Radiotherapy in France

Had mastectomy 23 Dec 08 and going to have radiotherapy also in France , will see oncologist 21st Jan 09. Lymph nodes (2) were both clear so ? where treatment will be aimed. Can understand how Peacock and others feel especially here in France.

hi Mustarm

Where will you be having your rads? I am having mine at Montauban, I’ve had a week and a half so far and the worst part of it is the freezing cold room , the position I have to have my arms in and the long journey, but at least I don’t have to drive, as I take one of the VSL ambulances and try to sleep during the journey.

I’m having 25 rads, which seemed a lot to me but when I asked why so many I was told it is protocol. I have 4 zaps in a square area around the “boob that was”.

They are very nice who do mine, I am wondering if I get to see the Dr though during treatment, it is difficult to find out all the answers with my “just get by French”. How good is your French?

Feel free to ask if you have anything you want to know and good luck

P xx

Hi Mustarm
I think Nantes is another one of the centres of Excellence? I go to Claudius Regaud which is also one of the best cancer hospitals in France.

Yes I do have tatoos, but only 2 - they are so tiny I have difficulty seeing them and they don’t hurt when they do them. On my first day for rads I was marked out with a black pen in a square area right around the breast that was! My skin isn’t feeling too bad so far, but its only my second week. For rads I have to travel for 1 hr 15 mins each way, and that is a real pain. Yes I have to go every weekday, but I get weekends off - I feel like celebrating tonight.

Yesterday I felt very down and tearful, I was wondering if that is a side effect of rads (or treatment in general) but today I feel much more in control and had a good sleep in the car on the way home.

I’m using almond oil on my skin, and also when it feels a bit tingly I use a cream called Biafine which is designed for burns.

I am also going to physio twice a week for massage for lymphatic drainage to my legs (side effect of the dreaded taxotere), and she’s also helping the pains in my arms and shoulders with massage. She thinks my scar is stuck to the muscle - I think we would call it scar adhesions - so she thinks I would benefit from specific massage to the scar and arm. You have to have a prescription for everything here don’t you, if you don’t want to pay privately.

I’m hoping to have recon and reduction to the other breast as soon as I can, I don’t like the way I look but you do get used to it.

Anyway, thats me done, good luck and have a great weekend

P x

Hello Peacock,
Hope you have enjoyed the weekend break and feel less tearful. I imagine the tiredness is hard to cope with after everything else we’ve been through.
Sorry to hear your leg is playing up, presume Taxotere is a hormone treatment?
Did you get a prescription for the almond oil and or Biafine, I am so worried about the poss of burns as my skin is so sensitive.
All the French say Catherine de Sienne at Nantes is very good so prob on same par as your hospital.
My post op wound and arm is better now and my foot better ( can now walk after op 3 months ago) so hope the radio is not
going to knock me back. I have a presciption for physio but can cope at present but maybe after the radio it may be different.
When do you think you will be able to have recon? They said after a year for me so will get the prosthesis sorted out soon after radio I think.
Good luck Monday

Hi M

Taxotere is the chemo I was on, if you read some of the threads on here you’ll see how agressive it is and after having 6 I was pretty banged up.

I didn’t get given a prescription for the almond oil, but Biafine you can get a prescription for. They too told me a year for recon, but I hope to be able to have it sooner.

I’ve got my prescription for my prostheses, TBH at the moment I think I might just stick out with the sponge thing. At the moment I’ve been told not to wear a bra as its rubbing around the area they are zapping.

Good luck for your appt on 21st.

P x

Hello Peacock
Just to let you know I will need 6 weeks of radio at Nantes followed by tablets for 5 years.
Like you amazed it is so many but the oncologist says it has to be. He says I will not burn but I am still worried and he will prescibe as and when.
I get to see him every week which is good, I go tomorrow for prep and next tues for the injections and start proper on Feb 2nd.
My other half is very ill with vertigo and sickness and a very painful knee so we are struggling a bit. Our poor dog is understanding though.
Did you have any physiotherapy at all? and when.
Hope all going OK

Hi Mustarm

I won’t complain again about 5 weeks of rads, you are having even more! I am starting to feel the burn and one of the rad dr’s has prescribed biafine as well as the almond oil and told me its normal (well we know it is from these forums don’t we), but its strange because its burning from inside rather than on the outside. I was also told that I wouldn’t have any SE! Its common practice in France I think to be very laid back about it all.

It’s good you will see your Onc every week. I haven’t had that here. Don’t worry about the prep its easy and nothing to be concerned about. Like with rads you just have to lie very still while they line it all up. What injections do you need next week?

I am having physio, for my shoulders which are both really painful and obviously one is worse because of the op. My scar is going to be massaged now too, in order to stop and free up any scar adhesions and to try and prevent poor movement in arm. They seem pretty good about follow up treatments so if you feel you need it, just ask. I’m also having lymphatic drainage for my legs, as they retained so much fluid during chemo. It’s getting better slowly.

Sorry to hear you are also coping with a poorly husband, my husband has been an absolute brick during all this and I couldn’t have coped without him. He had to take unpaid compassionate leave, so on the money front it has been hard. Take the dog for a walk when you feel ready!

Take care, hope it goes well for the prep

P xx

Hi Peacock,
Managing little walks with dog so feel better about that. Other half still sick. Will both go for physio!!
My first prep went OK, next week having a bone scan tues ( did you have one?) and another prep thurs same day as check up for foot.
Feeling weary already all the travelling and arranging and not started treatment yet. In 2 weeks have a body scan so I don’t think there can be much else left diagnosis wise.
I think you are right about the french don’t believe about side effects and they put up with more.

Enjoy the weekend.

Hello M

Sorry I’ve not come back sooner, I’m having a little prob working my way around the new forum.

Never mind, found you now.

How did your bone scan go? Yes, I did have one at the time of my dx as well as a liver scan and lung xray. Thankfully all were clear.

Good luck for tomorrow’s prep.

I’m having a heart scan today (because of Herceptin) and then my rads. Only 1 1/2 weeks to go now I will be so glad when its over.

Take care

P xx