I used E45 cream for a few days before starting rads and throughout treatment, applying morning and night, and again through the day as required eg when it felt tight / dry. I also used 99.9% aloe Vera gel to sooth when it itched a bit (the top 'peak') can itch a bit as it is higher on your chest, where it has had more sun exposure apparently. (I also took a Piriton on a couple of days, as recommended by the hospital, and that was brilliant in getting rid if the itch completely.) The radio therapists said not to use aloe Vera alone as it is not moisturising, just soothing, and they couldn't specifically recommend it as not allowed to, but we discussed how it was good for burns, so with a 'sunburnt' boob, I got some! I had a slightly sore boob, and for just a few days a tiny split of the skin , but overall it was not as bad as I thought it would be.
i also found wearing a soft bra, much like a sports bra, helped, or going without. I was recommended to put a silk scarf or a well washed cotton item eg handkerchief, down my bra or vest top, and this helped hugely, as it stops any rubbing.
i didn't have a bolus (presume as I had WLE not a MX). I didn't have a mark on my back either, I asked if my back would be affected and they said no as they were going from the sides across the boob, not through me.
The radio therapists were very helpful in answering qus and monitored the skin, asked me how it was doing etc. I also had a weekly review which was further opportunity to ask about creams etc.
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it is a bit daunting, as its the "unknown" plus everyone gives you the worst case scenario which doesn't help. it seems to be true what everyone says about everyone reacting differently. I was prepared for the worst and was very very pleasantly surprised that chemo was nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be. I felt just a little under the weather at certain points in the cycle, so just learnt to take it easier those days. FEC was fine, just felt a little funny while taking the steroids and anti sickness, but still got on and looked after my 6 week old baby just fine. Taxotere followed, and I learnt with this that 1 week after treatment I felt a bit like I was getting a cold, and my mouth would be a bit sore, but nothing worse than having a few mouth ulcers at once, perfectly doable. I kept exercising for 2 out of the 3 week cycles, taking it easy for a week after each treatment, drinking lots of water and eating well, and giving by body a chance to flush out the toxins.
drinks lots of water always, particularly on treatment days, keep up the gentle exercise, and if you feel sick, demand different anti sickness drugs, as I got a new anti sickness drug added to the mix after my first FEC. The anti sickness drugs are brilliant, and work a treat! I am also a firm believer in a positive mental attitude. you are going to be one of the ones that sails through it. But if you do get any niggling side effects, there are things you can take to help. It's all treatable.... And think of the good that chemo is doing...
all the best. Xx
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sorry I am a bit late, but I am new to this forum thing! you will have made your decision by now of course... I was asked to take part in the Import High Trial too, and accepted. i then got randomly allocated the control treatment, so I still had the full 23 sessions, not the trials new 15 sessions. At the time I was disappointed not to have got the shorter treatment, but in the end, another 8 days was neither here nor there!
my oncologist said that the new regimes being tested were going to be the new way forward but to get them on the nhs they have to go through the trial process to prove categorically. She said I would not be disadvantaged whatever treatment I got randomly allocated in trial, it still kills the cancer cells remaining after surgery. I like being in the trial as you get followed up for a long time in the future, and also because the trial uses new more accurate targeting of radiotherapy rays. At least, that was my outtake!
hope you went for it!
ps didn't have much trouble with effects of rads, just a bit of a sore boob for a week or so, but it soon improved. I used E 45 cream twice a day and 99.9% aloe Vera when it got a bit itchy. A silk scarf or one of my husbands cotton hankies in my bra helped a lot at its peak. But really not much trouble at all I am pleased to say. 🙂
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i am booked on the Bristol forum too, and really looking forward to meeting others going through the same thing, as its not the same chatting to friends etc. i have just finished radiotherapy a couple of weeks ago, so enjoying my new found freedom now that chemo and radio are all done. Hurrah!
i am travelling by car from Cheltenham if anyone needs a lift. Look forward to meeting you all. X
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i have had 6 Herceptin so far and thought I had no side effects so far. I have it over 90mins too, so slower infusion.
I have numbness in my finger tips, more so on my infusion arm, but believe this is due to Taxotere (seems to have got worse since Tax finished in Nov).
Princess 2345 said it used to split the skin on her thumbs which was an 'aha' moment for me, as I had been wondering why I sometimes get splits on my fingertips, most recently on both thumbs, almost as if my skin is thinner so splits more easily when dry?
to be honest I don't know what is normal anymore, as have various niggles, and don't know what is specific to Herceptin (taking Tamoxifen, having hot flushes, feeling hormonal, craving sweet things - don't know if this is Tamoxifen or chemopause, mild lymphoedema from rad...the list goes on! )
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