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Suggestions for getting to the end of radiation

Posts: 7
Joined: Aug 2013

I have 13 more radiation treatments.  The pain from going to the bathroom is so intense, I can't leave the house for fear of when it will hit.  I have been trying hard to keep up my nutrition and not lose weight, but I need suggestions for what to eat to minimize the pain.  I take stool softeners and then I have to take Immodium to reduce the diarrhea burn. Is there anyone who would recommend a liquid diet, the protein drinks, Ensure, anything else.  i have to be at several doctor appointments this week and have a lot of anxiety about when I will need to go to the bathroom and how to manage the pain.  I have Lortab that I haven't taken yet because Narcotics make me very nauseous!  Help??

Posts: 1255
Joined: Oct 2011

To deal with pain by that point I was taking a regular daily dose of oxycontin. I too was very nauseous so had several shots (I was hospitalized) of Zofran a day. It seems I survived for a while on bites of yogurt and sips of Ensure or Boost, but once in the hospital was hooked up to TPN, a nutritional supplement via my port. I am not the kind of person who took much of anything for pain prior, like tylenol or advil for minor headaches etc., and two years later, I don't again. But, when those radiation burns got bad, it saved my sanity. Many narcotics can be constipating so took a daily stool softener also. Can you make it without? Probably, yes. But if your doctor has prescrbed something to help with the pain it may be worth a try. I also sipped on flat gingerale during the day, may help with the nausea.

Hopefully someone will chime in with a diet tip more than I could offer, but I will be praying for your pain relief as you continue this journey. Just think, only a few weeks from now and you'll be on your way to healing!! Hang on.................


mp327's picture
Posts: 4120
Joined: Jan 2010

I know the last half of treatment can be very painful.  If you are having diarrhea, try the BRAT diet for a few days and see if it slows things down (bananas, white rice, applesauce and white toast).  Supplement that with the protein drinks.  If things ease up after a few days, try a low residue diet, which means lots of yogurt and no fiber.  It will allow your bowels to rest, cutting down on the number of BM's.  If you have diarrhea, I would not hesitate to try the Lortab.  It may ease your pain and also slow down the diarrhea.  If you have nausea, ask your doctor for something else.  Hang in there.  I know it's rough, but you can do it!

Posts: 379
Joined: Jan 2013

I pretty much lived on smoothies - greek yogurt, frozen fruit, and whey protein.  Also was able to eat toast but not much else.  I was also taking oxycontin, metamucil in the morning and miralax in the evening.  I was fortunate not to get diarrhea but it was a little tricky balancing the constipating effect of the oxy with the metamucil and miralax.  If you can find something to help with the nausea caused by taking something like oxy I really think that the only way to go at this point is a narcotic pain reliever.  I could not have gotten through those treatments without it.  And really, even with oxycontin, the moment of passing stool was still excruciating.  I cried and moaned a lot.  

I wish I could help more.  Take care.

db8ne1's picture
Posts: 137
Joined: Feb 2013

I found eating next to nothing - and if I ate anything at all it was soup or soft foods - helped somewhat during my last bad week and the 2 weeks of recovery.  The use of a sitz bath numerous times a day helped as well.  Also, the application of A&D ointment or Vitamin E or any other topical agent that helps sooth the damage can help. 

I hope that this helps and that this passes quickly for you.


Posts: 1122
Joined: Aug 2012

Last 13..... Getting closer to the end! First off, I used a handheld shower for soothing and cleaning. Keep the area clean and dry. I did not use lotions, as they only make burns worse. Keeping it dry seems to work best. I was told to use Dove for Sensitive Skin Body Wash if needed. No rubbing the skin. Use the sitz bath frequently. Drink plenty of water. Eat extra protein. Everyone can stomach different things. Greek yogurt plain, peanut butter on a bagel, scrambled eggs, vanilla custards, chicken soup, mild white fish, egg noodles. Protein promotes rapid healing. Make sure you are eating more protein than usual. A nice homemade chicken soup with egg noodles would be really good.

What helped most with the diarreah was hummus. Plain, organic hummus on a bagel or cracker. It helps to solidify the bms. If you get constipated from pain meds, let up on the hummus.

I did not use any pain meds, so I can't help you with advice there. Pain meds make me vomit and feel horrible. i would rather have the pain, really.

You are going to have to stay very close to a toilet now. Accidents may happen, so carry extra clothes with you. Do not wear any clothes that will rub on the skin. I cut cotton underwear legs in front and back to loosen them up. I also wore loose fitting pants or a skirt.

I slept naked on the bottom and let the air get at the area as much as possible!

Keep a sports bottle filled with room temperature water nearby to squirt on the area while you are going to the bathroom. It helps with the pain.

Hang in there! Sending you big hugs and prayers!

Jo Joy's picture
Jo Joy
Posts: 40
Joined: Oct 2012

There was someone on this forum that said to lean forward when you  have to pee. That worked most of the time because it kept the stream off the raw skin.  For bowel movements I kept them as soft as possible. After the 2nd round of chemo it was mostly diarrhea and I managed that with Imodium. I also had a portable bidet and a spare water bottle in a little tote bag along with feminine pads to help contain accidents until I could get to the restroom.  I also had a couple of spare undies, soft paper towels to dab dry after spraying with the bidet, aquaphor, and alcohol free wipes.

I used prayer to alleviate the pain. I never got to the point that I had to take the pain pills that the DR had prescribed. I took as many whirlpool baths as I could in those last days.  I put Epsom salts in the water. There were some nights that I would come home from work and feel so weak, that I would take a bath while I drank my protein shake dinner, and then go straight to bed after smearing on a steroid cream and aquaphor and putting on large men's cotton boxer shorts. Above all be good to the skin in that area.  My radiation oncologist told me to think of it as a baby's bottom. You wouldn't use harsh cleansers or scrub a baby's bottom so don't do it to your bottom.

I was also prescribed Zofran pills for naseua. They worked well and they didn't make me sleepy or groggy.  

Lorikat's picture
Posts: 680
Joined: Jul 2011

Boy, some of you folks are TOUGH!  I rarely took pain meds in my before-cancer life, but halfway through radiation I TOOK PAIN MEDS!  I had pain pops in the morning to help me get through a bowel movement.  STILL screamed.  OxyContin I kept on board to try and keep the pain under control.  i had a  shower head that reached the commode...  Every thing helped, but nothing stopped it from hurting!   I had 3rd degree burns on my everything below the waist, when I had a bowel movement it was like pooping razor blades.

i say everyone is different so just do what you need to do to make it Through.  Get a driver if you can and ake your meds.  I took Zofran because I was always nauseous...   You'll make it...  Hugs..  Lorie without so much as a Tylenol 

Posts: 1255
Joined: Oct 2011

Lol.....you sound like me! I was taking oxycontin every 12hrs with oxycodone for break-thru pain. Zofran several times a day to calm my stomach! I think some people hesitate to use pain meds out of fear of dependence. If taken as prescribed and weaned off when no longer needed they can actually help heal by reducing pain and thus helping appetite and aiding sleep. We are all different though, and some just don't seem to need, makes me a little jealous....... Somehow we all arrive at the same point, just get there different ways! Hope all is well.

Posts: 454
Joined: Nov 2012

Pain relief, eat little & often, portable bidet using salt water (passing urine etc into it ), satinpillow case on car seat to help move off, large jersey boxers, going commando when possible,  stool softener, supersoft wipes, sit on sheepskin,  low fibre diet, low dairy. Hope some of these help.


Posts: 374
Joined: Jan 2011

I was hesitant to take pain meds and finally at the end of week 4, I started . . .doctor's orders.  She knew it would get  worse before it got better and wanted to make sure I was well medicated BEFORE the worse pain hit. Her direction was spot on.  Do it.  

Posts: 1122
Joined: Aug 2012

Ameryan, not everyone is benefitted by pain meds. You say pain meds make you nauseous. Pain meds make me so sick! I vomit, get headaches,get dizzy, etc. I cannot function at all on pain meds. My mom was the same way. I have tried them all. Sounds like you have similary reactions. Some people feel just fine on pain meds and it apparently helps them. I did not take any pain meds at all during this treatment. I did use prayer, meditation, video games. Don't feel pressured to take something that you know will make you feel worse. You know your own body best. I hope you are hanging in there! You are almost to the end!

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