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Whole Pelvis Radiation

EPH56
Posts: 18
Joined: Sep 2017

Hello All,

Assuming no delays, I will be finishing R6 carboplatin/Taxol Jan 17th & beginning “whole pelvic“ radiation (sorry don’t know tech term) in February. My Oncology Surgeon had initially recommended vaginal cuff radiation; but my oncology radiologist wants to be more aggressive. I‘ll be scheduied for 5 weeks (M-F) treatments. I’m curious as to potential side affects or other collateral damage. I know everyone is different. TIA

 

ETHEL - age 61

July/Aug 2017 endometrial Stage 1A (Oncology Radiologit’s treating as 1B) - Grade 3 Papillary Serous

Sept 8-2017 Full Hysterectomy 

Oct 3-2017 Began Chemo (Carboplatin/Taxol)

Feb 2018 - Begin ”Whole Pelvic” Radiation

NoTimeForCancer's picture
NoTimeForCancer
Posts: 2611
Joined: Mar 2013

Hey EPH56!  I am sure there will be a few different responses here.  I had the 5 fives (25 treatments) of external radiation - IMRT, Intensity-modulated radiotherapy.  The radiation beam was 'adjusted' by the computer to make it stronger in some and less in others to protect the bladder, etc...I found this video which I thought was pretty good:

https://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=imrt

I also had the internal, or bracytherapy - 3 of those after all the external.  

The initial radiation caused some slight diarrhea but I took probiotics prior, during, and even now and I believe that helped minimize the side effects there - in my opinion.

The one thing that I saw how it efffected me was FATIGUE!  Holy cow.  I worked throughout and I would get home and crash at 7 pm.  Radiation continues to work for up to six weeks after the treatment stops. 

Radiation doesn't hurt and to keep in the same position they will create a body bag for you to lay in.  the 'bag', or mold, was a bag of beads and they sucked they air out of it so it would form around you.  Some people have gotten 'dot' tatoos but they drew on me with permanent marker and put little, clear plastic discs over them that didn't wash off easily. 

Congrats on round 6!!  I am sure the other ladies will give you their input as well.

Jairoldi's picture
Jairoldi
Posts: 217
Joined: May 2017

Hi Eph56,

I completed 6 rounds of chemo the end of September and just finished 25 pelvic radiation treatments almost 2 weeks ago. Mine was all external and focused on the lower pelvic area. What I experienced, and still am, are diarhea, bladder irritation, and fatigue. It hasn't been as bad as I imagined it would be. The side effects did not appear until about 2 weeks into it. I did, as No Time suggested, take probiotics during radiation. Imodium and Metamucil are my friends, and drinking lots of water helps with the bladder irritation. With a glass of water before or after I still enjoy coffee. Without water the coffee causes me to feel like I have a UTI. I took time off from work during radiation so I could rest as needed.I

I am stage 3B UPSC. And yay, my hair is just starting to grow back. Eyebrows too :)

ckdgedmom's picture
ckdgedmom
Posts: 166
Joined: Oct 2017

I'm so glad you are almost done with your chemo!

I had 25 rounds of external beam radiation to my pelvis and 3 rounds of brachy therapy this summer. 

My treatments had me on my tummy with a full bladder....so I had to drink a lot of water before my "table time" and once or twice I had to tell the guys that I only had a little time left on my bladder's "patience". I would lay face down (I had a pillow) and I had been marked with ink dots (tattoos) and then they further marked me with some disks that stayed on my skin and helped them line up the table before the computer took over. I was in a Trilogy machine so it scans, xrays and shoots the beam so it just moved around me for about 15 minutes. It was never painful and my skin was never irritated (I had more radiation to my neck and that did irritate the skin).

My only side effects were fatigue, some nausea and some diahrrea...I took my anti-nausea pills for the nausea and had Imodium for the diahrrea but usually it followed the nausea so the zofran usually stopped any further bowel issues. I stayed on a probiotic and I think it helped.

I did yoga and/or spin class almost daily during my radiation treatments because as long as I took a little 20 minute nap or a 30 minute rest in the afternoon I usually felt good enough for a good workout. At first my radiation oncologist thought I was crazy but he quickly came to realize I needed my workout for my well being...

I was lucky to have no bladder issues...

I have no lasting side effects from it that I am aware of...

Good luck....it's really not as bad as it seems...i found it much easier on me than chemo was...

xoxo

Anice

CheeseQueen57's picture
CheeseQueen57
Posts: 820
Joined: Feb 2016

I’m so glad I didn’t have to have a full bladder for my treatments. There’s nothing worse for me!

ckdgedmom's picture
ckdgedmom
Posts: 166
Joined: Oct 2017

They once asked me if they could put someone in front of me...I looked at the man and said "is your bladder full?"...he told them to let me go first!  

no it was not fun but my doctor said it protected my organs---so I did it...

and I ran to the bathroom each time ;)

Prairie
Posts: 5
Joined: Nov 2017

Has anyone talked to you about a diet that will help limit the chance of diarrhea? If not: avoid anything that makes your gut work harder. Specifically, anything high fiber, anything with seeds, whole grains, and anything in the broccoli family—these are the things you should avoid. For example: blueberries and strawberries are out, tomatoes are out (but tomato products without seeds are ok), red meat and greasy foods are out, whole wheat bread is out, orange juice with pulp is out, apples with peelings are out. And apparently cabbage, broccoli and kale will distress tender innards. So many things we think of as healthy are out. Examples of easy-to-tolerate foods are chicken, fish, peeled potatoes, peeled apples, pasta (stuff without color!), eggs, yogurt.... You get the idea. This, along with meds, should help.

it was also recommended that I consider drinking protein drinks (Ensure was one of the brand names?). I found milk-based drinks that relied on whey for protein, but that had limited industrial-sounding ingredients. 

I found radiation much easier to tolerate than chemo. (I’ve had s fair amount of both.) Everyone’s experience is of course a bit different, but this might help. Hope it goes well for you!

 

CheeseQueen57's picture
CheeseQueen57
Posts: 820
Joined: Feb 2016

I didn’t eliminate any foods but took a probiotic and didn’t suffer any diarrhea.  That’s a pretty extensive list Prairie and not sure that’s all necessary. Of course if you notice a specific food bothers you it makes sense to avoid it 

MAbound
Posts: 889
Joined: Jun 2016

My gyn-oncologist kept me on a low fiber diet through radiation, too, and I had no diarrhea. I also took a probiotic daily. I have been dealing with constipation issues since chemo, but Miralax continues to help with that. 

Soup52's picture
Soup52
Posts: 902
Joined: Jan 2016

I altered my diet too extremely eliminating all fiber. I never had diarea but had constipation which I still suffer from probably caused by combination of radiation, chemo and surgery.

ckdgedmom's picture
ckdgedmom
Posts: 166
Joined: Oct 2017

I was trying to lose the weight I gained during chemo so my diet is lean protein/lots of veggies and salads/and whole grains. I eat low glycemic. 

I take a probiotic and eat yogurt almost daily.

I had a bit of diarrhea but I would say out of the 25 days of treatment it only hit me a handful of times and never lasted long.

I think everybody's body reacts differently and you have to see what works...my body can handle a lot of fiber/veggies but anything high fat affects my gut...

 

Prairie
Posts: 5
Joined: Nov 2017

My first go-round with radiation (not counting bracytherapy) was 7 or 8 months after chemo (and a year after the radical hysterectomy). Constipation was no longer an issue for me. I used priobiotics throughout. Still, I had some issues with diarrhea. The diet recommendations were specifically from my radiation oncologist, so perhaps my radiation routine might have made me more vulnerable (i.e. the targeted area vs. general pelvic radiation).

Ethel, I'd start conservatively and then see how it goes, adding foods as you discover how you tolerate your own routine. Of course, it's just my suggestion. If it all goes well, happy dance for you. Also talk with your oncologist(s) and see what they have to say.

And it's great if you can follow the experience of people who say they never experienced any real issues. Like you and I have both stated, everyone's different.

Wishing you the best, Ethel.

 

 

 

Harmony09's picture
Harmony09
Posts: 75
Joined: Aug 2017

I just finished the 14th of 25 radiation treatments, then I will do 3 brachy as well. My white count is lower than it ever was with chemo...at 1.7. Also, after 4 different anti-nausea medications. I am terrified that there will be no relief until I get done. So, everyone truly IS different. I always have a full bladder and I eat very little and very bland. I'm constantly drinking diet ginger ale, so I remain hydrated. Right now I am just grateful to be 1/2 way through!

ckdgedmom's picture
ckdgedmom
Posts: 166
Joined: Oct 2017

Not sure if you have tried this but what worked for me was a combination of compozine and zofran (prochloroperizine (may have misspelled that) and ondansetron)...taken together...it helped and I could still function...sometimes the zofran could kick it alone and sometimes the compozine could but there were times I needed both...

lemon water helps me when nauseated...

hope you feel better....hang in there...

 

NoTimeForCancer's picture
NoTimeForCancer
Posts: 2611
Joined: Mar 2013

Miss Harmony - I love your pciture!  That is awesome. 

Now, for your counts.  I had my radiation sandwiched between my chemos and my chemo nurse told me if there were going to be problems with getting the treatment done it would be on the back end - the last three chemos.  Why?  That radiation.  We got radiation to our hip area and there is a tremendous amount of bone marrow there - which is where the red and white cells are made - so that is probably why your counts are down.  

I met with a dietician and she said to get 7 - 9 servings of protien a day.  An ounce of cheese = 1. An egg = 1.  A yogurt = 1.  A chicken breast (say 3 oz)= 3.  Ice cream counted, nuts, etc - try to think protien to help with your counts.  

As for the nausea, maybe nibble on ginger snap cookies?  Trader Joe's, if you have one by you, as ginger snap cookies with pieces of ginger in them. 

I hope the last 9 treatments fly by for you.  

EPH56
Posts: 18
Joined: Sep 2017

Thanks everyone for sharing your stories. It means so much to hear of the possibilities. My radiation oncologist wants me to have a colonoscopy before I start radiation (hopefully in Feb).  I WISH my P.A. or oncologist surgeon had discussed having a port at the beginning of all this.  Now, I feel it's too late in the game (only 2 chemo treatments left) but have to get a CT (IV with contrast) once all treatments are done, plus an IV for the colonoscopy....I can't justify yet again another out-patient surgery; but damn..wish I'd had the port from the beginning.

ckdgedmom's picture
ckdgedmom
Posts: 166
Joined: Oct 2017

if it's any consolation to you about the port my hospital only uses my port for chemo infusions (and once to take blood for labs to make sure no infection). 

For my transfusions, surgery, and CT's with contrast and MRI with contrast I have had iv's...

The rule in my hospital is "port only for chemo"...so having it might not have made a difference...it did help me with chemo but for everything else I get stuck in the arm...I keep waiting for the one vein they love to blow...

I'm not sure this is true for everyone but for patients at my hospital system it's the "rule"

CheeseQueen57's picture
CheeseQueen57
Posts: 820
Joined: Feb 2016

I LOVE my port. Not only was it used for my chemo but all my labs, transfusion, all IV meds when I was hospitalized for my stroke and any contrast for studies. Makes it so much easier because they can never get a vein. I went to Quest for labs last week and they had to stick me 3 times. Not fun. 

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