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Apr 15, 2009 12:08PM, edited Apr 16, 2009 09:20PM
Was super-excited to see these posts. If anyone is still checking this, please see my post (and update, below) from a few days ago with a similar story:
MY ORIGINAL POST:
I would greatly appreciate any advice regarding the following symptoms that I am experiencing after finishing radiation (35 treatments plus a few extra days of boost treatment) over a month ago. FYI, I also had 4 cycles of AC chemo and a lumpectomy, but I really think my symptoms are related to the radiation.
In sum, my symptoms are as follows:
1. Pain, sometimes sharp and stabbing, sometimes dull and achey, in various spots within (or close to) the radiation field: under my left breast, under my left shoulder blade, in the center of my chest just below my esophagus, once in my esophagus, and in both sides of my jaw.
2. The pain is worst when I lie down, breathe deeply, or bend/stoop.
3. I cannot physically lie down (either on my back or either side) without unbearable pain, so I sleep sitting up.
4. A few episodes of intense nausea - perhaps due to the pain?
5. Every once in a while I get a low grade fever (99.9 - 100.6)
This has been going on for over 2 weeks now and has resulted in 3 trips to the ER; they admitted me into the hospital for 2 days after the last ER visit. Unfortunately, my problem has not yet been resolved.
Everything has been checked out and seems "normal" - EKG, CT scan, ECHO, chest xrays, bloodwork. Thus, they have ruled out pulmonary embolism, heart attack, cracked rib, pneumonia, etc.
Everyone seems to think that nothing but the radiation could be causing this pain. The thought is that there may have been damage to my chest wall. My radiation onc thinks it may be costochondritis.
Right now, I am taking 600 mg of Motrin every 6 hours, Lortab as needed, and 1 Zantac a day. I get to see my radiation onc and my medical onc tomorrow and am hoping to get some answers.
Thanks in advance for any thoughts/stories/help you can provide. I'm desperate for some answers!
Dx 8/29/2008, IDC, <1cm, Stage Ia, Grade 3, 2/1 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
In sum, my oncologists are convinced I am dealing with a radiation-induced inflammation of the lining of my lungs, heart, or a little of both (so either radiation pleuritis, pericarditis, or pleuropericarditis). I started Prednisone (steroids) tonight (the strongest anti-inflammatory medicine available - replacing the Motrin I've been on) which I'll try for a week to see if it works - if yes, I'll be on these for about 4 weeks. Steroids have some pretty yucky side effects, but I'm at the point where I'll do just about anything to get rid of this pain. FYI - still on the acid reducer once a day.
They are also getting me in this week to see a cardiologist who specializes in these issues, and I'm seeing my medical onc again next Tuesday to see how the steroids are working. She seems to think that within 2-3 days, I may be feeling quite noticeably better - in fact, she said that the steroids will make me super-hyper and "eager to get back to work" :o) Also got a prescription for a sleeping aide and slept for 7 hours last night (as compared to 45 minutes the last 2 nights) - YAY!!!
Thanks again Shirlann for giving me that boost I needed to be strong with my docs. My radiation onc did not seem to really be "invested" in getting this resolved once and for all - he said that pericarditis is so extremely rare and my tests did not indicate that I had it. My medical onc "got it" though. She spent an hour with us, really heard me, and that made all the difference in the world. She said that she knows this kind of inflammation can hurt like hell.She said that the tests would not reveal one of these "itises" so early on.
At any rate, I'm hopeful, but trying not to get too excited that we have the final answer here. Will update again for anyone who may be interested!
Dx 8/29/2008, IDC, <1cm, Stage Ia, Grade 3, 1/2 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-