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Radiation woes Radiation woes

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Unread 11-03-2003, 08:08 AM
Radiation woes

My treatment is a little different. I had 25 externals and the last two were lower doses (they only did top and bottom not the sides) in preparation for the 3 internals. That is very different from the 'boosts'. I think it would be helpful if there was a standard treatment. It seems that different onc/rad/hospitals have different ways. The 25 externals and 3 internals seem pretty standard but now we have boosts, both at the same time, lower doses. It makes me wonder if the minor differeces really matter or if as long as the radiation hits the right spot, the little things don't matter.
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Unread 11-03-2003, 12:01 PM
Radiation woes

Were you given the three extra external before the internal or during? I was very surprised when my Rad/onc said I could start the internal before finishing the external. I had the first last Friday with five more external to go. The way she has it set up I will finish with everything just three days after finishing the 28 external treatments.
Unread 11-03-2003, 02:08 PM
Radiation woes

No, I had to wait 7-10 days after the last external to start the internal. I wonder if the time off is to let the side effects run their course before you start the internals. The doctor did mention that my skin look good however, it was never sore. Even with sex during the external, I wasn't sore or tender. Actually, I did have more tenderness in my bladder and abdomen plus more diahrea in the week between than during the weeks of externals. But even that was minor. I have my third and last! internal tomorrow and on Wednesday I am leaving for Florida with my sisters for four days. As you can see I have had minimal side effects and nothing is keeping me from doing what I want to do.
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Unread 11-03-2003, 02:19 PM
Radiation woes

I too plan to leave for Florida as soon as my treatments are completed. But my trip is for the entire winter. They all know of my plans so perhaps this is why she started the internal so soon. However my bladder problems started the middle of last week before my first internal. Everything else is fine. No skin problems or bowel. Just more frequent ones.
How long are your internal sessions? I was perpared for a lengthly session last Friday and was up and out in less than two hours. The actual radiation lasted 335.5 seconds. It was really painless.
Thanks for your support.
Unread 11-04-2003, 07:29 AM
Radiation woes

Maude Rose,
The first internal took about 4.5 hours. It was an exam and 'perfect fitting of the cylinder'. Then the bladder, rectum tools, lots of xrays and fitting on the board (how did they hold the vaginal cylinder in place). moving from room to room (exam room, simulation room and HDR room. It was about a 1.5 hour wait still strapped in while they did all the measurements and calculations. Then the 400 seconds of HDR.
The second was only the vaginal cylinder in the simulations room and then they took xrays to make sure it was in the right place. The dr came back and reajusted about 4 times. Then back to the HDR room. In total I was there about 1.5 hours for a 45 minute treatment. The rest of the time I was waiting for the dr to come and then we waited for the physist to come. It was absolutely painless and I still do not have any discharge or soreness or redness. I go this afternoon for my last. It is a strange feeling. People ask me if I am celebrating and I have to say that I am a little nervous to be cut off. While I was going I felt like I was doing something to help myself fight cancer. Now I will be alone and the thoughts won't go away. Family and friends will assume now that I am finished the treatment that it is over. I don't think they understand that it will never 'be over' for me. It will always be a part of me and how I think about myself.
Have a great trip to Florida and I hope this doesn't mean that you won't have access. I will miss your replies, they really help.
Unread 11-04-2003, 03:51 PM
Radiation woes

I hope all went smoothly this afternoon. Just think , YOU DID IT.
I know the feeling of it's over what now all too well. Ten years ago I went through chemo and radiation for breast cancer and was totally lost when all treatments were completed. I had felt all along that I was being active and DOING SOMETHING. I kept thinking what now. These thoughts can not be understood by anyone who has not been through it all. I can say however that it gets better and you do not think about cancer and your treatment everyday.
This time I have not dwelled at all. Perhaps it is that I now know that these treatments work. After ten years the only problem I experienced was the uterine cancer caused by the cancer treatment Tamoxifen. At least I know how it happened. I have also been very proactive with my treatment this time as well as changing my diet radicaly.
The simulation at my first internal seemed to go very quickly. The fitting and X rays all took place in one room. I was moved to the radiation room on a stretcher and nothing was disturbed. As I have stated the actual "Zapping" was 330 something seconds. Do you know how the length fo time is figured? If I remember I will ask on Friday.
Unread 11-04-2003, 10:25 PM
Radiation woes

Thanks for your good wishes and congrats. I did do it but one thing this site has taught me is just how lucky I have been. I can't believe this is your second time around. It just doesn't seem fair that the cure for one cancer causes another. My boss is presently on the 5 year tomoxfilin (SIC) for breast cancer and after reading all about the different cancers on this site I made sure she was aware of the connection. She did say her doctor told her about uterine and colon cancer and I made sure she knew the signs of uterine cancer. Actually, now that I think about it I was even lucky in my work place. How many cancer patients have a boss who has done radiation and is presently doing chemo? Talk about an understanding boss.
I asked my doctor and he said the type of radiation and time is standard (400 seconds). It is the adjustment of the cylinder to fit my canal/body that takes all the planning. Obviously after reading this site, it is clear that different hospitals have different 'standards' but they all seem fairly close.

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