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Radiotherapy and PANIC

46 REPLIES 46
Fightingit
Member

Re: Radiotherapy and PANIC

I'm now on treatment 19 of 25, and have got to say I feel so much better. I have been very lucky, in that living in France and in the Countryside I get a free taxi service which takes me to and from each day.  It makes such a difference not having to drive myself and I am sure it is a factor in the extreme tiredness that happens to people.  I was recommended to use a product which is called Evoskin it's made especially for radium and chemotherapy and it is fantastic.  It is available on the internet you have to sift through a load of stuff about sports shoes, but I recommend it.  I also use Aloe Vera and Ambre Solaire ater sun which also contains aloe vera.  I slap the Evoskin on when I get home, then that night Aloe Vera, following that with Ambre Solaire.  I have a shower immediately before I go to the hospital and it seems to have helped a lot with the burning.  I'm also having some radium therapy on a ganglion which is hanging about next to my Thyroid and that's shrinking as well.  Didn't know I had it and it isn't cancerous but the Oncy was worried it would keep growing and stop me breathing, or worse talkingCat LOL I finish treatment next Monday and can say after initially being a big girly wimp I've got used to it.  The Radiologists are lovely and funny, and look after me really well, and I'm monitored closely.  Think this technology is amazing and it is proved to work really well, so that's me.  If you're scared, there was nobody more than me.  But if I can do it anyone can - honest HeartCat Happy

Katykookabura
Member

Re: Radiotherapy and PANIC

Well done to you as well Andie!. Sounds like you have picked up all the tips from the other ladies on this site!. It is a relief getting it over with and not having to do that journey everyday through all the traffic. I got really tired towards the end and had until the last three treatments driven myself, but my hubby took time off to drive me as worried it was busy commuter traffic ( he has a great employer, totally supportive, we are very lucky).
The cabbage leaves made me giggle! . Best wishes to you all , keep going !. Katy.
Andie_L
Member

Re: Radiotherapy and PANIC

Hi all, I have just finished 4 weeks of rads - 20 treatments in all. It has been a long haul but managed to drive myself there and back every day (25 mins each way) and deal with finding new routes several times due to different lots of road closures for roadworks. How thoughtful of the council to do it then!!??
So, now my boob appears to be severly sunburnt, my nipple itches like mad and I am suffering with fatigue as I have done since about day 3.
I have been putting the aqueous cream on regularly and have been keeping it in the fridge which helps. I only heard about the aloe vera on my last day and I keep that in the fridge too.
I shall get some kmillosan - thanks for the tip! I was wondering about putting cabbage leaves in my bra as I did when breastfeeding......any ideas? However, I have started going bra-less so no way of securing the leaves without a bra!!
I have been told not to swim in either the sea or chlorinated water for at least 6 weeks after treatment, not to put suncream anywhere near the burn and to stay out of the sun.
Well done to all of you who have completed their treatments and good luck, chin up to those of you still going through it.
A xxx
Fightingit
Member

Re: Radiotherapy and PANIC

I should have had my first session today of 25, but unfortunately the machine had a technical problem so didn't make it. Start tomorrow. But I don't think you're a wimp at all, I too have been really feeling scared about the machine and being left with it. Until I thought, it's my best friend and it's going finish kicking cancer's arse for me. Once I started to feel like that, I can't wait to start. I've had chemo, an mastectomy (radical and non skin sparing) and if I can do those, I can get through this. It is only 12 minutes on the machine on my own. And I had to lie there for enearly 35 while they adjusted the machine and made their calculations. That's what I feel and I think you'll get through this too. so fhin up and Fight like a Girl xxx Pat
netball
Member

Re: Radiotherapy and PANIC

Twizzie3 I had really bad burning feeling after my first and every session. I also had what felt like pinball going on inside my breast which was not good. I was told by one person to put my cream in the fridge but she was quickly interupted by another saying never to do that. I just use it from the bathroom and never put it in the fridge. Thought I was doing well but this week my skin has broke down. Get my last one today so will see what they say. I was advised to keep my bra off and use a cotton hanky underneath by breast to keep any moisture from building up. I do have quite large breast which is one of the problems but you being a runner that might help save your skin. I haven't felt very tired with it but have been told that will happen afterwards.
Twizzle3
Member

Re: Radiotherapy and PANIC

Well, session one done and dusted and like others I came home and cried buckets. it didn't hurt whilst being done but during the evening I had very odd sensations in my breast which caused me to have a wobble. My onc told me to put my e45 cream in the fridge as it would be cold relief when I need it, sounds like a good tip! I'm a runner and hoping to continue as much as I can as its the one thing I feel in charge of!!
anybody else feel anything after first treatment like a burning ache???! Scared.com
Katykookabura
Member

Re: Radiotherapy and PANIC

Hi everyone just catching up with posts. My daughter ran in the race for life today in Gloucester.i found the whole thing very moving and ended up in tears!. Watching all those women and girls with their personal messages on their backs and running to raise money was some sight!.
Catzoo don't worry your reaction to your first treatment was the same as mine. Getting on that machine really reminds you that you have cancer. I had a panicky time and thought I would not be able to stay on the table but just closed my eyes and listened to the music I had tears rolling down my cheeks and I could not move. Not sure anyone noticed but once I got into my car I was in floods as I was when I got home!. Each stage seemed to effect me the same but as you say it gets easier as each treatment goes by.
Susanmary hope you are OK tomorrow. Just try and think positive as each stage of treatment is getting rid of those b----y cancer cells!. The radiographers are very helpful generally it seems from everyone's blogs.
I have mentioned before about just wearing a vest top as it is easy to slide down rather than stripping off in front of the radiographers. My treatment centre did not use gowns or modesty tops just covered me with paper once they had finished measuring me . They take a few minutes doing that and the leave you whilst the treatment is done but they are watching you from just outside. I used to slide my vest down just as I got to the table and it made me more comfortable about the whole thing. Take care will be thinking about you .Katy.
susanmary
Member

Re: Radiotherapy and PANIC

I am starting 5 weeks of radiotherapy tomorrow, and it was good to read your posts. I am feeling quite down and keep crying for no reason. Just want to run away and hide.
Have been applying aqueous cream as suggested by radiographer but thats all preparation I have done.
Hope I sleep tonight as I didn't last night. OH is cooking dinner as I really can't be bothered.
Perhaps I will feel better tomorrow??
catzooo
Member

Re: Radiotherapy and PANIC

Well done Walkabout on completing your Rads! Another stage over. Time for a few of weeks R+R.
I've done a week now. As the week went on it did get easier. Felt much more relaxed in there. And quicker as the radiologists can get me into position faster.
Hi ALi, there is no room on the table to turn onto my side before sitting up. But happily have felt ok the last couple of days.
walkabout
Member

Re: Radiotherapy and PANIC

Well Walkabout survived her rads - last one yesterday ! My skin has coped really well but I am feeling like I need some new batteries and I have felt a bit tearful the last week . As I said before it is possibly my body adjusting to the tamoxifen and three weeks of radiotherapy all in six weeks.
So now it is just carry on with the tamoxifen and try to move on. Oddly I talked to two women yesterday whilst we were all waiting for our treatment and both were on their second primary - one had been clear for 14 years and the other 15 years. Bit of a reality check for me. The radiographer did say with treatment plans improving all the time she thought that would become less common going forward.I think that is what I am going to focus on.
Catzooo - I did find I developed some strange anxieties during my treatment . I put it down to the intensity of having active treatment every day - it seemed to make me more obsessed by it all. I worried about moving during treatment and the beams not going to the right place. I even rang the liason radiographer one day because I realised I had forgotton to turn my phone off and was worried it might have effected the machine. So yes I became a bit barmy : ) !!!! I hope you continue to find it more bearable.
Ali_H
Member

Re: Radiotherapy and PANIC

Catzoo have you tried rolling onto your side and taking a couple of breaths before you try to get up off the table?
catzooo
Member

Re: Radiotherapy and PANIC

Thanks Jen. Lots of interesting reading there. Ta.
Felt better today having Rad4. More relaxed. Though they did strap me down taped my arms to the supports. Was quicker too.
chicita
Member

Re: Radiotherapy and PANIC

Jen - Thanks for the links. I was a bit undecided whether to have rads or not and reading that info has helped make my mind up to go ahead.
X Yvonne
jenanne
Member

Re: Radiotherapy and PANIC

Catzooo, I had m/x & chemotherapy and finished 15 rads in May. I felt quite down during rads, due to all the prior treatment having drained my energy already... also I think that emotions come out more at this stage of treatment. I now feel lots better and my chest is settling down. Take it easy and I hope you will feel OK too before very long.
After m/x, if you're high risk, then most definitely radiotherapy is recommended to destroy any cells that may still be at the m/x site. Info on this at http://www.breastcancer.org/treatment/radiation/when_appropriate
Also the links below are worth a look - I've been reading about the need for more funding for radiotherapy in the UK, and also about radiotherapy being used more, instead of surgery, in the future:
[color=#000000]http://www.royalmarsden.nhs.uk/news-events/news/pages/20110728.aspx
[color=#000000]http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/cancer-info/news/archive/cancernews/2011-10-20-Radiotherapy-after-su...
[color=#000000]http://www.christie.nhs.uk/about-the-christie/whos-who/our-chief-executive-officer/carolines-blog/an...
[color=#000000]http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/health/breast-cancer-welsh-non-surgery-treatment-4405930
[color=#000000]Jen.
catzooo
Member

Re: Radiotherapy and PANIC

I had my first Rads on Monday so today was no.3. I had a melt down after the first one. As I was getting up off the table I came over dizzy and headachey. Then burst into tears. The radiologists were lovely, let me take my time to get up and dressed then marched me off to the health centre where I was offered a course of counselling. I said no, still tearful, but did drink their coffee and biscuits. I really don't know why it affected me like that. I wasn't too worried before I went, I know everybody says it is so much easier than chemo. I had driven there myself but didn't feel up to driving 20 miles home so had to call mum in law to come rescue me. Then spent the rest of the day crying.
Still not sure why it has affected me like this. Maybe it was a panic attack? It is scary lying in that huge Star Trek like machine. I know I am worried about permanent damage / health issues at the end of all this. And is the radiotherapy really necessary? There are no noticeable benefits as there were with chemo (done before surgery and successfully shrunk the tumour from 8 cm to negligible fragments) then surgery (physically removing the disease).
I managed ok yesterday and today when my partner came along, well, still felt dizzy but didn't cry! But he is back to work tomorrow so I will be on my own. I do have patient transport arranged so don't have to drive!
This is not like me at all. I have been fine through chemo and surgery- just a day or so of worry before treatment then just got on with it.
Partner is doing his best to be supportive, he keeps asking if I am upset because it hurts. And I should be happy as getting to the end of treatment.
Oh well, off to slap on more cream...
Southcoastbeachgirl
Member

Re: Radiotherapy and PANIC

Hi everyone. Just finished a post about rads when my browser shut down and I lost the lot! So second time around.... I am two weeks post rads 15 plus 4 boosters to the tumour area. My skin has been pretty good overall - some itching and heat rash but found the Aloe Vera brilliant for that. Now have some peeling around the scar and a sore nipple but have been using Kamillosan for that and it has worked really well. I remembered I used it for sore nipples when I was breast feeding 25 years ago! It worked then and again in a very different scenario this time!! The worst thing has been the hardening within the breast where I had a haematoma. I am now left with a hard numb pebble shaped lump. Think that is because rads stops the healing process. Not sure if that will get better or will always be like that? Not seeing my onc for til the end of July so will have to wait and see.
Am also finding the unpredictability of the tiredness quite hard. Felt really well at the weekend but am now really tired and finding it hard to do much at all. I walk my two dogs each day for a little bit as I think some exercise and fresh air is helpful but feel a weariness throughout my whole body which is not great. Am hopeful that I am now in the worst bit and that it will ease over the coming weeks. Really ready to move forwards now and get back to feeling well. You are right Katy, we have to learn to pace ourselves and say no if necessary. Have found the Spoon Theory very helpful in explaining the tiredness to others. Google it. I read about it on another thread on here. As ever the best support comes from other fab women going through this...
Good luck to everyone doing rads at the moment. Nearly there
Katykookabura
Member

Re: Radiotherapy and PANIC

Sorry folks my post went on twice and I cant get rid of one! Katy.
Katykookabura
Member

Re: Radiotherapy and PANIC

Hi everyone, been reading all your posts and thought I would let you know I finished rad treatment 8 weeks ago and getting slowly back to normal whatever normal is these days? .
The tiredness thing takes over bit although that awful fatigue feeling some of you are currently experiencing only lasted a couple of weeks. The Oncology consultant said I would not feel myself for 4-6 weeks post treatment and she was right. It is about pacing yourself and saying NO to others. Trouble is with cancer most of us look OK and so that means others will treat you as being normal despite you feeling weary. Make sure you rest if you can and the walking bit does help but only short walks. Remember the rad treatment has killed off the cancer cells but it also kills all the other healthy cells and your body is repairing all this and your immune system is working overtime!. Another tip keep away from anyone who has any 'bugs' as last thing any of you wants is a cold etc.
I also had panicky moments when I first went for my rad treatment and cried buckets after first one. I think the realisation that I did have b----y cancer really hit me when I got on table for first tiime. However as others have said on this blog the staff were brilliant and did try to make you feel relaxed. They were all very professional and whilst I did feel I was on a production line at times as they were so busy it soon passes.
Hope those just about to start get on Ok. Regards, Katy.
paged
Member

Re: Radiotherapy and PANIC

Hello ladies,
I have been rading your posts with interest so thank you for sharing your experiences. I am due to begin three weeks radiotherapy shortly. Appointment with oncology next week. Part of me is looking forward to cracking on with this now LWE and SNL done. I am a bit anxious about the fatigue more than anything else as my children are 3 and 6yrs of age and I really don't want this to impact on them. Any tips for keeping your energy up or coping with the fatigue?? Thank you in advance.
Twizzle3
Member

Re: Radiotherapy and PANIC

I was offered a trial on Monday which would be one week of a higher dose! I couldn't do it so decided to stick with the original plan of 3 weeks. Talked through what to expect and now waiting again for app at oncology. That's all I seem to do is wait!! Grrrr
JCMalone
Member

Re: Radiotherapy and PANIC

Hi my Mum went through radiation on and off for 5 years and she suffered from claustrophobia, so she was very panicky about the process. You can ask for valium before the treatment which she did for the first few which calmed her down enough to get use to it. After that she just got use to lying there. The radiation sessions never hurt her, however as she was oldish, her bum use to get a bit cold from the table, but not enough to make her wriggle around. Your fears are so normal, even though there is nothing normal about receiving radiation. I use to tell my Mum, when your in there, just picture the radiation beams (which you cant see or feel) shrinking and killing the invader. She found that psychologically helpful. Good luck
walkabout
Member

Re: Radiotherapy and PANIC

Hi catzooo
My Oh is driving me as he wants to but so far I would have been ok to drive ( it is about 20 miles each way - but easy dual carriageway driving for most of it ). The pup is great thanks - she has quite a poodley face but springer colours and markings but with some poodle curls - a v cute mix - and a fun easy going personality .
ps my mum had a mx and anc in spetember last year and had 3 weeks of rads in November - she did not have any major issues with her skin/scars - she got a bit pink towards the end but no more so I hope you will be ok.
catzooo
Member

Re: Radiotherapy and PANIC

Great to hear you are coping ok with rads. And your skin too. Are you managing to drive there yourself every day?
How is the pup? Am trying to imagine a springerdoodle as I have 2 mini poodles. They are proper little lap dogs and have been constant companions through chemo and surgery.
Im still very worried about my MX scar and ANC area getting the rads. There is no flesh left there at all.
Hope you continue to get on with it ok.
walkabout
Member

Re: Radiotherapy and PANIC

Hi everyone - just thought I would update as now two thirds of the way through the rads journey . My skin so far is holding up really well . The main issue for me is a heavy weariness that has gradually got worse and which is leaving me feeling a bit dreary and down. I am making myself move - a longish ( 1 - 2 hours ) walk nearly every day - as I read somewhere that doing some exercise is good for rads tiredness. It does make me feel better for a while but the weariness creeps back ! I am 6 weeks into taking tamoxifen so I suppose it could be a bit of a combination ? On most days I am being treated before my official appointment time so in and out quickly. One of the machines broke this week so I was cancelled on Monday ( will now finish a day later ) and on Tuesday had to wait as they were still a machine down but to be honest I expected to have to sit around waiting a lot more than I have had to. I see the oncologist once a week just for a checkup - but as I am not really having any issues with the tratment - my two meetings have been very brief. And just to finish off - I have got over my anxiety - the first couple of sessions were the worst . Hope everyone else just starting is doing ok.x
chrissy16
Member

Re: Radiotherapy and PANIC

It's nearly 2 years since I had my radiotherapy but I can remember on one occasion I did have a sort of panic attack and wanted to jump off table chair thing I was lying on. Of course I didn't, I just counted the tiles on the ceiling and this got me through. You will be fine, as you say it is the tiredness that get to you, but just rest more if you can.

Twizzle3
Member

Re: Radiotherapy and PANIC

Thank you everyone, almost looking forward to my appointment today at 12.30 as I really want to get this bit over. They had told me 3weeks but who knows it may have changed since they told me in hospital. I will also have a 50 mile round trip for treatment which I think will end up being the tiring bit. Great idea to all support each other this month and thanks or aloa Vera tip xx
susanmary
Member

Re: Radiotherapy and PANIC

Hi,
I am due to have my planning session next week,the letter does not say what they will do but that it can take half a day. When they say have you got any questions, I can't think of any, but once I get home think of loads. I had a WLE and ANC on 9th May and worried the scars will be damaged by the rads. Also why do we have rads to the collar bone area, I know I will not think to ask next week. Gosh I am not looking forward to this next stage.
x
Cracker77
Member

Re: Radiotherapy and PANIC

Hello Walkabout, I was terrified of the idea of radiotherapy and having to keep still. I can honestly say that by the end missed going in for the treatments. it sounds silly now but it felt like something was being done to blast any remaining little wotsits out to infinity! I found that closing my eyes and counting fairly slowly, I rarely got above 15 before they had finished that blast and were back in to reposition. The most surreal experience was on Christmas Eve, my daughtre's 21st birthday, as they went out and the alarm went off, the Hallelulah Chorus started playing!! The radiographers were wearing reindeer antlers, it was truly weird and I will never forget that experience! The staff were totally amazing and there was a kind of camaraderie with the patients and what I called the "waiters" the family and friends who were there to give support. I drove myself most of the time as it wasn't too far and had a nice rest afterwards followed by a walk and generally took that time to really take care of myself. Hope it continues to go well for you.x
riverside
Member

Re: Radiotherapy and PANIC

Hi Catzoo and Twizzle . I am also just about to start radiotherapy .Planning sesion on 10th, same as you Twizzle [had my op on 23rd April] and then 25 sessions ,5days x 5weeks. Downside is I have an 80mile round trip each day so that adds up to a lot of miles. Do you know how many you are having Twizzle? Great idea Catzoo about keeping in touch June rad ladies so we can support each other through any problems. Is it too much to hope we don't have any?Good luck both of you.
Judith
riverside
Member

Re: Radiotherapy and PANIC

Hi Catzoo and Twizzle . I am also just about to start radiotherapy .Planning sesion on 10th, same as you Twizzle [had my op on 23rd April] and then 25 sessions ,5days x 5weeks. Downside is I have an 80mile round trip each day so that adds up to a lot of miles. Do you know how many you are having Twizzle? Great idea Catzoo about keeping in touch June rad ladies so we can support each other through any problems. Is it too much to hope we don't have any?Good luck both of you.
Judith
jenanne
Member

Re: Radiotherapy and PANIC

Catzooo, the rads treatment itself is nothing to worry about - just wearisome having to go back and fore to the hospital every day!
I finished 15 rads 2 weeks agoand like you had a m/x +ANC. The thing you may notice most is a hardening of the chest area again, due to the radiotherapy stopping the healing process temporarily. Also a worsening of any arm tightness due to ANC. My arm has been more tight around the elbow and inner forearm. Keep doing arm exercises, but gently. I have just made an appointment for a few weeks time to have my arm checked, and the BC nurse is sending me some specific exercise info. and manual massage techniques - to keep away any chance of lymphoedema.
Skin redness minimal - I used Xclair cream, which I asked for. You can get GP to prescribe it if hospital hasn't got any.
Jen.
catzooo
Member

Re: Radiotherapy and PANIC

Hi walkabout. I start radiotherapy on 17th. And I am worried too. No so much about the 15 sessions, am much more worried about the long term effects. They told me there was. 5% chance of permanent damage to lung or heart. Which seems pretty high odds to me.
I already had chemo, then radical not skin sparing MX and ANC. To me there doesn't seem much flesh left there to zap. So surely more risk of hitting bones or other bits.
Had my tattoos done last week. Going to turn them into paw prints when this is over. Been advised to go in wearing a big scarf to hang over chest and to whip it off when needed. Much prettier than their hospital gowns.
the planning scan was overy much quicker than I expected. And the rads will take just minutes. Take the time to plan a big holiday for when all of this is over.
maybe us June Rad ladies could keep in touch and support each other through this?
Twizzle3
Member

Re: Radiotherapy and PANIC

I'm also waiting to start radio and am feeling a bit wobbly now about it, although better now I've read the above. I've my first consultation in the 10/6 and then I'm hopeful it he planning will kick off as I just want to get it done and dusted. Feels worse just waiting as my op was on 30/4 and all healing well 🙂 need the next part of my journey to begin!!
walkabout
Member

Re: Radiotherapy and PANIC

Thought I would just update as much for the benefit of anybody else worrying about their radiotherapy sessions. I have now had 3 of my 15 sessions and survived ! 🙂 I did as expected feel very jittery on day one but the radiographers were very kind . We don't get any music or moving pictures so my coping strategy is eyes closed and counting backwards . If anyone else is worrying ( and from one who has and does still feel wobbly ) I can confirm
- it is completely painless
- the only time the machine really comes anywhere close is when they are getting you into position - and then it is close to your chest area
- day one is the longest but not that long ( and most of the time is when they are positioning you ). Days 2 and 3 were shorter and I have been told it will be shorter again next week.It is a bit weird being left alone topless in a lead lined room with a linac machine - but that is all it is - in my place the staff cannot hear you but they can see you and the signal if you need help is a wave .
- you are lying down so no matter how wobbly you feel you are not going anywhere !
- from what I have been told the anxiety is common and yes they do get people leaping off the table - so if anyone is feeling like it you are not alone. We all find different things difficult .
- i have used rescue remedy - no idea if it works - but i use it when flying ( I hate that too ! )
No redness or itching yet . I am feeling more weary than I usually do but seems a bit early for that to have kicked in so it could be unrelated.
Thank you to everyone who replied.
carrie35
Member

Re: Radiotherapy and PANIC

Oh and one more thing while on the subject use 100% aloe Vera gel throughout and you won't burn and its very soothing but must be 100% gel.

carrie35
Member

Re: Radiotherapy and PANIC

One other thing I didn't do the hospital gown thing I got undressed and left track suit top on and went in like that and took it off and also took warm top or small blanket in to cover me up cos got cold on the table. Saved hospital washing and felt more normal not bothering with a gown.

VAB
Member

Re: Radiotherapy and PANIC

Hi

Agree with everything everyone else has said. It's the fear of the unknown and believe me the unknown in this case is nothing to worry about. My clinic tends to always run late, but there is a nice coffee shop, TV, magazines and I take my own book. I have also met some lovely ladies while I have been attending (I only have 2 sessions left) and also had some lovely complementary treatments which are offered by Macmillan at my hospital.

The worst part of the treatment for me is as soon as the radiologists leave the room and I have to stay absolutely still I develop a terrible itch somewhere on my body!! Nose, ears, foot, legs....everyday a different one!!

Good luck, you will be just fine.
walkabout
Member

Re: Radiotherapy and PANIC

Maryland , Marygrace , Trisha51, Southcoastbeachgirl, Lola 65 and Carrie 55 - thank you all so much for your lovely,comforting , supportive and helpful replies. I will definately see if I can take my own music in as I think that might help. I could ask about taking a cocktail in too - that might help the fear ! - but think it might just have to be the visulisation for the cocktail.
Margrace what you said about the fact that the radiotherapy is delivered in the oncology department hit a chord with me. My Oh said I was subdued after my first visit there to see the oncologist ( even though the meeting had gone well ) . I think it just hits you in a way that visits to the breast clinic don't that you have cancer. I think as well for me it is the link to my brother - his cancer was in the brain so all his treatment was radiotherapy.
I am struck by the number of times I read a post here and a lady expresses exactly or very nearly an emotion or worry I have had.I wonder how many doctors look at this site ? It would give them such a wonderful insight into how people really feel and react and what worries them.
Trisha's mention of hospital gowns reminded me of my list of possible causes to take up from my experiences so far :
1. Stella mcCartney to design some hospital gowns for the NHS ? - they are still as dreadful and for some humiliating as they were on my first hospital visit 25 years ago.
2. To tackle the insurance companies and their attitude to a diagnosis of cancer .
Still it is not all bad - I had a lovely walk on dartmoor this afternoon with my OH and springerdoodle 7 month old puppy - and the sun shone.
Thanks again everyone - I will try very hard to think more positively - if not I will have to change my name on this site to THE Wuss !!
XX
carrie35
Member

Re: Radiotherapy and PANIC

Hi I asked the staff to dim the lights and play me music. Lovely relaxation time pretend your on a beach with a cocktail. Time flies by and your out of there!

Lola65
Member

Re: Radiotherapy and PANIC

Hi Walkabout,

I am still on chemo and haven't started rads yet, but have no fear of it at all because of my experience with my mum.

She was 84 years old, and following a mastectomy she had 15 sessions of rads and sailed through it all. No pain, no problems, no side effects. I drove her to each session, and when she was called in I got a cup of tea but she was always out and ready for home long before I had finished it. The worst part was the travelling to and from every day. That was tiring. That was 12 years ago.

Good luck! xxx
Southcoastbeachgirl
Member

Re: Radiotherapy and PANIC

Hi Walkabout, I was writing a post to you earlier when my IPad crashed and I lost it all! in the meantime, you have hard some great help from Mary Grace and Maryland. I am on session 13 tomorrow and agree with what has already been said. The whole thing lasts approx 10 mins including changing. There is as much time getting into position as there is on your own with the machines whirring. At all times the Radio-ettes are watching you so you are never really on your own. Years ago when it was more acceptable than now, I used to have the occasional sunbed before a holiday. My daughter now refers to these sessions as the Sci-Fi sunbeds, so I plug in my music and drift into another world while it's all going on, much as I did years ago when I was actually tanning rather than nuking the little b* ggers! my best tip is, if you are able at your hospital, to take your own music. It helps me feel more in control of the space and the whole procedure and every day I plan a different little soundtrack!
My skin is doing fine, slightly uncomfortable at the end of the day but nothing dreadful. I go bra less most of the time now as it is more cooling and comfortable. Also now I am halfway the tiredness is becoming more of an issue. By the end of last week, I did give in and creep under the duvet for a little nap, so be kind to yourself throughout and don't make any plans that you might not feel up to...
lots of hugs as you go through the next few weeks
x
Trisha_51
Member

Re: Radiotherapy and PANIC

Sorry, Walkabout, that should say not a wuss, blooming i-pad changing my words again!
Take care Pat.
Trisha_51
Member

Re: Radiotherapy and PANIC

hi Walkabout,
first of all you're not a was. We are all worried and concerned about new situations especially the ones we find ourselves in now. I don't know which hospital you'll be having your rads at but I can tell you what it was like for me at St James Leeds. The first time I went, after the planning session, I had to arrive half an hour before my appointment and was seen by one of the radiographers who explained what would happen, talked about skin care gave me a tube of aqueous creamand and a leaflet about skin care during radiotherapy. When I was called for treatment the radiographer took me into a changing room where I was asked to take off my top half and put on a very fetching hospital gown. She came back for me and took me to the enormous room with the linac machine. I was asked to lie on the bench and they positioned me/ lined me up using the tattoos done on the planning visit. It' s not at all uncomfortable and you don't feel anything during the treatment itself. Once they were happy that I was in the correct position they went out of the room and the machine moved to it's first position, made a slight whirring noise and a buzz - first zap over with! It was done in a couple of minutes and you don't feel a thing. The radiographer then came back in repositioned me slightly on the bench, moved the bench either up or down (can't remember which) went out of the room and the machine moved to it's second position, same noises, once again over in a couple of minutes - and that's it! You get off the bench, get changed and go home. They had the radio on and a few women on this site have said they made a list over the 15 sessions of the songs they had heard. Each time I went I was asked if I was okay, any skin changes etc. the last session I was given a leaflet on how to look after my skin post radiotherapy.
The staff were fantastic, really friendly,caring, helpful and very chatty throughout. They made me feel totally relaxed about the whole experience.
I finished my rads early April and had only mild pinkness and some itchiness for a few days after I finished, this was helped by keeping my aqueous cream in the fridge and slapping it on 4-5 times a day, going topless whenever possible and taking piriton tablets for 3days.
Hopefully this has helped to allay some of your fears, do let them know if anything is troubling you or if you have any skin changes, they will be able to help.
All the best for your rads, Pat
Mary_grace
Member

Re: Radiotherapy and PANIC

Sorry Walkabout, only just seen this.
I felt very panicky about radiotherapy. Not even sure what it was exactly that made me feel that way as - as you say - it doesn't hurt and I didn't feel a thing. I guess the contraindications didnt help me to view it positively (although I have had no adverse a effects from it at all) and the idea of killing cells on purpose feels wrong.

It is, though, a really valuable tool in our armoury. I was told by my onc that it is viewed by some as being a bit old fashioned but that it is one of, if to the most, powerful tool in our armoury. Normal cells can regenerate, cancer cells can't.


The actual process is over in seconds / Minutes. You go and lie down, they manoeuvre you into exactly the right place and then go out of the room. I does a set of laser lines across the ceiling - mine were red, and felt a bit like being n a Star Wars Movie. Then the staff leave the room for a couple of minutes while it does its stuff. It always seemed no time at all til they were back. The manoeuvring took longer than the treatment.


I cried buckets after the first one. No idea why, maybe just the stress of it all, but also my mum had bc so I think it brought it all home to me, more somehow that the surgery had. I have had other surgeries, I had never been in an oncology unit. I rang a few people who were ahead of me in treatment and they all said variations on the same thing.

Try to tune out and imagine yourself lying on a beach or somewhere else, or else alternatively, think of it as zapping the b*stard cancer cells, and they won't be able, to recover. So I lay there thinking "take that you little b*ggers" for 20 sessions and never felt bad about it at all other than that first time.

i became a little pink, as though I had sunburn by the end, but no real problems and it turned into a somewhat odd looking tanned square after a couple of weeks. The staff were also lovely and it became quite a routine. We would chat and continue conversations from one day to the next and looking back it flew past. It was exactly this point two years ago.

It is all horrible at the time, but I have been NED, no evidence of disease, for two years now and it does all seem like a surreal memory.


Hang on in, and if there is anything I can do to help just say


Sue (MG) x

Maryland
Member

Re: Radiotherapy and PANIC

Hi walkabout....you are not a wuss! As the radiographer says, if it's real for you then it matters! I had 23 rads sessions last July/ August and was very concerned about having to lie still for ages as I am a fidget! The whole process just takes a few minutes, the longest part is them measuring, shifting you about to get you in the right place for the treatment. Don't know if yours will have, but in my hospital they have pictures beamed onto the ceiling...althouh tbh looking at cherry blossom did get a tad tedious.....and they played some lovely albeit tinny music! They were only out of the room for a few minutes and by the time the machine has moved, whirred, clicked it seems really quick and they're back in again. Be reassured that they can see you at all times and can stop if they need to.
4 weeks from now it will all be over! Most importantly follow advice about moisurising, letting the air get to your skin etc.
You will be OK 🙂 x

walkabout
Member

Re: Radiotherapy and PANIC

Bump
walkabout
Member

Radiotherapy and PANIC

Hi. I thought I would come on her to look for some help. I was diagnosed in March and have had my surgery and started on the Tamoxifen two and a half weeks ago ( some SEs - but trying to persuade myself they are already lessening ) .I have until recently been quite calm about everything - not happy but dealing with it - . Sadly cancer is not new to me - I lost my brother to cancer 22 years ago ( when he was just 32 ) and my mum was diagnosed with bc 6 months before me. For some reason I have got myself really panicy about having the radiotherapy ( which I think is going to start on the 29th - 15 sessions ) . I am not worried it is going to hurt - it is just the panicy fear of being left alone and having to keep still . I was shaking and rapid breathing during the CT planning session. I did get through it - of course - but would prefer not to feel like that 15 times over ! I know it is in my head and wussy but as the lovely radiographer said to me - if it is real to me it matters. So did anyone else feel like this and if so are there any tips to help ? Also can someone tell me what actually happens and exactly ( ish ) how long they leave you alone for. Thanks for reading this and for any help you can give this wuss !