• Hello! I am new to the site. I am looking for more information on the process of radiation.

    Asked by foneheads on Thursday, December 8, 2011

    Hello! I am new to the site. I am looking for more information on the process of radiation.

    I am currently still undergoing my chemo treatment (completed 2 of 4 rounds) and it has been a very difficult time for me. I have 6 children at home still and am the only one with an income in our house. As all of you know, chemo takes a toll and I have had to miss a ton of work because of being so tired and unable to function almost the first week after chemo treatment. I am looking forward to the end of chemo, but I don't really know what to expect from radiation. I have read as much as possible about it, but would like to know from others if it really wipes you out like chemo does..

    5 Answers from the Community

    5 answers
    • GregP_WN's Avatar

      I have had two courses of radiation, one course of 28 treatments 23 years ago, and another course of 26 treatments 2.5 years ago. As far as I'm concerned, I'll take twice the radiation to one chemo treatment. It didn't affect me near as bad as chemo. The chemo made me loose a lot of work also, and during two treatments caused my white count to drop so low I had to enter hospital for antibiotics. The radiation this last time did give me sores in my mouth, since it was hitting my throat area, did run me down a bit, but I worked through the treatments. Look forward to, do not dread the radiation, it will be much much easier.
      Good luck to you in closing out your treatments.

      almost 5 years ago
    • foneheads' Avatar

      Thank you for your response! That makes me feel better. Is there something that is done to block the radiation from affecting the heart, lungs, etc and just hit the breast?

      almost 5 years ago
    • GregP_WN's Avatar

      With my first radiation treatments 23 years ago, they made some lead outlines that were in the shape of my lungs, these blocked the rays from hitting anything that wasn't supposed to be hit. The last treatment a couple years ago, there wasnt anything like that, but the radiation machine was much more advanced. It swiveled and pointed exactly where they wanted it to go. Much more precise, so they didn't use the lead blocks. Rest assured, they will not shoot the radiation anywhere that it will do more harm than good.

      almost 5 years ago
    • grams2jc's Avatar

      I had 33 rads following 8 chemo trtmts spaced 3 weeks apart, finished 7/8/11. I worked 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. then drove 1 hour each way 5 days a week for the trtmts. I missed 2 days of work due to my skin burning and the RO wanting me to keep as little on my skin as possible. I gained energy and lost weight during rads but must say I hated every moment of it. Felt like a bug in an insect collection. It wasn't hard and was directed at the areas it needed to be and didn't burn any unaffected areas, it just gave me the creeps.

      You can do it, it is easier than chemo, but it does have its own set of complications.

      Good luck, keep us posted

      almost 5 years ago
    • catlady's Avatar

      I had 25 rads. My radiation was at the end of all the other treatments, so I was worn out but could see the light at the end of the tunnel. It's every weekday, which can be a hassle if it's far to your treatment center, but the treatments themselves are fairly quick. I was back working for the last week or so, but I was able to schedule my treatment for late in the day so I could just go home afterward.

      Your first time will actually be to mark you with some small tattoos (they look like ballpoint pen dots). The machines they use are extremely accurate, and the techs will spend a few minutes getting you lined up exactly right based on those tattoos. Talk to your radiation oncologist about any worries about heart, thyroid, etc. How the beams are aimed will depend on where your cancer was, but they do everything they can to avoid other organs. My rads was on the left chest, so I was worried about impact on the heart.

      I had some ongoing fatigue during treatment, but it was nothing like with chemo. I didn't start to have burning problems until the last couple of weeks and then it continued for a couple of weeks after my last rads. It was painful but didn't really interfere with my work. I had solutions and stuff to put on my skin, then covered it with lots of dressings.

      Good luck.

      almost 5 years ago

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