Radiation Jitters | Breast Cancer Treatment

Happy June everyone! Can you believe it’s June?! This is just insane to me. Time is going WAY too fast and needs to slow down. At least summer is on its way!

On Monday, I start my next step in this crazy journey. I start my first round of radiation and I’ll need a total of 27-33 rounds. My doctor told me I will know my exact number of rounds when I meet with him next week. Just like every other step in this process, it’s something new and I am nervous. I’m nervous about the side effects and how I’m going to feel. Granted, it won’t be like chemo (Thank God!), but I still don’t know how my body is going to react. I wonder if I will get burnt and how bad it could be. I’m already fair skin so I hope it’s not that bad. My doctor also advised me to cover up the area during treatment so the sun doesn’t make it worse. Yes, that means no maxi dresses and tank tops for this girl all summer. Bummer! (Hey, that rhymed. 🙂 )

As you all know, I need to be prepared with everything. I just purchased some Aquaphor healing ointment and I’m going to apply that to my skin three times a day per my doctor’s order (I can’t apply it four hours before my treatment.) I’m hoping this will help. I should be okay to wear deodorant.

I’m also really excited that I have an amazing care team. I got approved for proton radiation and this targets the exact place where the tumor was and doesn’t affect any healthy tissue or organs. I’m so happy for this because I’ve been seeing a cardiologist and they are keeping an eye on my heart. I also need echocardiograms every month now, but that’s a topic for another blog post.

I also received my radiation tattoos about two weeks ago. That was a crazy process. I wasn’t nervous at all, and then the nurse had a difficult time accessing my port for the contrast. She tried three times before calling another nurse. So, I wasn’t prepared for this and the thought that my port may not be working! I didn’t even get to numb the area because I thought I would need an IV. For my ladies with a port, if you haven’t asked for the numbing cream, do it! I never feel anything when my port was accessed through chemo. Another nurse came over and was able to access it. I was so happy that everything was okay because I need my port until February for my Herceptin infusions. Anyways, on to the tats…

For this test, you need a CT scan with contrast either through your port or IV to help the radiologists with mapping out your treatment area. I had to lay down on a table with my arms above my head and I could not move. The techs use a laser to pinpoint the exact area and you will stay in this position throughout your radiation treatment. Then, they put you in the CT scan and scan your body a few times and move you until everything is perfect. Once they have you lined up, they actually tattoo little tiny dots on your body to help you line up with the machine. Yes, these are permanent and they just look like tiny freckles. I have a high tolerance for pain, and one of them hurt a bit. After the fiasco with my port, I wasn’t expecting to get poked three times and then have the tattoos hurt! Oh well, they are just battle marks from this whole crazy journey.

These images are from Google, but it gives you an idea of what I’m talking about:

Can you even see one of my radiation tattoos?

RadiationTats.jpg

For anyone who has already been on this radiation journey, are there any tips that you recommend?

Stay strong and beautiful.

xo,

Monique

10 thoughts on “Radiation Jitters | Breast Cancer Treatment

  1. Red Phoenix says:

    I am 2 weeks post radiation and my skin looks almost completely healed now. I used (and still use) Miaderm. I would shower at night, use the lotion after and then apply it again before getting dressed after radiation the next day. My doctor said to start using Eucerin once I’m out of the Miaderm. It’s not as think on the skin ad the aquaphor. ☺ I am sure you will do great! Although tedious, the time will fly by. 🌞

    • moniquerose8 says:

      Thank you so much for the tips! That is great to know! I hope you are feeling amazing and so happy to have this step behind you! Going every day will be tough, but I’m sure it will fly by! Stay strong! 🙂 xo

  2. Gail Goldstein says:

    Monique… You are amazing. It is uplifting to read your blog and heartwarming that you would take time during such a difficult time in your life to think of others.

  3. Brain Cancer Babe says:

    Dear Monique, I am a two-time brain cancer survivor and went through two separate rounds of radiation. The first was 30 doses (5 days a week for 6 weeks) and a little over a year later, 5 treatments of high-dose radiation due to my recurrence. I feel so much for you because let’s be honest – ALL of this is so scary! At least for me, my first treatment was frightening (my head was literally strapped into a mask then strapped to a table!). However, quickly, it all became so routine. It just became part of my everyday. I don’t know if this is really a “tip” but I’d just say that allow yourself to be scared, but know you will get through it and each day will get better. Only my humble two-cents…wishing you all the best! Xoxoxo

    • moniquerose8 says:

      Wow! Thank you so much for your comment! You are a true fighter and I hope you are doing amazing! I finished round 8 today and I’m definitely getting into the groove. Each day definitely gets better! I’m wishing you the best and thank you for finding me! 🙂 xo

  4. Cheryl (mom) says:

    Let the next chapter begin, so we can put this also behind! You are a beautiful warrior and the life lessons you teach me everyday have made me look at life with my eyes wide open! I will be here for you always, my little copilot!😘 I love you so much! ALWAYS! Mom

  5. Joanne says:

    Monique, I only had to have 16 radiation treatments. I didn’t get red until the 3rd week, I also used Aquaphor. I had my radiation in the morning and took a nap in the afternoon. Listen to your body. You are a warrior, this will be behind you in no time!! I could only use natural deodorant, didn’t work real well. I have blue tattoos! Thinking of you and wishing you well. Joanne

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