How on earth am I going to cope

Just about to start radiotherapy , terrified at the thought of this tattoo thing I have to have . 
I’ve got covid , full on ,given annti viral meds to try to help  and my husband is in hospital after a MS episode that has left him with no mobility down his whole right side . He also has a brain tumour which thank god isn’t an issue at this very minute . 

I just can’t see my way through all this , how are we going to cope when the effects of radiotherapy really hit me weeks later .

Im struggling to see past tomorrow even , please anyone who has positive stories to tell about the tattoo and treatment please please share them no matter how small they are xx


Dear Carnac,

So sorry to read your post, you have a lots going on at the moment, if possible trying taking one day at a time (easy for me to say).

Hopefully, your medication for covid will kick in you will start to get a bit better which in turn will make you stronger and able to cope is what is ahead of you.

As regards your Radiotherapy I was absolutely terrified at the thought of it, but I must say it wasn’t half as bad as I expected the tattoo I didn’t even realise been completed, no pain whatsoever I did have 15 rounds of radio,  I did feel a bit tired, however with a bit of running around  to the hospital every day can make you feel a bit tired.

Wishing you well going forward., please keep posting and let us know how you are doing 

biggest hugs Tili :rainbow: :rainbow:

Hi Catmac,

One day at a time.

You have a lot going on, focus on getting through one thing at a time.I had 5 rounds of radiotherapy and I was petrified at the thought of it. The tattoos were nothing really, I didn’t notice them being done and I haven’t really thought about them or noticed them since they were done. As for the radiotherapy, the first session was the longest as they have to map you out and line you up beforehand. The actual sessions were over in minutes, in fact I took longer getting on and off the bed than the treatment. As for fatigue, I’ve hardly had any. Everyone is different, when I read up on other people’s experiences I was worried that I would be the same, but tbh I haven’t experienced any of the symptoms I read about. My radiotherapy finished in Jan and I went back to work mid Feb and I’ve been ok. 
I know it’s hard to do but try to stay positive.

take care.

You’ve been a dealt a bloody awful hand @catmac  no wonder you’re in a difficult place emotionally.  I had Covid shortly before my treatment but luckily, despite testing positive for 10 days, it didn’t impact the timing of my rads.  It’s just more crap you don’t need to have to deal with but I hope you’ll be through it soon.

I can echo everyone’s reassurance that radiotherapy is nothing to be feared.  The three tattoos are tiny little black dots which aren’t painful.  In a way calling them tattoos is misleading as it is a just a teeny weeny staining of the skin.  I can’t even see two of mine.  With the actual sessions, they take around 10-15 minutes during which the radiotherapy is delivered for no more than a minute. You just have to lie there being manoeuvred into position by highly skilled and kind radiologists - each time I was told “we’re going to move you now, don’t try to help us” so you are passive which means you can’t do anything wrong.  You do have to stay still when they start the treatment so it is essential to get yourself into the most comfortable position possible when you have your planning session (the time you get your tats) as that is how you’ll be lined up for the treatment. 
As others have recommended, moisturising the skin immediately after sessions is recommended.  I use either Aveeno or E45 after a shower and before bed but if you have a favourite parabens-free cream, that will be fine.  I had no skin breakdown, just a slight tan and a dark coloured nipple (still do actually but have been told it will fade in time). I did have some fatigue afterwards and you just have to learn how to pace yourself IF it happens.  It passes.  

I’m guessing that you’re worried about how to be your husband’s carer when he gets out of hospital.  Please alert the hospital he’s in, your own MDT/BCN and social services about the situation as you cannot be expected to take on such an onerous response straight off the back of your treatment.  I cared for my partner who had MND and then my mother who lived with dementia so I understand the need to be the rock, the capable one, the one who puts others before themselves - it’s not going to be possible in the short term so take advantage of all the help you are offered.  The best way to get back to being an effective carer in the medium to long term is by looking after yourself in the short term.  Last but not least, come on here to vent if you need it, we’re all in it together.  Good luck. 

Hi catmac so sorry to hear that so much has gone wrong for you and all at once . You must be feeling overwhelmed and wondering when things are going to get better . 

The tattoo - it was 4 tiny dots just 4 tiny needle pricks I barely felt at all . Another lady who was a few weeks ahead of me recommended a 3 part NHS video on YouTube about which I found helpful to watch . If you type in Radiotherapy for Breast Cancer it should come up . Until I had seen it I didn’t even know about the tattoos .

 If you’re still scared or have any questions or worried about Radiotherapy after Covid maybe reach out if you can to the unit that are going to do the Radiotherapy as they are very knowledgeable . The Radiotherapy team that I had were absolutely lovely so very kind , efficient and professional . My friend who had Radiotherapy in a different hospital said the same about her team . The treatment itself was not unpleasant or difficult and the treatments were only a few minutes each . Aside from some itching/ redness/ a bit of dryness around the nipple I had no skin problems though I did moisturise twice a day at least . My friend was given Aveeno on prescription just for this but that was something particular to her treatment centre. Incidentally having breast cancer entitles you to free prescriptions for 5 years irrespective of age or income in case you didn’t know .

Some debilitating fatigue and a bit of nausea arrived 3 days post treatment but I could still look after myself and take short walks / do a bit of light housework and it slowly improved after 1 week . I did end up acting as a part time carer for my elderly Dad who became unwell around the same time and I believe this delayed my recovery from rads so I would suggest that if your hubby is needing some care that you may need to ask for some help during / after rads until you feel recovered. The helpline here or MacMillan may be able to advise you but speak to the Hospital or your Surgery also.

Even with the delay I was back to normal activity after 6 weeks and feeling fully recovered after about 8 weeks. 

I hope your anti- Virals kick in and that both of you feel better soon . X

Hi Catmac,

forgot to mention that do moisturise your breast area after radiotherapy. I have been doing x 2 daily since surgery and have continued with it after radiotherapy. I didn’t get any redness or blistering and the skin has remained a nice healthy colour. I wish you all the best.

take carex

Dear Catmac

I am thinking of you. 


radiotherapy for me at the moment isn’t too bad 8 out of 15 done. Not all hospitals tatoo I have not had them but my Mom did and she always hated them so understand how you feel but they are really very small and nobody really notices them these days

We finally got hubby home for palliative care , he sadly passed away 6 weeks ago.
I am beyond devasted .
11 weeks we worked hard to make him as comfortable as possible and have sort resemblance of a life .
Carers 4 times a day , putting in ramps etc and even a ceiling hoist .
He was ‘with us ‘ in mind most of the time and we did manage to get some ‘good’ if that what you can call it , says .
Then right on cue just as the doctors said , he deteriorated , Thankfully he then went to the local hospice ( thankfully he probably didn’t notice he was no longer home )
3 nights later , he passed away .

I forgot my login hence the change of name from Catmac to catnip

Hi Catnip / Catmac

I was thinking about you and wondering how you were . Thank you for coming back and letting us know what happened - and I’m so sorry . It sounds as though his last weeks were made as good and as comfortable as they could be under the circumstances.

There isn’t anything I can say that isn’t going to sound trite right now . I’m just going to send you a hug .

Joanne xx

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Hi Catnap/ Catnip, I am so sorry, there are no words to help you. Just sending lots of hugs. Take care and God bless. Thinking of you.

I’m so sorry @catnip, what a terrible, terrible time for you. My sincere condolences.

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