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Topic: Starting Radiation January, 2022

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

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

Posted on: Dec 28, 2021 11:04PM

Jen2957 wrote:

Anyone else starting radiation in January who would like to share experiences and provide support to one another? As I’ve been waiting to be cleared for rads, I have been following the experiences of those in the November and December radiation topic threads and have learned so much from the discussion there!

I had my UMX on October 21, but had a positive margin that had to be surgically dealt with, so my radiation plan was delayed a bit. Today, I finally got the all-clear from my plastic surgeon to go ahead with rads! I will be mapped on January 6 (they were able to schedule it on the same day as my oncology appointment, second Lupron shot, and first Zometa infusion, so it will be convenient, but definitely a full day)! I was told I will get started on the actual treatments about a week after mapping, so that should be the second week in January. I will have 25 sessions + 5 boosts (depending on how my skin holds up).

I’ll be getting rads with my TE in place, so if anyone has gone that route, I would love to hear how it went. I’m also interested in possibly using Mepitel, but I don’t yet know if my hospital recommends/allows it. Wishing everyone a happy last few days of the hear



Anatomical Stage 3a; Pathological/Prognostic Stage 1b. “Enjoy the little things in life because one day you`ll look back and realize they were the big things.” ― Kurt Vonnegut Dx 9/16/2021, DCIS/IDC, Right, 5cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 1, 1/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 10/21/2021 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Surgery 12/1/2021 Lumpectomy: Right Hormonal Therapy 12/22/2021 Aromasin (exemestane), Zoladex (goserelin) Surgery Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Fat grafting, Silicone implant Surgery Prophylactic ovary removal Radiation Therapy 1/18/2022 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall
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Posts 31 - 44 (44 total)

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Jan 12, 2022 07:24AM mfk wrote:

Hello everyone - first of fifteen sessions today. The breath holds were much shorter than I anticipated. Very easy. Will meet with RO every Monday.

TXLorelei - within the plan are diagrams that show where the radiation will be applied and some calculations of the radiation doses hitting different areas. It looks like they use the CT to calculate the volume of your organs and the treatment area and then run the math to show how much radiation would be absorbed under different scenarios. I haven't had a chance to speak to the RO since it was published, but if my amateur interpretation is correct, my PBI hits about 30% of my breast, with just a smidge (medical term) hitting the lung and heart under the average scenario.

Good luck in your treatments!

Dx 10/22/2021, DCIS, Left, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, ER- Surgery 11/28/2021 Lumpectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 1/10/2022 3DCRT: Breast
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Jan 12, 2022 07:36PM TXLorelei wrote:

Mermaid, I totally agree about the tattoos

Dx 7/7/2020, LCIS/ILC, Right, 5cm, Stage IIIC, Grade 2, 26/26 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Hormonal Therapy 8/12/2020 Femara (letrozole) Surgery 4/1/2021 Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Right Chemotherapy 5/21/2021 AC + T (Taxol) Dx 8/25/2021, LCIS, Left, 1cm Surgery 11/12/2021 Mastectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 1/4/2022 Whole-breast: Lymph nodes, Chest wall
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Jan 12, 2022 10:05PM Dres123 wrote:

hi everyone,


my wife had her first radiation session today. Overall it went well, but we can already see how five weeks is going to be a slog, especially with a four year old daughter to care for during it.

I had a question for the ladies here. After the first treatment, did anyone experience any swelling? My wife feels a bump on her chest that was not there this morning. It’s close to the surgical site. Of course no definitive answers but wanted to see if this (or other general swelling) was common after just one dose.

Hope everyone is doing well!

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Jan 13, 2022 11:50PM Jen2957 wrote:

Hi, All! Thanks so much for the kind wishes for my dad. He is continuing to improve. He is a tough, very determined guy who doesn’t like to be kept down long, so he has that on his side during recovery. I am counting down the last few days before my rads start- the first actual treatment is on my husband’s birthday- Wednesday- lucky him! Did anyone else here receive a prescription for Mometasone Cream to use during treatment and for a few weeks afterward in order to minimize reactions? I also ordered some Calendula cream that was on the recommended list and will go ahead and begin using it as soon as it arrives tomorrow. Just curious as to what other ROs are suggesting.

TXLorelei- I don't have my official treatment plan yet bc my RO was on vacation this week. I had the mapping, but didn't get to meet with him directly at that time (another RO checked my positioning and all that jazz). I have my "dress rehearsal" on Tuesday, get my new/confirmed markings (right now, I have a bunch of red x marks under tegaderm), and do a double-check of everything. I am really interested in what I find out. I know from the nurse that I will be getting supraclavicular and lymph node treatment with the whole breast treatment. I have a tissue expander, so I'm really hoping my skin behaves and doesn't cause any issues with it.

Mermaid- I am really hoping they can safely ditch a boost or two at the end. However, if they don't, I plan to leave immediately from radiation that last Tuesday morning and fly out for the rest of the week (through Saturday at least). I won't know the decision until the week before time for the boosts, though. The bummer is that one of the special events - board dinner- is on Monday and it is at a private wildlife preserve with a giraffe, rhino, and several other animals. I was there for the planning trip, but would love to not have to miss that experience! It's not one of those hokey, super public places- it is a preserve and is very animal-care oriented. Fingers crossed. How is your trip planning looking? Any better idea yet? And those tattoos do NOT sound like fun. I was so happy to learn that my facility no longer does the tattoos- they use permanent marker under tegaderm. The tech said my RO hated them bc he felt like they provided a permanent reminder of breast cancer; I think it could be viewed either way- as a negative or as a positive reminder of what has been overcome at the other side of this part of our experience.

Dicon - Nooo! Geez! I am so sorry for the postponed port removal, but even more so for the pain you have been having. How are you now?

MFK- Woo-hoo! Start marking those sessions off the calendar! I’m so glad your breath holds turned out to be a breeze. I hope everything else goes just as well. Loving the “smidge” term- we Kentuckians use that term pretty regularly, but I cracked up at your medical term classification.

Dres - The daily grind of rads will def be a bit tricker with the little one. Let’s hope your wife doesn’t experience fatigue and has minimal side effects throughout. I don’t have any insight on the bump, but I feel like from here on out, every lump, bump, ache, and pain will become much more of a potential alarm than before BC. I hope she speaks to her RO and finds out it is nothing to be too concerned about. Keep us updated.

I hope everyone has a great Friday and enjoys the weekend radiation vacation

Anatomical Stage 3a; Pathological/Prognostic Stage 1b. “Enjoy the little things in life because one day you`ll look back and realize they were the big things.” ― Kurt Vonnegut Dx 9/16/2021, DCIS/IDC, Right, 5cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 1, 1/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 10/21/2021 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Surgery 12/1/2021 Lumpectomy: Right Hormonal Therapy 12/22/2021 Aromasin (exemestane), Zoladex (goserelin) Surgery Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Fat grafting, Silicone implant Surgery Prophylactic ovary removal Radiation Therapy 1/18/2022 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall
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Jan 14, 2022 10:17AM mfk wrote:

Hi Jen - I asked the technicians at my mapping about ordering Miaderm or any other products in advance, and they said not to bother. They're an Aquaphor shop, Dove white soap, and possibly a calendula product that's available at Whole Foods. We'll see what else the RO says when I meet with him on Monday for a check-in.

Three down, twelve to go. Drinking water like I just got a COVID vaccine. Trying to get more protein in my diet. So far, so good.

Dx 10/22/2021, DCIS, Left, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, ER- Surgery 11/28/2021 Lumpectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 1/10/2022 3DCRT: Breast
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Jan 14, 2022 06:24PM Dres123 wrote:

Hi everyone,


just wanted to update. The “bump” for my wife is nothing. Doctor said that it’s a rib but feels protruding bc of the surgery. Long story short, don’t minimize your concerns, always reach out, but things may turn out to be benign.

Related to radiation, has anyone had their rad onc provide a hydration film? My wife is going to have one placed over her breast starting next week and apparently it avoids the need to lotion the area for the 25 session duration.

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Jan 15, 2022 02:31PM Jen2957 wrote:

MFK- I wonder if it’s the same Calendula cream on my recommended list: Boiron Calendula Cream. I’m drinking tons of water, too! My friend who is a physical therapist got me to try her Mio water enhancer and it has really helped me boost my water intake. I like that it’s such a portable little bottle and that you can use as little or as much as you want.

Dres123- what a relief!! So happy to hear it was nothing to be concerned about, but also glad you guys checked it out. Is the film you’re talking about called Mepitel? I know several places in the US are now starting to use it. I asked my RO nurse about it, but she didn’t know what I was talking about. My RO has been on vacation, but I plan to ask about it when I see him next week

Anatomical Stage 3a; Pathological/Prognostic Stage 1b. “Enjoy the little things in life because one day you`ll look back and realize they were the big things.” ― Kurt Vonnegut Dx 9/16/2021, DCIS/IDC, Right, 5cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 1, 1/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 10/21/2021 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Surgery 12/1/2021 Lumpectomy: Right Hormonal Therapy 12/22/2021 Aromasin (exemestane), Zoladex (goserelin) Surgery Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Fat grafting, Silicone implant Surgery Prophylactic ovary removal Radiation Therapy 1/18/2022 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall
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Jan 15, 2022 03:51PM TXLorelei wrote:

On Thursday, I asked my RO about my treatment plan, so she had their computer guy show me my mapping session 3D photos with the treatment areas highlighted. They pointed out how they avoid the lungs and the esophagus. Very informative!

Luckily I have not had any more shoulder pain. Still no skin issues, either.

Jen, you mentioned that your supraclaviclar lymph nodes will be targeted? Do you have to wear a head restraint? To keep my neck still, I have a horrible plastic mesh thing I call my supervillain mask. It's so tight that even moving my lips to talk is difficult. The rads tech apologizes every time she straps me in.

I just tell myself that I'm nearly a third of the way through - 9/30.

Good luck to everyone!

Dx 7/7/2020, LCIS/ILC, Right, 5cm, Stage IIIC, Grade 2, 26/26 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Hormonal Therapy 8/12/2020 Femara (letrozole) Surgery 4/1/2021 Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Right Chemotherapy 5/21/2021 AC + T (Taxol) Dx 8/25/2021, LCIS, Left, 1cm Surgery 11/12/2021 Mastectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 1/4/2022 Whole-breast: Lymph nodes, Chest wall
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Jan 16, 2022 03:33AM - edited Jan 16, 2022 03:37AM by Drkcs

Just started on radiotherapy after surgery in Sept 2021. Delayed caused by a very poor breast cancer clinic in the UK. After 3 sessions, whole breast, axilla lymph nodes, supra clavicular fossa lymph nodes, and chest wall. Having 15 sessions at 40 Gy. Also, they want to start me on Zolendronic acid infusion next week and I am dreading it. Starting to get tired and have sore throat after treatment has started. I use Pharmaceris cream twice daily across whole treatment area before and after radiotherapy at the moment skin reaction is just starting to get a little itchy, does not help when the radiology staff did not read my medical notes informing them I have an allergy to the glue they use on plasters and items such as the breathing monitor they place on your abdomen to enable Breath hold technique. We appear to have a team of radiologists in Wirral UK that have a distinct lack of knowledge concerning medical notes and warning markers on them. I am using a head restraint to keep head still during treatments to supra clavicular area. Breast itself feels a little thicker and is a little red underneath along scar line. I am very unhappy with how my breast looks, it to me looks like an arse with two bum cheeks. It is vile, sorry but I prefer to be honest as the medics involved with me in the past 3 years have been very dishonest.

I hate incompetent medics!
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Jan 16, 2022 08:08AM star2017 wrote:

Hi all,

I had mapping Friday and will be starting my third round of radiation next week. Let's hope this is it!

Dx@37, pregnant, BRCA2+ Dx 9/2017, DCIS/IDC, Right, 6cm+, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 4/8 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 10/17/2017 Mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 11/29/2017 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 4/18/2018 Prophylactic mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Radiation Therapy 5/21/2018 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes Surgery 10/24/2018 Prophylactic ovary removal; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant Hormonal Therapy 6/19/2019 Arimidex (anastrozole) Dx 5/2021, IDC, Right, 6cm+, Stage IV, metastasized to bone, ER+/PR+, HER2- Targeted Therapy 8/4/2021 Verzenio Targeted Therapy Lynparza Radiation Therapy External: Bone Hormonal Therapy Faslodex (fulvestrant)
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Jan 16, 2022 05:54PM oldladyblue wrote:

Hi all, I am now only 6 sessions shy of the end of my radiation. I am in the prone position and it seems to be working out well. My skin shows no signs of the radiation, and my breast is only slightly overall swollen. I practically can't tell I'm getting treatment. So I haven't used any type of cream at all. I had a concern about the treatment seeming "different" from last week, and my doctor and his physicians assistant and my two technicians all handled my concerns really well. It turned out that the table moves in different ways depending on the type of imaging they do. And sometimes the imaging is a different type. The techs showed me how the images "line up" really well every time so the radiation is going in exactly the right area each day to get the whole breast and not more. I was really tickled how they took the time to explain everything and calm my nerves.

I hope things go well for all of you doing treatment.

For those who mentioned my concerns about my port, yeah, still "waiting" per the doctor. I can't seem to get a good answer as to when it is coming out. It does still bother me, but oh well, with everything else going well, I'm just gonna wait...

64 years old, Oncotype 28 Dx 6/25/2021, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 7/27/2021 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary Chemotherapy 10/8/2021 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel)
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21 hours ago mfk wrote:

Had my weekly check-in today. Nurse checked weight, blood pressure and oxygen saturation (100%, thank you very much). Met with the RO.

Jen - Yes, it's the Boiron Calendula Cream. He gave me a sample. He framed it as personal preference when choosing between the calendula cream and the Aquaphor. The instructions are to use them prophylactically and not to wait for symptoms to arise. I've been using the Aquaphor, so I think I'll stick to that but the calendula cream will be a nice alternative if I'm going out somewhere that requires a bra and real clothes.

Winking

Dx 10/22/2021, DCIS, Left, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, ER- Surgery 11/28/2021 Lumpectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 1/10/2022 3DCRT: Breast
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13 hours ago Jen2957 wrote:

TXLorelei- So glad you don’t have to deal with the shoulder pain, AND to hear your skin is holding up well! Definitely reasons for celebration! I have only had my mapping CT- since my RO was on vacation last week, and today is a holiday, I haven’t had my “dress rehearsal” yet. Tomorrow is the big day. Ughh- no one has mentioned the mesh mask think- I love your supervillain mask name for it- I have told everyone that I am fully expecting to glow in the dark and acquire superpowers after all this! I’ll let you know after tomorrow. You’re getting there- 1/3 of the way there!!!

Drkcs- It sounds like your target areas are the same as mine, but you are on the shortened schedule of delivery. My RO talked about the shortened plan, but said he wanted to use the “slow cooker” approach on me since I have a tissue expander in. I am so, so sorry to hear of the issues you have had with your medical team. My daughter has a latex allergy she has acquired and she has had some similar issues with med staff not checking closely before using something on her. For some hopefully positive info- I had a Zoledronic Acid infusion on January 6. I absolutely dreaded it and expected to be miserable. Based on my own research and posts from here, I super-hydrated myself and also applied lidocaine cream covered by a band-aid to my arm where the IV would be (I’m down to one arm for jabs and blood draws, so it’s gotten quite lingual lately). I removed my band-aid before the IV, continued hydrating, and everything went smoothly. My only side effects were a bit of fatigue and chills the next day- no fever or other illness. Hopefully, you will do equally as well or better! Someone here referred to it as a “suit of armor” that protects us from bone mets and bone deterioration- I have latched onto that and used it to add to my resolve. Keep us posted!

star2017- geez! Let’s hope so! You really should have gained superpowers by now. Hoping this is the easiest of the three and that it is the last one!

blue- I love that your team is so willing to take the time to thoroughly explain everything to you! And it’s fantastic that your skin is taking it like a champ!!! I hope it continues to do that well! Dang that port!

Mfk- excellent to know! I have been applying the Boiron Calendula Cream for the past several days- it feels nice and is definitely not greasy. I have used the spray version of Aquaphor for years and have a few cans of that on hand- it is great and I think it is less messy than the original version. Bonus- no rubbing it in!!! I may end up using both- Calendula, then spray Aquaphor over top? Of course, I’ll also use my prescription cream he gave me. Everything I own will have a big oily spot over my left boob.
🙄😆















Anatomical Stage 3a; Pathological/Prognostic Stage 1b. “Enjoy the little things in life because one day you`ll look back and realize they were the big things.” ― Kurt Vonnegut Dx 9/16/2021, DCIS/IDC, Right, 5cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 1, 1/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 10/21/2021 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Surgery 12/1/2021 Lumpectomy: Right Hormonal Therapy 12/22/2021 Aromasin (exemestane), Zoladex (goserelin) Surgery Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Fat grafting, Silicone implant Surgery Prophylactic ovary removal Radiation Therapy 1/18/2022 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall
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13 hours ago star2017 wrote:

Thanks, Jen. Thankfully the original site (breast) has been quiet since treatment 3.5 years ago. First met seems to have responded well, so hopefully this one will too. I have a great doc and team, and they make radiation a pretty smooth process. Office isn't too far from work either.


Wishing all of you the best. I used aloe immediately after treatment and aquaphor later in the day pretty regularly. Skin responded well, tho any site with a crease did end up needing the silvadine prescription cream. It healed fine.

Dx@37, pregnant, BRCA2+ Dx 9/2017, DCIS/IDC, Right, 6cm+, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 4/8 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 10/17/2017 Mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 11/29/2017 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 4/18/2018 Prophylactic mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Radiation Therapy 5/21/2018 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes Surgery 10/24/2018 Prophylactic ovary removal; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant Hormonal Therapy 6/19/2019 Arimidex (anastrozole) Dx 5/2021, IDC, Right, 6cm+, Stage IV, metastasized to bone, ER+/PR+, HER2- Targeted Therapy 8/4/2021 Verzenio Targeted Therapy Lynparza Radiation Therapy External: Bone Hormonal Therapy Faslodex (fulvestrant)

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