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Questions re: radiation/chemo Questions re: radiation/chemo

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Unread 02-19-2003, 11:25 PM
okay, here is my story...

I was diagnosed with cervical cancer 1B in the lymph nodes, so I had a radical hysterectomy/BSO, with node removal to check for cancer. My path report came back clear, all cancer gone. That was all the treatment I neede. However, I had a recurrence in December 2001, my radical hysterectomy was done on March 31st of 2001. So I started radiation treatments, I needed 30, I also had two days of boosters. I then had the internal implant for 3 days. Cancer gone, path report clear. Then in December 2002 another recurrence, this time my gyn/onc decided on a total pelvic exenteration, this is where they take the vagina, rectum, and bladder I was scheduled for surgery on December 27th. Fortunately when my dr was in there, he discovered that my tumor was hitting my pelvic wall, since he couldn't take out the tumor all the way around, he just took out the tumor and scrapped my wall, he said it would be useless to take the other stuff out, cause I would still have the cancer.

so now I'm undergoing chemo therapy. I've only had two sessions, and so far, no real big problems. I've not been sick, I haven't lost my hair, and I have only been really fatigued for only two days. I go to chemo 1 day every three weeks.

radiation wasn't that bad, I had diarrhea, and I worked through all but the last two weeks of my radiation. That was because the diarrhea was really bad, and since my hysterectomy, I'm not able to control that too well, so needless to say I had an accident, and was NOT going to have one at work. So I stayed home. I also of course stayed home during my implant, and was able to go back to work after. But, decided to stay home for another two weeks, so I stayed home for four weeks. It wasn't because I had to, but because I wanted to. Fortunately I have really good benefits at my job and was able to with my full salary.

Now my surgery this past Dec. I'm still on medical leave, only because my Dr. asked me if it was okay, cause he would like me to have a couple of treatments before I went back. I said it was okay by me, but like I said, after the first treatment, I only had two bad days. When I go back to work, I will go back to my flex schedule and be able to go stay home on my bad days.

I know this is a long post, but wanted to let you know what happened to me. But like the other posters said, it really all depends on your path report, which is very individual. And my Dr. did tell me that my cancer seems to be very aggressive and I have not followed any of the "rules" so far. So, I guess I'm really not a good person to listen too!
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Unread 02-20-2003, 08:38 AM
Questions re: radiation/chemo

{{{{Tammy}}}} I'm so sorry about what you're going through. Thanks for being straight about what could happen.
Unread 02-20-2003, 06:35 PM
Questions re: radiation/chemo


I think that if additional treatments are needed, they like to start fairly soon after surgery. My initial appt. with the radiation oncologist was scheduled for 2-3 weeks post-op. One week past that was the "mapping" where they locate the exact fields for radiation (done through x-rays -- no big deal, but just takes a while). The radiation oncologist was then ready to proceed. HOWEVER, as I have already shared with you, my bladder was uncooperative and didn't work again until 7 weeks post-op. My rad. onc. was okay about this, but because damage to the bladder is a stated possible side effect of radiation, I was NOT okay with it. After talking with my GYN/ONC, we decided that we would try to wait out the bladder thing before beginning radiation. As soon as my catheter was removed, I started on the radiation and chemo. So, in a long answer to your question, I think the ideal is to start the additional treatments as soon as you can.

I think that my surgery recovery was very far along by the time I started my other treatments, so I don't know how it would be to try to recover from surgery while undergoing radiation and chemo. If the nausea is able to be controlled so that you aren't getting sick often, I would guess it would be not so bad -- you're already basically laying around anyway, so it seems like you would get it all over with at once. For me, I spent 7-8 weeks recovering from surgery, then 5 weeks of additional treatment, then a few weeks before I was really feeling back to myself again -- it made for a long recovery period, I thought.

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Unread 02-20-2003, 10:40 PM
Questions re: radiation/chemo

cogaha, you actually addressed some of my concerns very well.

I understand the reasoning for getting started right away with radiation and/or chemo. But I also worry about not being able to handle it so soon after such a major surgery. Especially if there are problems, like you had.

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