture
DianeBC
Posts: 3888
Joined: Jun 2009

Hoping that you're doing well so far with rads!

Hugs, Diane

Megan M's picture
Megan M
Posts: 3001
Joined: Dec 2009

Wishing you good luck with rads! I hope they go fast for you! Focus on taking good care of yourself!

Hugs, Megan

Noel's picture
Noel
Posts: 3101
Joined: Apr 2009

Just saw this post and am hoping that you are doing well with rads. Post to update us as to how you are.

Good luck!

Attygirl's picture
Attygirl
Posts: 121
Joined: Jun 2012

Hello...here's my update:

After 28 whole breast rads I am about to start 8 boosts today. Rad Onc says he might cut that down to 5 boosts if my skin continues to suffer. I am terribly burned now and have been for the past week. The burns are painful and uncomfortable. Now using the generic for Biafine called PruTect. Used Aquaphor throughout and I'm sure that I would be worse off now if I hadn't.

The fatigue has been unlike anything I've ever felt before. At one point, about 3 weeks in, I felt like I hit a wall...like I had been hit by a truck. I didn't want that to be my story, so I kept it moving and did things with family and friends. But I didn't push and I make sure I get lots of rest. I am on sick leave from work so I don't have that to contend with, thankfully. And my hubby has driven me to all but a few treatments. I am also not doing much around the house except keeping up with the laundry.

So, all in all, this has been rough but doable for me. I fear it may be darkest before the dawn and I am not looking forward to the coming week, but I know this will all be behind me soon!

Thanks for all of the support and concern!
-Pam-

Kristin N's picture
Kristin N
Posts: 1969
Joined: Mar 2009

Rads are hard! You are almost done though! Good luck with the boosters and Biafine and Aquaphor saved me too!

survivorbc09
Posts: 4378
Joined: Jun 2009

Congrats on the 28! If you are terribly burned, I am sure your rads onco will only give you as many boosts as he feels you can handle. Sometimes they even stop treatments for awhile so you can heal and then start again when your skin is in better shape so you can finish them.

The fatigues is awful and you will be tired for awhile after rads. Sometimes it takes a year to get over. We are all different so that will vary.

Soon you will be done! Focus on the finish!

Hugs, Jan

Megan M's picture
Megan M
Posts: 3001
Joined: Dec 2009

I remember feeling so tired that it was all I could do sometimes to even go for my treatment. Thank goodness my husband always took me as I am not sure I was safe to drive. I did start taking naps during the day and that really helped me. Good luck!

Alexis F's picture
Alexis F
Posts: 3604
Joined: May 2009

We will all be waiting to RING the bell for your graduation! And, be sure and still get lots of rest when you are done as rads are cumulative.

Hugs, Lex

Hennie
Posts: 11
Joined: Jul 2012

from ending your treatments I hope. I, too had them and must say I did great! No blistering at all. It's true that we don't all react the same, but hope that all comes out ok. I did peel a little, but didn't feel any fatigue like others. Good luck with the remaining rads and keep us posted.

XOXOXOXO
Hennie

Noel's picture
Noel
Posts: 3101
Joined: Apr 2009

While you have the boosters, the rest of the area that had been getting rads will start to heal. You will be surprised, I think, how fast it happens. When are you done?

Best of luck and keep us updated.

Hugs, Noel

Attygirl's picture
Attygirl
Posts: 121
Joined: Jun 2012

Hello all. Thanks for your encouraging words. My rad onc put me on a break a week ago because my skin was open and raw. Used the Domeboro soaks and Silvadine cream. Went back today and he said my skin was still too raw in some spots. He gave me two more days to heal and will finish all of the boosts straight through, finishing next Wednesday.

Dealing with the burns has been so tough for me. Very painful and very uncomfortable. Reached a breaking point on Sunday, but thanks to a pep talk from my husband and the news from rad onc today, I am feeling like I can get through this.

DoodleLover
Posts: 3
Joined: Aug 2012

Hi. I just signed up on this website today. I had a lumpectomy 4 weeks ago and will be starting radiation in the next week or so. I am really scared. I have very sensitive skin and I already suffer from fatigue. I'm trying not to get worked up about something that may or may not happen, but it's hard not to think about it.

I am wishing you the best with your remaining treatments. I am praying that your skin will heal quickly and that you can start moving to the other side of this.

Attygirl's picture
Attygirl
Posts: 121
Joined: Jun 2012

Sorry you have to be here, but glad you came!

I appreciate your kind words...and your fears. I was gripped by them. Rads are intimidating. But they are totally doable. Allow yourself to feel whatever fears come up and find good ways to cope each day. Whether that be coming here or talking to your doctors or keeping a journal or praying (all things I did to cope), find ways to address your concerns. I also read a few good books in the early weeks which distracted me for a bit and took my mind off of treatment.

Most important for me was to speak up the moment I felt something because the team is there everyday to address/assess your needs. for example, about a dozen treatments in I started having anxiety/panic attacks when I woke up each day. I was prescribed an anti-anxiety med called Ativan and that helped me deal.

Follow the instructions you are given at the outset very closely, ie how to bathe, the soap to use, what to avoid, eat lots of protein, use your creams several times a day, etc. And if you ever have a question, concern, or just want to vent, come right back here to this thread or start another...we will be here for you!

Good luck and God's speed...

Attygirl's picture
Attygirl
Posts: 121
Joined: Jun 2012

Drink lots of water and get lots of REST! You will get through this...WE will get through this! (borrowed my husband's mantra)

DoodleLover
Posts: 3
Joined: Aug 2012

Thank you so much for taking the time to write back and for the advice. I appreciate it so very much. I also appreciate you saying to feel what I feel, because I have been having trouble with that. I don't want to complain or have a pity party going on, but at the same time, sometimes I just need to vent or I feel so depressed or angry and I just want someone to hear me. I think the important thing is to not let myself stay in that scary place.

Attygirl's picture
Attygirl
Posts: 121
Joined: Jun 2012

That place is scary...but it is real. In the beginning, I thought I always had to be positive and keep smiling because I thought it was the best way to cope. But the reality is that sometimes I can't muster a smile. Sometimes I get really sad, or scared, or pissed about this diagnosis and what it is doing to my life. Fighting those feeling seems the negative thing. Allowing myself to feel them seems like the more loving thing to do. And since where there is life there is hope, the good feelings do come!

DebbyM's picture
DebbyM
Posts: 3295
Joined: Oct 2009

Welcome also DoodleLover. Wishing you good luck with rads and come back on if you have any questions and we will try and help you. There's a really good thread on here about rads if you'd like for me to bump it up for you. Just let me know.

Hugs, Debby

Attygirl's picture
Attygirl
Posts: 121
Joined: Jun 2012

The LAST ONE, that is!!! Late this afternoon, I will be a RAD GRAD!!!

VickiSam's picture
VickiSam
Posts: 8219
Joined: Aug 2009

Job Done! ... Doing my Hap Hap Happy Dance for you!

Strength, Courage and HOPE for a Cure.

Vicki Sam

Attygirl's picture
Attygirl
Posts: 121
Joined: Jun 2012

I love a Happy Dance! My hubby has been doing one for the last few days in anticipation of this day!

susie09's picture
susie09
Posts: 2933
Joined: Jul 2009

Happy dancing for you! Congrats!

Attygirl's picture
Attygirl
Posts: 121
Joined: Jun 2012

Up next...Tamoxifen.

bluwillo
Posts: 113
Joined: May 2010

Tamoxofin, very doable (some will notice that I misspell a lot of the cancer words. I purposely refused to learn to spell them, it is with that much disdain I feel for cancer).

About 1 year after I started it, hubby just HAD to go with me to my onc doc with me. "Hmmm" I say to myself, "what's up with that? He knows I like to go alone to these things...I say some rather unflattering things about myself and others during these appts."

So, hubby opens the conversation with "didn't you say one of the side affects of this drug is she'd get kinda grumpy?" If I wasn't sitting next to him, my size 8 red cowboy boots woulda been covered in brown goo!! We spent the whole appointment sniping at each other! I had to call and apologize the next day. He's banned from my appointments. They are for ME, not him. Other than that, he's great. He makes sure I eat, does most of the shopping, etc. I guess he just wasn't getting the whole "hey, I finished college (in my 50's) and did the whole cancer thing at the same time, then one month after treatment, started a very high stress job (thank God for chemo brain, I was so stupid I didn't know what I was walking into) and now I have to work cos you're MAKING me work and I just want to stay home and lay around all day" vibes I was sending off. LOL, men!

Be sure to tell your doc about side effects. Really for me, there haven't been any (except I'm looking for new cowboy boots) and weight gain. Greek yogurt really is as good as a Snickers bar. You can do this!

Attygirl's picture
Attygirl
Posts: 121
Joined: Jun 2012

...you have made me chuckle!

My hubby has gone to almost all of my appointments, but I am going alone to MO appt. on Monday to get on with the next step...Tamoxifen (spelled correctly, cause I'm anal like that...but I love your refusal!) He also cooks for me, and our 2 kids, and takes good care of us. But I could also see him telling the doc about how grumpy I can be! I don't have any red cowboy boots (how fab!), but I could use one of my sensible shoes to take care of that!

So glad to hear your SEs have been minimal! Hoping for the same for me!

Noel's picture
Noel
Posts: 3101
Joined: Apr 2009

Wishing you good luck tomorrow at your appointment. You won't be alone, we will all be with you! Post an update to let us know how it goes!

Hugs, Noel

Attygirl's picture
Attygirl
Posts: 121
Joined: Jun 2012

I expect it will be emotional, but go well. I'll post an update, for sure!

Angie2U's picture
Angie2U
Posts: 2993
Joined: Sep 2009

Hoping your appt. went well today for you! Will watch for an update!

Hugs, Angie

Attygirl's picture
Attygirl
Posts: 121
Joined: Jun 2012

Saw my MO today and she said I look and sound good. Healing well after surgery and radiation. Started me on Tamoxifen.

But before I took the first pill, I went to my gyno and got a baseline ultrasound on my uterus and bloodwork to test my hormone levels.
So the next phase begins...

Thanks so much, all of you, for the thoughtfulness and concern. This is a hell of a journey!

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