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Unread 07-21-2006, 05:38 PM
rad side effects

Looks like I might have to have radiation --- and maybe chemo also. We know for sure Tuesday when I meet with my oncologist. I don't mean to be crude or personal but I've read about the side effects to the vagina. How have you guys handled this side effect and how did it effect your personal life after therapy. Again, don't mean to be personal but that's what I'm most scared about --- scarred vaginal tissues sounds really scary.
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Unread 07-21-2006, 07:36 PM
rad side effects

First of all, just like anything else, everyone's reactions are different. It has to do with exactly where the tumor was, where they focus the treatments, and all that. So, someone who had a knee surgery with certain effects will differ from someone else's results, but with similarities.

The similarities regarding radiation (external rad.) could be burning, like sunburn, raw feeling inside your lower abdomen areas, tiredness. I took naps daily. I drove myself to all my treatments, used Imodium for the diarrhea if I wanted to go shopping, etc. I asked the rad. nurses for help when I needed it, and got things checked out if necessary. You go in once a week for a checkup during radiation therapy, with the rad. oncologist.

I was surprised, as I had imagined looking black and scorched after radiation! I was wrong. Ha. You can do it, day by day, then before you know it, it's done.I even missed all the folks I met in the waiting room, and the staff too. We are all in the same boat.

I haven't had chemo, but others have who will tell you. I think they have a remedy for just about everything that comes up during treatments. Just ask. It's not the grim reaper story of decades ago, anymore. They've gotten much better at it.
Unread 07-21-2006, 08:42 PM
rad side effects

I just finished external and internal (brachy) radiation. Your question is not crude. It's something we wonder about but are afraid to ask because, at least for me, it seemed so low on the totum pole of worries. The side effect is called vaginal stenosis. I have cervical cancer, so they gave me a dilator which is simply put, akin to a vibrator without the bells and whistles (sorry for my crudeness.) I was told to use it in order to help the size of my vagina remain as close to what it was prior to rads. My personal experience is that I experienced some "shrinkage" or I felt tighter. Sex was no less pleasureable--when I had the energy for my poor husband. This was my personal experience. I never had any burning or tender skin. I did experience diarrhea since the third treatment, but that is considered early. My rad/onc has been working on getting meds right for me for the diarrhea. You may be surprised how quickly and slowly all at the same time things go for you. Feel free to ask any questions here. Everyone is so great and has been a beacon in a storm.--Jenn
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Unread 07-21-2006, 08:51 PM
rad side effects

Do not be afraid of that. I had sex a couple of weeks after radiation ended. My radiation oncologist said to have sex 'every week or so' to keep the vagina in good working order. I did that, and used premarin vaginal cream, perscribed by my gyn/onc, and I never had a problem with sex. It's just like it always was, often better than before chemo and radiation. I don't begin to explain that. I just accept and enjoy it!

I had no burning, inside or outside, but I did have diarhhea. Immodium and lomotil controlled that. That was the only real side effect that I had.

I understand the anxiety, but I found chem much more frightening than radiation. But found chemo to not be nearly as scary as I thought.

Radiation isn't a box of chocolates, but it's doable. You can get through it, I promise. Afterward, your life, and sex, will be back to normal.


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