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Starting Radiation October 2021

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  • NatureYogi
    NatureYogi Member Posts: 135
    edited October 2021
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    I feel better today and I found out that after tomorrow, they will only treat the scar area. Yay! At least I can start healing on my neck, and upper chest area. I did take an ibuprofen today and it helped. I have tightness in my skin/chest from radiation, will be glad when I can start to feel normal all over. I appreciate having you all to "talk" to. We have one more day then we get our weekend "break", take care!

  • qkalake
    qkalake Member Posts: 10
    edited October 2021
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    Has anyone done VERY targeted radiation (not entire breast) for 5 days/week for 6 weeks to radiate area of second lumpectomy? Very new treatment so looking to understand side effects

  • Lkrugman01
    Lkrugman01 Member Posts: 1
    edited October 2021
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    Hi everyone,

    Yesterday was my last radiation session of 16! Yay!!! I also had IORT (interoperative radiation treatment) during my lumpectomy. I was hopeful the IORT was all I would need, but after biopsy was decided I would also need whole breast radiation therapy too. On the upside the iort gave me a headstart on the radiation I guess.

    Has anyone else had IORT plus whole breast radiation?

  • serendipity09
    serendipity09 Member Posts: 769
    edited October 2021
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    Hi QKAlake & Lkrugman01 - welcome to the group. I hope someone on here can answer both your questions. I have no experience with either, but I'm sure someone, if not on this thread, on the site, will be able to share their experience.

  • lw422
    lw422 Member Posts: 1,410
    edited October 2021
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    QKAlake & Lkrugman01--sorry, I can't help with your questions.

    Today I wrapped up week 4; just 2 weeks to go! The rads techs were dressed in Halloween costumes and looked so cute.

    I had PT after rads. According to the therapist I have no signs of lymphedema (she did the machine measurements of my arms to compare with baseline measurements I had before surgery). She also was surprised by my range of motion so I guess my stretches are paying off. She shared some new stretches and did some myofacial release massage on my scar. I just wish that tightness and nerve pain would GO AWAY.

    My skin is still holding up... no redness or itching yet. The PT therapist said it looks really good for having had 4 weeks of rads. Hope my luck holds!!!

    Have a great weekend, everyone.

  • serendipity09
    serendipity09 Member Posts: 769
    edited October 2021
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    LW - I'm so happy that your ROM is good. I'm hoping that mine is not too bad when I start PT again. My massage therapist (oncology nurse) does not think it's too bad, but she couldn't measure or do any stretches/massage because my RO has me restricted and it's noted in my chart :( According to the nurse my radiation was very aggressive and permanent damage can be done to the tissue/muscles/organs. I just pray that he clears me at my next appointment. I can tell I really need the cording, in the past, when I've gotten it done the ROM has improved.

    Have a good weekend!


  • lw422
    lw422 Member Posts: 1,410
    edited October 2021
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    Serendipity--how are you feeling? Is your skin healing well? I suppose our skin is a major factor in the stretching/exercising thing. The PT told me that if my skin gets worse they won't massage that area and that stretching might have to be "less aggressive." I was surprised and happy that I don't have any cording.

    She showed me a new stretch called the "open book" or something like that; it is killer! Here's a video on youtube... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YMswmjk7Qj4

    Hope you're having a great weekend, too!

  • serendipity09
    serendipity09 Member Posts: 769
    edited October 2021
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    LW - I am feeling much better, thank you! My skin is so much better. I have a few patches on the lower part of my breast where I blistered very badly, that is still peeling, but all the new skin is in. The nerve pain is no fun, but it's settled down somewhat.

    Watching that video hurt me, lol. I'll be able to do it on my left side (non-cancerous side), curious to see how far I can get with my right. Might try it on my left and see how far I can get and stop once I feel the pull. Don't want to hurt anything that may still be inflamed.


  • lw422
    lw422 Member Posts: 1,410
    edited October 2021
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    Serendipity--the PT instructed me on the "open book" stretch since I had outgrown the stretches I'd been doing. I did it once and yelped, haha. I told her that is definitely a step up in the stretch progression!! She had me working on my deep abdominal breathing which for some reason I find difficult. I'm more of an "expand the chest" breather... I guess from too many years trying to HOLD IN my stomach!!

    So happy to hear that you are doing better! Hugs.

  • lw422
    lw422 Member Posts: 1,410
    edited November 2021
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    Hi everyone! Only one more week of "regular" rads, then a week of boosts. My skin is still holding up and slightly pink, so fingers crossed that it will stay that way. Hope all of you are having good results with treatment or after-effects if you're done.

  • serendipity09
    serendipity09 Member Posts: 769
    edited November 2021
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    LW - Almost done!! That's great!

    I tried the stretch in the video and was able to do it; 3 reps of 10, with a bit of a struggle at first and used a firm sofa pillow as I don't have the roller (going to see if I can find one). That was Saturday. Did not do it yesterday, but am going to today. I could feel the muscle in between my shoulder and chest/breast area loosen up quite a bit. Thanks!!

  • lw422
    lw422 Member Posts: 1,410
    edited November 2021
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    Hey Serendipity! Regarding the roller... my PT didn't use one; she just said to keep my knees together which works fine. I do have a roller (ordered from Amazon) and tried the stretch both ways; I really didn't notice any difference.

  • serendipity09
    serendipity09 Member Posts: 769
    edited November 2021
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    LW- good to know. I didn't lift my legs either time I did it, so no point in getting the roller. Thanks again.

  • lw422
    lw422 Member Posts: 1,410
    edited November 2021
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    Hi everyone. So today it's finally happening; my arm pit is getting red-ish and feels tight and uncomfortable. :hrmm: I guess after my shower tonight I'll finally get to use some of the cream my RO gave me. I only have 4 regular treatments left and then 5 boosts; I don't believe the boosts will involve my armpit. At least I hope not!

    Hope everyone is doing OK with treatment and healing.

  • NatureYogi
    NatureYogi Member Posts: 135
    edited November 2021
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    LW-What kind of cream did you get from RO? I got Silvadene yesterday and it really helped calm my skin. I have one last "regular" treatment and then 5 to my incision. They did the configuring today for the 5 "boosts", so glad I'm close to being done!

    Hope everyone is doing ok and getting plenty of rest, I'm going to bed early!


  • lw422
    lw422 Member Posts: 1,410
    edited November 2021
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    Hey NatureYogi! What a coincidence; I'm getting "marked" for my boosts tomorrow. I will be so glad to be done with this. Here's the cream my RO gave me; it smells wonderful and isn't greasy. It's called Medline Remedy Olivamine Nutrashield ...


    image


    Is the Silvadene a prescription cream?

  • NatureYogi
    NatureYogi Member Posts: 135
    edited November 2021
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    That cream looks interesting, the Silvadene is a prescription, I'm glad it isn't greasy. Hope your marking went well, I'll be glad to be done with this and ring that bell. LW, you are almost there!

  • lw422
    lw422 Member Posts: 1,410
    edited November 2021
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    Hey NatureYogi. I guess today was your last "regular" dose and now it's on to boosts?? WOOHOO, you're getting closer to the finish line.

    I had a PT appointment today before rads; the therapist said my skin looks "exceptional" for being almost done with week 5. I'm not having any pain but the armpit is looking pink and I definitely have some scar tightening. She did a myofacial release massage and said my ROM is in the normal range.

    I got the mark-up for my boosts; it's a larger area than I expected so I was kind of bummed about that. Of course now I have a whole new batch of permanent marker lines and tapes on my torso. I see the RO tomorrow and we'll discuss exactly what the boosts will entail.

    Hope everyone is doing great!

  • serendipity09
    serendipity09 Member Posts: 769
    edited November 2021
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    Happy Friday!

    Just checking in to see how everyone is doing.

    LW - 1 more and then boosts! Almost to the finish line!! How's the armpit holding up?

    Nature - Are you 2 sessions into your boosts? You are almost done!

    Keeping you all in my thoughts as you are so close to the the end!



  • pamep
    pamep Member Posts: 66
    edited November 2021
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    Hard to believe that I am already halfway through radiation! I am fortunate to have really friendly, skilled radiation therapy techs who make going every day even sort of fun. Skin is fine; maybe a bit of breast swelling. I understand that skin effects can arrive after the therapy is completed if not just before then.

    I am not going through the full radiation 5-6 weeks plus boost sessions like most of you--hat's off to you for your endurance!

  • serendipity09
    serendipity09 Member Posts: 769
    edited November 2021
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    Pam - congrats on being halfway done! It makes a huge difference when the techs are friendly and empathetic. My tech were great! Glad to hear that your skin is holding up, I hope it stays that way. Luckily I did not have do do the boosts either, but my radiation was definitely vey aggressive, so glad to be done and healed.

  • NatureYogi
    NatureYogi Member Posts: 135
    edited November 2021
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    Happy Friday! I had 2 boosts this week, next week will be last 3! My techs are great too, they help make this doable. Everyone enjoy the weekend break, it is 46 and rainy here in Savannah.

  • pamep
    pamep Member Posts: 66
    edited November 2021
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    Yes, the great techs make this doable. I really like mine, two women who I enjoy seeing every day as they escort me in and adjust my body on the table under the machine. They do important work. I will miss them when this is over!

  • lw422
    lw422 Member Posts: 1,410
    edited November 2021
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    Hey everyone. I'm psyched to have only one regular treatment left and then 5 boosts. My RO said I could have two boosts a day but they'd have to be six hours apart... so I decided to just go once a day.

    So far I still don't have any significant pain; skin is pink on chest and on a small area of my back (shoulder). I'm not wearing bras at all this week. Seems like I don't have any that don't rub my armpit so I'm just not bothering with the bra. My doctor did stress that I might possibly have worse effects for about 2 weeks after finishing treatment so I'm not looking forward to that.

    Hope everyone is having a good weekend.

  • Rubytoos
    Rubytoos Member Posts: 44
    edited November 2021
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    Checking back in with everyone. I have had quite a bit of skin involvement since I wrapped up treatment--but only in the area where the skin is thinnest higher on my chest. Everything else including under arm has remained unscathed.

    I started PT right away and am so glad I did, as I am working to maintain range of motion and also rebuild some lost strength. The PT has been a real boost as I finally feel like I am doing healing things now instead of subjecting myself to the necessary ordeal of surgery and radiation. As much as I did not want to do radiation and was mostly resigned to the idea, I am really glad that I did it. The PT is definitely helping to remodel the skin and scar tissue and increase my comfort. Like LW I was very unhappy with the tightness and neuropathy post mastectomy and it is nice to know that my PT is super optimistic that I will move past it. Skin definitely stretches (especially at this age ha) and scar tissue can be worked as well.

    After I read Serendipity's tips re honey I did look at buying some "medical grade" honey for wound healing. It is soothing and it sure smells good :).

    But Serendipity, why aren't they letting you start PT? You can do stretches and work without exacerbating skin issues. Is it because of reconstruction? Is that the complicating issue? I opted for aesthetic flat closure and won't do reconstruction.

    And related to my PT, having had a single mastectomy, my PT actually recommended I wear a prosthesis. I had been using a little poof I got on Etsy that did a decent job of filling in my bra and was soft and light weight. I had originally planned to have a BMX but wanted to speed up my recovery and really did not plan to get or wear a prosthesis. The PT said, and I am not especially endowed, that it would help my balance and also help me avoid muscle strain. I was a bit skeptical but I dutifully donned my new foob and by golly I did stand straighter and felt less fatigued at the end of the day. I couldn't wear it during rads for obvious reasons, not the least of which was the sharpie ink all over my skin and sports bra/clothes, but now I am wearing it pretty regularly.

    Pam and newcomers, it is indeed amazing how fast this time goes. I, too, was fortunate to have some great techs. The first day there was a young, anxious male intern along with the women who were going to see me through the entire treatment. They asked if I minded if he participated. I honestly was not super comfortable due to the scarring and newness of my surgery, but he looked so earnest that I said sure and made some little joke about not letting him operate the equipment since he was still on a learner's permit. That kind of broke the ice and he was so sweet and considerate it actually helped normalize what I was experiencing. My set up was always a bit involved and required tweaking, and he was super helpful throughout. The techs all went out of their way to make the experience as pleasant as possible. That work is so hard--you see so many patients, each with unique requirements, and it's time intensive--but I never felt like they were just going through the motions.

    Nature Yogi--super exciting that your hair is coming back in and that you are turning the corner on treatment. So happy for you.


  • serendipity09
    serendipity09 Member Posts: 769
    edited November 2021
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    Hi Ruby - I am so happy to hear you are on the mend and that PT is really helping. My rads was very aggressive and so my "insides" were very inflamed and swollen and that was the concern, the RO didn't want to risk any permanent damage. Doing the stretches at home has helped and it feels like I'm back to where I was prior to rads with the exceptions of some swelling I still have on the side of my breast towards my back. Right now all I need is a bit of cording, hoping he clears me for that next week, which I believe he will.

    Like you,I was dead set against doing rads, but knew I ad do it. It was terrible experience for me and I don't ver want to have to go through it again, that being said, I'm glad I did it as it does give me peace of mind in that the beast was blasted to high hell and hopefully gone forever.

    Thanks for checking in!!


  • Rubytoos
    Rubytoos Member Posts: 44
    edited November 2021
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    Serendipity, that makes sense. Swelling and edema definitely can cause problems. I have a little--I had sentinel node and lumpectomy, then a few weeks later a mastectomy and then rads. It does bother me and my PT won't touch it or do any kind of manipulation of that area, has me doing exercises to work muscle groups that presumably won't impinge upon that area.

    I checked into the November group and see they are up and running :). Hopefully 2021 will end on an up note for all of us.

    My radiation dermatitis seems determined to get a lot worse before it gets better. What bothers me most about it, is that it is in an area that should have received the least amount of radiation. My scar should have been the target... So I think I will put in a call for my own peace of mind.


  • lw422
    lw422 Member Posts: 1,410
    edited November 2021
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    Hi everyone. I'm ready to get this week done; only 1 more regular treatment then 5 boosts. My RO said I could have 2 boosts a day but they'd have to be six hours apart. <img class=" /> I declined that opportunity since I neither want to sit around the medical center for 8 hours nor drive a total of 4 hours a day back and forth. Just doesn't sound that appealing.

    I still have a little edema from my surgery, too. I'm sure that's what causes the tightness so I wish that would hurry up and go away. I was hoping the radiation would evaporate it...haha. No such luck. I had a pretty good day today, though.

    I'm still just slightly pink on my chest and armpit. Weirdly I have a square of skin on my back (shoulder area) that is as pink as my chest. Apparently that's where the rays exit my body... eeek.

    I hope everyone has an easy week.

  • serendipity09
    serendipity09 Member Posts: 769
    edited November 2021
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    Ruby - I had lymph node removal with BMX. I started going to PT six months after surgery and the cording really helped with the swelling and that full feeling. Every week it was less until it plateaued, but no where near where I was prior to having it done. After my exchange in July that fullness was back and my therapist was able to get me back to a comfortable place. After radiation I never thought it was going to go away, it felt like I had a tennis ball under my arm, but like I said above, I'm back to "normal" and still haven't been back for the cording. I hope she can help rid me of just the bit fullness I have right now, but it not, I can accept what it is right now.

    I chime in on the November group just to give them some support.

    Hoping your dermatitis is not getting worse, it is so quick to heal though after the two weeks following the last treatment. At least that was my experience. I hope it doesn't get worse for you, but use whatever creams, lotions you deem necessary to help soothe it.

    My tumor was at the end of my scar underneath my underarm, but they radiated my whole breast all the way across to where the tumor was about half way up my armpit. My scar is barely noticeable right now, but I'm assuming it will eventually show back up. I felt the same way about my cleavage area, it was not part of the treatment area. Even a small area of the left breast (cleavage) turned red, but nothing bothersome. The bolus, I'm sure, had a lot to do with it as I wore one for every treatment.

    LW - I hope the edema goes away, but it can take some time, so continue being diligent with your stretches.

    I have a diamond shape "tan' on my shoulder blade where the radiation exited.

    Good luck with your last regular session and with starting the boosts.

  • lw422
    lw422 Member Posts: 1,410
    edited November 2021
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    Serendipity--can you feel the cording in your arm or torso? I expected to have cording but thankfully I haven't (so far). The PT checked thoroughly and couldn't find any; she also didn't find any early signs of lymphedema. I have decided to postpone further physical therapy for a few weeks to let everything "settle" and see how my skin holds up after rads are done. I will keep up the stretching and strengthening exercises on my own. Honestly, I'm just really tired of making that drive to the medical center every day and want a break from it.

    I might try to find a PT that is closer to me and not necessarily affiliated with MD Anderson. I would be more enthusiastic about going if it wasn't so darned far in traffic.

    Hope everyone has a great week.