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Re: Done

Hi Cathy,

Many thanks for your very kind comments. I have been discussing the possibility of counselling with friends and family recently and after reading your post I am definitely going to see my GP and ask him to refer me to see someone so I can get my thoughts in order.
I am sorry to hear about the loss of your mother and I hope that your son is OK now and I hope that you are OK too - what a lot you have had to deal with.

All the best and thanks again. xxx

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Hi Sophiet

You have really been through some horrendous events. Your dad dying so soon after your diagnosis and then having to undergo a mastectomy and you are so young. No wonder you feel overwhelmed with it all, Normally,you would have had time to grieve properly for you Dad but with having to have surgery you had no time to do this properly. You must also be in shock about having cancer and a mastectomy. That is such a big thing for anyone to go through, let alone someone of 30. And then you carried on as normal through it all, keeping up with work. You will be emotionally and physically exhausted and if you were my daughter, I would strongly advise you to have a good break from work and rest. You may also be depressed - do you have trouble with your sleeping and eating - if so you should see your GP. I went through a similar thing to you. My 2 year old was right in the middle of having treatment for cancer when my mother died suddenly. I remember going through the funeral etc in a daze and then carrying on with my son's treatment. I even started a full time nursing course 6 months later thinking how well I was coping. The next year I had a huge breakdown and had to have months off work to recover. I wish that I had taken things easy at the time, but I was determined to be tough- no way do I struggle on now - I take time off whenever I need it, especially through my treatment. Look after yourself.

Good luck

Cathy

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Re: Done

Hello all! This is my 1st post. I am 31, I was dx in Jan 08 (aged 30), my Dad died 2 weeks later. 2 days after my Dad's funeral I had a radical mastectomy. I have had 4 EC, 4 TAX and have only 4 more RADS to go. Everyone tells me how brave and special I am and how well I have coped. I have had hardly any time off work, recently it has all got really stressful for me and I feel as though I am teetering on the edge before properly losing the plot! Has anyone else felt like this? And if so have you got any advice for me? I thought it might just be a temporary feeling but it just won't go away. Thanks to anyone for any advice x PS I have a loving partner, family and friends but I feel as though none of them understand me as they haven't dealt with what I have had to - does that sound selfish?

Re: Done

bumping this up for Anna
G

Re: Done

Bumping this up for Emily Jane

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Re: Done

Aww sorry to hear that are going red and getting sore Zoe .I thought I was getting away with just red until week 6 and that's when my skin started to break down - luckily it was only a little bit and it healed quite quickly.

I can understand the habit thing with the lifting - I am very right-handed and my tumor was in the right breast, trying to remember to use my left arm to carry stuff is a work in progress, it just feels so weird!

Might be worth asking your BCN or even the GP to refer you for some physio. I had a touch of frozen shoulder a few years back and it's no joke ..... of course I went the whole hog and combined it with tennis elblow and a wonky neck. I had acupuncture for it and it was brilliant - couldn't do that now cos it was my bad arm so no needles allowed.

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Thanks crispy, really useful advise. To be honest I already have chronic frozen shoulder on that side......your centre sounds wonderful, the nurses and staff where I had treatment were wonderful witht he actual treatment, but even though I've asked and gently re-asked form time to time, I never had any physio advise or help with financial advise. I've just done it all on my own.
We have plenty of lifting aids at work, its more bad habit that I do things with my shoulders/arms. Been at it 30 years!

9 days since last rads, skin just starting to get red, breast tissue just starting to feel sore inside. Thought I had got away with it...
Love to all, Zoe x

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Had a physio give a class to all of us having radiotherapy to the breast from wle through to mastectomy and total axillary clearance. Advice given to all.

Advice re using affected arm was not to stop using it but to remember that the muscles we couldn't see were being fried during rads as well and therefore weakened. The aim of being careful with activitites with the affected arm was to avoid overtiring the weakened muscles as weakened muscles were more prone to damage leading to scar tissue leading to restricted movement and frozen shoulder. Makes sense i think.

Anyway as each person is different she didn't give hard and fast rules but suggested we "risk assess" everything we did so starting with how does my shoulder feel today? Am i putting more strain than necessary by stretching/ using an extended arm? could i do this a different way and how long am i going to do this activity for?. One of the examples she used was lifting the food mixer from the top shelf of a cupboard (so could someone else doit? could i get nearer so i don't have to stretch and put less strain on my shoulder? could i Leave the food mixer on the wrk surface?) Certainly after her talk i looked at things like using my affected arm to pull down the car boot (i was using my good arm to hold bags etc) carrying things close to my chest, and using my good arm to pull open the stiff fire door at work rather than the bad one.

I'm now 3 weeks post rads and doing a lot more (some painting and decorating in short bursts with rests which my shoulder wouldn't let me do 3 weeks ago). Have several friends who've had rads in the past with residual restricted shoulder movement and don't intend to let that happen if I can help it so I'm taking all the advice possible. My centre does have a passionate proactive superintendent physio who is fixing the cording left from surgery good and proper so i'm a little biased.

Knowles i don't know whether you work in an organisation that has a manual handling advisor (we have to go on a course just to lift a ream of paper!!) but it may be worth talking to them or asking your BCN if there is a physio you can talk to.

Crispy

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Re: Done

I only had some nodes removed and they keep telling me about not lifting anything heavy with that arm ... I tend to try to use my good arm but there are occassions when I need to use both, but I do put the emphasis on my good arm.

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Nobody has told me not to lift with my surgery side. Is it only if you have had lots of lymph glands out or a total mastectomy? I'm back at work lifting old ladies around. Try to use 'good' arm but its difficult not to use both sometimes...
I still have my favourite hippy cheesecloth dress - old, old.........

Re: Done

Hi all

Zoe I guess we finished the same day last Thursday. May 29th , one of those dates forever etched on the memory .

I guess we'll be stocking up on kaftans or if I get any bigger - single sheets ! I should be losing a few pounds though as I'm doing 2 race for lifes in June, one with friends and one with my daughter. I'm actually dreading the next round of check ups , feeling very fragile and fearful at the moment but that could be the Tamoxifen
I suppose.
Really hate the way I can be so up one day and very down the next , think I need to stay away from some of the more emotional threads on this website.

Cally x

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Re: Done

a leaflet - the list is so long I will need a bloody poster!

Just got to remember to be careful of paper cuts cos that can lead to infection lol

Nice one about the swimming - I'm sort of working up to going back to swimming but our local pool is not the nicest and I can't afford to join the private gym with the nice pool.

Have agreed to do a 10k walk in Sept so am going to start walking in the evenings to get fit.

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Well done Knowles. Agree entirely you are perfectly entitled to shout Yippee. After all you can get away with most things if you use the treatment as an excuse!

So lilacbushes are we going to write a leaflet on what to carry in the handbag that we can NOT carry with our bad arm???

Actually I've just been given permission by the physio to start to use weights to increase the strength in my damaged shoulder (now before anyone gets excited the recommended weight is 1kg which rules out any handbag I know!!). Also have now been advised to swim but not backstroke or butterfly (good job 'cos I'm useless at butterfly). Cause for celebration!!

So goodnight folks I'm off to do the new exercises (don't we lead exciting lives??) before I fall asleep.
Crispy

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Well done on getting to the end of rads Knowles.... I think we are entitled to shout whatever we want regardless of our age! When I finished mine I went back to the main reception area, found my driver and said 'right - run before the buggers decide to do summit else to me' ... now this man was well into his 60s and was to be fair quite a bit overweight - run was not a concept for him lol.

Cally - what about a (don't know the name of them) long sleeved loose cover-up top thing for over your swim suit - the woman in the Next advert who comes out of the sea and gets twirled about by her boyfriend is shown with a white one ... used to get them in cheese-cloth (now that shows my age!) I got a couple in Primark for a couple of quid last year when I was going to Spain.

Good point about the insect bites - so that's scarves, suncream, antiseptic wipes in case we get a cut or graze, plasters, insect repellant, hat, gloves, kitchen sink ... all in a bag that we must remember NOT to carry with our bad arm.... this after treatment has finished game is getting to be very hard work.

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Can I join the general celebration of finishing rads? Last one was on Thursday, actually shouted Yippeeee as I walked out (I'm far too old to do such a thing!).
Been rubbing aloe vera 99.9% gel on from the start and have had absolutely no skin reaction at all. Its really cool and sinks right in, it has also made my surgery scar fade a lot more.
NOT looking forward to the first mammogram 😞 somebody said it was called the pitta bread maker?

Love and congratulations to the rest of you, Zoe

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Hi All

Have been talking to the radiographers again today (returned to see the physio). Once the skin reaction has gone down you can use good sun protection and may not have to cover it all but I find that I can feel the power of the sun through the open car window so I'm staying covered for a while.

Cally how about a tee shirt over swim costume like we are advised to do with the children (better than a victorian costume).

Lilacblushes was also advised not to get insect bites on the affected arm and to use insect repellent. It feels as bad as going out in Malaysia. Just have to think twice before stepping out in the sun. Now have a mary poppins size handbag which contains scarf and small tube of suncream in case I get caught in the sun. its amazing how we adapt isn't it?

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My son went away for about 10 days when I was half way through week 4 of 6 weeks rads - when he came back he was astonished at how red I had gotten in the time he was away. I can't actually say on here what his exact words were but they were very expressive.

I knew we had to cover up for a while but didn't know what the time scale was ... handy now I know it's for a year. I recall someone saying the 'bad' arm too cos of the risk of lymphodemia if that gets sunburned.... honestly the things we have to protect our bad arms from, might have been easier if they just chopped the bloody thing off lol.

Hope all who've recently finished rads are recovering well and those still getting rads are coping ok.

Onwards and upwards as they say .

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HI Crispy , have a buff (it may not go too well with a swimming costume 🙂 ) Think I'll have to get a victorian swimming cossie this year !
Cally.

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Hi Cally

yes i have . My Bcn explained that the area has had the equivalent of a lifetimes sun in a few weeks. Have you had rads to your neck. If so i can recommend getting a buff I can put it over my neck and it droops down to a crew neck tee shirt. it can also be pulled up over your head if you've only got baby hair left.Turtle neck cotton tops are good as well

Can't remember if its earlier on this thread or on the one about what to do with your neck in the sun but have now got some broad scarves to wrap round my neck when i go out. Very fashionable and raise envious comments from my teenage friends.

take care in the sun

Crispy

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Hi all
my skin is doing ok actually although I have been told it can get worse before it gets better. I have had a few comments from friends that I've caught the sun ....not half ! I'm doing the race for life on June 22nd so will see what I can cope with but I think it'll be good to get out there and try and shift some weight . School run stars again tomorrow and for once am actually looking forward to it. My OH has been great but my daughter is looking forward to it.
I was told by the radiographers that I should cover up for a year before exposing it to the sun ! I was amazed , have you been told the same ?
Cally x

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Re: Done

Hi Cally

Well done on getting to the end of your rads. How's the skin coped? Keep up with the skin care and be gentle with yourself over the next couple of weeks ... it really does take a bit of time to get over it and the tiredness can still grab hold of you.

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Hi Cally

Funny i was just thinking befroe i logged on that you should have had your last Rads yesterday .Well done for getting there. Do be gentle on yourself for the next few days and keep up the skin care and exercises. This is the time when you want the extra attention and support, don't be afraid to ask for it. there is a link on another thread about finishing treatment . If I can find It later I'll post it on this thread.

Love Crispy

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Hi everyone
, lost this thread for a while .... well tomorrow its all over. I've been chopped, poisoned and fried . I cant believe I've been doing this for 6 weeks , neither can my OH and the end of 9 mths of treatment. I cant see the back of it qickly enough. I've been feeling ok recently but I think the wobbles come when i get any aches and pains and they send me into a downer - all the 'what ifs' come back. I do think and really hope that the more time I put between me and these last mont.hs the better I will feel . Well got my contact numbers and next consultant appointment so at least I have that and dont feel like I'm in the lurch.

Cally

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Hi Cally

Like Lilacblushes said you're not the only one having a little wobble coming to the end of treatment. I've had this week off work but will find the rhythm of work a help to get back to normal.
Your toddler may drag you back to a routine quickly (does the little one attend nursery or toddler group).
It may be a little difficult at first but there's always the helpline a bit like the prem team when your little one was first discharged.

Crispy

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Re: Done

Cally - glad to hear that you are on the final countdown, once you get to the end you will be delighted not to hvae to go in everyday.... but I know what you mean about the idea of being left in limbo. I sort of had a wobble when I was reaching the end of my rads ... I sort of felt that whilst I was 'in treatment' the fight against cancer was being fought, and I felt safe.... a bit like your support network of nurses in the special care unit, it's scary when it's not there but you soon get used to being on your own.

I 'got back to normal' very quickly - I was back at work and leaving early for rads anyways but the day after my rads finished I was back full-time.

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Hi all to those who have finished and congrats to you lilacbushes. I finish May 29th , 8 to go and counting.

I'm a bit scared about being left in limbo , talk about being institutionalised. My now 2.5 yr old daughter was in special care for 6 weeks when she as born as she was prem and when the doctors said you can take her home tomorow I was a bit overwhelmed and cried. I was told to take a day extra to think about it. Sounds strange doesnt it but I was in such a routine and felt safe being with the nurses I had to readjust. I'm desperate to get back to normal though .

Cally x

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Crispy - my Mam suffers from very dry skin on her shins and was told this was a hormone thing (as in she is post menopause) and was prescribed a cream from the GP ... pharmacist told her she could be exact same product cheaper and under a different name ... it's called Aveeno or Aveena. She swears by it. They also do a hand cream, not sure about a face cream. She got it in Boots or Llyods chemists.

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Thanks Lilac bushes

Hadn't realised that tamoxifen could contribute to dryness as well as chemo. Face is Ok but I've been religiously using serum, eye cream, and moisturiser since I started chemo (the variety ranges from their expert range(very cheap) to No7 depending on who's buying and what's on offer). It's the legs that are my problem and flaking in sympathy with my treated area.

Crispy

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I kept up a fairly standard routine of work, hospital, home duties (reduced cos I was tired and the ironing is not essential) whilst having rads. I am lucky with my employers cos I just take time off if I need to and they don't expect me to make up the hours nor do they reduce my pay.

On the subject of skin - my face is usually a bit on the dry side but during rads (and continuing) I am sure it is flaking at a rate of knots faster than the land speed record.... I move and bits fall off! Tried using the aqueous cream on it but it just felt too heavy so I went to Boots tonight and asked for advice... didn't fancy paying a fortune for some elebaorate face cream/lotion and find it was no better - they sold me a 100g tube of Doublebase Gel for just over a fiver... but said I could get it (or something else) on prescription from the GP, on the basis that the tamoxifen is probably contributing to the dryness.

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Hi All

question to those of you who finished before me? did you feel you lost your rhythm of life during rads?

I had got a rhythm around work and chemo but just felt it went to pot during rads because i had to increase the numbers of days working to get my hours in whilst doing rads. Maybe it was the dire warnings about being careful about shoulder damage from the physios but I'm struggling fitting in the arm exercises 3-4 times a day but know that if i drop them down the shoulder really aches and its harder the next day. Probably not helped by the fact that I have extra physio for chording which reared its ugly head again during rads.

On the bright side I've been told to lay off some of the chording physio while my skin is sore ("we'll start working hard on that in June!!!!" promises my physio.Yikes).

Has anyone else had the rest of their body flaking in sympathy with the treated area. It may be that I've just not taken as much care of the rest of my skin as I did during chemo.

Anyway sorry for the moan. am just about to pack a bag and drive gently to the Lakes for a long weekend. Will probably do nothing more than sleep and admire the views from the bedroom but its a wonderful change of scenery. The weather sounds as if it going to be better than for Kayty.

Crispy

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Well done to all you lovely ladies completing their rads. There is light at the end of the tunnell!

Allison . . .what a wonderful day for you. Good luck with all your wedding plans.

My last rads was a booster on 9th May. Have struggled with my skin and got an infection in it but it's on the mend now, after a horrendous weekend!!

To all the ladies still having rads.....hang on in there.
XX

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Allison - you had such a memorable last day of rads then.... that is so nice.

Crispy - shame your neighbour doesn't fancy Grangemouth ... not quite the same as Isla or Mull I have to agree.

Kay - awww bless you, I hear it's quite common to have a little cry when you reach the end of your treatment. I didn't - but then again I never cried at any point between dx and now (everyone thinks I'm weird but that's jsut me)

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lilacblushes Had a little cry when it was all over relief of it I think!!!! Staff were really nice and sorted my transport out straight away (don't know why I did that)

crispy I have seen the forecast but not to worry the change of scenery will be lovely!!

Take Care
Kay x

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Kayty

Have you just gone straight to Somerset? Mind the thunderstorms

Lilac bushes the neighbour will only come if you live on isla,iona,mull or jura (sorry I did ask when i delivered a bunch of flowers to say thank you). On a more serious note the fan is a good idea. Skin did look better and it was very soothing.

Crispy

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Hi All

Just had to add to this as you are all so positive its brill. I finished my Rads on May 1st 2007 at the Beatson on Glasgow, when i walked out the door i looked at my partner and couldnt stop smiling,was like a damn cheshire cat haha, i felt the luckiest person alive. When we were walking to the car my partner asked me to marry him and i nearly dropped there and then... woohoo i thought what a fantastic day. Now i am getting married in 6 weeks on saturday and i cant wait.
Good Luck to everyone hope you all keep well.
Allison xx

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Kayty - glad to hear that you have completed the last rads session ... did u run out of the door at the end or were you more dignified than that?

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Hi girls

Balloons Champagne!! I am expecting the lot!!! ha ha

But really going to Somerset for a few days break just gonna chill and drink red wine!!

Take Care all of you ! and you do get there un the end

Kay x

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Re: Done

Crispy - I've got a spare room and I'm sure your neighbour would love to a wee holiday in Scotland, and she could do my ironing whilst she's here. I like the idea of the fan - just make sure the net curtains don't get wafted up whilst you are sitting in front of it.

Kayty - Good luck with your last rads session .... have u got a celebration planned?

Debs - good luck with your lot - how long have u got to go?

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Hi Lilac

Well done so glad you have finished, hope I will be saying the same thing in a few months time.

Best of luck with everything

Debs x

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Hi

Nice neighbour has just been over to lend me a fan. Now where Am I going to sit??

Polite suggestions only thanks

Crispy

Re: Done

Hi All
In response to your question Lilac bushes :-well and truly cooked. Varying skins colours and peeling but am keeping up the skin care and arm exercises. BCN suggested sitting exposed in front of a fan for an hour twice a day (Good job i have net curtains!!)would help with the irritation as the area is expected to get worse (what fun!!)

Am taking it easy.Have worked through chemo and rads but came to a grinding halt on Monday so am off sick for a week. Lovely lady in HR was most sympathetic when I phoned up.

Sorry but I don't think that my neighbour picks up ironing from as far away as Scotland. She has been super (not obtrusive but offers of lifts back from chemo and once a week to rads). She says she enjoys the chance to look through magazines she wouldn't normally read whilst I have my treatment.

Kayty hope the day goes well. Maybe there will be a band for you!!

Crispy

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Re: Done

Hi all

I can't believe it last RAD tomorrow!!

No more 5 hour days in cars and ambulances whoopee

Looking a bit cooked but hey not to worry

Best wishes to all
Kay x

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Re: Done

Whey hey - Crispy is cooked. How's the skin? Just remember to keep up with the skin care.

My skin is sort of mottled now ... some parts are still a very dark red, other bits have flaked and there is a lighter shade of skin there ... and part of it's turned that sort of manky grey and cracked effect that sometimes happens with sunburn... it looks decidedly dirty!

Glad you had a friend to take you for tea and cakes.... that's so nice, but hell the nice lady who did the ironing gets my vote for woman of the hour... send her here please.

Just take it easy for a while (says she who went back to work full time the day after she finished rads!!) and remember that your body still needs some recovery time.

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Hi Everyone

Well there wasn't a band for me either just a good friend who took me for tea and cakes, lots of advice for the treatment radiographers and BCN and the sun continued to shine.Today was probably easier as I wasn't working.

Kind neighbour realised that the curtains weren't drawn at 1100 (I had afternoon appts) and when she realised that I was feeling rough asked what she could do to help. She has just returned whole pile of ironing. wow!!

Am looking forward to being off the roller coaster of regular journeys and being able to sort out the miriad of little things that haven't been done (particularly pottering in the garden in the evenings when it is in shade)

To all of you still going through rads, good luck , hang on in there and thanks for the support.

Crispy

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Evening all

Anne know what you mean about no time to relax.

Lilac bushes rads has not been a walk in the park (didn't seem enough hours in the day as I kept working to fit in travelling, arm exercises and extra physio to deal with the nerve pain) Would certainly discuss the nerve pain with the BCN (mines been really helpful). Skin variable shades of lobster pink and definitely flaky. There are areas on my neck and axilla that look as if they are threatening to break down. Abandoned the bra and crop tops some time ago and am becoming expert at working out which are the softest tops.

However the nerve pain is now under control,i managed to get back onto the fells last weekend (first time for 6 months) and a friend has offered to drive me through for the last booster on Tuesday so life is improving.

Hope everyone feels better soon

Crispy

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Well done anne - you've finished too!

The rads itself was a breeze but my skin has been broken for a week now. The bit under the boob is the hardest to cope with. Have not been in a bra for days and it's not pretty. (H cup) Hopefully it will start to heal quickley now.

To anyone else completing their rads.....well done.

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Andrea - no I'm not signing off - I still come on here most days. You will just have to put up with me for a bit longer.

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Hi

Congratulations to all those finishing rads. I finished yesterday after 30 sessions. Not really sure how I feel - will defo be pleased not to do the commute - know what you mean - knowing every pot hole and bloody traffic lights. It will be good to have some time to myself - by the time I did school drop off - rads and back it was time to pick little one up from pre-school - so none of the jobs that I would usually do got done and more importantly no time to relax!!!

Skin definetly sore - especially to collar bone area and scars - will have to see - was told it will be at its worst in one week.

Please takce care,love

Anne x

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Whey hey for you rarebird. Am delighted that you have completed your rads. Hope the skin behaves itself. Mine is at the flaking stage - worse around the scar area which I suppose it to be expected cos that was damaged already and then they gave that area 4 additional super blasts.

It's great not to have to travel to the hospital every day. I'm free until early June when I get my check-up with the rads unit ... that is unless the onc dept get in touch wanting me in.

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That's me done too! Zapped beyond belief!!! I don't think it has sunk in yet but I'm sure it will when I don't have to make my accross city trip every day to the hospital. Just the small problem of the sore skin to sort out but I feel optimistic about that. Hopefully this beast will never show it's ugly face again.!! For the time being I'm a free woman . . .YAY!!!

Well done to anyone else who has finished and to all the girls still undergoing rads. . . . .hang on in there, it will all be over before you know it.