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Hello from Australia

jr54
Posts: 2
Joined: Aug 2012

Hello,
I live in Australia and have just started treatment for anal cancer. Because of out small population there is little online in the way of forums for anal cancer, so I hope you don't mind if I join your discussion. :-)
I had chemo last week- four days of 5FU and mitomycin injection via PICC line. I have had 5 out of 30 radiation treatments. The chemo made me a bit nauseous but got through. I am very anxious aboout the burns caused by radiation, especially when you have a chem nurse tell you not to worry about making an appointment for the last week when I have chem again as "you will probably be in hospital by then with burns". Great!

I also have had a colostomy because of the anal partial blockage so have to deal with that as well.
I have been reading posts on the site and have been cheered and informed by what people say,
Thanks,
JR

z's picture
z
Posts: 1249
Joined: May 2009

Welcome, Sorry you had to find us. For the radiation are you having IMRT, instead of a blanketed pelvic radiation? I had IMRT which only aims the radiation at the indicated areas and not the areas that don't need to be treated. I didn't end up in the hospital at all, so hopefully you won't either. Did you get nausea medicine for the chemo, they really help. Also, did the dr tell what to use on the radiated areas inbetween treatment. Baths helped me a lot. I wish you well, and I'm sure others will chime in. Lori

rds711
Posts: 113
Joined: Dec 2011

Hi JR,

You're always welcome here. I finished my treaments 4/2012 and this forum was my lifeline.
All of us here have been or are going through what you are going through to some degree.

I did really well through week 3 then the burns started to appear. I used silvadene onitment and that really helped. The burns can make it a little rough for awhile but you can get thorugh it. The good news is they healed very rapidly when the radiation was finished. By day 9 after the last treatment I turned the corner and the burns healed. The most importnat thing is to stay hydrated. Avoid drinks with caffeine as they can contribute to dehydration. I also drank protien drinks as protien is the body's basic building blocks for healing.

Take it one day, 1 hour at a time if needed and before you know it you will find yourself on the other side!

Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers,

Randy

mp327's picture
mp327
Posts: 2889
Joined: Jan 2010

I'm sorry you've had to find your way here, but I'm so glad you are reaching out for support. You'll definitely get that here--all you need to do is ask for what you need. I hope you are dealing with the nausea okay and that it has subsided by now. The radiation burns can be very problematic for some, but others seem to fair pretty well. Some things to remember are to drink lots of water and eat protein with every meal or snack to promote healing. If you have not been applying something such as Aquaphor to your skin already, I would start doing so. Just remember to remove any creams, ointments, etc. completely from your skin prior to getting your daily rad treatment, then reapply afterwards. I did get burned, but got a lot of relief from soaking in the tub in lukewarm water several times a day. My doctor also prescribed Silver Sulfadiazine, which was soothing. You may find that applying pure aloe or the liquid from Vitamin E gelcaps is soothing as well. Many people get relief by applying compresses soaked with Domeboro too. Since you are in Australia, I am not sure what you can obtain down there, but some of these products can most likely be purchased online, with the exception of the Silver Sulfadiazine (also known as Flamazine), which is by prescription only (at least in the U.S.). I hope it is reassuring for you to know that despite my burns, which I would describe as 2nd. degree, I did not require hospitalization. One thing that worked against me was not being part of a support group such as this one during the time of my treatment. I could have learned many things from others and suffered less, I'm sure. So, please pick our brains and let us help you.

The bottom line is that you will get through this, just as the rest of us have. This is a cancer that has a high rate of successful treatment, so keep that in mind and you'll do just fine. I wish you all the very best. Please keep us posted on how things go.

eihtak
Posts: 835
Joined: Oct 2011

As others have said, we are sorry you have to be here but yet happy we are here for each other. I also did not find this site till after treatment and sure wish I had them during. I am about almost 1.5 yrs post treatment now, and also just completed treatment for breast cancer diagnosed 6mo ago. (tho will take meds for that for 5+ yrs) Anyhow, my tumor placement also required a colostomy. It was to be temporary but due to radiation damage seems may now be permanent. My docs are conflicted about the reversal so am seeing a specialist in a few months. You didn't say if yours was permanent or not, but if not meant to be, continue to bring the subject up at your rad appointments so that if there is ANYTHING they can do to to help, they do it! Sometimes things are out of our hands tho. I relate it to cooking food in a microwave, just as the food continues to cook when removed, our bodies continue to burn after radiation. On the other hand, the colostomy becomes a way of life and not really all that bad. I joined a support group for that too. We have one in person here but also an online one C3Life There are other members there from Austrailia too. I will say that when the radiation burns were at their peak, I was kind of happy to have the ostomy. Some people have an awful time with bowel movements, pain, and infections, that I was spared. I will have you in my thoughts and be praying that your treatment goes smoothly.

MyHopen413
Posts: 38
Joined: Mar 2012

You are welcome here. It is a place of acceptance and encouragement. I did end up in the hospital with burns, but they did heal and now I am cancer free. So, for me, it was worth it. I started taking sitz baths 4 times a day even before radiation started and used a cream the radiation oncologist prescribed. I used Silvadene on the burns and worked really well. Try not to worry too much about what is coming. Just concentrate on today and what you can do today to make yourself the most comfortable. Ask your nurses and doctors lots of questions. If something isn't working for you, or you are having side effects that are making you really uncomfortable.
Best to you.
Diane

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