Radiotherapy side effects

Radiotherapy side effects

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370 posts since

18 Nov 2019

I am just about to complete 15 sessions of radiotherapy to my chest wall for breast cancer. My skin has become sore like sunburn the last couple of days. I have been moisturising and was told it may continue for a while. Any one else experienced this? I’m very happy that my treatment will soon be over. I am on Anastrazole – hormone suppressant for 5 years. Trying to come to terms with the fear of the cancer returning and looking for the positives.

Silver 

1 posts since

7 Jun 2020

Hi, I finished my radiotherapy on 31st March and approximately 7-10 days later my skin was really sore as you said like sunburn, I had flamigel prescribed which helped a little but my skin blistered and broke into sores , the radiation nurse had give me some special pink dressings that were really good , it took about 3/4 weeks to clear up and is still tender now , I’m on Tamoxifen for 5 years and like you worry about the future. All the best with your treatment x

133 posts since

3 Jan 2020

Hello Silver,

i have often thought about you! So glad you are nearly through what has been a long haul of treatment. You have done so well  

My skin became reddened but didn’t worsen after the treatment stopped although I was told it would get a bit worse before it improved. I always used  lots of Nivea (the thick cream in the dark blue tub) and I found it to be very soothing. I also think doing the exercises they suggest helps too. 

I don’t know why but the ‘worries’ about a recurrence have been much more prevalent since my treatment stopped. It’s hard to understand why this happened but it has. Worse at night (like right now!) less during the daytime. Perhaps this covid situation  is also a bit of a downer as it’s harder to visit beauty spots etc. Life has lost a lot of its spontaneity. 

Are you still planning to get a dog?? Funnily enough we weren’t planning to get one at all but we are looking at puppies now!! I am excited at the prospect. We love walking. It will be a new adventure. 

I DO hope you will find any skin issues heal up well and gradually you get back your strength and vigour. It’s so good that you are on the upward trajectory at last. 

I think this site is helpful. We can all vent when  we feel like it and hear how others manage stuff. 

I am not sure if this sounds barmy or not (?!) but I try to visualise a healthy body at least once a day.  I think about being ‘cancer free’ and seeing my body as 100% fit and healthy. (Big imagination needed regarding the fit bit!!!) I think it helps me anyway. 

I also speak my fears to a close friend at times.  That helps because she hears me without decrying what I am saying. I don’t just want someone  to say ‘of course it won’t come back’. That’s dismissive. I want someone to help me through my fears. Not just be dismissed. 

 

Go well. I send you warmest wishes. 

Kebbs x 

370 posts since

18 Nov 2019

Hi Kebbs,

 i know what you mean, when I said to a friend about the fear of a recurrence she said – ‘Oh you always look at half empty instead of half full’ and actually has no idea of the treatment that you go through to get to this stage. Im actually not a drepressive person and think I have coped as well as I can without getting too depressed! The thought of going through any of the treatment again is terrifying. But I suppose it is fresh in my mind and I’m hoping that will fade a bit in time.

I have a Bishphosphanate infusion in July to protect my bones from the Anastrazole tablet I am on once a day.

Did you have any follow up scans after your treatment or just consultations with the Doctors?

Skin is sore and itchy but I have been using E45 and Aloe Vera Gel kept in the fridge. Nurse suggested I take a Piriton as well. My very last one today at 11.25am and will be very happy when I walk out of the hospital…

As to a dog, prices to buy have rocketed since Covid, breeders taking advantage. Im finding it very difficult, I think the Rescue Centres will be inundated once people are back to work and school and they realise  the tie of a dog, so we are probably going down that route. The main concern with Pedigree dogs is the Health Issues, you can spend a lot of time and money at the Vets. The Kennel Club and Champdogs are good websites to look. Beware of free ad sites. You wont have time to think about the Big C with a puppy around. what better therapy!

Thank you for replying, as you say always good to have a rant!

Silver

370 posts since

18 Nov 2019

Hi there,

I am having chest wall treatment and my last one is today, hurrah!

My skin is sore in the last few days, the Nurse gave my some spot cream and suggested taking a Piriton so I take one a night. Also she suggested keeping cream in the fridge, the cold does seem to help. i have E45 and Aloe Vera Gel too. I hope it clears up soon, I was told too that it gets worse before getting better. As too the fear of recurrence, Im hoping that fades a bit in time, I suppose keeping busy is the best thing, but not so easy in this Lockdown. 

Wishing you all the best,

Silver

133 posts since

3 Jan 2020

Hello Silver,

Yippee! !! Your last treatment today!! It’s a good feeling  I remember it well  

Yes I did have a bone scan after my treatment ended which showed I have osteoporosis. So I had an infusion of zoledronic acid just before the lockdown. It’s supposed to strengthen your bones and give some protection (about 33%) against bone cancer. I also take a msssive dose of calcium and Vit D daily. Sometimes I feel as if I am falling to bits!! Never been ill prior to this onslaught although I know I can’t complain. So many people get it much worse and go through so much more. 

I am also not a person prone to low mood but cancer has (at times) brought me low. It IS mainly centred on fear of a recurrence but also I guess about my bones and how that also threatens my life. Most people of my age (68) who fall and break their hip are dead within 18 months??!! Not a stat that I bargained for actually  Anyway it is what it is. I can only try and stay active and follow medical advice. 

Yes the dog situation is exactly as you say. Eye watering prices for most puppies. Also some unscrupulous so called ‘breeders’ who clearly are not interested in their puppies welfare. A minefield actually. We are treading carefully and hoping we can see one we want that’s not a ridiculous price. Covid is most definitely a part of what’s happening and you are right about the puppies/dogs that will be abandoned come the normal world.

Please let me know how you get on with your hormonal tablets. I have been prescribed Femara (Letrozole) for 5 years.  I have a natural aversion to such meds I think. I take one every other day?! Not sure why but I guess I am fearful of the excruciating side affects (painful joints, sweating and low mood?!) So I am hedging my bets.  I want a quality life as well as a long one! Anyway this is the best I can do.  Only started taking them 10 days ago too. Not quite sure why I am SO hesitant but I just am  Taking them for 5 years feels unlikely to me. No side affects yet but it is early days! 

So stay safe and well. It will be great that you are no longer travelling to that hospital!! 

Keep in touch

Kebbs x 

 

 

 

 

 

133 posts since

3 Jan 2020

Forgot to say Silver! Friends who come out with “you always look on the negative side” need a dose of reality!! I wouldn’t wish this on anyone of course. But no one knows what this is like until the C word is there for you. 

People mean well I think with all these think  ‘positive’ statements but it’s a different world when you are in a cancer diagnosis and treatment. That’s why this site is good in my view. 

Anyway wishing you health and strength to face this tough call!! You are most certainly getting there!!! X x 

370 posts since

18 Nov 2019

Thank you, that’s it, last one done! Hurrah!

Silver 

370 posts since

18 Nov 2019

Hi,

I had a bone scan halfway through my chemo. Nothing negative, but I am on 2 Adcel Calcium tablets every day. I have also been booked in for a Bisphosphonates infusion in July, as Anastrazole can weaken bones. I havent found any side effects with Anastrazole, a bit of restless legs but nothing too bad.  I, too am 67 and have had zero health problems up to the cancer diagnosis, so it was a bit shock. But here I am, still on the planet!

My chest is sore today, I keep applying the special cream the nurses gave me which helps.

I find the masectomy hard to deal with. The scar looks ugly at the moment as it is raised and red from the Radiotherapy, not a pretty sight. Always having to worry about wearing a bra with the prothesis. I havent been fitted with a proper prothesis yet, but I will have an appointment soon. I have to buy a swimsuit with a prothesis too. Its a huge shock to lose a breast. and I feel disfiguired. in July I will speak to my surgeon about reconstruction, but it is a major long operation and at my age may just learn to live with it.

My hair is half an inch all over now, definitely growing but I didnt realise how long it takes, half and inch a month. But actually I find it quite liberating and I feel confident going out now with very short hair, less like a cancer patient.

Im going to take it easy for a couple of weeks and then be on a mission for a puppy. My niece has found a Border Terrier from the Kennel club and picked her up yesterday at 8 weeks. Really sweet, shes called her Peggy after my mum.

Big relief today, no hospital appointments for a while, so shall keep myself busy around the house.

Best wishes,

Stay in Touch,

Silver

 

133 posts since

3 Jan 2020

Hello Silver,

yes, I can imagine how devastating it must be to lose a breast. It’s a big part of a woman’s identity. Better that though than losing life itself. So easy to say of course. I think I would have reconstruction although as you say its another big operation. However, you ARE only 67!! That’s not old (I tell myself regularly. I am 68 this month!) I think I would go for it. See how you feel anyway.

One thing I have learnt along the way is that people say the most aggravating things!! I have a mate who lives and breathes doctors and hospitals and has never had anything seriously wrong with her. I used to be able to humour her but not now. I believe our friendship is hanging on a thread!! I just can’t tolerate wimps!

Truly though not saying cancer is the only serious issue because I have another friend who is awaiting a kidney transplant and time is running out. She is a superstar and never complains. I have met the most amazing women in this cancer malaise. I don’t know you at all Silver but I just know you are also a superstar. Battled for months, been injured and knocked down and got up again. I think of you often. 

Sometimes I feel utterly wretched and alone ….its the way of things I guess. Cancer can isolate us. Do you get what I mean?? I said that to a woman who had cancer 2 years ago. She didn’t get me at all so perhaps it IS just me?!!

I am off swimming now. A neighbours pool which they let me have two mornings a week! (Beyond lucky!!) It’s totally fab. Blessed.

Yes still on the puppy search!! It’s not easy because we aren’t paying a fortune but equally want a lovely boy (preferably)

Take care. Please stay in touch. Hope the soreness eases soon. Aveeno is also very good to use. 

Stay safe.

Kebbs x

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