Finished Radiotherapy

Hi everyone,

Well I finished my 15th and last Radiotherapy session yesterday.

Anyone that is facing this soon just to say that,compared to 6 months of chemotherapy this was relatively so much easier.

I was apprehensive at first, but glad I’ve had it as it is a preventative measure for me after a mastectomy in June.

I will be having Herceptin injections in the thigh until end of March 2020,so treatment not quite over yet,also on Letrozole for 5 years.

Those of you which have been following my journey since treatment started in January,yes January,I couldn’t quite visualise being at this stage now.

Hang on in there those of you just starting your journeys as there is an end to all the treatment,and the support which I’ve had on this site has been phenomenal ,those times I’ve been so down,weepy,scared and things explained by those who have been there,done that or also going through the same thing and have helped me along,you know who you are.

A big thank you and good luck to all of you,stay strong.

Regards,

Barbara

Comments

  • SunshinedaffSunshinedaff Posts: 809 ✭✭✭✭

    @PositiveLady10

    Hi Barbara,

    Yay!! Congratulations!!

    🎉🎉💐

    So very pleased for you that you have reached the end of your treatment, all bar the Herceptin.

    It is brilliant, wonderful news. You have been so brave and courageous throughout this time. I remember when we first spoke before you had started chemo. Those days are well and truly behind you now.

    I hope you see a good recovery from the radiotherapy, day by day gaining strength and restoring energy.

    I am so glad you found the radiotherapy relatively easy, as you say after going through chemo, it does seem easier.

    Thank you for your lovely encouraging message to others who are still going through their treatment. It really helps others to keep going.

    I hope you are able to celebrate in style with your family, you deserve it!

    Sending big hugs,

    🤗🤗

    Lou xx

  • ShandsShands Posts: 11

    I have just had my first appointment with the oncologist today, having had a mastectomy and full axiliary node clearance 4 weeks ago. I see the nurses for my pre-chemo check next week and probably start chemo the week after, followed by radiotherapy then hormone treatment. As more lymph nodes were involved than first thought I’m still waiting for a full body CT to confirm there is, hopefully, no spread elsewhere.

    Apart from trying to get my head round things in general, the main thing I would like some advice on from people who’ve ‘been there’ is about the cold cap. I have been told that the type of chemo I will have will definitely cause hair loss. People, trying to be helpful, say it ‘doesn’t matter about losing hair’, ‘don’t bother with a wig’, ‘it’ll soon grow back’ etc etc.. Would just like some info about it from other people who have tried it.

    Thanks,

    Sue

  • JerseyBobJerseyBob Posts: 46 mod

    @Shands

    Hi Sue

    I am sorry to hear of your diagnosis and it would be good to know that the CT scan will show that you are now cancer free following surgery.

    Of course, you still have chemo, radiotherapy and hormone treatment to come and I hope that you do not find it too taxing.

    A number of our community members have been in your situation and I am sure that you will soon hear from someone about their experience involving hair loss.

    In the meantime, welcome to our community. We love to chat and support each other and I hope that you will keep in touch.

    Rob x

  • ShandsShands Posts: 11

    Thank you Rob. Yes hopefully the CT wont throw up any nasty surprises. I look forward to hearing from others who are going through / have completed their cancer treatment. Thank you,

    Sue

  • PositiveLady10PositiveLady10 Posts: 52 ✭✭

    Hi Sue,

    I was advised not to try the cold cap as most people loose some if not all of their hair anyway.

    A friend did say to me “it’s only hair” which quite upset me as it’s so much more than that.

    I had a short hair cut, started chemo and lost my hair before the second one, I bought a wig which I am still wearing and feel really comfortable with it.

    Obviously everybody is different and it’s really what feels right for you.

    Good luck Sue in whatever you decide to do, always here to help out with advice, take care,

    Barbara x

  • ShandsShands Posts: 11

    Thanks Barbara,

    Really good to hear from someone who understands. Yes , my brother said ‘it’s only hair’, along with ‘don’t bother with stupid wigs either’ & ‘both pointless, just put a hat on’, none of which were remotely understanding or helpful. As you said, its so much more than ‘only hair’.

    I’m also concerned because I suffer with Raynauds Disease, which I’m concerned may give me more problems with the Cold Cap but, being an idiot, for got to mention Raynaud's to my oncologist, so will have to talk to oncology nurse about it next week, but if anyone does know if that things would be pleased for any advice.

    Thanks again Barbara, just feel less ‘alone’ talking to someone who knows.

    Hope you are doing well

    Sue xx p.s. where did you find your wig from as know they can vary greatly.

  • LouiseJLouiseJ Posts: 349 mod

    @Shands , @RobertA , @PositiveLady10

    Hi Sue,

    Welcome to the community, it is lovely to 'meet' you, I do hope you are recovering from your recent surgery, I know it can be a difficult time where recovery can seem very slow. Hopefully you will get an appointment soon for the CT scan, that is a worrying time, understandably, and I do hope it will be a good result for you.

    Having to undergo chemo is such a tough thing, being told hair loss is very likely is very upsetting. I remember being told the same at my chemo assessment, I had FEC-T, and I promptly burst into tears! For me it was one of the hardest things to accept at first, especially as I used to work hard at keeping it looking nice..lol!😃.I was also informed that the cold cap wouldn't necessarily prevent my hair loss. When I found out about how it would feel, like having the worst 'ice-cream' headache, I decided immediately it wasn't for me.

    I didn't know much about the cold cap until a few days ago, when my sister, recently diagnosed with breast cancer had her first chemo treatment (FEC-T). She decided to give the cold cap a go, and described it to me..' the hair is covered with a conditioner, to try and flatten the hair as much as possible, to enable the cold cap , which is a bit like a flying hat, to be as close to the scalp as possible. It is put on before chemo starts for a while, then stays on throughout chemo and a while afterwards. The nurses said if you can withstand it for the first 15 minutes, you might be able to tolerate it'. My sister lasted 90 minutes, of intense pain, which did sort of abate after 15 minutes but not sufficiently to make it bearable. The nurses had to let it defrost for a while before removing, my sister keen to get it off her head, stuck her fingers in the side to release the suction. She said her hair was completely frozen solid! Since Friday, she is still experiencing headaches, which she was told would happen.

    She won't be doing it again!

    I have read other's stories on hear though who have used the cold cap, and it seemed to work well for them...it is such a personal individual thing, and the effects of it the same I guess.

    I am sorry this may not be much help to you in deciding... Even though, as I said I was really upset about the thought of losing my hair, when it came down to it, as in starting to fall out, I just opted to get it all shaved off as soon as I could. That really helped me in the end, and I found I didn't mind as much as I did at first. Again, a very personal perspective. I did try to focus on the fact all the treatments, chemo, surgery, radiotherapy were actually working to get rid of the cancer, rather than let the 'side-effects' become mountains I had to climb as well.

    I am pleased to say that my treatment was successful, thankfully although in the lymph nodes too, it hadn't spread elsewhere.

    As Rob and Barbara have already mentioned, there are many others here, who have been where you are right now, and others still going through their treatments. You will find a lot of support, encouragement, and friendship here. Please feel free to ask any other questions you may have at any time, now or in the days/months to come. I am always happy to chat, you can also message me directly if you like.

    Hope to chat with you soon,

    Lou x

  • ShandsShands Posts: 11

    Thank you Lou,

    Just in the first day of being in the forum it is so good to ‘chat’ with people who really do understand. I feel sure I will get a lot of support from here over the coming weeks and months.

    Sue xx

  • LouiseJLouiseJ Posts: 349 mod

    @Shands

    So glad you found us here Sue, I am sure you will get to know others soon too.

    The chemo nurses are brilliant at their jobs, and will explain everything in detail to you, it is good if you have someone with you though who can take notes and remember things for you, as you may find it goes in one ear and out of the other! I am sure they will be able to advise you re the Raynauds Disease.

    Please keep in touch,

    Have a peaceful weekend,

    Lou x

  • ShandsShands Posts: 11

    Thank you, yes I’m very lucky to have a very supportive husband, and his work are just being amazing with time off he needs for appointments etc. Just read that if you get severe migraines the Cold Cap probably isn’t an option so may have had my decision made for me.

    Hope you all have a good weekend, whatever stage of treatment you are at. Will definitely keep in touch.

    Sue. Xx

  • RobertARobertA Posts: 659 ✭✭✭✭

    @PositiveLady10 @Shands @LouiseJ

    Good evening ladies.

    I love the photograph of you ringing the bell Barbara and you look amazing in your wig. It is lovely to hear from people like yourself, Lou and hopefully, Sue who have all beaten cancer. It is so encouraging for others who are just setting off on the cancer journey,

    I meet up with former colleagues once a month and two of the ladies who have had chemo told me they were electing to wear wigs. We had a fitting session at which as a man, I was asked to say which wigs were most suitable, not that they took any notice of my choices🤔. The wigs though, looked so real and they both decided to wear them.

    Hope you all had a good weekend and did not get too wet.

    Rob x

  • PositiveLady10PositiveLady10 Posts: 52 ✭✭

    Hi Rob,

    thank you for the compliment regarding my wig, I must say that it is the best purchase I’ve made during this awful time.

    I would not have had the confidence to go out without it.

    Although my hair is now returning, it’s coming through white😱😱 Needless to say as soon as I have enough I will get it professionally coloured haha.

    My good friend took me to purchase a wig and I’ve never laughed so much, I looked like Ken Dodd in a couple of them 😂

    After I chose which one I wanted, which is the same style and length which I had pre chemo, the fringe was too long and the lady said “I can trim it for £15!!!

    I told her it’s ok i’ll do it myself, what a con, my friend couldn’t stop laughing, she said your face was a picture ..... £15!!!!

    I hope you are keeping well Rob, always lovely to hear your stories,

    Barbara x

  • LouiseJLouiseJ Posts: 349 mod

    @PositiveLady10 ,

    Good morning Barbara,

    You made me laugh reading your story of buying your wig! I can really picture it! haha! 😄Terrible as it all was, I know how having those precious moments of laughter, can carry you through several days. I was the same with my friend shopping for hats and scarves, as you know I didn't choose a wig. I cried laughing.

    I would be the same as you, deciding to colour your hair, if mine had come back grey or white. Even before cancer I would say to my hairdresser, tell me when it is time to colour my hair! 🤣

    Wig trimming! That does sound expensive, on top of the cost too I guess? Although I am sure it takes a lot of skill. If I did it everyone would look like Gollum or Worzel Gummidge!🤣🤣

    Well Barbara, summer has definitely left us I think, I need a dry day as well as inspiration to get out and sort it for winter..😕.

    Hope you are doing well, have a great day.

    Lou xx

  • RobertARobertA Posts: 659 ✭✭✭✭

    @PositiveLady10 @LouiseJ

    Good morning both

    Lovely to hear your stories. It is wonderful and uplifting to know that people can still find humour during the difficult cancer journey

    Haha, Barbara, don't believe you would ever look like Ken Dodd whatever your hairstyle. No wonder your hair went white after a £15 quote for a fringe trim. Must be something to do with Brexit 🤣. You have probably noticed that my hair is white and it has been since my early forties. I had to laugh when I showed my great nephew a photograph of me with my cricket team. He did not recognise me and refused to believe that I once had dark hair.

    Yes Lou, I am afraid that summer has gone now. Ah well, at least it was a good one.

    Rob x

  • jacksprat_x1jacksprat_x1 Posts: 166 ✭✭✭

    Hi All,

    I just wanted to say I enjoyed Barbara’s comments about her wig and the expensive fringe trim! Made me chuckle!

    I am so grateful to have completed 5.5 months of chemo following an emergency operation on 15 December 2018 for a perforated bowel due to grade 3 tumour necessitating removal of part of bowel and a new opening in my stomach called a colostomy. I have coped very well with this and consider it my life saver.

    Chemo was hard work some days as I had several side effects, but I can say to anyone starting that journey that it really does pass quickly. I cannot believe that after so many appointments I finally got a clear scan and my Consultant Oncologist said In the nicest way possible I hope I don’t see you in here again! I will receive another scan within next few months but the last one was clear! No one knows what is round the corner but even on my bad days I tried to remain positive and take pleasure in even the littlest of things! I couldn’t have kept that up without the support of the lovely people on this site and of course the wonderful Rob and Lou!

    If you have just started your treatment or had your diagnosis you are in really good hands with our wonderful NHS. Keep positive, climb the road one day at a time, keep in touch . It really does help to know people here are on your side. Love Jackie xx 🙋‍♀️

  • LouiseJLouiseJ Posts: 349 mod

    @jacksprat_x1

    Hi Jackie,

    I love reading your positive posts, conversations like the one you had with your oncologist are just brilliant.

    I hope your good days, outnumber your bad days more and more as you put this behind you. I am sure others reading about your journey will be encouraged to hang in there, keep fighting on. It is one day at as time..

    Have a great evening, whatever you are doing.

    Lou 🤗 xx

  • RobertARobertA Posts: 659 ✭✭✭✭

    @jacksprat_x1

    Hi Jackie

    Great to read your posts describing your experience which like Barbara’s and Lou’s is so positive and encouraging for Sue @Shands and others who read about it. It is good to know that you, Norman and Jasper have all negotiated a tricky 2019 safely and will be looking forward to Christmas and a bright New Year together with the rest of the family and grandchildren. Well, someone had to mention Christmas first.🎄🤣.

    Rob xx

  • ShandsShands Posts: 11

    Thank you to all that have replied or just written about their experiences throughout treatment. I have heard today that I will have my pre-chemo appointment, bloods etc next Tues (8th) and , if all okay, will start chemo the following day. Hopefully will then be okay to attend a close friend’s wedding on the Thursday- fingers crossed!! Just in the short time since I posted on this site, I have found it positive and very comforting to hear from others. HERE’S TO 6 MONTHS TIME!! X

  • RobertARobertA Posts: 659 ✭✭✭✭

    @Shands

    Evening Sue

    I wish you well over the next 6 months and hope that you cope well with the chemo.

    Enjoy your friend’s wedding.

    Rob x

  • LouiseJLouiseJ Posts: 349 mod

    @SueEvaM

    Hi Sue,

    This is the post I mentioned. Plus there are lots of great chats here to read also. 😄

    Lou xx

  • RobertARobertA Posts: 659 ✭✭✭✭

    @Shands

    Hi Sue

    Hope you are coping with your chemo OK and that you enjoyed your friend’s wedding.

    Would love to hear how you are getting on when you have a mo.

    Rob x

  • ShandsShands Posts: 11

    Hi Rob,

    Thanks for message. First chemo harder than I thought - extremely sick and only really picked up at all after a week but now enjoying a bit of time before my next one on the 31st. I’d been told the first session wouldn't affect me much with each session after that progressively worse so not looking forward to that but trying to see it as a step nearer getting better.

    I did get to the wedding for the service as thankfully it was only 10 mins down the road. Also the service was very short so I coped, but it was a shame we couldn’t stop longer. They were so pleased we made it.

    I’ve been to town today to collect a wig which, although it is really good and an almost exact match to my colouring, feels very strange but I’m sure I’ll get used to it and will feel more comfortable with it in time.

    I hope you are doing okay at mo and thank you again for your message - it’s so good to have contact with people who understand how I feel.

    Best wishes

    Sue x

  • SunshinedaffSunshinedaff Posts: 809 ✭✭✭✭

    @Shands @RobertA

    Hi Sue,

    Lovely to hear from you, I bam sorry the first part of chemo was so hard on you, I understand and my heart is with you. I am glad you are enjoying some days of relative 'wellness', until the next one on the 31 st.

    How lovely that you were able to attend the wedding however briefly you were able to stay. Being able to take part and enjoy 'normal' activities whilst going through treatment is great and can give us a lift.

    I hope the wig works out well for you and you find it comfortable to wear. My sister collected hers this week, she sent me some photos, it looks really good. She is taking it to her hairdresser to get it trimmed a bit more. She had her second chemo yesterday, so she is starting another 3 week cycle.

    I hope the next week or so you continue to have good days. Yes, each time is one step nearer to the end.

    Have a peaceful weekend,

    Lou x

  • RobertARobertA Posts: 659 ✭✭✭✭

    @Shands @Sunshinedaff

    Hi Sue

    Lovely to hear from you.

    Sorry to hear that you found the first chemo so tough and I hope that you are enjoying some relaxation before your next session.

    How great to hear that you made it to the wedding. It will have meant a lot to your friend that you were there on such a special day.

    It sounds as if the wig was the right decision for you and I am sure that you will get used to the feel of it in no time at all.

    Enjoy the rest of the weekend.

    Rob x

  • ShandsShands Posts: 11

    Thank you Rob x

  • RobertARobertA Posts: 659 ✭✭✭✭

    @Shands

    Hi Sue

    Just wondering how you are getting on and hoping that you are coping a little better with the chemo

    How is the wig? Have you got used to wearing it yet?

    All the best

    Rob x

  • ShandsShands Posts: 11

    Hi Rob,

    Good to hear from you. 2nd Chemo caused less actual sickness ( oncologist added in a fourth antisickness drug) but nausea has been awful. 1st 10 days could hardly eat anything and even drinking was hard then started to eat more but want to eat some days then not the next. My mouth is now really sore too so its just been soup today - but made my own before starting chemo so have some in the freezer and at least its full of goodness.

    Totally exhausted - probably not helped as I do suffer with this to a degree from my usual disabilities. My wig is still basically sat on its polystyrene head - haven’t worn it at all yet but the chemo nurse got me to promise I’ll wear it for my next appointment where, as she said, a lot of people there have the same issues they’re contenting with so that’s the 21st, bloods permitting. I am also going to Maggie’s tomorrow for a ‘Look good, Feel great’ afternoon so debating if I feel brave enough to wear it there!

    Thank you again for your message, it really helps to hear from others who’ve truly ‘been there’ too.

    Best wishes

    Sue x

  • RobertARobertA Posts: 659 ✭✭✭✭

    @Shands

    Hi Sue

    Oh dear, no wonder you are exhausted. I do feel for you but at least that is another one chalked off.

    I am pleased to hear that you are able to visit Maggies. I go to MacMillan Cancer Support and I find that being amongst other people who as you say, have ‘been there’ is comfortable and relaxing as you don't have to pretend or put up with silly comments.

    I think the timing of your ‘Look Good, Feel Better’ is perfect. I have been on a ‘Look Good, Feel Better’ for men and it was really enjoyable as well as helpful. I hope that you feel up to wearing your wig. Don’t forget, you will be expected to wear it on 21st.

    Rob x

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