after lumpectomy,mastectomy, chemo and radio i want a holiday, i am halfway through radiotherapy and asked today about going away and was told that they dont advice it as:
- should not go in the sun
- side effects from radiotherapy come 2-6 weeks after so will be very very tired
- travel insurance v expensive
i was so looking forward to going away and know i should follow their advice but wanted to know from others whether it is ok to go and if so how you felt
You don’t say where you want to go to, so maybe that makes a difference. I don’t want to give any advice against your medical team’s opinion, so I can only tell you about my own experience.
My team were ok when I went on holiday about a week or 10 days after finishing rads which I didn’t really expect to be able to do, but was very happy that we managed it. It was early December and we went to southern Spain so it wasn’t hot but warm and pleasant to sit out in a T shirt and shorts. I wouldn’t have gone anywhere too hot and wouldn’t have sunbathed in a swimsuit at that stage as you do need to keep the whole area out of the sun. I did swim in the indoor pool every day as once I started to heal, it was very quick. I wouldn’t have done so if the skin had still been raw.
It’s 3 years ago now so I can’t remember exactly how I felt but we weren’t expecting to have an energetic holiday, we just wanted to relax after the stressful few months and chose a week which fitted between doses of Herceptin. I was fine relaxing, reading, and sitting in the sunshine. It’s an easy journey from our local airport to Malaga as I probably wouldn’t have wanted to do a difficult journey. We went again about 6 or 7 weeks later just before I went back to work and the weather was even better. We are off to the same place again soon, so hope we are lucky with the weather again.
I can’t remember what I did about insurance I’m afraid. Even now I shop around a lot as some companies have been good for some holidays and other companies better for other holidays.
Was it your oncologist who advised aginst a holiday or the rads team? If it wasn’t your oncologist maybe you could ask him or her as I have a feeling that it was my oncologist who was more enthusiastic about me going away than the radiographers were.
Insurance companies do usually ask if you are travelling against medical advice so if your doctor really doesn’t advise it, I think you have to accept that you shouldn’t travel unfortunately.
I went to see my sister who lives in Cyprus 4 weeks after finishing rads in July this year. I plastered the area where the rads were in factor 50 and didn’t have any problems. For travel insurance I used the post office as I had in previous years. They insured me for everything but the breast cancer bit as I declared this. Had to phone up for it though couldn’t do it on line and it was not that expensive compared to last year pre cancer.
hope you get away somewhere nice, i know it did me the power of good
How about a pampering spa holiday in this country?
I went on holiday to Spain in July 09 two weeks after finishing radiotherapy, having had 8 cycles of chemo prior to that.
My GP prescribed a factor 50 sun block, although I was lucky as my skin was only a bit pink after the radiotherapy. I used my normal factor everywhere else.
I got insurance through GetMy - although they do not cover you for breast cancer.
I also flew domestic and international throughout my chemo - something that I believe is not advisable - but I had no problems.
I say go for it!!
I felt I really needed a break after RADIOTHEROPY and wanted to go somewhere warm so I booked a week in Cyprus. It was the best thing I ever did as I feel so much better and it me the world of good.
I went two weeks after my Radiotheropy ended and was advised not to sit in the sun which I didn’t (I don’t particularly like the sun anyhow). I was quite sore still - and took all my creams with me and it helped that I was able to get the air to the ‘burns’ and by the end of the holiday they had healed far better than I would have hoped and were no longer sore. I didn’t go in the Pool cause of the clorine, but went in the Sea which was fine and again helped the healing, around the pool I just had a cold shower - which was nice.
My insurance was a bit expensive. I tried most places from info on this site and they wouldn’t insure that close to the end of my treatment but managed to get a company (was given the number by PINK insurance) and the insurance for me and hubby was £103 - a bit expensive but worth it.
So my advice would be go for it - just keep out of the sun and you will feel soooo much better for it.
thanks everyone for your comments i am going tomo to book tenerife so not too hot and will be carefull x
Hi Berlinda, have just seen your post, and thought i’d post a comment.
I finished 15 rads last Wednesday and am going to Sydney on Sunday night! First time going and booked flights before re-excision p. as I was told by Registrar that I wouldn’t need radiotherapy!!!
Have been waiting 30 years for this trip of a lifetime (we have family out there) and when you are diagnosed with breast cancer as well as feeling like you are having an out of body experience, it certainly focuses the mind!
Both Surgeon and Radiotherapy Consultant were ok with me flying, I asked several times and they said it was fine and it was up to me (everyone is different so you should listen to your own medical advice).
I am still “cooking” nicely and have been tired (mainly because I worked during the rads and had to travel a distance there and back) and have some breathlessness/nausea but as long as you are sensible and take your creams/stay out of the sun and keep hydrated, you should be absolutely fine.
We deserve a treat after what we are all going through, you go enjoy yourself and make sure you relax.
p.s. I used travelinsuranceweb, who were really reasonable, the family were £17 each and I was £30 with the DCIS accepted!
Let us know how you get on, I will be offline from Sunday for 2 weeks, yipeeeeeeeeeeee
thanks lorraine thats reassuring! yep i was told the same that i did not need radiotherapy and then that changed! cant believe you worked through it i am just recovering from chemo and going through a divorce so constantly tired and emotional so cant face work!
enjoy down under!
I am having two lots of rads b/c I am bi lateral. Have booked a weeks holiday a week after 1st rads finish. My onc is aware that I wanted to go away and didn’t say not to. Hopefuly at this time of year the sun is not as strong therefore not as big a problem as in say June or July.
Happy hols to those going away…still need to sort some travel insurance out…not had much luck so far as in middle of 34 rads. Will prob take insce with bc element not covered.
I am just back from a 2 week cruise around the Med. went on the cruise just 2 weeks after I had finished Rads. Had no problems at all, just took the hospitals advice and had SPF 50 on my skin,I would have done this anyway as I am fair skined.I did feel tired on our walking tour of Rome but apart from that it was just what both my husband and i needed after 9 months of ops chemo and rads.
I would advice you to go ahead and have your holiday you will feel the benefit of it and come home feeling much more relaxed.
Hi ladies thank you all so much. Have just found this thread and am finding your comments helpful.I am so desparate for a holiday. Worked full time from Dx last Nov right through chemo, had A/L for WLE and ANC then off sick for re-excision end of June and rads. Unfortunately got infected cyst at same time as 2nd op and been on a-bs almost continuosly since June and dressings at surgery 3-5 times a week had excision of abscess 4 days after last rads so feeling cream crackered.Am under a lot of pressure to go back to work asap and take a holiday in the New Year.Feel I so need it NOW.Think vulnerability and some loss of confidence has made me this indecisive. Surely after a gruelling and relentless 11 months it is not unreasonable to have some convalescence.Have to let them know v.soon GP lovely but not a lot of help on this front doesn’t help as am told I’look well’.Will ponder on your words as you all seem to have benefited from a holiday or the thought of one to look forwards to. Love and hugs to you all. Jackie
jackie thats ridiculous that you are pressurised into going back to work after everything you have been through its a massive step going back after the changes emotionally and physically and you need a holiday to feel refreshed and mentally and physically able to work, you need to tell them that you will be more productive in the new year once this year is out of the way and you have had a holiday - that is what my boss has advised i do and i suppose i am v lucky as though i should be back in work they have said that its best for me to come back in the ny and get this year out of the way
Billia Thanks so much for your perspective on this.You put it so well.Just as I started posting back my BCN rang back to return my call ( their clinic had gone on until 6.30pm)Yep I now have 'permission’to go on holiday and yes I will feel more refreshed physically and emotionally to return to work.The only 2 other people in our organisation I know who had BC had a min of 14 months off so not feeling so bad now am at 4 1/2 months.Sorry how wishy washy am I? You have all been so helpful in letting me air this on this thread. Thanks for 'listening’now off to trawl the holiday sites. Thank you all ladies and wishing you well with where ever you are up to.Love Jackie
Jackie i squeezed in a holiday for a week between end of chemo and starting radiotherapy I also used factor 50 sunscreen and had no problems i also went swimming ( but it was before radiotherapy)so no skin reaction with chlorine.We managed to get insurance with insurepink £ 50 for me and my hubby and it included cover for the BC if i was ill due to treatment etc . It was best thing i did real pick me up xxx go for it girl xxJulie
P.S iam also not returning to work until after new year i feel we need to stop and take in all what we have been through with chemo surgery radiotherapy and appointments you are so busy and sometimes the enormity of it all doesn’t hit you until treatment is finished and you feel more vulnerable when you left to go-it-alone as it were. so have a few months convalescence and start fresh in 2011.xxx
Oh Julie thanks so much for your wise words.Will be checking out the finances and think about going back after Christmas.It really has helped knowing what you gals opinion is as we know in a way that others do not know how we/it feels. Love your pic on another thread I think you said this was after a LGFB session BTW I had chemo then surgery x2( with attendant abscess)the rads inc abscess.Phew. Still trawling the internet for a hols.So many thanks for posting it does help so much…Jackie xx
First of all I had about six months off work and that was just to do with Chemo. I had radiiotherapy in June this year and started herceptin and Tamoxifen. My husband took me on a cruise from Southampton for 14 nights and the nurses and doctors recommended it.
Radiotherapy didn’t make me tired although I am tired now and find it hard to get out of bed in the morning for work.
I used Factor 30 suncream, stayed out of the sun and didn’t burn. Moisturised each day with an aqueous cream and rested my lymphodema arm in the afternoon and at nighttime.
The insurance was got through Saga as I am 51 and was £169 for both me and my husband. It might have been cheaper if I had not been on Herceptin or rather still having treatment.
We have booked another cruise in June next year and I can’t wait.
My diagnosis was: DCIS and had modifed radical mastectomy in December last year with immediate reconstruction. 2 out of 21 lymph nodes being positive. ER and PR positive and HER2 positive with a grade 3 tumor.
Hi Berlinda, I have recently taken a 2 week med cruise which was 5 weeks after the end of my rads.
My insurance company covered me for everything except the bc and only cost about £60 for 1 years cover for my partner and myself.
I was rather tired at times and just took the opportunity to rest on the at sea days. I really enjoyed it even though I was rather unsure wether to go or not during rads. It was definatley something to look foreward to after treatment.
Go for it !
Libby did you know you can claim employment support allowance for when you go onto 1/2 pay aswell Its £ 65 for about 12 weeks then goes up to £ 95 even if you are working and have a job to go back to. It all helps with the fianances . good luck with the holiday hunting x Julie
PS yes it was after my Look good feel better session,and with my new wig ha ha
I returned from Sydney 2 weeks ago and just wanted to share my experience. It was a wonderful trip but wouldn’t recommend a long-haul flight after rads (we went 10 days after - wasn’t planned that way!). My boob was hurting during flights with the cabin pressure and prevented me from sleeping, which was exhausting, also had to apply creams during journey, which was difficult in public/confined space. Have been back 2 weeks and am absolutely exhausted, have worked through the rads and went back to work 4 days after return flight but feel I could sleep for a week. With the benefit of hindesight it was too soon.
Also, despite factor 50 and two tops, still got sunburnt on a short walk, so it is true that rads makes you sensitive to the sun and it wasn’t even that sunny, so take good care if you go off to the sun.