Brachytherapy

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DaughterSue
DaughterSue Member Posts: 24

Hello,

I am writing to see if anyone has undergone brachytherapy?  I'm not sure if it's spelled right. 

It's regarding my elderly (78) mom. She has had a hyterectomy, chemotherapy and external radiation which she is 1/2 way done now.  This morning they said she needs to make an appointment for her next type of treatment. She was so upset as they explained she was going to have something inserted into her vagina and receive radiation "up there"  I believe the nurse told her it would be 3 treatments. 

I have researched online and it seems pretty common.  

Can anyone out there please tell me what to watch for, what to ask for, any kind of information at all. Any.... 

This is her 1st bout of cancer. It's endometrial/uterine, stage 1, but it's the serous type that can come back I guess.  

Please any kind of help at all.....her appt is Tues. We are meeting with the Dr on Monday and I want a whole list of questions to ask him. 

Thank you in advance!!!!  Worried daughter :( 

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Comments

  • CheeseQueen57
    CheeseQueen57 Member Posts: 933 Member
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    Not so bad

    I had both types of radiation therapy. The internal isn't so bad and only takes a few minutes. Easier than external I thought. 

  • DaughterSue
    DaughterSue Member Posts: 24
    edited May 2017 #3
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    Not so bad

    I had both types of radiation therapy. The internal isn't so bad and only takes a few minutes. Easier than external I thought. 

    Thank you so much. Can you

    Thank you so much. Can you tell me if you had any side effects from it and how long did it take to insert, etc......

  • TeddyandBears_Mom
    TeddyandBears_Mom Member Posts: 1,814 Member
    edited May 2017 #4
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    Hey Sue,

    Hey Sue,

    I had 5 rounds of brachy therapy and it was the easiest part of all treatments. Very mild side effects - a bit of fatigue, small drop in my white blood counts and a small burning when I urinated a couple of times. All of it was easy to deal with. I am 16 months out from that treatment and I feel fine.  We are all different but most of the people I have talked to or read about have said the same thing.  Your mom will be fine with this part!

    Love and Hugs,

    Cindi 

  • NoTimeForCancer
    NoTimeForCancer Member Posts: 3,385 Member
    edited May 2017 #5
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    Sue, I am sure it upset your

    Sue, I am sure it upset your mother!  Poor thing!  

    Like the other ladies who have commented, I received brachy and it was not painful but I could see where it would be embarrassing from some.   I remember thinking when the physicist connected the wire that would delivered the bead of radioactive material to the thing-a-ma-jingy they stick in you, "I should have kept count of how many people looked at my who-ha!"

    Brachy can cause stenosis of the vagina, so they will probably give her a dialator to insert following the treatment so future exams are possible.  Again, this  may be a lot for your mom - WHICH IS COMPLETELY UNDERSTANDABLE.  I have no doubt her mind is swimming.  Your mom is so lucky to have you.  You are a good daughter and please let us know how she is doing.  Please tell her she is not alone and we are here.

  • Hma4
    Hma4 Member Posts: 38
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    My doctor

    my gyno/oncologist let me take a pain med to relax me an hour before my treatment, it is almost like a pap, but there is no one standing down there

  • CheeseQueen57
    CheeseQueen57 Member Posts: 933 Member
    edited May 2017 #7
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    Side effects

    At the point I got this therapy, all semblance of modesty had gone out the window. Still, they were very professional and tried to guard what modesty I had left. I do suffer still from some bladder problems that we are still trying to solve (burning, frequent UTIs). Be sure mother drinks lots of water. And the dilator, well, it is what it is. You pretty much have to do that. 

  • Soup52
    Soup52 Member Posts: 908 Member
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    I did not enjoy brachytherapy

    I did not enjoy brachytherapy. I think a big factor in this was I did not have a very compassionate radiology oncologist. Thankfully he is no longer at my center and others should have an easier time.

  • DaughterSue
    DaughterSue Member Posts: 24
    edited May 2017 #9
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    Soup52 said:

    I did not enjoy brachytherapy

    I did not enjoy brachytherapy. I think a big factor in this was I did not have a very compassionate radiology oncologist. Thankfully he is no longer at my center and others should have an easier time.

    I'm so sorry you had ...

    I'm so sorry you had such a uncompassonate radiology oncologist!  As if you aren't going through enough already.... This is unbelievable how this person was even able to be in this field. Good luck to you moving forward.  

  • DaughterSue
    DaughterSue Member Posts: 24
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    Side effects

    At the point I got this therapy, all semblance of modesty had gone out the window. Still, they were very professional and tried to guard what modesty I had left. I do suffer still from some bladder problems that we are still trying to solve (burning, frequent UTIs). Be sure mother drinks lots of water. And the dilator, well, it is what it is. You pretty much have to do that. 

    Thank you for your input....

    It's so nice of you to comment.... I did go to the consultation with my mom this morning.  He told her about the dialation and said to her she'll learn more about it at the end....but he didn't go into detail.  

    I'm sure it's not real comfortable, but is it painful?  Does a person do it daily? Weekly? For how long? I know they'll tell her, but i'm just being proactive. 

    Will she do it for the rest of her life or just a few months? Or is everyone different? She's 78, I feel so bad for her. :(  

    Thank you!!!!

  • DaughterSue
    DaughterSue Member Posts: 24
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    Hma4 said:

    My doctor

    my gyno/oncologist let me take a pain med to relax me an hour before my treatment, it is almost like a pap, but there is no one standing down there

    Thank you for your comment!!

    I might talk to her about taking a mild pill for anxiety....that might help. Tomorrow is the "fitting" like a trail run......  I hope she'll be ok:(  

  • DaughterSue
    DaughterSue Member Posts: 24
    edited May 2017 #12
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    Sue, I am sure it upset your

    Sue, I am sure it upset your mother!  Poor thing!  

    Like the other ladies who have commented, I received brachy and it was not painful but I could see where it would be embarrassing from some.   I remember thinking when the physicist connected the wire that would delivered the bead of radioactive material to the thing-a-ma-jingy they stick in you, "I should have kept count of how many people looked at my who-ha!"

    Brachy can cause stenosis of the vagina, so they will probably give her a dialator to insert following the treatment so future exams are possible.  Again, this  may be a lot for your mom - WHICH IS COMPLETELY UNDERSTANDABLE.  I have no doubt her mind is swimming.  Your mom is so lucky to have you.  You are a good daughter and please let us know how she is doing.  Please tell her she is not alone and we are here.

    You are so kind....

    Thank you for your sweet comments. I have already been through this with my husband who passed from colon cancer...surgeries, etc.  I'm still not healed and I'll never, ever be the same...we were married 28 years. Now this with my mom...just so unbearable, while trying to save my house and car....I could talk until midnight, but won't....  

    Anyway, I did go with her to her appt this morning to meet with the radiation Dr. He was very nice. She's half way through the radiation right now and she's being "fitted" for this internal thingie.  The Dr. did mention dialation -  he said they would tell her about it when she's done. Anything you can share with me about that would be great... I imagine it's kind of like a tampax thing that you move up and down and around? Something to that effect I guess?  How long does a person do it?  Is it after each treatment or every day? For weeks or months ....or your whole life?  yikes!  Thank you for any kind of info!!!!!  Sue 

  • DaughterSue
    DaughterSue Member Posts: 24
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    Hey Sue,

    Hey Sue,

    I had 5 rounds of brachy therapy and it was the easiest part of all treatments. Very mild side effects - a bit of fatigue, small drop in my white blood counts and a small burning when I urinated a couple of times. All of it was easy to deal with. I am 16 months out from that treatment and I feel fine.  We are all different but most of the people I have talked to or read about have said the same thing.  Your mom will be fine with this part!

    Love and Hugs,

    Cindi 

    Thank you Cindi!!

    So nice of you to reply. Yay!! ...on your 16 months out from treatment!!!  May I ask what kind of cancer you had?  My mom has Stage 1, but Grade 3 and it's the serous....the kind that is aggresive. :(  

  • CheeseQueen57
    CheeseQueen57 Member Posts: 933 Member
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    Dilator

    It doesn't hurt. Directions vary. I was told 3 times a week for 3 years. For 10 minutes. Just annoying. 

  • SandyD
    SandyD Member Posts: 130
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    Thank you for your input....

    It's so nice of you to comment.... I did go to the consultation with my mom this morning.  He told her about the dialation and said to her she'll learn more about it at the end....but he didn't go into detail.  

    I'm sure it's not real comfortable, but is it painful?  Does a person do it daily? Weekly? For how long? I know they'll tell her, but i'm just being proactive. 

    Will she do it for the rest of her life or just a few months? Or is everyone different? She's 78, I feel so bad for her. :(  

    Thank you!!!!

    To get her started

    Your mother may find a product called "cool water cones" helpful when she first starts dilation. They're made of a silicone gel and you keep them refrigerated. They may tend to be a bit more comfortable when she first starts dilating.

    As far as how often and how long, what I've found is that there are no clear guidelines. I would say that initially it's a good idea to do it more frequentlly (several times each week). Over time it's generally OK to do it a bit less frequently. Advice about how long it has to be continued varies considerably. Some say for the rest of your life, others that you may be able to stop after several years.

  • SandyD
    SandyD Member Posts: 130
    edited May 2017 #16
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    My only problem

    with the radiation technologist I had was that when I told him that I felt totally drained and exhausted after the first session he said he'd never heard of that and that was not a side effect. I then researched the side effects myself and found out that the tiredness is a very typical side effect.

  • NoTimeForCancer
    NoTimeForCancer Member Posts: 3,385 Member
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    You are so kind....

    Thank you for your sweet comments. I have already been through this with my husband who passed from colon cancer...surgeries, etc.  I'm still not healed and I'll never, ever be the same...we were married 28 years. Now this with my mom...just so unbearable, while trying to save my house and car....I could talk until midnight, but won't....  

    Anyway, I did go with her to her appt this morning to meet with the radiation Dr. He was very nice. She's half way through the radiation right now and she's being "fitted" for this internal thingie.  The Dr. did mention dialation -  he said they would tell her about it when she's done. Anything you can share with me about that would be great... I imagine it's kind of like a tampax thing that you move up and down and around? Something to that effect I guess?  How long does a person do it?  Is it after each treatment or every day? For weeks or months ....or your whole life?  yikes!  Thank you for any kind of info!!!!!  Sue 

    DaughterSue, I sent you a PM.

    DaughterSue, I sent you a PM. 

  • TeddyandBears_Mom
    TeddyandBears_Mom Member Posts: 1,814 Member
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    Thank you Cindi!!

    So nice of you to reply. Yay!! ...on your 16 months out from treatment!!!  May I ask what kind of cancer you had?  My mom has Stage 1, but Grade 3 and it's the serous....the kind that is aggresive. :(  

    Hey Sue,

    Hey Sue,

    I had the same... Stage 1A Grade 3 Serous.  This cancer is nasty stuff! That's why most doctors want us to have chemo and brachy even with stage 1.  This is the best strategy to get to remission.... I wish your Mom a long, healthy life!

    Love and Hugs,

    Cindi

     

  • TeddyandBears_Mom
    TeddyandBears_Mom Member Posts: 1,814 Member
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    Dilator

    It doesn't hurt. Directions vary. I was told 3 times a week for 3 years. For 10 minutes. Just annoying. 

    Oh Cheese... you made me

    Oh Cheese... you made me laugh! It really is just annoying! I'm always so glad to be done with it! LOL

    Sue, My doctor told me 2 times per week for 10 minutes.  He said they have to say it is for life but generally he has seen patients stop after 2 years and they stay flexible and open.

    There is a thread called 'Let's Talk About Radiation'..... Sue, if you have time to read it there is a lot of discussion on brachy therapy and dialators. You may find it helpful.  Also, I'm so sorry for your loss. I hope you find comfort in your loving memories.

    Love and Hugs,

    Cindi

     

  • KatnHat
    KatnHat Member Posts: 27 Member
    edited May 2017 #20
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    3rd brachytherapy tomorrow!

    Hi, this is timely. I had a lot of trouble with the first brachytherapy as I have severe vaginal dryness, and when they inserted the cylinder into my vagina, it was painful, a bad stinging sensation. It went away after about 10 minutes, but it really made me more than uncomfortable. I asked for topical anesthetic (lidocaine) the second time and it helped immensely! I was so much more relaxed. I've never given birth, so things are tight there anyway. I lubricated with Replens regularly and for sure the night before. I'm having a few bowel issues, constipation with water diarrhea if that makes sense. Plus a feeling of pressure when urinating. I try to drink lots of water. Good luck to your mom!

  • TeddyandBears_Mom
    TeddyandBears_Mom Member Posts: 1,814 Member
    edited May 2017 #21
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    KatnHat, You are almost done!

    KatnHat, You are almost done! Congrats.... My radiologist also used lidocaine for me. I have had that burning issue since a bad infection while using hormone replacement pills 3 years before getting cancer.  Prior to cancer and getting the lidocaine, I used Orajel before sex (which stung on initial application) but allowed me to continue a physical relationship with my husband. Skip forward - post cancer, chemo, brachy.... I now use the lidocaine instead of the Orajel. What a gift. No pain or stinging when applied and works well to allow me to maintain a healthy sex life.  I also use lidocaine prior to my check ups. Highly recommend it for anyone that has pain "down there". No reason to have to tough it out!

    By the way, if you are having issues with urination, try AZO. That's what my radiologist recommended.

    Good Luck to you.

    Love and Hugs,

    Cindi