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Scheduled to begin radiation in January TERRIFIED any suggestions?

NoniK
Posts: 46
Joined: Oct 2017

Before all the biopsy results from hysterectomy came in we thought I was dealing with a completely contained cancer. Now facing 28 radiation treatments. I‘m still in shock and very fearful. Suggestions as to how to prepare mentally, physically and emotionally. I’m usually strong but this has me shook. Thanks for any help.

NoTimeForCancer's picture
NoTimeForCancer
Posts: 2914
Joined: Mar 2013

Nonik, you won't feel anything when you get radiation, but maybe the threads below will help answer some of your questions.  They all are from the terrific ladies here on the board:

https://csn.cancer.org/node/296985

https://csn.cancer.org/node/311109

https://csn.cancer.org/node/309734

These are set up to open in new windows so you can read through them.  The first one is very comprehensive - I remember the discussion well!

Take a breath.  It is a lot to wrap your head around but there are a lot of out here who have done this so you are not alone.  

NoniK
Posts: 46
Joined: Oct 2017

All of the sites worked. Lots of very helpful info. 

Thank you thank you

NoTimeForCancer's picture
NoTimeForCancer
Posts: 2914
Joined: Mar 2013

I replied and included some links to former (and good) threads.  It is being flagged for review by the adminstrators prior to post.  I did a lot of work to look those things up so I hope it goes through for posting soon.

I am editing my message and hoping this one - with the thread - posts.

https://csn.cancer.org/node/296985

Also, a lot of us here have had radiation.  Take a breath.  You are not alone.

TeddyandBears_Mom's picture
TeddyandBears_Mom
Posts: 1802
Joined: Jun 2015

No Time - you are such a good member! Always going out of your way to help. Just wanted to publicly tell you that you are loved and appreciated!

Love and Hugs,

Cindi

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

i've had radiation twice (I have stage IV UPSC)...25 rounds plus three brachy to pelvis and 30 rounds to neck...

radiation left me fatigued (but I still had energy enough to do yoga or spin classes almost daily) and I had a bit of nausea and diarrhea...

I finished the pelvic radiation in July and my neck in October...no side effects that I can pinpoint...

be sure to have a probiotic on hand as well as metamucil (or something like it) and Imodium...I took the probiotic daily and had to use the metamucil a few times a week and the Imodium once or twice. I had anti-nausea pills that helped when that bothered me. I really was scared but it was not nearly as bad as I feared.

Take a breath...we are here for you

NoniK
Posts: 46
Joined: Oct 2017

Thank you for responding. The shock has left me feeling very much alone even though I have a very supportive family. This came out of nowhere. I wasnt feeling ill or anything. Just started spotting one day and wit’s cancer diagnosis and a hysterectomy within two weeks. I have issues with nausea in my normal life. So that worries me.

May I ask, what was your attitude going into treatment? 

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

Like you this diagnosis came out of nowhere...I started bleeding and then boom! Cancer...

When my gynocolgist called me to tell me the news I told her "ok, so now I am a cancer SURVIVOR because there is no way I am going to let this get me!!!"

I'm blessed because my gynocological oncologist kept me feeling positive throughout the surgery and chemo...and then she gifted me with referring me to the most amazing radiology oncologist.

My radiology oncologist sat down with me and asked me to tell him all my fears and concerns and ask all the questions so that I would be comfortable with treatment. That helped a lot. 

His staff is incredible...it's not easy climbing onto a radiation table with a full bladder and your bare bootie exposed (that was the position I was in for my external beam treatment) and at the start of my treatment all the techs were men (they later got some ladies in to replace some of the guys who left). We just kept it light and they were super respectful of how i felt. And my doctor always made sure I felt comfortable (I saw him in clinic at least once a week or more and several times a week he would see me waiting and come hug me and ask how I was doing).

I always relayed any issues to the nurses and they were always quick to help or offer solutions.

Mention to your radiology oncologist that you have nausea issues and maybe he/she can give you Zofran or Compozine (I take the generics). Remember that they can "plug you up" so be sure to have a fiber laxative like metamucil. I had some nausea and I still had plenty of meds leftover from chemo so that helped.

I went into treatment with the attitude it was going to work. There are no other options. It took a lot longer to go across town and park etc than the actutal treatment itself but it resulted in about 2 hours of my day being spent going to and from and having the treatment...but the treatment itself never hurt and my skin had no issues. 

Cancer can be very isolating. It's very hard to get someone to understand how you feel unless they have gone through it as well. It's very scary. I'm single and without a boyfriend/partner and my kids are grown (one in college and one just out) and they aren't in town. So it was hard coming home from treatments by myself and not having anyone to help me or to share it with. BUT I got though it and prayer and a good attitude went a long way toward my well being. I also exercised almost daily so that made me feel better too. 

The ladies here are very supportive and a great place to come with questions and concerns...we are a "sorority" no one wants to join but we are all sisters in this...

Stay positive and focused...ask your doc questions and tell him/her your concerns...use your time on the table for prayer or meditation and set your sights on wellness. 

I'm Stage 4b...my doctors think I am going to be NED...I find out for sure in 5 weeks. It's not an easy road but it's a doable one...

hang in there....

xoxo

NoniK
Posts: 46
Joined: Oct 2017

I am lucky with lots of support but no one knows what it’s like unless they’ve been there. I had my CT scan and mapping on Friday. The women in the room, 2 nurses and oncology radiologist we sweet and kind. However I was not prepared for the vulnerability I felt exposed on the table Or the actual placement of the tattoos. I came away emotionally traumatized. How do we not go crazy enduring these not normal experiences. I’m finding the emotional part more difficult than the physical demands.

 

So thank you, thank you for your insights and support.

 

CheeseQueen57's picture
CheeseQueen57
Posts: 936
Joined: Feb 2016

Yes, I found the radiation treatments much more emotionally taxing. 

Avidreader
Posts: 4
Joined: Dec 2017

I went through radiation therapy twice for 6 weeks each time. I would listen to relaxing music that I brought in and would try to imagine the radiation healing me. Some days I imagined a flow like chocolate or silk caressing and healing each of my organs.  Some days, I imagined pokeman eating away at the cancer. My treatments were not painful. Keeping the skin soft is important as radiation can burn. Eight years later that cancer is a distant memory.

NoniK
Posts: 46
Joined: Oct 2017

Actually your response made me cry because it feels hopeful. Thank you for the suggestions of music and visualization. When I had my CT scan and radiation mapping done I felt like I was in the twilight zone all alone. I wasn’t prepared for how isolated I felt. I felt like a slab of meat and not a person.  What was happening to my body wasn’t natural. By focusing on music or visualizations hopefully I won’t feel so separated from myself.

Thank you for sharing.

CheeseQueen57's picture
CheeseQueen57
Posts: 936
Joined: Feb 2016

Every day when I went for my treatment I gave the technicians a Pandora station to play. They were able to play it over the speakers. One day it was James Taylor, or Dan Fogelberg. One day I even had them play the polka station cause polkas always make me laugh. I was amazed at some of the songs that came on randomly and made me feel so much better. They technicians were so sweet, particularly a young man. 

The smell of the gowns really bothered me, I think it was the detergent they use in hospitals. It still bothers me. I was allowed to bring my own bathrobe to wear during treatment. That made me feel a little better also. I had no skin problems. But you do really have to distract your mind. Also, in the waiting room there were always a lot of much sicker people than me with various types of cancer and I found it depressing. That wasn’t the case for chemo. 

You‘ll get through it.  I remember telling my husband in the car on the way down to the hospital, “ Please, I don’t want to go today.”  But he never let me not go. A lot of our battle is in our heads. We’ll all be with you in spirit pulling for you while you’re on that uncomfortable, morgue-like table. 

NoniK
Posts: 46
Joined: Oct 2017

I agree the smell of the gowns is awful and depressing. I find that somethings the smell stays in my nostrils  and I can smell it hours later. I think I’ll get myself a beautiful robe to take with and the iPad for music.

What actually happens during radiation? Do they talk to you and say what they’re doing or is it just lay down and stay there until they’re done? Also I found it very difficult to get off the table. Any suggestions?

Thanks sooo much.

CheeseQueen57's picture
CheeseQueen57
Posts: 936
Joined: Feb 2016

They might not let you bring an iPad or use ear buds or phones for music because it would interfere with the radiation. Most likely they have a way to pipe music in to the room. Ask them if they have access to Pandora or if you could bring a CD in. And have them play it loud because the machine is loud. You have to stay very still but it doesn’t take long. But not to worry, they will help you off the table  They don’t want any falls  

Don‘t get a real bulky robe, kind of a summery one.  Although I still use mine , it kind of brings back bad memories  So I wouldn’t spend a lot of money in case you feel the same way. 

survivingsu's picture
survivingsu
Posts: 134
Joined: Apr 2013

Hi NoniK,

Good questions.  I had radiation and chemo treatments 8 years ago, each week day morning I would go for my radiation session, then follow-up with a very long chemo session.  The radiation did not take very long (thank goodness), I just kept still and let the machiney rotate.  At the time I was rather weak, so I was very careful about getting off the table - I'd first sit up and let my inner ear adjust to being upright, then swing my legs over the side of the table before attempting to get up.

The whole thing was rather surreal at the time, and I have forgotten a lot of the pain (emotional and physical) over the years.  Hang in there!

Susan

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