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A rad onc weighs in on radiation "burns"

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  • rmlulu
    rmlulu Member Posts: 1,501
    edited February 2013
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    Destina,

    Hoping you have a great birthday and the best present a clean MRI :)) and rads start soon!



    Elizabeth18,

    Thanks for the hugs!



  • Tammy_M43
    Tammy_M43 Member Posts: 565
    edited February 2013
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    RMlulu, enjoy your r&r....



    Destina, fingers crossed that you get your birthday wish....

  • Destina
    Destina Member Posts: 51
    edited February 2013
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    Thanks, RMlulu, and I truly wish you the same clean results. I know the MRI is the right thing for me, but last night I actually found myself getting frightened and sort of depressed wondering about if they do find anything. I sort of have myself geared up for possible false positives (and the accompanying biopsies), but I really don't want another surgery and what that might entail.



    Of course, the depression might have come up from when I went bra shopping earlier in the day. I've been pretty much living in sports bras since surgery. I have some pretty underwire bras that I'd bought last summer pre cancer dx; sadly they're not too comfortable these days and I would like a bit more definition than these pull ons, comfy though they are. My lymph node incision is almost healed, but tender, and most regular bras hit right at that site on the side. I couldn't find a single one that avoided the site yesterday and I just got sick of trying anymore on. Anyone find a bra they're really happy with? Should I just resign myself to sports bras through radiation? What about after? I'm really hoping that my swimsuit top (tankini) hides the node removal scar in summer. It's not pretty. I know that in the scheme of things, this isn't a big deal, but it's been a bummer. Maybe that's where I'm directing some of the feelings about all of this. Sorry, this is probably more for another thread somewhere, but I seemed to get on a bit of a roll with the bra question...

  • Destina
    Destina Member Posts: 51
    edited February 2013
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    Thanks Tammy!

  • rmlulu
    rmlulu Member Posts: 1,501
    edited February 2013
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    Destina

    Just got back from shopping for a bra...my sports bra & I our done.

    It is hard to walk pass all those pretty underwires & go for simple soft will this work now.

    A mx sis suggested a few she wore during rads...

    I'm trying a Bali comfort revolution flexible bra from Kohls & a genie bra from Walmart

    Be sure a buy 1 size larger in the Bali & 2x larger in genie (it has a bit of foam support). They both miss the under arm incision. Now for a test walk...

    I'm going to wear my scars proudly at the beach...warrior survivor!

  • Yawls
    Yawls Member Posts: 16
    edited February 2013
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    Hi guys, machine broke down again Friday, so just got number 25 today. Today is the first day I was noticeably uncomfortable at work. I work almost a regular day then have tx at 4:00. Starting around 2:15 pain and itch kicked in. The lidocaine stings, then itches so I still would rather use the Remedy Lotion but I haven't needed it after morning application. Guess ill have to start packing the lotion in the lunch box!



    Today I felt very creative and clever...I used a really soft footie between breast and bra. The gauze was too scratchy and I just wanted something that would not shed or stick. It worked! There's a brand of socks called The Worlds Softest Socks they are almost like fleece but not so shaggy. It also gave the rads techs a bit of a giggle, which was good because I wasn't my usual cheery self. Tired and sore wondering how the next couple of weeks are going to play out. Off to bed...

  • Yawls
    Yawls Member Posts: 16
    edited February 2013
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    Hang in there you MRI guys, the waiting is always the worst! Great vibes coming your way!

  • Tammy_M43
    Tammy_M43 Member Posts: 565
    edited February 2013
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    Yawls, I love the soft footie idea...whatever works

  • Tammy_M43
    Tammy_M43 Member Posts: 565
    edited February 2013
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    How is everyone going? I just have 1 rad to go....yay

  • Yawls
    Yawls Member Posts: 16
    edited February 2013
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    Hi Tammy and all, I have my last one today. 34 total. This last week has been rough...I finally threw it in today and layed off work. I am going to take next week off to see if the infection goes away and the skin heals enough to put on professional clothes. Really up until #29 I was doing great. Now, not so much! How are you faring with the skin Tammy?

  • rmlulu
    rmlulu Member Posts: 1,501
    edited February 2013
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    Congrats Yawls on your last rad! Sorry that this week has been so hard. Pray that your infection heals quickly. You are inspiration working & doing rads...wow. Hope the week off allows you time to heal rest & renew.



    Go Tammy only one more rad!



    You ladies are awesome! ((Hugs)) Happy Dancing for ya :D



    Can't wait for a 'good to go' on my MRI. Waiting is hard.

  • Yawls
    Yawls Member Posts: 16
    edited February 2013
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    Thanks so much for your good wishes...I am done done and done! Yea!

  • Tammy_M43
    Tammy_M43 Member Posts: 565
    edited February 2013
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    Yawls, happy dance!!



    I have been very lucky, my skin has held up really well and I've been able to keep working. In fact, I felt better while having the boost than I did during the last few whole breast rads. Just a little peeling under the breast and in the arm pit.... Sorry to hear that you have had a difficult time....but it's over now :)



    RMlulu, waiting is the worst part and I hope you get onto it and over it soon...



  • Destina
    Destina Member Posts: 51
    edited February 2013
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    RMlulu, when was your MRI? I had mine on Tues, 2/19, and got the the results late Wed afternoon....clean! Happy news! I can't remember feeling so good since before this whole journey began in November. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you that your news is the same!

    In any case, I chose the the 3 week rads course, and I go in Monday for the CT simulation and tattoos. I'm working on having a good attitude about this and do feel good that I'm in the homestretch now. I think I'm starting to see what others have said that there will be a time when this is behind us. We even made plans for a little family road trip in a few weeks and I'm planning a trip with my hubby this summer while our daughter is off to an academic 'camp' at the university this summer. Looking towards those things is certainly brighter than the experience through this winter.

  • Destina
    Destina Member Posts: 51
    edited February 2013
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    Congrats Yawis! I remember seeing your posts when I first came on these boards and noticed that you were a couple months ahead of me. I was inspired by your journey and I'm so happy for you.

  • rmlulu
    rmlulu Member Posts: 1,501
    edited February 2013
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    Destina - Good news all clear! You will do great in rads. Keep your focus on the home stretch... Amazing how the fog lifts with each step. Spring is coming your plans for summer fun make heart :))

    My MRI is 2/28 consult 3/5 so my fingers are crossed just want what is best to celebrate life!

    Pray that your 3wks of rads go well & soon you will be happy dancing your way into summer!

  • Yawls
    Yawls Member Posts: 16
    edited February 2013
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    Hi ladies! I have been laying low this week. Finished rads Friday. Feeling a little lost. From running like a crazy woman to no action is a little disconcerting...I'm glad I took the week off and hoping that the snow in the Midwest won't keep the cavalry away(my wonderful big sister is flying in to make sure little sister is really ok). I now have uninfected skin covering every thing and the burgundy color is beginning to fade, Progress! I sleep a lot but with the skin healing everything is not so uncomfortable. Can't believe that I am looking forward to wearing a bra again?! Starting tamoxifen as soon as I am done with antibiotics. The last big hurdle before beginning my new normal life...



    Destina what great news! Clean and clear and a quicker rads course, I know lucky doesn't feel like the right word...we do have cancer...but my RO told me if I was a black jack player and I was dealt my card...it would be the ace of spades! It sounds like you got dealt the best hand in the deck. If you have to play!



    RMlulu I'm thinking the same for you!



    Tammy are u done?

  • Destina
    Destina Member Posts: 51
    edited February 2013
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    Thanks for the encouragement, Yawis. Just got off the phone and have my first 3 rads tx scheduled. I begin on Tuesday, 3/5. A little nervous and began lotioning the girls today. I'm also heading out bra-less today to see how that will be. Trust me, I like not wearing one but when I'm out, I pretty much always wear one as I need the support and shaping when out in the world! Feeling a tad bit self conscious without one, but glad that it's winter and I can camouflage in layers. ;-)

  • Tammy_M43
    Tammy_M43 Member Posts: 565
    edited February 2013
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    Yawls, I finished on Monday and celebrated with dinner out and a facial today! I do have one small wound that seems to be healing well so all OK here. I started Tamoxifen about two weeks ago while I was finishing the rads and I have this feeling of being "protected" which is a positive mental image :) So far no side effects from the Tamoxifen and I too am looking forward to wearing a nice bra again as I get back to normal life.



    Have a great time with your sister and best wishes to everyone else.



  • Destina
    Destina Member Posts: 51
    edited February 2013
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    RMlulu, thinking of you today and wishing you the best with your MRI.

  • Yawls
    Yawls Member Posts: 16
    edited March 2013
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    RMlulu. Sending clean and clear vibes....can you feel them???



    Tammy, are you feeling a little weary? I went back for my followup yesterday...wonderful RO and team so lovely to work with told me to come back in June for my follow up mammo and skin check...was sad to think it is so far away. I got used to seeing my cancer friends everyday.



    Destina, first day the creepiest, after that it just is. You get used to strange people moving all your stuff around and seeing you in all stages of nudidity...soon it will be no big deal, it almost seems that if I see someone in scrubs I'm ready to shuck my shirt for them...it gets a little embarrassing at Target and Starbucks but I usually catch myself in time! You will do great don't spend the weekend stressing, honest!



    Took the tamoxifen yesterday, waited all day for se aren't I a silly woman??? Back to work on Monday. Does that mean I am normal again?

  • Tammy_M43
    Tammy_M43 Member Posts: 565
    edited March 2013
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    Yawls, it sounds like you've made a full recovery....and once you're back at work everyone will forget you were ever away! I was a little weary but each day I'm feeling better and I've even starting exercising again (very slowly to start) so I think I'm doing well.



    Destina, I have to agree with Yawls that you quickly get used to the process....I had days were I'd undress and dress three times in a visit (for my treatment, for the radiation oncologist's check and for the nurse to check my skin). I got used to the clinicians seeing me naked and it was the undressing/ dressing that was a little frustrating (like trying on swimming costumes to see if one will fit)...best wishes for Tuesday and just take one day at a time....



    RMlulu, thinking good thoughts for you....

  • gemini4
    gemini4 Member Posts: 320
    edited March 2013
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    Funny you all mention missing the friends you see at rads every day.  I'm exactly halfway through treatment (today was 15 of 30), and my routine of going to the hospital each morning is ... dare I say it? ... almost pleasant!*  While I am looking forward to being finished with treatment, I think there will be a bit of adjusting once I no longer have to go every day.  There's something kind of nurturing about the environment at my hospital's rads center.  And I don't even have fellow patients before and after me (at this point) with whom I'm bonding; just the nurses, technicians, and RO.

    * Disclaimer -- my hospital is three miles from my house, and (even with morning rush-hour traffic) a 15-minute drive at most ... plus I have free, designated parking a few steps from the entrance to the rads oncology center ... and there's a little fridge with water, juice, and a basket of snacks (including my favorite Kashi granola bars) ... and once a week there's a massage therapist on hand to give us rads patients free 15-minute sessions.  So there's a lot to like.  :-)

  • Yawls
    Yawls Member Posts: 16
    edited March 2013
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    That's what mine was like too! Then as things got a little rougher...they were so nice to me. I felt like they were watching out for me. One day I had a bit of a meltdown, let all my pent up fears come flying out. I think somehow I realized that it was just a really safe place to have myself a good cry. I didn't have to worry about scaring the family with my fears, these folks whisked me into a room talked to me, got the doc, offered Ativan and Kleenex and sent me off for my treatment. When I was done I had a prescription for Zanax and a new bottle of nice smelling lotion waiting for me! Every day they were happy to see me, it could have been that I was usually the last patient of the day, but whatever...if you gotta do it, make sure you hang with the folks that really know how to do it!

  • laurascott1016
    laurascott1016 Member Posts: 8
    edited March 2013
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    Anyone want to weigh in on tatoos v. ink marks with stickers?  I am leaning toward the tatooing.  Today is my second visit.  I'd really like to be able to swim and sit in the hot tub throughout my therapy as long as my skin can stand it!

  • laurascott1016
    laurascott1016 Member Posts: 8
    edited March 2013
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    Granola bars?!  No way!  I'm putting that in the suggestion box!Tongue Out

  • Destina
    Destina Member Posts: 51
    edited March 2013
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    I have the tattoos, so no comments on the stickers. But I thought swimming was a no no during rads due to chlorine irritation of skin?

  • schoolmom
    schoolmom Member Posts: 327
    edited March 2013
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    I had the tatoos and at my senior citizen age I was not happy.  They turned out fine, tiny/freckle like and hassle free.

  • gemini4
    gemini4 Member Posts: 320
    edited March 2013
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    I have a hard time telling my tattoos apart from freckles and sunspots on my chest!

  • Tammy_M43
    Tammy_M43 Member Posts: 565
    edited March 2013
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    Tattoos here too....my boss said I was a "rock chick" now.....