CSN Login
Members Online: 8

You are here

Brachytherapy

DaughterSue
Posts: 24
Joined: May 2017

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 :( 

CheeseQueen57's picture
CheeseQueen57
Posts: 803
Joined: Feb 2016

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
Posts: 24
Joined: May 2017

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's picture
TeddyandBears_Mom
Posts: 1532
Joined: Jun 2015

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 

DaughterSue
Posts: 24
Joined: May 2017

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. :(  

TeddyandBears_Mom's picture
TeddyandBears_Mom
Posts: 1532
Joined: Jun 2015

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

 

NoTimeForCancer's picture
NoTimeForCancer
Posts: 2582
Joined: Mar 2013

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.

DaughterSue
Posts: 24
Joined: May 2017

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 

NoTimeForCancer's picture
NoTimeForCancer
Posts: 2582
Joined: Mar 2013

DaughterSue, I sent you a PM. 

Hma4's picture
Hma4
Posts: 38
Joined: Jan 2017

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

DaughterSue
Posts: 24
Joined: May 2017

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:(  

CheeseQueen57's picture
CheeseQueen57
Posts: 803
Joined: Feb 2016

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. 

DaughterSue
Posts: 24
Joined: May 2017

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!!!!

SandyD's picture
SandyD
Posts: 130
Joined: Oct 2015

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.

Soup52's picture
Soup52
Posts: 901
Joined: Jan 2016

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
Posts: 24
Joined: May 2017

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.  

CheeseQueen57's picture
CheeseQueen57
Posts: 803
Joined: Feb 2016

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

TeddyandBears_Mom's picture
TeddyandBears_Mom
Posts: 1532
Joined: Jun 2015

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

 

SandyD's picture
SandyD
Posts: 130
Joined: Oct 2015

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.

KatnHat's picture
KatnHat
Posts: 27
Joined: Jan 2017

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!

DaughterSue
Posts: 24
Joined: May 2017

My mom's first one is tomorrow.  I'm going to make a note of the lidocaine just incase. Also making a note of Replens....they didn't tell her about any of this. I appreciate your input sooo much and wish you GREAT health in the upcoming years!!!!!! 

TeddyandBears_Mom's picture
TeddyandBears_Mom
Posts: 1532
Joined: Jun 2015

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

CheeseQueen57's picture
CheeseQueen57
Posts: 803
Joined: Feb 2016

Not to get overly graphic but could you give more details of how you use the Lidocaine?  Having some issues in that area also. Just be aware that Azo can effect liver so if you have any liver issues you might not want to use it regularly. Just bought organic coconut oil to give it a try. 

TeddyandBears_Mom's picture
TeddyandBears_Mom
Posts: 1532
Joined: Jun 2015

I use a Q-Tip and apply it about an inch into my vagina and then my finger to apply it generously to the opening. It only takes about 5 minutes to work. One of the benefits of having brachy was finding a doctor that listened and had a solution. Imagine that!

What I find amazing is how many women are out there suffering and are not offered this simple, cheap solution. Just makes me so mad!  Until I found my own solution (Orajel) I stopped getting pap tests because it was just too darn painful.

By the way, make sure to get the prescription level stuff because it is pure and won't sting.

PM me if I can answer anything else... I know this is not an easy subject but I started to share my story after some research where I found women suffering.

Thanks for the tip on the AZO. 

Love and Hugs,

Cindi

CheeseQueen57's picture
CheeseQueen57
Posts: 803
Joined: Feb 2016

Thanks for all the info, Cindi. 

NoTimeForCancer's picture
NoTimeForCancer
Posts: 2582
Joined: Mar 2013

Dang!  You ladies are awesome!

DaughterSue
Posts: 24
Joined: May 2017

And so are YOU!!! Cool

sshhaarrii
Posts: 38
Joined: Oct 2016

Brachytherapy for me was tourcherous. Very painful. So painful I asked for pain medication.

I had 3 sessions, the 1st one was the worst, 2nd and 3rd not as bad as the 1st.

Sorry, but that's my store.

DaughterSue
Posts: 24
Joined: May 2017

I'm so, so sorry you had such a difficult and painful experience.  Seems like some people breeze through and others not so much.  With my mom being older (78) it really scares me.  I feel so helpless.  I hope you are on your way to being free from all this mess.  :(    Big Hug! 

lucy07
Posts: 51
Joined: Apr 2011

i had it after my hysterectomy in 2010

was not to bad I had 3 sessions only mild exhaustion 

your mom will be fine

DaughterSue
Posts: 24
Joined: May 2017

I'm glad yours wasn't too bad.  :)  

All of you girls are SOO kind to respond and tell me all of your experiences.  It's been very helpful. Keeping my fingers crossed and praying she's ok tomorrow. 

I pray too, even though it didn't help my husband get through his colon cancer. Yep, he died. I'll never be the same. God didn't answer my prayers, maybe this time he will. Who knows.  Hugs to you all. 

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

i have used Vitamin E suppositories in the past for vaginal atrophy and they helped a lot.

CheeseQueen57's picture
CheeseQueen57
Posts: 803
Joined: Feb 2016

Chris, I was considering the vitamin E suppositories but got spooked by reading connection with their antioxidant properties and cancer. Also, they are pretty pricey aren't they?

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

I don't remember the price, but I know they can't have been very expensive or I wouldn't have tried them.

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

i see thrm available on line....24 pack for  little over $8. I do remember that I ended up not needing to use the entire suppository at one time.

DaughterSue
Posts: 24
Joined: May 2017

Hi girls, just asking about the vitamin E you are talking about. What did you use these for exactly?  Thank you!! 

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

i used these several years before I was diagnosed, for post-menupausal vaginal atrophy. After a romantically dry spell, when I started having sex again, it was painful. The vitamin E suppositories helped with that.

DaughterSue
Posts: 24
Joined: May 2017

Oh, I see, ok....I wasn't sure what it was for...thanks so much for clearing it up!!! :) 

DaughterSue
Posts: 24
Joined: May 2017

I asked her if she thought it ended up being better, worse or the same as she imagined when she got out.  She said worse :(  

Poor mom!!!!  She said it was real painful because it felt like the Dr. was trying to put it too much towards the top of the vagina, then he kind of looked and then put it down farther.  So......what the heck??  Not sure if it was supposed to be like that or if he made a little mistake..I have no clue.  Well, she is down to 2 internal left and 7 external left.  She's pretty exhausted most days, but still does all kinds of things. She said she feels nauseous a couple hours after getting home. She has some kind of anti-nauseous med but doesn't like it because it makes her tired. (I'd take it anyway and go to bed)  she likes to feel in control and not be all bed ridden, etc...  Anyway, does the radiation add up in your system and you can feel a lot worse near the end, or not really?  She's had 21 external and is doing pretty good so far and the one brachy yesterday.... Thanks for any input, you girls are GREAT. Laughing

NoTimeForCancer's picture
NoTimeForCancer
Posts: 2582
Joined: Mar 2013

Oh Daughter....I am sorry to hear about your mom's experience.  As for radiation - I have never felt fatigue like I did during radiation.  Whew!!!  I would crash out at 7 pm and that was it for the night.  Remind your mother, rest is restorative, and not to fight it.  Additionally, I was told that radiation continues to work up to six weeks after you finished so she will start to bounce back quickly, but it still takes time.  

I hated 'radiation' in general - just never wrapped my head around that, and was glad when it was over.  

DaughterSue
Posts: 24
Joined: May 2017

Thanks so much for your input! I hope it goes ok for her the remaining of the time. She's down to 6 external and 2 internal now. We are counting the days!!! 

derMaus's picture
derMaus
Posts: 559
Joined: Nov 2016

I had my 'simulation' for radiation yesterday and will start in a week or so. (I was scheduled to start a couple of weeks ago but a post-chemo CT revealing mets caused a delay.) The nurse doing the internal measurement commented to the techs "Whoa, that's a short one" - uh, yeah, that's what a radical hysterectomy will do for you - a super short vagina. My radiation oncologist is a nice young man who seems a little...prissy, and he kept obliquely referring to the 'device'. I finally said "You mean the radioactive dildo?" The techs were highly amused. I don't know if your mother's sense of humor is such that she'd enjoy the tweaking her doctor, but if so she might try that term out next time she's in. Worked wonders for me.

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

That is EXACTLY the way I described that thing to people!

DaughterSue
Posts: 24
Joined: May 2017

I'll have to tell her that!!!  It's hilarious :)   I'm hoping for the VERY best for you!!!!

ConnieSW's picture
ConnieSW
Posts: 1440
Joined: Jun 2012

thanks for ending my day on a chuckle. 

NoTimeForCancer's picture
NoTimeForCancer
Posts: 2582
Joined: Mar 2013

(as follow up to Connie's statement) derMaus - thanks for starting my day with a laugh.  That is just so dang funny - don't worry - I'm going to give you credit for THAT one!

Cass83's picture
Cass83
Posts: 151
Joined: Feb 2017

I go Tuesday for my first brachytherapy. It was timely that I found these postings today :)

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

Good luck to you, Cass83. Keep us posted on how you're doing.

ConnieSW's picture
ConnieSW
Posts: 1440
Joined: Jun 2012

Hope it went well for you today. 

Bet you never thought your name was x rated. 

 

Cass83's picture
Cass83
Posts: 151
Joined: Feb 2017

It went well thanks! And no, I sure didn't! :)

DaughterSue
Posts: 24
Joined: May 2017

Let us know how you are doing :) 

Pages

Subscribe to Comments for "Brachytherapy "