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Brachytherapy Questions/Concerns

Charissa's picture
Charissa
Posts: 124
Joined: May 2016

Greetings, wonderful ladies. I so appreciate all of you. I'm not sure a day passes where your wonderful insight, humor, and encouragement is not spoke of to a friend or family member.

I have a few questions regarding Brachytherapy and treatment. I had my first treatment on July 1st, with my second treatment five days later on July 6th.  They have me scheduled to do my next treatment, tomorrow, July 8th (two days later).  Is there a time-preference and reasoning in between treatments being administered?  Why did they give me so much time in between the first treatment, but not as much time in between my 2nd and 3rd treatment?  My fourth treatment is scheduled four days later (July 11), with my last treatment scheduled three days later (July 14th). 

My body is hyper-sensitive. My side effects were not horrific, but I definitely knew they were effective. Being so in tuned with my body to begin with, my side effects were slight fatigue, mild cramping/discomfort, slight burning while urinating, and a lower backache after my first treatment. All of these symptoms completely subsided by the fourth day.

After my second treatment yesterday, all the same symptoms returned; however the fatigue was intensified. For the first 24 hours, I could not quit yawning, keep my train of thought, sounded hoarse, and had a glaze over my eyes. The fatigue seems to have passed, but now it's back to the mild discomfort and minimal lower backache.

I'm having a hard time not being able to see or truly knowing what is exactly taking place in my vaginal cuff. I have heard nightmare stories of others being terribly externally burned from radiation, and was even told of a woman who had to have skin grafting after a bad treatment.

When bringing up the concerns to the nurses yesterday, they simply reassured me I am doing the easiest of all radiations and that only minimal people have lasting long-term side effects. I guess I should have questioned my scheduling too.  However, with this being a first time, I didn't know how my body would respond. They act like I shouldn't feel any side-effects. Which brings up my next questions, "Did anyone else experience any side effects?  How many days did they wait in between your treatments?  And, how many treatments did you do in total and how long were each of those treatments?"

I'm also concerned it's going to have an impact on my relationship with my hubby, if permangreatlyt scaring takes place. Truly, I think that is my BIGGEST fear. We have always had a tighter fit, with lubricant our best friend. It's going to be hard to lie there tomorrow, thinking maybe I should be waiting a few more days in between treatments, to give my body more time to heal. Which brings up my last question, "Are there benefits to having treatments closer together?"

Thank you, in advance, for your time and reply. With the brachytherapy only being precautionary for me, I find myself wanting to stop. I really need encouragement. Blessings with hugs.

Red Corvette
Posts: 107
Joined: Jan 2016

Lots of us early morning posters!

My wife just finished brachytherapy with no issues other than some fatigue which cleared quickly. She had 3 treatments one time per week for 3 weeks. If you're getting 5 it sounds like they have you on a lower dose schedule. My wife's was the standard high dose schedule but you can ask your radiology doc why 5 instead of 3. 

Don't worry about scarring as your're not getting external radiation. The very top of the vaginal cuff may scar a little bit which is normal and they'll probably tell you about dialators to keep "things in good shape" but my wife's doc said if you have sex once a week its all ok.

As I told my wife many times during treatment don't worry about what could happen. We will take care of whatever  actually happens.

Worry is just future pain we don't need! Hang in there, you're doing fine!

Red

 

 

TeddyandBears_Mom's picture
TeddyandBears_Mom
Posts: 1622
Joined: Jun 2015

Hey Charissa,

Red said it well.  Good job Red!

I also had the 5 treatments instead of 3. They were administered over a two week period. I started on 1/14 and finished on 1/28. My radiologist opted for the lower doses to minimize the tissue damage. For me, so far so good.

I did have some discomfort like you mentioned - fatigue and mild burning when urinating. Drink a lot of liquids. And, AZO was recommended if I got the burning. I never used it because mine wasn't that bad and went away quickly. There is another thread about radiation that was started around August of last year. I think it is called 'Let's talk about radiation'. It was started by AWK and has a lot of information that you may find helpful.

Hang in there. You will get through this and be back to normal before you know it!

Love and Hugs,

Cindi

Charissa's picture
Charissa
Posts: 124
Joined: May 2016

I truly don't know how you women do it! I must be a complete sissy-la-la. I elected to cancel my last two brachytherapy treatments. I couldn't stand the thought of what it was doing to my insides. My hubby wasn't going to let me off the hook, until he watched tears stream down my cheeks all the way home and seen I was determined not to return. I mentioned to him it being a good thing they got all the cancer with surgery, as if this was how I was responding to radiation, there would be NO WAY I could do chemo. I would probably decide to be like Molimoli and do it my way. My body is too hypersensitive.

I am at peace with my decision and will continue moving forward with my holistic regimen and protocol. I am looking forward to healing and getting my body back to where it once was. Thank you, for all your love, support, wisdom, and encouragement.

Kvdyson's picture
Kvdyson
Posts: 789
Joined: Jan 2016

Charissa, you are the only one who knows what is right for you. This is your one life so make whatever decisions you feel are right and don't look back. No regrets!

Soup52's picture
Soup52
Posts: 903
Joined: Jan 2016

Brachytherapy was very painful for me, so I can appreciate your decision to stop. I had 3 which were 1 week apart for each. I felt like I was alone in complaining about it as others seemed to sale through. I really wish I had had the courage to stop it, too. All the best to you!

janaes
Posts: 799
Joined: May 2016

Charissa, I think sometimes our body tells us things.  This is not related to cancer, but about 15 years ago I was doing infertility treatments.  I walked out of one of my pursedures I was doing and just cried.  I hated it. It hurt so bad. I was married at the time and told my husband as i was crying, this is not what i am supposed to be doing.  That day was a big crossroad for me.  My life went down a whole new path after that. Its okay to listen to your body.

Editgrl's picture
Editgrl
Posts: 903
Joined: Jun 2015

as to what's right for us.  Yes, for many, brachytherapy is fairly "easy."  But as Soup said, not for her and obviously not for you.  Janae, you are so right about listening to that voice that says, "This is not what I'm supposed to be doing."

Charissa's picture
Charissa
Posts: 124
Joined: May 2016

Awe, ladies, you are simply the BEST!!! Thank you, for your unwavering support. I feel very at peace with the decision. I will take it one day and one test at a time, from here on out.

Soup, I went back and read the thread Cindi suggested on "Let's Talk About Radiation". It helped validate your and my feelings. It seems that many had apprehension with regards to radiation - actually more so then chemo. As seen over and over on this site, each one of us reacts differently to treatment; in the same way each of our cancer responds to treatment differently. I learned from that thread that many see a team of doctors that are all over the board (not in agreement on treatment), that radiologists like to tell us our symptoms are unrelated to our treatment (even when mine were like clock-work and predictable after each treatment), and sadly once we're done with that particular treatment, as one member posted, "...it's not my problem anymore, lady." This was validated by your sweet friend's (Tranette?) Youtube video, who is sadly no longer with us. I also learned that my slower flow and the feeling of my bladder not feeling fully emptied is possibly the new normal. And, lastly was sad to learn an x-ray should be done prior to brachytherapy treatment to assure correct placement. This was not done at any of my three treatments. This has been the most resourceful network!

I sincerely appreciate how sweet, open-minded, and genuine you women are. No one understands what it's like to be in this camp, until they are actually in it. Feeling so blessed to be in it with all of you!!! Love, hugs, and healing to all.

EZLiving66's picture
EZLiving66
Posts: 1397
Joined: Oct 2015

I agree with the other ladies, Charissa.  This has to be YOUR decision.  I only made it through three chemos and I truly believe I would not have lived through a fourth one.  My oncologist simply did not care but thankfully I have a wonderful GP who told me that some oncologists focus so narrowly on "curing" the cancer, they end of killing YOU.  It was like my life was collateral damage to his attempt to kill the cancer cells.  She also said my chemo was preventative since after surgery there was no evidence whatsoever it had spread instead of being more of a curative treatment.

I have no regrets.  I can't imagine the side effects I would be suffering if I had continued IF I were still alive.  (((Charissa)))

Love,

Eldri

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