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Topic: Early Radiation Side Effects. Too soon!

Forum: Radiation Therapy - Before, During, and After —

What to expect from treatment and ways to cope with side effects.

Posted on: Feb 13, 2020 11:22AM

Anne2871 wrote:

Hello...
Today is my 4th day of 16 hypofractionated radiation treatments (breath hold). I am not sure if my side effects are psychosomatic since it is so early on. I had to break up with Google a few weeks ago, since we had a toxic relationship. 😂 Anyone else experience the following symptoms with radiation (without having chemo)?
-Exhaustion? (My treatments start at 7am and then I work, have kids etc). I am usually very energetic

-Metallic taste in my mouth

-Breathless during the day. Feel like I’m working out with minimal exertion

-nausea (could be from metallic taste)

Could these be happening so early on? I am (was) a very heathy and active individual and wasn’t expecting to feel anything for the first week or two (from what I read during my former relationship with Google). If I’m only on day 4, am I in for worse to come??

Anyone else? Thank you! Stacey

Dx 12/6/2019, IDC, Left, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 12/15/2019 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 2/9/2020 Whole-breast: Breast
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Feb 13, 2020 12:51PM Ingerp wrote:

I think many of us did not have any SEs for a few weeks after starting. I've been a big advocate of pushing protein with any kind of treatment. It helped me *significantly* through chemo and Herceptin--I really believe it's the building block of so much in our bodies.

That said, I only experienced fatigue a handful of times each time I had rads. It seemed to hit the day *after* I'd had a big day. Can you scale back a little? Put your feet up for half an hour after you get home? I think resting your body can help. Can you go to bed earlier? Getting enough sleep is helpful in all kinds of ways.

Dx 3/11/2016, DCIS, Left, 6cm+, Stage 0, Grade 3, ER-/PR- Surgery 3/23/2016 Lumpectomy Surgery 4/20/2016 Lumpectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 5/18/2016 Whole-breast: Breast Dx 3/2/2018, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (FISH) Surgery 3/13/2018 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Chemotherapy 5/18/2018 Taxol (paclitaxel) Targeted Therapy 5/18/2018 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Radiation Therapy 8/20/2018 Whole-breast: Breast
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Feb 13, 2020 03:32PM gb2115 wrote:

I had nausea early on, well, the entire time really. And a mild sore throat, so I fully believe the metallic taste could be from radiation. I had onset of dry mouth right after it ended (which cause a metallic taste), and the dentist told me he sees it all the time with radiation.

The nausea and sore throat went away shortly after radiation ended. I still have dry mouth, but am told that tamoxifen can't cause that too.

Hang in there!

Dx IDC in October 2016, stage 2A, 1.2 cm ER/PR+ Her2-, Grade 2, 1/3 nodes. Mammaprint low risk luminal A, Lumpectomy + radiation + tamoxifen. Age 38 at diagnosis.
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Feb 13, 2020 04:12PM mitziandbubba wrote:

I was exhausted from the very beginning. They told me it can happen. Although everyone said it would be cumulative, I felt the same amount of fatigue the whole time. A lot. I was also very active and pretty fit. It tok a few weeks to recover my stamina and balance was off too.


Surgery 5/9/2019 Lumpectomy: Left Surgery 5/29/2019 Lymph node removal: Sentinel Dx IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Radiation Therapy Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Feb 13, 2020 04:31PM Spookiesmom wrote:

Didn’t have that type rads either time. Fatigue yes, agree it’s time to scale back a bit. If you need a nap, have it. Stay hydrated helps too.

So glad you broke up with Dr Google😍😍

Reoccurrence 3-19. Dx IDC, Stage IIIA, Grade 3
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Feb 14, 2020 03:13AM MinusTwo wrote:

I had no nausea, but I too was exhausted from the beginning. The fatigue was the worst part for me. Maybe try to find a way to go to the treatment center a bit early & catch a nap while you're waiting?

2/15/11 BMX-DCIS 2SNB clear-TEs; 9/15/11-410gummies; 3/20/13 recurrance-5.5cm,mets to lymphs, Stage IIIB IDC ER/PRneg,HER2+; TCH/Perjeta/Neulasta x6; ALND 9/24/13 1/18 nodes 4.5cm; AC chemo 10/30/13 x3; herceptin again; Rads Feb2014
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Feb 15, 2020 06:29AM Anne2871 wrote:

Thanks, ladies!! Great advice

♥️🙏

Dx 12/6/2019, IDC, Left, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 12/15/2019 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 2/9/2020 Whole-breast: Breast
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Feb 15, 2020 10:21PM DorothyB wrote:

I had nausea after my very first treatment. I didn't have it after every treatment, but frequently - but not bad enough to vomit, just uncomfortable feeling.


Exhaustion could also be from stress.

Diag. 4/19/2019 ER+ PR+ HER2 neg Lumpectomy 5/29/2019 IDC w/ DICS 2.0 cm Grade 3
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Apr 30, 2020 07:37PM LB13 wrote:

I just finished my third treatment. I don't know if I am having side effects or if my mind is just on constant overload. I feel 'weird' today - meaning extra tired, a little nauseous and a little dizzy. (all also symptoms of anxiety!) I wake up frequently at night and the wheel of fear starts turning..... We can tell ourselves how lucky we are if we caught it early, that we are 'fine', going to be okay, etc. But - the middle of the night is wicked for me. I am grateful for this board, because even though I have an extremely caring and supportive husband, great friends, family support, etc - I don't want to whine about every little thing incessantly and make them all nuts as well. I am on a work from home basis right now - which is good an bad. I have plenty of work to keep me busy, but also a lot of time alone with my thoughts and fears. My Rad Onc says the fears are normal. He says I am doing well - keep up the good work, blah blah. I like him a lot and he is saying all the right things - but I am just having a day where I can't focus or do anything but worry about the what-ifs.

Any else in the same boat?

Dx 1/28/2020, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 1/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 2/25/2020 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 4/28/2020 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes Hormonal Therapy 6/11/2020 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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May 1, 2020 04:00AM AliceBastable wrote:

I actually started feeling better as I went through rads. The first two weeks were miserable because I was still recovering from an unrelated but much more invasive surgery, and the stretched position was really rough. As my body healed and/or got used to it, I started feeling much better, so maybe I didn't notice any side effects. I remember I was ravenous and ate like a pig all through radiation.

Endometrial cancer 2010, basal cell multiples, breast cancer 2018, kidney cancer 2018. Cancer's a bitch, but I'm a bigger one with more practice. Dx 5/2018, ILC/IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 1/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 7/10/2018 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Surgery 8/7/2018 Radiation Therapy 10/28/2018 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes
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May 7, 2020 11:05PM Blackhawk41 wrote:

Like mitziandbubba I felt the the off balance thing. I would get up from sitting and feel off kilter. I’m only on my 8th treatment out of 19 and I hit a wall today with fatigue. I find myself mindlessly scrolling and then looking up like where did that hour just go. It’s like I can’t function today but I am also working about 29 hours right now and can’t imagine if I have to go to full time (although boss would be understanding). I drive about 40 minutes each day for treatments and actually missed my turn today because I was zoning out!

Dx 12/22/2017, DCIS, Left, 3cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+ Surgery 3/21/2018 Lumpectomy; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Surgery 4/4/2018 Lumpectomy: Left Surgery 4/19/2018 Lumpectomy: Left Surgery 6/25/2018 Mastectomy: Left Surgery 5/4/2019 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant Dx 1/25/2020, IDC, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 2/7/2020 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 4/28/2020 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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May 8, 2020 05:09PM LB13 wrote:

Blackhawk41 I totally understand. I get that 'off kilter' feeling a bit too - and I am completely wiped out today. Treatment 9 of 30 complete. Although, I did not sleep well last night at all, so I am hoping that is the biggest part of it. I wish I would stop waking in the middle of the night with my mind racing about recurrences and death. I wish I could just shut all of those fears out and simply be grateful that things aren't worse than they are. Hoping you are feeling better today - I am working 40 hrs per week, but at the moment from home. I also find myself 'zoning out' and am trying to be more focused.

Dx 1/28/2020, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 1/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 2/25/2020 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 4/28/2020 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes Hormonal Therapy 6/11/2020 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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May 11, 2020 11:42PM Blackhawk41 wrote:

@LB13 I don’t know how you manage 40 hours. I’m on the strugglebus and only doing 25-29 because I keep picking up shifts. I do stand on my feet the entire time though so probably not helping. I have a hard time saying no to extr shifts and money haha! Almost thankful for part time (my husband is breadwinner and full time still thankfully!). I feel like I hit a wall if I do too much and my brain is foggy some days! I’ve not slept well the last 5 years and this is not helping. It’s hard to turn your brain off and I take melatonin already. I’m debating if the fatigue is radiation side effect or from the Lupron injection (or both) but hoping it goes away! Glad to know the zoning out isn’t just me and hope you’re able to get some rest soon!

Dx 12/22/2017, DCIS, Left, 3cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+ Surgery 3/21/2018 Lumpectomy; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Surgery 4/4/2018 Lumpectomy: Left Surgery 4/19/2018 Lumpectomy: Left Surgery 6/25/2018 Mastectomy: Left Surgery 5/4/2019 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant Dx 1/25/2020, IDC, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 2/7/2020 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 4/28/2020 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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May 12, 2020 10:39AM Via wrote:

night and fear como together am not sure why. Maybe because the house is quite and my fear comes in! But it’s normal to fear because cancer is cancer and wven if they got it early it changes you! I know I have change and sometimes I just wonder why it happened or will it come back!

Sadly your not alone!

Via

Hormonal Therapy 3/15/2019 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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May 12, 2020 05:12PM LB13 wrote:

@Blackhawk41 - I have not slept well for years either - but it seems since this diagnosis, it is so much worse. I just started my job about two weeks before my diagnosis, so I guess I am pushing myself to work as much as possible since I am a newbie. New job, new diagnosis, then the pandemic. It has been a serious roller coaster. The Lupron is for ovarian suppression, right? I am doing the genetic testing - so that may be in my future as well - who knows......

@Via - yes - nighttime and fears go hand in hand for me too. Awake and alone with my thoughts and worries. I worry about every single tinge in my body, worry about recurrence, worry about side effects, worry about nothing..... etc. I am a positive person and listening to my doctors (who all say the right things so you don't worry), have researched it to death - but it is STILL cancer - and I find that word to be crippling when you receive the diagnosis and then your mind just goes wild with the what-ifs. Trying to reel those in and just focus on each day and the good things. :)

Dx 1/28/2020, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 1/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 2/25/2020 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 4/28/2020 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes Hormonal Therapy 6/11/2020 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Jul 23, 2020 09:56AM Rose46 wrote:

My radiation treatment was for 15 days and I had to do the breath hold since the area being treated was close to my heart. I am 73 and have been dealing with other health issues besides breast cancer so I have not been physically active. The breath holding procedure requires you to hold your breath for 30-40 seconds each time you receive radiation. This was exhausting and on the second day, I could not complete the treatment. The tech was not allowing any rest time between breaths and I felt like I was drowning. The first day after treatment, I had burning pain in my armpit, throat, chest and a rash on my back, entire left arm and chest. The second day, it was worse and I decided no more radiation therapy as I was exhausted and the side effects too much. Sometimes you have to do what is best for you

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