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Radiotherapy Feb 2020

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Re: Radiotherapy Feb 2020

Hi Sandpiper

 

Thanks for the info. I got emotional during my planning/tattoo appointment so I think I will be the same as you and have to sit down and get myself together after my appointments too.

 

How are you doing now your treatment has finished? X 

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Re: Radiotherapy Feb 2020

Hi Chelle,

I am already retired so haven't had the problem of needing to return to work. However the treatment effects of rads don't finish when your number of sessions are completed. They continue to show for some weeks even longer. Problems like fatigue and soreness can increase in the following two weeks after treatment ends then slowly improve over the next couple. That's the theory anyhow. There are often emotional side effects after active treatment finishes too. You'll also have a rads review towards the end of your sessions. Don't be rushed back to work - you won't know how fit you are going to be until after treatment. Everyone is different and some people are able to work throughout rads. Also it depends on what type of work you were doing. 

As you have had cancer you will be covered by the Disability Discrimination Act (think it's called that) as regards to employment issues and rights. Will be worth you looking this up/or talking to Macmillan/Breast Cancer Care Now Team and checking thread about work/travel on the Recovering from Treatment forum section.

Hope this helps.

Sandpiper

x

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Re: Radiotherapy Feb 2020

Hi Sandpiper

Thank you so much for all the information you are giving us it is very helpful 😀

Can I ask are you back at work now and if so how long after your rads did you return? Also how you found it? I am curious because once mine finish I will have to have a meeting with my manager and HR to discuss getting me back to work. (I have my rads planning session on Friday) x

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Re: Radiotherapy Feb 2020

Hi Shablah,

I read this too - but I wasn't advised to lie down topless. Ladies with larger boobs are more likely to have skin soreness underneath the breasts so letting the air circulate could help. I was okay, I didn't do that and my skin was fine with just a mild reaction. You'll have planning and review sessions to check how you are getting on,

I did tend to sit down in the Cancer Centre and have a drink and recover emotionally after sessions, though, rather than rush off home. I found it all quite strange, surreal and sometimes a quite lonely experience. I generally did rest a lot more and needed to pace myself during the treatments and for the weeks after the sessions ended as I would suddenly feel very tired.

Sandpiper

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Re: Radiotherapy Feb 2020

Hi Tookie, good that the ball is rolling for you, last one for me tomorrow 😍 

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Re: Radiotherapy Feb 2020

Thank you Sandpiper.

 

I've read through all the opinions. I'm amazed at how many of the ladies drove themselves long distances to and from the hospital! Well done them 👍

 

Can I ask a question. I've read a couple of the other threads on rads too and more that one lady said she was told to go straight home and lie down with no top on for at least 30 minutes. This apparentky would help with recovery and fatigue. Did you do this, if so did it help? If not have you heard anything about this? 

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Re: Radiotherapy Feb 2020

 Good luck to all of you that have just started or will start rads in February. You will be fine - it's a very strange and intensive experience, but staff are really good and supportive. I finished mine in October 19 and am still in one piece! I was on the October 19 rads thread - if anyone feels like scrolling through to see how we fared and what helped or didn't. I asked for advice from earlier threads before I started and got some very helpful replies.

Take care of yourselves, just don't overdo things, don't wait until you become exhausted before you rest, drink lots (of water), get the creams in ready - I used Aveeno and skin remained good.

Sandpiper

x

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Re: Radiotherapy Feb 2020

Had first session today. All went well. Was in and out in half hour, which included going through side effects, getting put in right position, couple of x-rays and treatment.  The actual treatment was only a couple of minutes. Mine is right breast so no holding breath. Radiographer advised to start moisturising straight away and making sure I stay hydrated. She said any side effects would probably take a week. Even got back in time for my body conditioning exercise class!

One down, 14 to go.

 

Good luck to all starting treatment soon xx

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Re: Radiotherapy Feb 2020

Hi Chelle56 

 

I'm starting on the 10th. I been practicing the breathing. I feel like I'm not very good at it. Sending you a hug for Friday. Let us know how it goes x 

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Re: Radiotherapy Feb 2020

Hi Shablah

I should be given a start date for my rads when I have my marking up appointment on Friday. Do you know when yours start yet?

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Re: Radiotherapy Feb 2020

Hi Tookie

Hope everything goes well with your Rads today, let us know how you get on.

Sending hugs x

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Re: Radiotherapy Feb 2020

Hi Mel734 and Chelle56 

 

I second Chelle's comment and thank you for posting here and letting us know how things are going for you. It really helps, so thank you. X

 

When do you start your rads Chelle56 do you have a start date yet? X

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Re: Radiotherapy Feb 2020

Thank you Mel734, it was kind of you to share your experience and give us more tips on things to help whilst going through rads 😀

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Re: Radiotherapy Feb 2020

Hi, I have two days remaining (13 done) of radiotherapy on my right breast so can't help with the breathing but I wanted to add that I have been using high strength aloe vera gel (Holland and Barrett) after each session (as well as moisturising morning and night with whatever Body shop body butter, yoghurt etc is at hand). I have very slight reddening and my nipple is tender but that's it.

I have been really tired but I started the treatment just after coming back from America and then caught a bad cold so didn't have the best start. I'm not good at resting but I have been forcing myself to do it for the past couple of weeks and it really helps.

The main annoying symptom has been that my breast has been extremely tender all over, I haven't been able to bear a crop top for a week, now just wearing vests under my tops. I'm perimenopausal so not sure if that has been a factor too but my 'good' side is completely normal. I'm also a bit tight across my chest wall muscle but that was the case after my lumpectomy in October so I'm just trying to keep mobile with very light exercise and housework.

Hydration is definitely key I think, drink plenty as I have been very thirsty a lot of the time but I'm very bad at that normally.

Good luck, as has been said, the radiotherapists and support staff are very kind and supportive.

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Re: Radiotherapy Feb 2020

Hi RoseRed 

 

Thanks for the reply. Funny you mention your immune system because I already have Graves Disease ( a thyroid related immune system problem) when I asked my onocologist about it she said radiotheraphy wouldn't cause any problems to my immune system. I'm hoping it won't start even more health problems for me. It's all so worrying as it is. Anyway thanks for letting us know how you got on. You did really well going back to work so soon, take it easy and look after yourself xx

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Re: Radiotherapy Feb 2020

Hi Shablah,

I had a lumpectomy at the end of September.

The three weeks of radiotherapy went well. I got rather tired and this continued after the treatment had finished. I'm now back at work. I'm a teacher. In all I had seven weeks off for the radiotherapy treatment and to get over it.

My skin started to break down after the first week. It was very red, hot and peeled under my breast and on my nipple. It was sore, but manageable. The skin on my left breast is a slightly different colour to my right one, but I think that this will fade with time.

I believe that the radiotherapy affected my immune system, as I caught a nasty bug afterwards. Don't rush back to work too early.

I think the biggest part of all of the treatment was the affect that it had on my mental health. I can still get quite tearful.

Time is a good healer. 

The nurses , radiographers and Drs who provided my treatment were all lovely. You'll be in good hands.

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Re: Radiotherapy Feb 2020

Hi RoseRed

 

Thanks for posting. Can I ask you what other side effects you had other than burnt skin, if you did have any? If you wouldn't mind sharing for those of us about to start. Did you find drinking lots of water helped? How are you feeling now you have finished treatment? 

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Re: Radiotherapy Feb 2020

Hi,

I completed my radiotherapy in December. 

I had to breath hold, as my left side was being treated. The radiologists talk you through the breath holding technique and tell you if you need to take in or let out air from your lungs. They speak to you through an intercom system. They count so you know when to hold your breath. If you begin to breathe during the treatment, the machine cuts out. You get better at it as the treatment progresses. 

You'll probably find underwired bras uncomfortable. My skin was burnt and I didn't wear anything except a vest. In fact today I've worn an underwired bra for the first time!

I moisturized twice to three times a day and I think that this helped.

All the best for your treatment you guys. Xxx 

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Re: Radiotherapy Feb 2020

Hi Tookie

I have not been for my tatooing etc yet, but at my meeting with the oncologist was told I would be given cream by the radiologists to use ( my radiology is to be at Clatterbridge). I was also given a handout to read that says its important to keep your skin well moisturised and to only use ones recommended by your radiographer / nurse / doctor. Maybe contact your bcn / oncologist and discuss with them.

It also advises to wear loose fitting clothing and either a bra or crop top / camisole that wont rub.

Also todrink lots of water whilst going through the treatment.

Hope your sessions go well x

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Re: Radiotherapy Feb 2020

Hi Tookie

 

My oncologist and radiographer both recommended using moisturiser. I bought Aveeno they recommend using it in the morning and evening. Also they both said to me no wires in bras. They both recommended going without a bra and wearing "loose" tops. They said if you really feel you can't do without a bra wear soft crop top types. I have tried lots of different ones and the best ones I've found for me were from Amazon, very cheap too. Two for £10. I ended up buying a lot off of there and sent loads back, also I tried M&S, lots of other high street brands and sent them all back because they wasn't very comfortable. Good luck for Wednesday xx 

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Re: Radiotherapy Feb 2020

I'm starting my first radiotherapy session on Wednesday.  Had my planning and tattoos two weeks ago.  Not looking forward to the drive to hospital as its nearly one hour each way and my appointments are 9 am.

 

I've read about using Aveeno cream but would like to know when you start using it - straight away as a precaution or only if you have skin problems.  When I asked the radiographer about moisturizing he said I would probably not need to use anything, but after reading other posts I do not believe that!  Also all my bras are wired.  Should I go and buy a non-wired bra?  

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Re: Radiotherapy Feb 2020

Thanks Shablah 😀 that's reassuring to hear. 

Let's hope our treatment goes well and we don't get too many side effects x

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Re: Radiotherapy Feb 2020

Hi Chelle

 

I'm also starting rads in a couple of weeks. I had my planning apointment on Friday. I was measured up and tattooed. I got a bit emotional, not sure why because I'd had a long talk with an oncologist and another talk with a radiographer who went through everything with me in minute detail.

 

I'm also a lefty and have to hold my breath. The onco talked me through the technique, gave me a leaflet and told me to practice. I then apparently "over practiced" by holding "too much breath" but I got it right in the end with the help of the radiologists who measured me up on Friday. They give you a test run on the machine with the breath holding. It isn't as bad or difficult as you think it is, at least it isn't as bad as I thought it was going to be.

 

Let us know how you get on at your planning appointment xx

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Re: Radiotherapy Feb 2020

Thanks Jaybro, that's good to hear 😀 x

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Re: Radiotherapy Feb 2020

Hi Chelle

 

If it helps, I had left breast radiotherapy and no one ever mentioned the need to hold my breath. I’m claustrophobic and I have to say I found radiotherapy a doddle once I’d massaged my scar to stretch enough. You just lie back, assume the position (honestly, my hi-tech team used a wooden ruler!!) and it takes maybe two minutes (I had it from 3 angles). Same thing every day. It’s the “every day” that is the wearing thing! Best of luck x

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Re: Radiotherapy Feb 2020

Chelle,I get claustrophobic and hate feeling trapped but the rads machines do not make you feel enclosed at all .after the first few seasons which take a bit longer while they try to get you lined up exactly, the time on the machine is probably about 5 minutes.It is a bit weird being left in the room while the technicians watch from outside but they can talk to you and you to them and they check you are ok .I didn't do the breath holding but I know they will help you with the technique and that if you breathe the machine just stops so you don't have to worry about it zapping the wrong place x 

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Re: Radiotherapy Feb 2020

Chelle, always speak to your teams about anything and use the ask the nurse facility on here ❤️ There are tips and tricks that everyone has on these threads and what works for one might not for another ❤️ Ask your teams about which creams to get and they do review your skin during rads. You’ll need to air skin and keep slapping cream on for about 6 weeks after and keep drinking the water ❤️ See if you can have a look at machine they are going to do rads on and if possible, it helped me to see the machine prior to the actual day and as I said, I saw it as another extra doctor who was going to help me ❤️ I hope this helps ❤️ 💕💕shi xx

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Re: Radiotherapy Feb 2020

Thanks for all the advice Shi, I'll do as you suggest 😀. Will be going for the tatoo markings in the next 10 days.

I hope you are recovering well. Will keep you posted x

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Re: Radiotherapy Feb 2020

Chelle 👭 please use the ask the nurse facility and the someone like me option and please do speak to your bc nurse. I think it’s if you’ve had bc in your left breast you have to hold your breath while rads are given. Have you had your tattoos yet that they use to line you up? It is just 3 little dots one in the middle of your chest and one on each side. It’s really ok on the machine, they look more scared than they are, I nick named mine bap zapper or something like that and saw it as something that was going to zap anything that might have survived the chemo so was happy to trot in there 😁 wear a seamless vest or soft t-shirt, no bras, get as much air to skin as possible and after your rads slap on your cream and carry one in handbag and slap it on, how many are you due to have? They will put you on the bed (felt a bit like a Sunbed to me) then they raise your legs onto a block and get your arms over your head and rest them on the slings, main thing is to relax, they can line you up against the green beams easier, then the machine I had just came down over me not right close and then did it’s turns over me while it zapped away was over really quick, it won’t make you claustrophobic, promise. Pace yourself, drink lots of water during rads it helped me with fatigue and also rest when your body tells you to, lot of us oct17 chemo lot had naps on rads 😘let us know how you get on ❤️💕💕shi xx

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Radiotherapy Feb 2020

Hi

I'm due to start radiotherapy in a couple of weeks and have been told they use the techique wereby you have to hold your breath. Can anyone please advise how difficult this is / how big a breath do you have to hold. Been practising and, don't know whether it's psychological as I am chlostrophobic, but I want to breathe normally as soon as I start holding my breath 😂😂