Topic: Starting Radiation October 2019

Forum: Radiation Therapy - Before, During, and After — What to expect from treatment and ways to cope with side effects.

Posted on: Sep 30, 2019 06:08PM

Posted on: Sep 30, 2019 06:08PM

kamboka wrote:

Is anyone else starting radiation in October? I was supposed to start today but it took them so long to do the x-rays and more markings that they mercifully postponed the treatment until tomorrow--which is October. I will be having 30 treatments over six weeks.

Dx 1/4/2019, IDC, Left, 6cm+, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 1/7 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-, FISHISHCISH Chemotherapy 3/14/2019 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 7/8/2019 Lumpectomy; Lumpectomy (Left); Lymph node removal Dx 7/9/2019, DCIS, Left, Stage 0, Grade 3 Surgery 7/23/2019 Lumpectomy; Lymph node removal Radiation Therapy 10/1/2019 Whole breast: Breast, Lymph nodes Hormonal Therapy 11/21/2019 Arimidex (anastrozole), Femara (letrozole)
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Sep 30, 2019 06:29PM mocame wrote:

Hello Kamboka! I am starting radiation next Monday, 10/7. I am doing 30 treatments over six weeks (includes 5 boosts) too!

I did the cat scans, along with the tattoos and sharpie marks/stickers this past Friday. This Friday I do the simulation/practice session. I'm a little nervous but I guess that is normal.

Thank you for starting the thread!

Dx 2/12/2008, DCIS, Stage 0, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR- Dx 8/22/2019, IDC, Left, <1cm, Stage IA, ER+/PR+, HER2- Radiation Therapy 10/6/2019 Whole breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy 11/28/2019 Zoladex (goserelin) Hormonal Therapy 12/5/2019 Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Sep 30, 2019 06:35PM kamboka wrote:

Looks like we both will carry over into November. I would love to have fewer sessions but such is life.

I must admit that I am loving the radiation team. I have two male technicians and a male Radiologist but they make me feel at ease. There is a female Nurse Practitioner and she is the sweetest.

The simulation was not bad. In fact, it was less painful than I thought. I'm sure you will breeze through it. I am a bit worried about holding my breath. Since I had pneumonia in June, I've not had lung capacity.

How many tattoos did you get? I had three when I did the CT and today with the other x-rays, they did three more. I told the Technician that after this I'm getting a rope tattoo to connect the dots.

Dx 1/4/2019, IDC, Left, 6cm+, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 1/7 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-, FISHISHCISH Chemotherapy 3/14/2019 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 7/8/2019 Lumpectomy; Lumpectomy (Left); Lymph node removal Dx 7/9/2019, DCIS, Left, Stage 0, Grade 3 Surgery 7/23/2019 Lumpectomy; Lymph node removal Radiation Therapy 10/1/2019 Whole breast: Breast, Lymph nodes Hormonal Therapy 11/21/2019 Arimidex (anastrozole), Femara (letrozole)
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Sep 30, 2019 07:19PM mocame wrote:

I have a young all female radiation crew. They seem very nice but quiet. I am concerned about holding my breath too. I don't know what is normal but it seemed to take me a long time to get consistent breath holding sessions. I would get 2 consistent sessions then either do too much or too little. They said I did well but it seemed like a long time to me! We will see what happens. I'm sure we will get used to doing after a few days. It's good to know the simulations wasn't bad. I didn't know what to expect.

I got 6 tattoos and then the sharpie marks/stickers where the box goes for the breathing. Getting the tattoos was pretty simple but for awhile I thought I was a human white board with all the marks and things they were drawing on me! LOL!


Dx 2/12/2008, DCIS, Stage 0, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR- Dx 8/22/2019, IDC, Left, <1cm, Stage IA, ER+/PR+, HER2- Radiation Therapy 10/6/2019 Whole breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy 11/28/2019 Zoladex (goserelin) Hormonal Therapy 12/5/2019 Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Sep 30, 2019 07:34PM kamboka wrote:

Yes, today, they did the Sharpies as well as the final tattoos. I had to go to the drug store to buy alcohol to try to get some of it off. At least it was blue and now it looks like I have large veins all over my chest.

I worry that as the fatigue comes upon me, it will get harder and harder to hold my breath. I practiced for two weeks and only averaged about 22 seconds. My friend said she could hold for 45 seconds. In the simulation, he said we could do smaller sessions of breath holding instead of one long session. I'll see tomorrow how that goes and let you know. I'm scheduled for 8:30 for the entire month. I had wanted later afternoon so I would not have to go back to work. This will make a long day,

Dx 1/4/2019, IDC, Left, 6cm+, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 1/7 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-, FISHISHCISH Chemotherapy 3/14/2019 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 7/8/2019 Lumpectomy; Lumpectomy (Left); Lymph node removal Dx 7/9/2019, DCIS, Left, Stage 0, Grade 3 Surgery 7/23/2019 Lumpectomy; Lymph node removal Radiation Therapy 10/1/2019 Whole breast: Breast, Lymph nodes Hormonal Therapy 11/21/2019 Arimidex (anastrozole), Femara (letrozole)
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Oct 1, 2019 04:44AM mocame wrote:

Kamboka - I hope you have a great 1st session today! I'm working full-time also while doing rads but I was lucky to get a later afternoon spot. My RO nurse said that the fatigue sets in on average about 2 or 3 weeks into it. That's what I'm hoping for! Do you have a good support system to help you at the end of the day when you might be tired? Someone who could bring you a meal or freezer meal so you don't have to cook, or do laundry, grocery shopping, etc.?

That's what I'm trying to set up now. Plus make an extra meal to put in the freezer and stock up on items that I feel my husband will not be able to find quickly in the grocery store, etc. LOL!

Best wishes!

Dx 2/12/2008, DCIS, Stage 0, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR- Dx 8/22/2019, IDC, Left, <1cm, Stage IA, ER+/PR+, HER2- Radiation Therapy 10/6/2019 Whole breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy 11/28/2019 Zoladex (goserelin) Hormonal Therapy 12/5/2019 Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Oct 1, 2019 05:38AM kamboka wrote:

Thanks for the advice mocame,

I live alone and with AC treatment, I just bought a lot of frozen dinners. I was working full time but half the time I was teleworking from home. That really helped. I was hoping for a late afternoon appointment so I could just go home but they don't work late in the afternoon. I'll see how this early morning thing goes and might ask to change.

I'm leaving now for the first session.

Dx 1/4/2019, IDC, Left, 6cm+, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 1/7 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-, FISHISHCISH Chemotherapy 3/14/2019 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 7/8/2019 Lumpectomy; Lumpectomy (Left); Lymph node removal Dx 7/9/2019, DCIS, Left, Stage 0, Grade 3 Surgery 7/23/2019 Lumpectomy; Lymph node removal Radiation Therapy 10/1/2019 Whole breast: Breast, Lymph nodes Hormonal Therapy 11/21/2019 Arimidex (anastrozole), Femara (letrozole)
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Oct 1, 2019 07:36PM kamboka wrote:

First session went well. They had me positioned quickly and before I knew it I was done. They do three areas so I have to hold my breath three times. I think it's about 20 seconds or less as I reach my lung capacity and want to breath and that usually happens around 22 seconds. They want me to use a prescription cream for two weeks before I start using Aloe. I put it on after dressing in radiology. Then I use another cream at noon while I'm at work. I'll plan to use again around 5pm when I get home and then my mixture of calendula and coconut oil at night.

The commute to the clinic was so busy this morning that it wore me out so I've asked to move up my time to 0800. I'll see how that goes.

Dx 1/4/2019, IDC, Left, 6cm+, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 1/7 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-, FISHISHCISH Chemotherapy 3/14/2019 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 7/8/2019 Lumpectomy; Lumpectomy (Left); Lymph node removal Dx 7/9/2019, DCIS, Left, Stage 0, Grade 3 Surgery 7/23/2019 Lumpectomy; Lymph node removal Radiation Therapy 10/1/2019 Whole breast: Breast, Lymph nodes Hormonal Therapy 11/21/2019 Arimidex (anastrozole), Femara (letrozole)
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Oct 2, 2019 09:45AM mocame wrote:

I'm glad your first session went well and was quick! It's funny how different hospitals do different things. My RO nurse said the only things they recommend to put on are Aquaphore, Aveeno lotions, and Eucerin lotions. No certain regime except I have to do it at least two times a day and nothing 4 hours before radiation.

I agree about the commute. To drive to the hospital from work should only take me 25-30 minutes but depending on traffic it can take 45 minutes. I know a lot of people drive even longer than I do and that has to be taken into consideration when the fatigue sets in.

I hope your second session went just as well. It looks like we are the only two having radiation so far this month!

Dx 2/12/2008, DCIS, Stage 0, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR- Dx 8/22/2019, IDC, Left, <1cm, Stage IA, ER+/PR+, HER2- Radiation Therapy 10/6/2019 Whole breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy 11/28/2019 Zoladex (goserelin) Hormonal Therapy 12/5/2019 Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Oct 2, 2019 03:37PM - edited Oct 2, 2019 03:38PM by spoonie77

Hi fellow RADs warriors! Hope you don't mind me stopping in to say hi. I just wanted to stop by and wish you all good luck on your RADS journey. I stated my own RADs journey one year ago today! Though my experience in RADs was a "bit" rough, and I ended up with Fibrosis, LE, and Rib Dysfunction (Costochondritis), many others in our Oct 2018 group did just fine and so have many other members since! The odds are in the favor of y'all having minimal SEs . :)

I was given many stretches and exercises by my Cancer Rehab PT and RO that helped me to keep from losing range of motion and manage the Breast Lymphedema that developed during my RADs treatments, which I had posted in my RADs group and I'll share here too in case anyone might find them helpful. Two rules of thumb - go slow and gentle and If in doubt, ask your team. Always.

Oh and before I forget, there's a really great link about What To Expect During Radiation from the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Institute that MissouriCatLady in her June RADs thread and she was right!! it's really full of good stuff, things I wished someone had told me before I started too. Give it a look see, can't hurt.

Also, if you've not read this thread yet, List of what to do/get/pack to prep for Radiation Therapy, it's also a good place to go for tips and tricks on what helps during the next few weeks.

Like I said, I hope all of you will sail through treatments with the minimum of SEs. This was our thread Radiation October 2018 and we discussed quite a few things that were very helpful along the way - including different creams, hydration, NAPS, exercise, etc. Maybe it might be helpful to you on your journey.

My best advice that I can pass on, that helped me is this:

1) Start using Calendula or other creams 2 weeks prior to treatments on the area of RADs (if one breast, be sure to get up into the armpit and into the ribs as well). This is what my RO asked me to do. Continue as your team directs you, most of ours seemed to say 2- 4 times depending on various SEs.

2) Drink lots of water.

3) Walk or move as much as you can, given your own limitations.

4) Double check with your RO/team about meds you are on, as some on my list were ones I shouldn't take before AND during RADs & after for at least 2 weeks (antioxidants especially).

5) Everyone is different. Some experience SEs immediately (like me lol), others sail by with very minimal SEs. If you are concerned or experiencing pain/redness/swelling/heavy feeling/etc, don't be afraid to speak up to your team. That's what they are there for! :)

6) If you do experience SEs, one of the things that SAVED me was "Boob Lasagna" - whuch us a cream called Aloe Vesta that's layered on with special gauze and then wrapped under a compression bra. I think I would have lost my mind the last 2 weeks without it. Ask your team. Also, you can find it on page 6 of the Oct Rads Group.

Wishing you all the best and quick healing after you get to ring the bell! Good luck Warriors! You got this! <3

Dx 7/20/2018, IDC, Left, 3cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-, FISHISHCISH Surgery 8/29/2018 Lumpectomy; Lumpectomy (Left); Lymph node removal; Lymph node removal (Left): Sentinel Dx 8/30/2018, DCIS, Left, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 2, HER2- Radiation Therapy 9/30/2018 Whole breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall Hormonal Therapy 3/29/2019 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Hormonal Therapy 7/1/2019 Zoladex (goserelin)
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Oct 2, 2019 06:01PM kamboka wrote:

Mocame: Today went just as well as day one. I forgot to mention that they do three angles for me. The technician explained that they can do up to four angles depending on where the cancer is--the minimum was two. That means I have to hold my breath three times. I think it's about 15-20 seconds each time but it seems like an eternity. So far, I'm doing okay but only worry about when/if I get fatigued. The NP in the department went over my creams. I told her I was making up this coconut oil/calendula concoction and she said 'okay'. Otherwise, she was recommending the prescription cream for two weeks and aquaphor -- I'm substituting my concoction. She asked me not to use aloe vera for the first two weeks. I have some in the fridge, ready to go.

Spoon77: Thanks for stopping by. It's nice of you to share your material and your words of wisdom. I've followed some of your messages in other boards. I remember the scanned documents as I read them some time ago. I'll review everything again because I seem to always find something that I missed. I've learned so much by being on this forum.


Dx 1/4/2019, IDC, Left, 6cm+, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 1/7 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-, FISHISHCISH Chemotherapy 3/14/2019 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 7/8/2019 Lumpectomy; Lumpectomy (Left); Lymph node removal Dx 7/9/2019, DCIS, Left, Stage 0, Grade 3 Surgery 7/23/2019 Lumpectomy; Lymph node removal Radiation Therapy 10/1/2019 Whole breast: Breast, Lymph nodes Hormonal Therapy 11/21/2019 Arimidex (anastrozole), Femara (letrozole)

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