Rads have turned me into an emotional wreck :(

Hi All,

Can anyone help me sort myself out ??

I completed chemo in May & started Rads last week & am finding the whole Rads experience horrendous :frowning: I feel really silly as i know that compared to chemo its easier but i am finding the whole emotional side of things terrible.

Its the procedure at my hospital that i am finding difficult.

Am not sure how other hospitals work but my unit is not staffed by anyone other than the people giving the treatment so when you arrive you take a seat in the waiting room & are then called over a tannoy when its your turn. You then enter the room where the machine is & are met daily by 2 or 3 different faces which of course i understand will not be the same every day (which is fine) & this is where my problems start :frowning: I am requested to “strip from the waist up” whilst stood in middle of room with staff all present & then when i am stood half naked they do the whole can you confirm your name, address, Dob etc all the while i am stood with my arms covering my breasts & i feel so vulnerable & exposed with my clothes in a pile by my feet.

I am no prude (I have had 4 children) & i have showed my breasts to more people over the last 6 months than i can remember but everytime i have been given a gown or cape but now i feel so self concious & so very exposed & after treatment is completed i then have to go through the whole getting dressed thing, wrangling with bra to make bad boob fit in etc etc.

I have got to the stage now where i wake everyday feeling sick & shaky & dread going to something that i know should be so simple to complete & am in tears on the train there as well as on the way home & am not usually a tearful person.

I did express today my anxiety to the staff but i think they missed the point as they told me not to worry as by the end of treatment i would know them all & didnt want to talk more as knew i would cry.

Am i being too sensitive ? cyber hugs or a kick up the butt required, i would never not complete treatment but i am just hating the whole Rads experience.

Sarah.xxx

No, you’re not being oversensitive, you’re just being human and expecting to be treated with a bit of dignity.

I think your hospital needs a letter. It really is a bit much being asked all the various questions while half naked and surrounded by people, I think I’d feel the same!

Bloomin’ hope it’s not the same at the place I’m off to, start on 26th July and not looking forward to it (as if we look forward to any of this rubbish).

I cannot believe this. and I dont know how to tackle it. Especially as you have already mentioned it and been dismissed.

Would it work if next time you went, when they asked you to undress you just smiled sweetly and said–can we get the paperwork done before I do. You never know it might work.

Hi Sarah

I too started last week but my goodness its nowhere near the experience you describe, that truly sounds horrendous.

At my hospital you are called thru into a little changing room area with two doors so you go in one and lock it, they do the name address and date of birth thing then leave you to put a gown on and call back for you about 5 mins later and you go out the other door. Even on the table they are very sensitive and only expose what bit they have to leaving my other breast covered up.

I certainly dont think you are being over sensitive my goodness we still deserve some dignity!! If you are getting no joy from the staff maybe a strongly worded letter to PALS may help after all if you are like me i have to go 20 times, it is emotionally draining but also very tiring with the travelling without having to be made to feel as bad as you are.

Best Wishes

Sal x (one of the february chemo girls!!)

Hi Sarah

You are definitely not being sensitive, I think it is absolutely disgraceful that they are making you do this.

I do not start my Rads until 18/07 but saw what will happen at my measuring up session. We all sit in a separate area and our name is called out by the person we are going to see. I have been given a bag in advance for my stuff and you go into a cubical to change into the gown to cover your top half. When finished you go back and change in the cubical.

I agree with CM, as quick as you can, make it clear that your are not feeling treated with any dignity or respect, need somewhere private to change and have a gown to cover you whilst you are not being treated.

I am truly shocked by this, have a big cyber hug

DaisyGirl xx

Hi Sarah

I’m with the others on this. If you feel you can’t mention it to the staff in the department, would your BCN be able to help?

Might be an idea to take a look at your NHS trust’s website - their complaints procedure should be on it.

I certainly don’t think you should be treated with such disrespect.

Good luck - and a big hug.

Diane

They key words are “patient’s privacy and dignity” which are supposed to be monitored… you have every right to ask for dignity, it’s one of the NHS values… DO NOT BE AFRAID - what you’re going through must feel vulnerable and humiliating. Could you keep your bra on until they give you a gown?

Oh Sarah im so sorry to hear that your having a rough time & I think I would too, we are called through by one of the rad nurses & we go in a cubical to change into a gown with poppers on shoulders & down the front, then called into the room Yes they ask your DOB address as that is preceedure, but I can understand you feeling that way if your made to stand half naked. We also have nurses through the other side if you want to talk anytime. I do however get a bit anxious when laying there having treatment I can feel my heart speed up but thats just how my mind is I think its when the girls leave the room you know its just you & the zapping rays but ive found the staff so lovely & caring not one of them offish or grumpy always felt well looked after. I would do as GIJane has surgested & demand a gown.

Also your still gaining strength after chemo so you are going to feel more delicate … have you had your weekly check with the nurse & your Onc ? this is meant to happen once a week bring up how you feel your welfare should be their top priority.

sending you a hug
Mekala x

I agree with everyone else. What you’re being asked to do is undignifed and disrespectful and they must be told. On no account should you be asked to do this - it’s just too much and I don’t blame you one little bit for being upset.

At my hospital on my first visit I was given a short gown to keep until I’d finished rads. I had to remember to take it with me every day! These gowns look like a blouse and go over your head and have a front zip to half way down and velcro on the shoulders and sides so that they could just expose the area they were treating.

I always went to a main waiting area then was called through (by a nice smiling nurse) to get changed in a proper changing room. I then waited in a small area to be called into the treatment room, where they did the DOB check.

They were always very careful to only expose the bits of me that they needed to, even covering up my nuked boob to do the extra collarbone frying at the end of each treatment. I did see lots of different people over the four weeks but they were all very nice.

This was in a huge hospital (Addenbrooke’s) with six purpose built treatment rooms so lots of space but it doesn’t take much space or common sense to provide a changing cubicle, does it???!!!

Sending hugs to you and really hoping that you can find the strength to be bolshy and say “No, I’m doing it like THIS”.

Jane xxx

I am so sorry you have togo through this. I am at Leeds and it is so different, as Sal explained earlier on. I finished two weeks ago but you must say something for your own sanity. Lots of cyber hugs whizzing your way Alison xxx

Good point there Jane with having the cubicles & gowns the nurses even do all the poppers up for you then its out of the room into the cubicle giving them time to prepare for the next patient so all dignaty intact I can understand you feeling sick & dreading it I would too
Have you a partner or friend that goes with you prehaps a word to the team from them might help. I was wondering until something is sorted would you feel comfortable without your bra ? reason being its less fumbling around for you just a case of taking your top off AFTER the questions & you get to slip it back on sharpish after might help make you feel more in control until something is sorted, I go braless (but not alot to put in one) I just been waering little vest top & looser blouse or top over when the weather been cooler … just a thought

love & hugs
xxx

hi this is absolutely out of order,

If I were you I would take a cotton dressing gown with me, one you just wrap round and tie, I would find the nearest toilet and get changed into the dressing gown, (there must be one near to rads room), then when you are called through instead of stripping off stand there give them your details and then dis-robe,

I would do that for each session, if queried tell them how upset you feel with it all, it shouldnt be turned into such an ordeal,

then, when you have finished your treatment, write a letter of complaint, unless someone does something they wont change to way they do things will they?

In the meantime, its easy for me to say what I would or wouldnt do, I have just finished rads at QE totally different way of doing things there, but try not to be intimidated, very often what to us is common sense, to someone else, even though you would have thought they would know better,just dont realise how upsetting it all is,

all the very best to you and I hope you find inner strength to deal with all this on top of everything else,

Liz xxxx

Hi Sarah,

It is not you who needs sorting but the staff. They have absolutely no right treating people like that. Is there a changing room and are there gowns? Perhaps you should ask. Maybe they find it quicker doing it their way but that is against the rules of patient care. I think it may be up to you to make a stand even if you cry. I would not put up with it and I don’t see why anyone else should.

Please keep us up to date.

Will be thinking of you tomorrow,

E xxxx

Liz you beat me to it, that’s a brilliant idea.

e

hi sarah, i did post ealier but it hasnt shown, your experience procedure sounds like mine the staff were nice enough just the mechanical nature in which its done and as you say standing there exposed , sorry it has upset you so much , what hospital are you at ? xxx

Sarah, what you are describing is very unpleasant and you shouldn’t have to put up with it. I found it all bad enough and I had a changing cubicle and a short cape. I would suggest you insist on not taking anything off until you’ve answered the questions and they’re ready to start the rads.
Lilac x

Hi all,

Thank you so much for all your reply’s, am feeling so much better for writing it down on here & have now renewed energy to tackle it tomorrow.

I did ask about gowns but they said they didn’t have any & to be fair i should of thought about taking a dressing gown myself but had worked myself up into such a state & clear thinking disappeared :frowning:

My lovely sister has just rung me to say that she has been out today & bought me a boob tube like top that i can just roll down, seriously thought my boob tube days were over lol but a good idea as i can wear a cardigan or something over it & will now have to take nothing off for my treatment, will just roll down & roll up :wink:

Thank you once again & love to all.

Sarah.xxx

Hi Sarah,

So sorry you’re feeling like this, we ALL deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.
Please, please have a word with your BCN or PALS if you feel you can’t get the radiographer team to listen.

Be thinking of you,

lots of love
Helenxxx

In the place where I had radiotherapy (a hellish experience in itself no matter what the staff are like) I was given a cross-over gown to cover my top and was supposed to bring it in each day.

The sight of the thing freaked me out so I told the staff and each time I had to get changed they gave me a strip of wide paper towel roll to use instead (the stuff that they used to cover the area you lie in on the machine).

I was given a “breast gown” to wear, but was expected to change into it then sit in the waiting room with all the other patients and their accompanying friends or family members. To me this felt like sitting there with a sign over my head saying “I’m being treated for breast cancer”, so after 2 days I refused to wear it and stripped off in the treatment room instead. The staff grumbled a bit about it but I ignored that.

The point I’m trying to make is that we’re all different, have different feelings and respond VERY differently when we’re under stress - and I found rads very stressful emotionally, although in practical terms it was easy. I hated the feeling of being laid out like a slab of meat on a table while people pushed and pulled me around, whilst talking across me. The people who are treating us MUST be made to take account of our feelings and what WE want, not what they assume we might want or feel.

Sarah x