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Winter/Spring 2024 Radiation Thread

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Gather here to share experiences, ask questions, get encouragement, and support others who are going through radiation therapy along with you.

Please share your diagnosis, any previous treatment you've had, and your scheduled start date along with your radiation schedule. We're all here for you!

Comments

  • nycgal1111
    nycgal1111 Member Posts: 1
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    Starting next week, right breast, 4 weeks.. any suggestions or feedback is appreciated.

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 8,285
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    Welcome, @nycgal1111! We know it can all feel very overwhelming, but we're all here for you. You've got this! THIS is a great thread with tips and tricks and suggestions from the community on how to prepare and what to expect during your radiation treatment.

    Also, we want to let you know we offer very supportive, moderated Virtual Community Meetups. There are a number of different groups and times, so if you're interested, please check them out here: Virtual Community Meetups.

    We’re here for you,

    The Mods

  • gracie_ibc
    gracie_ibc Member Posts: 10
    edited March 10
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    Hi @nycgal1111. I’m a week ahead of you; I started 33 rounds of rads this past Monday (March 4). It was a little over four weeks since my bilateral mastectomies, which were scheduled four weeks after finishing chemo.

    Thanks for the tips thread, mods!

  • ctlovesdogs
    ctlovesdogs Member Posts: 3
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    Hello All, I am so glad I finally found a group to share and help with my radiation experience specifically and my cancer journey in general. A friend of mine who is facing round 2 of breast cancer told me about the group she found through breastcancer.org and encouraged me to try it out, so here I am.

    I was diagnosed with Invasive Ductile Carcinoma back in July 2023. The cancer was aggressive, and my lump doubled in size in the 3 weeks leading up to my surgery. After my lumpectomy, which my surgeon described as a partial mastectomy because of the size of the mass she removed, cancer was also found in my lymph nodes, so I had a second surgery, a lymph node dissection. Shortly after the second surgery, I started chemotherapy, which I finished a few weeks ago. Today, I started my 6 weeks of radiation. My friends and family who know my journey thus far tell me that compared to chemo, radiation will be a breeze. I have mixed feelings about their response- guilt, anger, frustration, sadness. I don't FEEL like I'm on the downhill side of this journey, and I don't FEEL like it's easier… at least not yet. During and after radiation, I still have immunotherapy infusions every 3 weeks until the end of October. I wish I felt relief or satisfaction or progress, but I'm not quite there… yet. Thank you for this community and thank you for the tips and tricks! I will definitely be reading through them and looking into the virtual community.

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 8,285
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    @ctlovesdogs, welcome to the BCO community! We're sorry to hear of your diagnosis and all you've gone through, but we're really glad that your friend told you about our discussion forums and you decided to join us! Additionally, we have virtual support groups specifically for members going through treatment. If you're interested, we encourage you to explore them here: Virtual Community Meetups. You can attend as many as you like. Let us know if you have questions. We're here for you anytime!

    Warmly,

    The Mods

  • shrinkrap59
    shrinkrap59 Member Posts: 33
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    Hematoma resolved, and finally starting radiation.

  • pearlyeve
    pearlyeve Member Posts: 6
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    Hi I’m new here. Diagnosed with Invasive ductal carcinoma (Er+ PR+ HER2-) in February 2024. Had a lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy with clear margins and no cells found in lymph nodes in March. I’m waiting for results from the Oncotype dx before they start radiation because the chemo will come first if it’s determined chemo would help. I’ll find out the results on May 6th.

    I’ve been offered the FAST Forward option of radiation. That isn’t first line protocol here in Canada. But according to the studies in the UK it has been found comparable in efficacy and the side effects to regular dose radiation are similar. In my case, it would be 10 treatments total of 5 whole breast with 5 targeted. Or with regular dose schedule 20 total with 15 whole breast and 5 targeted.
    I’m wondering if anybody here has chosen that fast forward option and how was the experience? What are things I should consider while I make the choice? I am leaning towards the Fast forward option.

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 8,285
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    Hi all! Come join us today at 1pm ET to support one another through treatment via our Treatment Zoom Meetup! See you soon! Register here.

  • texasaggie64
    texasaggie64 Member Posts: 3
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    Hi, Pearlyeve. I'm curious to know which direction you decided to take. I just completed a regimen of 16 days whole, and 4 days boosted. My cancer was VERY small, invasive lobular. ER+, PR+, HER2-, Ki67 8%, negative for BRCA 1&2, 2 lymph nodes clear, margins exceptionally clear. I'm still in another world trying to make sense of the words, "It's malignant." I was lucky we found it extremely early, and that the scheduling gods lined up amazingly fast. I have started my anastrazole; no chemo. My oncologist radiologist explained why we would do the whole breast plus a boosted, or targeted, area, and that was since my tumor was lobular we wanted to ensure that there weren't any rogue cells making plans elsewhere. I was/am along for the ride.

    How are you feeling!?

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 8,285
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    Interested in hearing how everyone is doing!!

  • ctlovesdogs
    ctlovesdogs Member Posts: 3
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    Hello all! Sorry I have been incommunicado since my first post. I am now, finally, done with my radiation, and it was NOT easy at all as people claimed. Like chemo, it was its own type of horrible. My last session was May 1. I had a total of 30 sessions, 25 of my entire right breast and armpit and 5 targeted where my 2 surgeries were. Right now, the area of the targeted therapy is still pretty sore and tender which surprises me. I did not expect such a long recovery. Not one of my doctors mentioned that the area would be so sore. The burns around my nipple and under my arm are healed as are those on my back and chest. I am glad that my sessions ended when they did; I don't think my body could have taken much more. To help heal the burns, I used aloe from my back yard (I peeled it, cut it into pieces, and put it in the frig) as well as the prescribed Mometesone cream and Aquafor. The aloe was incredibly soothing and felt so good on my burns; the other 2 I used on top of the aloe. I am continuing to attend the In Treatment group which has been very helpful in processing all my jumbled emotions.

    One unforeseen emotional reaction was my sense of sadness, helplessness, and anxiety with the end of my radiation. Even though the chemo and radiation treatments had their own horrible side effects, with the end of each treatment I felt a growing panic. I knew that these treatments would destroy the cancerous cells, and as each one ended there was a sense of vulnerability, a fear that as the treatments ended I am again open to invasion. I have started seeing a psychologist to help me work through this and am told that my feelings are not unusual. I just wanted to let everyone know, that if you are struggling as I am, you are not alone.

    Sending you all out there as much physical strength, inner peace, and kick-ass fortitude as I can muster!

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 8,285
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    @ctlovesdogs - Thank you for sharing your tips, experiences, and emotions so openly. As your psychologist says, it is not uncommon to feel sadness, fear, anxiety, and helplessness after finishing treatment. We're glad to hear that you're already receiving emotional support. Remember that whenever you need us, we're here for you too!

    Warmly,

    The Mods

  • scs957
    scs957 Member Posts: 2
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    I started radiation 3 days ago and am a little depressed, different than I felt with my initial diagnosis. My surgery and recovery went well, my tumor was small - 9mm, but for some reason the radiation is making it “real” again. I know I am lucky, it was caught early, small and successful surgery but still feeling depressed. Wondering if others have felt this way.


  • ctlovesdogs
    ctlovesdogs Member Posts: 3
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    Hey scs957! Yes, even with the compassionate care of the technicians, my radiation treatment was tough. I had 6 sessions of chemo before my 30 radiation treatments and was told by a number of people that radiation would be "easy" by comparison. Uh, WRONG! It was physically, mentally, and emotionally tough. I share my struggles with my psychologist and several dear friends, and they all continue to give me support and ways to cope with whatever I am feeling. You are not alone in how you feel, and, however you feel, just know that I am sending you positive vibes. :-)

  • scs957
    scs957 Member Posts: 2
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    thank you ctlovesdogs

  • tigglewinkle
    tigglewinkle Member Posts: 23
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    Hi. I met with my breast surgeon last week who seemed pretty emphatic that I do radiation, and maybe I have to, but I am concerned about the fact that my tumor (IDC, 1cm+) is close to my chest wall. She didn't seem worried about it, but I am nervous about the possible effects on my heart and lungs. I have seen some studies that suggest that early stage lumpectomies without subsequent radiation fared as well as those with, and those stats were something like 2.5 % recurrence. But the surgeon said 20% chance of recurrence, if not radiation, which is obviously not great. I know preventing recurrence is the purpose, but if the radiation causes lung cancer in the meantime….what good would that do? How do you weight those benefits and risks? I'm a former smoker and would like to know what I'm getting into. Also wonder about Proton therapy, but I don't think insurance will pay for it. I am meeting with the radiation oncologist in about a week, and would appreciate any information before my appointment. Thank you.

  • labradorlover7
    labradorlover7 Member Posts: 1
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    Hi scs957, I have completed 4 out of 16 radiation treatments and I too am feeling that depressed anxious feeling all over again even though they say my cancer was caught early (did not get to any lymph nodes). Never in my life did I think I'd hear the word cancer as nobody in my family has ever had breast cancer. Finding this site to talk about our journey's and struggles has been helping me get through some rough days. I find it helps me emotionally to better understand we can all be here for each other through words of encouragement. I had lost my mom in December and then one of my sisters took her life so my world has been shaken up to say the least. Trying to take things one day at a time.

  • shrinkrap59
    shrinkrap59 Member Posts: 33
    edited June 4
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    II'm so sorry those things have happened @labradorlover7.

    I haven't been here in awhile, I think because the radiation therapy has been going better than I could have hoped, but @ctlovesdogs I think I too am getting anxious as I approach my last of six weeks of rads..