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Donna_R's Message Board Messages

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Hi Viviene, When I had radiation, the first thing I had was a simulation. This is where they measured out the area they would radiate. They made three small tattoo marks (little blue dots) to mark off the area that would have the treatment. Maybe they wouldn't do the permanent dots on your friend since they would show. (I had breast cancer.) But if they do, they are barely noticeable and it shows drs. where you had the treatment before because they can't do a series of radiation treatments more than one time in the same area. My cancer came back 1 year after radiation and surgery, but they couldn't radiate me anymore. It damages tissue. (But now I have been cancer free for 2 years so don't think that radiation doesn't work. My dr. says I was an exception. Usually radiation kills the remaining cancer cells. My cancer that came back was non-invasive. He said without the radiation I may have had a more aggressive, invasive cancer return.) The day of the simulation they also made a form for me to lie in each time I took my radiation treatment. They called it a cradle. I laid on this thing and it filled with gel to the form of my body in the position I would be when I got treatments. After it formed the shape, it got hard and that's what I laid on each time I had a treatment. The treatments themselves were like nothing was happening. They line up the machine with your tattoo marks, leave the room, and turn on the machine. You don't feel anything. You don't have to hold your breath. You just have to lay still. Then they would come back in and aim the radiation on the same area at a different angle. You would think it was all fake since you feel nothing, but it must be some pretty powerful radiation because when they close the door to the room you are in, you notice the door is about 12 inches thick. After a couple weeks of radiation I started to get a "tan" where the radiation was hitting my skin. (At first it was a little pink like a mild sunburn but it eventually turned tan.) It stayed tan for over a year, but now I can't see it anymore. The last week of radiation I got a "boost"...a stronger dose of radiation right over my scar area for 3 days. (Most of my radiation covered half my chest.) Every week my dr. would have me get a blood test to make sure my (red?) blood cells weren't too low and it would be alright for me to continue the treatments. But my blood tests were always all right. If your friend is having chemo too, the combination of radiation and chemo can really tire you out, but I only got (really) tired for one week. I also had a cold at the time and between the radiation and cold I hardly had the energy to get off the couch. Good luck to your friend. Give her or him lots of support. He/she will need it. Cancer is a very scary experience. Donna
I had radiation for 6 1/2 weeks and it really wasn't bad at all. My skin got a little burn that was like a mild sunburn and it got really itchy, but using aloe every day helped keep my skin pretty normal. Radiation is inconvenient because you have to go everyday (Monday through Friday) until you are done, but when it was over I sort of missed going everyday. The people I sat with and waited with everyday for my treatment became my new best friends and they were a great support group. The worst thing about radiation for me was that I couldn't wear deoderant under my left arm for 2 months. Some people get tired from it, but I was only tired for 1 week. I worked everyday and just left 10 min. early to make my treatment appointment and I was fine to go by myself. I feel fortunate that I did not have to have chemotherapy, but my 81 year old father went through it without too much trouble. He had a little less energy and a little less appetite, but he didn't get sick from it or even lose his hair. In my experience radiation and chemotherapy have come a long way. They are not as bad as they used to be years ago. I would certainly go through either one to fight cancer if I get it again.
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About Donna_R

Survivor
Breast Cancer

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