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February 2023 Radiation

I just had my pre-radiation therapy mapping session today. I have "pretty" red and blue marks on my skin, and they made a back cast made today to aid in getting me set up in the same position for daily treatment. They told me it might be a week or so before I am scheduled to start and to be careful not wash off. Is anyone else starting radiation this month? I don't know why, but I'm kind of nervous about starting radiation and the AI medication. I picked the Rx up from the pharmacy today, and I think I will start it tomorrow morning. I have a surgical follow-up on Monday and a DEXA scan next week to keep me busy while I wait on scheduling.

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Comments

  • horse2310
    horse2310 Member Posts: 18

    I took AI the same day I started radiation...no problem at all.. you will be fine!

  • margecandoit
    margecandoit Member Posts: 129

    I am suppose to start Monday but we will see. I was first told January but that hasn’t happen. I had my mapping 2 weeks ago. I have the marks and stickers too. I have been on tamoxifen for almost 2 months and I don’t like it. Had to start anti depressant to help with side effects.

  • Hi Margecandoit. I only escaped getting the stickers because I have an adhesive allergy. I took my first dose of Femara this morning. Is tamoxifen causing depression side effects for you? or more than that? I just got my labs back yesterday, and my hormone results suggest I am still postmenopausal; no big shock. How are you feeling about starting radiation on Monday?

  • margecandoit
    margecandoit Member Posts: 129

    concernaboutresults - we’ll I am not starting Monday. Never heard from them today. I am so frustrated and really don’t know what to do. Talked to someone yesterday and she said I was in the group to start on Monday and they would call. Well they didn’t. So Tuesday will be 3 weeks since they put these stinking sticker on me. My surgery was 11/17 and I am starting to wonder if it’s getting to be to much time. When was your surgery? Yes the tamoxifen is causing the depression really after two weeks of taking it I was so down and crying all the time. Chemo stopped my periods so I am consider premenopausal. Sorry so long.

  • That sounds incredibly frustrating. I live in a small rural town and drive to another larger but still small town for oncology medical care. My lumpectomy surgery was on 12/22/22, almost a month after yours. In my case, many things seem to be happening faster than others here have described. I was doing the timeline, and from when I had my screening mammogram until now has been about three months. We will see how long it takes them to get me on the radiation schedule. They said it would be at least a week.

    I hope my AI medication, Femara, which I just started, doesn't cause depression for me. I was already postmenopausal, so we went right on to the AIs. Hopefully, the antidepressant will stabilize your depression. Getting this diagnosis and dealing with the treatments is enough to induce anxiety and depressive symptoms. But anytime my hormones have been jacked with in the past has caused a lot of things to go haywire. One part of me is not ready for all of this, and the other is ready for it to all be over. I'm thinking about taking up a guided meditation practice through a phone app to help when the stress gets too much.

  • margecandoit
    margecandoit Member Posts: 129

    I am really starting to get concern that I am being put a higher risk of reaccurence and I am already was high risk for that. It also took 2 months to get DX from my screening mammogram. I am glad it’s going fast for you. I am ready to be done with this. I am on month 10 since being DX. I guess if I don’t hear anything on Monday I will call again or maybe I should transfer my care somewhere else. Thanks for listening to me.

  • I can imagine the delays causing concerns about recurrence. My mom experienced high levels of worry when she was waiting for her treatment plans between the initial and staging biopsy. I think having these types of thoughts and concerns is somewhat normal. Is your high risk for recurrence related to the grade of your tumor or something else? I ask because our cases look pretty similar except for the tumor grading. But maybe you had some genetic testing too. My Oncotype Dx was low as well. All this waiting for this, and that is frustrating to me!

  • margecandoit
    margecandoit Member Posts: 129

    I didn’t have the onco type test. I had what was call mammaprint done. My results came back as high risk and a basal type breast cancer. My cancer showed up 6 months after a clean MRI and was aggressive 1.8 cm in that time frame. Also make it stressful cause I watch my mom pass from breast cancer. Sorry maybe I am wrong in the way I feel. I see other who had their surgery after mine get done or start before me just make me wonder if I am getting the right care.

  • Oh geez! Watching a mom pass from cancer can be traumatizing. Probably similar to losing anyone from cancer, but especially for moms/daughters because as a daughter, I can imagine ending up in a caregiving role. At least, that was the case with my mom when she was in the end stage with lung cancer. But I get that there is another layer for you have given you are facing the same type of cancer. I have been confronted (at least in my thoughts) more than once, since hearing the words "you have cancer", with my own mortality.

    I'm not sure, but in terms of the purpose tests for treatment planning, the mammaprint and oncotype are similar. I hope you get some answers today about what is going on with all the delays in scheduling your radiation.

  • margecandoit
    margecandoit Member Posts: 129

    I am sorry to hear your mom passed from lung cancer. Yes it’s hard when you’re taking care of someone and watch them slowly go down hill and it’s your mom who you love so much. I think that’s the hard part cause I don’t want this coming back. I know what it looks like when it progress's.

    Will I had my medical oncologist cell number so I called him today. He tells me the end of the week. We shall see. Hope you are having a good day.

  • Well, I learned this morning that I will start radiation therapy this upcoming Monday, February 13. Anyone else starting radiation this month?

    Margecandoit - Did they get you in for radiation yet?

  • 2sdbc
    2sdbc Member Posts: 10

    I have my first appointment on the 20th. I'm not sure what to expect. Nervously awaiting that but also want to get this taken care of.

    I picked up my prescription for anastrozole but my MO said I can wait to start until I feel ready. He suggested a week after radiation. I'm confused because it seems like many people start right away.

  • I am not sure what will happen with your RO. My first appointment with my RO was just a consultation. He explained how radiation would work, his recommendation for my whole left breast for 15 sessions and then 5 booster sessions focalized to the area where my tumor was at. I watched a short informational video about radiation treatment and signed some consents. On my second appointment, we did the mapping, which was basically laying me on a table, getting me in a comfortable position for ongoing treatment, putting ink marks on the breast sides of my rib cage, and taking some images. They also made a cast for my back to keep me in the same position for each session going forward. Then about a week went by when they called to schedule for my treatment to start on this upcoming Monday. But I have read other stories about how there has been a greater delay between the mapping and scheduling the radiation treatments. I have seroma and thought this might delay the start of radiation, but it's not that big as far as seromas go and they are okay to start.

  • Margecandoit - Did you end up starting radiation this week? I hope all is going well for you.

  • margecandoit
    margecandoit Member Posts: 129

    No didn’t start this week. Looks like we will be starting together on Monday. I have a appt for Monday so it might happen. So frustrated with this place I really don’t want to go there but it’s too late and have to suck it up and go there. It’s now been 12 weeks since surgery hope it’s not too late to be helpful. I am a little scared but just ready to get this over with.

  • margecandoit
    margecandoit Member Posts: 129

    Well I started today!! How was yours today? Seemed weird cause it didn’t feel like anything. Real easy just lay there.

  • Yeah, Margecandoit! I started yesterday as well. I got really emotional when the machine started because it felt like the first considerable treatment after surgery. But it passed quickly, and I was able to move on. It was easy, and no side effects other than my memory seemed a bit off. That could be more my AI medication and new onset insomnia since starting. Did you get marked all over? In several places, mine mostly rubbed off before I even got home.

  • margecandoit
    margecandoit Member Posts: 129

    concerned- They did remark me but I had stickers over mine so they stayed on pretty well. I have chemo brain and some stiff joins but I wasn’t to scare since I went through 5 months of chemo. I am just ready to be done with all this.

    Today has been a year since my fateful mammogram but it took two months to get diagnosed. So kinda a mile stone of sorts. Hope you’re having a great valentine day. The notebook tonight at the theater with my husband.

  • Marge - I didn't get any stickers because I have an adhesive allergy. One year, wow, that's been a long journey for you. I feel like I've been through the wringer in a few short months. I got my fateful mammogram in November last year. I hope you had a happy valentines day. How did your first week of radiation? Mine was fairly uneventful. It's pretty weird to have my breasts out every day in front of a male tech. My brain feels a bit out of it today, but I'm not sure if it's the radiation. So far, my skin is holding up pretty well. Also, how many treatments are you having?

  • margecandoit
    margecandoit Member Posts: 129

    Concern- oh that’s right I remember that you said that before about the adhesive allergy. So do they mark you everyday? Yeah it’s been a long journey but at this time last year I wasn’t worried cause I hadn’t been called back yet. I got a latter in the mail 3 weeks later saying they need more imagine. Then another 3 ish week wait for the more imagine then biopsy and finally diagnose on April 20.

    I also have had a pretty uneventful time so far with it all. I been putting cream on 3-4 times a day and so far so good. I heard that at 2 -3 weeks we might start getting red like a sunburn. It is weird going in putting your breast out I have a guy and a girl who help me each time.I have 4 week or 20 treatments. How many do you have?

  • They mark me up whenever the ink starts looking lighter. He marked me up Monday, Thursday, and Friday. I am having 4 weeks as well. We will be finishing up around the same time together.

  • margecandoit
    margecandoit Member Posts: 129

    Hi joce, I'm sorry you ended up with a diagnosis that sent you back here but it's a good place to get information and support. As I recall you had an excisional biopsy. I would ask the oncologist whether your margins were clean or if you need further surgery. You should also ask what you are dealing with (DCIS, IDC or ILC), the size of the tumor and the hormone receptor status (ER, PR, HER2.) All of these factors determine what the recommended treatment will be. Once you know that you can ask about what the treatment would entail and a ballpark timeline of when things would be done. It helps to have someone else at the appointment (family member or good friend) to take notes and be another set of ears since you are hit with so much information in a short time.

    You will probably have questions that occur to you after your appointment. Find out whom you can contact to get those answers. Most oncos have NPs who do that and are good resources.

    Right now it probably seems daunting but once you have a treatment plan in place it is doable. All the best going forward!

  • Amen to that, Ruth. The children killed in Nashville are the same age as my youngest granddaughter. I can only imagine the pain those families are feeling. How many children must die to get Republicans to do the right thing?


  • margecandoit
    margecandoit Member Posts: 129

    Hi Luna,

    Did anyone provide a recommendation that you found helpful? If so, what aspects of the physical therapy brought you the most benefit?

  • We are almost done, one more day. It genuinely hasn't been too bad. Are you having booster radiation treatment? My RO calls them that, but I think they are basically one more week, 5 days on just the part of the breast where the cancer was found.

  • lef
    lef Member Posts: 32

    concernedaboutresults -- Booster treatment is just what you describe -- 5 days focused on the part of the breast where the cancer is found. I had it (in January) because the margins were'n't quite as wide as they'd originally thought. I found radiation MUCH easier than chemo. I had no reaction at all until week 4, when I developed a rash on my chest (but not on my breasts!). The RO explained that this is not uncommon for people who've had too much sun exposure in that area. About 10 day of Rx cream and it was gone.

  • margecandoit
    margecandoit Member Posts: 129

    I am having 20 treatments. They didn’t say anything about boaster. So I am not really sure.

  • Well, just starting my final week of radiation. I was quite fatigued on Friday night and developed a rash on my armpit just above my lumpectomy incision. The tech today suggested that I go without a bra as much as possible because, in that area, it tends to rub a bunch.

  • margecandoit
    margecandoit Member Posts: 129

    Sorry to hear you have a rash. They didn’t give you anything for it? I am doing ok except I have a raw area under my breast that stings a little when I put the lotion on. I see the Dr tomorrow so I will ask if it’s ok. Started my target booster today. I didn’t know about it till today when they told me it would take a little longer cause they would need to approve the imaging before they start the boost.

  • Hi Marge. I developed a blistering rash under the crease of my breast as well this week. I saw my RO on Wednesday and he said it is a burn. He also said that because of the way the focal radiation goes through the spot where my cancer tumor was, that it might get worse as we get through these final few days of treatment. He told me to stop wearing a bra as much as possible for the part that under my arm. He said cortisone and corn starch for the crease under my breast. I've tried the corn start, but for me it makes it worse. What did your doctor say for yours?