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

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



Surgery 10/21/2021 Lymph node removal (Right): Sentinel; Mastectomy (Right): Nipple Sparing, Simple, Skin Sparing; Reconstruction (Right): Tissue Expander Surgery 12/2/2021 Lumpectomy (Right) Hormonal Therapy 12/22/2021 Aromasin (exemestane) Radiation Therapy 1/19/2022 Whole breast: Right breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall Surgery 4/6/2022 Reconstruction (Left); Reconstruction (Right): Fat grafting Surgery 5/3/2022 Surgery 8/1/2022 Reconstruction (Right): Fat grafting, Silicone implant Dx IDC/DCIS, Right, 5cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 1, 1/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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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...

Surgery 7/1/2021 Lumpectomy (Left); Lymph node removal (Left): Sentinel Chemotherapy 10/8/2021 Other Radiation Therapy 1/4/2022 Whole breast: Left breast, Lymph nodes Hormonal Therapy 3/10/2022 Arimidex (anastrozole) Dx IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jan 17, 2022 09:12AM 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

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Jan 17, 2022 05:00PM 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.
🙄😆















Surgery 10/21/2021 Lymph node removal (Right): Sentinel; Mastectomy (Right): Nipple Sparing, Simple, Skin Sparing; Reconstruction (Right): Tissue Expander Surgery 12/2/2021 Lumpectomy (Right) Hormonal Therapy 12/22/2021 Aromasin (exemestane) Radiation Therapy 1/19/2022 Whole breast: Right breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall Surgery 4/6/2022 Reconstruction (Left); Reconstruction (Right): Fat grafting Surgery 5/3/2022 Surgery 8/1/2022 Reconstruction (Right): Fat grafting, Silicone implant Dx IDC/DCIS, Right, 5cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 1, 1/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jan 17, 2022 05:40PM 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.

CURRENT: Stage IV since 2020, bone mets to rt hip, sacrum, femur, all treated with radiation. Taking Lynparza daily. Dx 9/2017, DCIS/IDC, Right, 6cm+, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 4/8 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 10/17/2017 Mastectomy; Mastectomy (Right); Reconstruction (Right): Tissue Expander Chemotherapy 11/29/2017 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 4/18/2018 Prophylactic mastectomy; Prophylactic mastectomy (Left); Reconstruction (Left): Tissue Expander; Reconstruction (Right): Silicone implant Radiation Therapy 5/21/2018 Whole breast: Breast, Lymph nodes Surgery 10/24/2018 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 Verzenio Radiation Therapy External Hormonal Therapy Faslodex (fulvestrant) Local Metastases Radiation therapy: Bone
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Jan 19, 2022 03:02PM jen2957 wrote:

Well, finally can mark one session off the calendar! Hooray!!! It was pretty easy- had a brief mental emotional wave bc it made this cancer thing feel “real” again, but no big issues. Having my arms above my head was fine, except for my tissue expander pulled quite a bit on one of the tabs sutures into my chest muscle. Definitely tolerable for a short time! They placed a warm, wet towel over my right chest during radiation (of course, it didn’t stay warm long 😳😂). Anyone else have that during rads?

Surgery 10/21/2021 Lymph node removal (Right): Sentinel; Mastectomy (Right): Nipple Sparing, Simple, Skin Sparing; Reconstruction (Right): Tissue Expander Surgery 12/2/2021 Lumpectomy (Right) Hormonal Therapy 12/22/2021 Aromasin (exemestane) Radiation Therapy 1/19/2022 Whole breast: Right breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall Surgery 4/6/2022 Reconstruction (Left); Reconstruction (Right): Fat grafting Surgery 5/3/2022 Surgery 8/1/2022 Reconstruction (Right): Fat grafting, Silicone implant Dx IDC/DCIS, Right, 5cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 1, 1/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jan 20, 2022 03:30PM kotchaj wrote:

Hello everyone! It looks like I may be joining your January group a little bit late. I had my initial appointment with my RO yesterday and because of a cancellation, I am going tomorrow for my simulation. I will be getting 16 doses of radiation and 4 boosts to the scar area at the end. 4 weeks. Our radiation location is about an hour away and I'm still working full time, so will be a pain to do, but we will make it work. Luckily my husband is retired and has planned to be my driver.

I'm anxious to get this started and very hopeful that I don't have a bad reaction to the radiation. I have two of my cousins coming over from England March 3rd and am hoping to join them for a few days since i haven't seen them in two years. I will be picking up my script for mometasone tonight.

Thank you for starting this thread!

Chemotherapy 6/7/2021 AC + T (Taxol) Hormonal Therapy 6/15/2021 Arimidex (anastrozole) Targeted Therapy 6/15/2021 Verzenio Chemotherapy 8/31/2021 Other Radiation Therapy 2/9/2022 Whole breast, Radiation boost: Left breast, Lymph nodes Dx IDC: Mucinous/IDC, Left, 3cm, Stage IIIC, Grade 2, 20/21 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- Surgery Lymph node removal (Left): Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy (Left): Modified Radical
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Jan 20, 2022 04:31PM - edited Jan 20, 2022 04:32PM by mfk

KotchAJ - Welcome to our merry band! Happy to have you. Now I'm going to cop to being so lucky that I can wake up and be dressed in my gown in the waiting room, working on my Wordle, in less than an hour.

There's certainly a level of anxiety wondering if/when side effects will occur. I've finished 7 of 15 fractions and every day I keep looking to see if my skin appears different. So far, so good.

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Jan 20, 2022 04:45PM star2017 wrote:

I had my first treatment today. Everything went as expected. In the past I've been treated in the summer, so having less layers had made the whole process of getting in and out much easier. Will need to plan better for this winter round!!


They're treating a small spot on my femur. Process was pretty quick.

CURRENT: Stage IV since 2020, bone mets to rt hip, sacrum, femur, all treated with radiation. Taking Lynparza daily. Dx 9/2017, DCIS/IDC, Right, 6cm+, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 4/8 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 10/17/2017 Mastectomy; Mastectomy (Right); Reconstruction (Right): Tissue Expander Chemotherapy 11/29/2017 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 4/18/2018 Prophylactic mastectomy; Prophylactic mastectomy (Left); Reconstruction (Left): Tissue Expander; Reconstruction (Right): Silicone implant Radiation Therapy 5/21/2018 Whole breast: Breast, Lymph nodes Surgery 10/24/2018 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 Verzenio Radiation Therapy External Hormonal Therapy Faslodex (fulvestrant) Local Metastases Radiation therapy: Bone
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Jan 20, 2022 10:52PM - edited Jan 20, 2022 10:56PM by jen2957

KotchAJ- Welcome! So happy to have you with us! I actually started the thread, but it looks like you and I will both be the late bloomers of the crew. I hope your simulation goes well- just remember that it is the long appointment, so everything after that should be fairly short and sweet in comparison. My drive is about 40 minutes, so I somewhat feel the pain of your travel time. The one good thing about your hubby driving you is that you will have some nice time without all the distractions of being at home. How exciting to have your family over from England! We will send you all the good vibes and mojo that you will be feeling great while they are here.

MFK- Good for you on the “convenience" if you can really call any of this such a thing, of having a short time from beginning to end! I have just started doing Wordl a bit- haven't had time to do it too often yet, but it is really fun when I have had the chance to play.

Star2017- The wardrobe has already been a struggle for me, too! I am treated 40 mins from home, and yesterday, my husband happened to have a business dinner I was attending with him and it was in the same city as my treatment. I had to completely plan my dinner attire around what would be easiest to undress and redress into. I also had a lymphedema therapy appointment (preventative) that day, so it was a x2 wardrobe change. Today was a hoodie and joggers! No shame. Lol. Glad all went smoothly.

I had my second treatment today; however, I had a bit of a surprise when I woke up this morning to a tomato red breast! Keep in mind that I am rocking the Betty Boop look on one side due to the TE, so it really kind of looked like a 🍅 stuck to my chest. Not sure what is going on, as the techs really don't know what to think. No sign of infection and I have been applying the Mometasone for several days and have had no reaction to it elsewhere, so doubtful that's it. I suspect it is the bolus (wet towel applied to concentrate the radiation to the skin, since I had a skin and nipple sparing mastectomy), but I have requested to see my RO for a quick check in tomorrow. I'm terrified of compromising the TE or having to interrupt treatment. It does seem to have calmed a bit tonight. Who knows what I'll wake up to in the morning, though. I have to admit that I had one of those just roller-coaster of emotions days- from full resolve and determination to anger to simply feeling overwhelmed. I guess it goes with the territory, but I'm not a fan.

Hope everyone's Friday treatment goes well and we can all enjoy a barbecue-free couple of days.



Surgery 10/21/2021 Lymph node removal (Right): Sentinel; Mastectomy (Right): Nipple Sparing, Simple, Skin Sparing; Reconstruction (Right): Tissue Expander Surgery 12/2/2021 Lumpectomy (Right) Hormonal Therapy 12/22/2021 Aromasin (exemestane) Radiation Therapy 1/19/2022 Whole breast: Right breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall Surgery 4/6/2022 Reconstruction (Left); Reconstruction (Right): Fat grafting Surgery 5/3/2022 Surgery 8/1/2022 Reconstruction (Right): Fat grafting, Silicone implant Dx IDC/DCIS, Right, 5cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 1, 1/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jan 24, 2022 10:20AM kotchaj wrote:

Hi Everyone,

I think I'm overlapping from January into February for radiation. I went last week and had my initial consultation and simulation. I'm to have 16 rounds of radiation and4 bursts to my scar. I even got my tattoos done. Big baby, but the one in the middle of my chest hurt and wouldn't stop bleeding. The nurse asked me if I was on blood thinners. I'm not, lol. I won't be able to start until the first week of February as my Radiation Oncologist is going on vacation, but I'm anxious to get it started. I have a tentative family trip planned for the second week of March and want to be able to go. I haven't seen two of my cousins who I'm very close to since 2019.

Anyway, thanks for the thread and sharing your experiences. It really does help and make a huge difference for those coming after!

Chemotherapy 6/7/2021 AC + T (Taxol) Hormonal Therapy 6/15/2021 Arimidex (anastrozole) Targeted Therapy 6/15/2021 Verzenio Chemotherapy 8/31/2021 Other Radiation Therapy 2/9/2022 Whole breast, Radiation boost: Left breast, Lymph nodes Dx IDC: Mucinous/IDC, Left, 3cm, Stage IIIC, Grade 2, 20/21 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- Surgery Lymph node removal (Left): Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy (Left): Modified Radical

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