Mar 28, 2011 10:23PM j414 wrote:
My incision scar was also very lumpy and swollen with fluid, but it resolved within a couple of months after I finished rads. Radiation caused my breast to swell to twice its normal size (like PMS type swelling), which wasn't painful, just annoying. My breast started to heal right after I finished radition and within six months it looked and felt very close to normal - the swelling was down, the incisions were healed and my skin just looked like it was tanned. A year after radiation, with the exception of a one inch, dental floss width scar (which is very faint), my breast looked the same as it did before - the tan is gone, the skin is really soft and the incision isn't lumpy at all.
It's going to get a little bit worse before it gets better because radiation is going to cause swelling and redness (similar to a sunburn that will increase with each treatment). Your best friends during radition will be ice packs and moisturizer. I filled my ice pack with 1/2 ice and 1/2 water, to give it a soft/cushion feel. Do not put the ice pack directly on your skin because extreme cold could further irritate your already sensitive skin. Instead, wrap it in a thin piece of material (like a white cotton t-shirt). I iced throughout the day and my breast held up really well.
Moisturizing is key because you want to avoid skin irritation and blisters. I had a couple of blisters toward the end, but honestly, I've had sun burns that were much worse. Nevertheless, the radiation oncologist warned me that if it got worse, we would have to stop for a couple of days (and I didn't want that). Keep your breast well lubricated, although you shouldn't wear any moisturizer during the actual radiaiton session. Basically, I would carry my moisturizer with me and I would slather it on right after my session and cover the area with thin gauze (so I wouldn't have to keep reapplying the moisturizer). I used aqaufor and mixed in a little cortisone (to help with the itching) and it worked really well. I would keep that on the entire day and at night, before I went to bed, I would reapply. I would wash it off in the morning before I headed off to the radiation session.
Check out the March 2011 rads thread and in a couple of weeks, if you are so inclined, you can start the April (or May) 2011 Rads thread. Participating in a rads threads will be really helpful because everyone posting is going through rads at the same time and they check in with each other every day and compare notes.
Hang in there, you're in the home stretch and it will be over in a couple of weeks.