Radiation after affects?

willow's picture

Hi everyone

I was wondering if any of you who have had breast radiation have experienced a lot of pain afterwards. I was ok during the treatment - I got a bit sore and a little bit red but overall it was a good reaction. I had my last treatment on Nov 2nd. Since then I have experienced a lot of tenderness from time to time. Lately though, especially the last couple of weeks, I have been really sore and tender. I also have what appears to be restricted movement in my arm - for example when reaching up for something from the cupboard or stretching my arm back to put on a cardigan. I just don't have the range of movement I used to have. Frankly I am a bit fed up with the aches and pains my body is still experiencing since stopping treatment. I read an old blog on the forum page recently about 'painful first steps when getting out of bed in the morning' - I have had this for months. Even if I have been sitting for some time when I get up my legs and feet really ache and I limp for awhile till I loosen up. I feel like an old women and I'm certainly not that yet.
I want to do so much with my day too but my physical ability is not matching my mental desires.
But after saying all that I would like to say that recently my daughter has been taking me out and about (tennis, movies, shopping, breakfast) and I have been enjoying myself and laughing a lot. It is my New Year resolution to not knock back any invitations. She has also booked a long weekend in Qld over the Labour day wk'end. This was a surprise - she just emailed me the booking details. So whatever else this year brings I am going to make sure I have some fun......hope you are all doing ok......stay strong and take care.
All the best, Willow


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MissRen's picture

Re: Radiation after affects?

Hi Willow, I finished radiation last month and found that the area hurt for months afterwards. My ribs still hurt some days especially if I've rolled over on my stomach while sleeping. The biggest frustration I felt during during and even now is the impacts on my physical strenght. My ankles, legs and knees hurt if I've been sitting down for longer than 5 minutes and like you I have to stretch them out and then limp around for a bit.
I started working part time a month ago and one day I decided to wear a pair of heels. I lasted till after lunch and then my calf muscles cramped up and I couldn't move. I quickly whipped them off and then limped around for 3 days. Needless to say I haven't worn a pair of heels since.
It will get better. I feel impatient at times but then have to stop and remind myself that my body has been through a lot.
It's great that you are going out with your daughter and that you have a long weekend trip to look forward to.
Have you heard of the entertainment book? It is a book with a lot of discounts on restaurants, movies, activities and more. I've been buying it for the past couple of years and found that I've done things I normally wouldn't have. I think it cost $50 and the proceeds went to the cancer council.

Have a great day


Jules2's picture

Re: Radiation after affects?

Hi Lyn

Thanks for the keloid lesson Smile. My scar is just lumpy and have had a needle biopsy in the scar tissue ... boy do they use "big" needles for that one. Fortunately, i have not much feeling in that area so can happily watch the needle go in. Laughing out loud

I am still having radio after effects, but that is just to be expected from what i have been told. Any of our treatments once finished do not just halt in the body, they keep on keeping on. Which is a great thing really. Really sorry to hear about your cough, but its good that your gp is onto things and even knows about the drugs that you are having. I am finding i go and see a gp and tell them allllllllll about my treatment and the side effects. I shouldnt be astounded by this as i have had to do it once before, although this time as i am older i am more tired and really dont want to be explaining and finding out information for myself.

Thanks re valentines, it was quite a good day. I went to my sis in laws shop to help her out for the day. An old man came in to just browse and we got chatting. He told me he has cancer and that he will be dead in 3 - 6 months time. Then he asked about some oil perfume, so i got the aphrodisia one and told him he could only have a very small sniff!! lol Poor old guy, i think he is around 85 and was lovely. He was telling me about some of his life and he sounds like such an interesting man. So we had a nice chat and away he went back to his house. I hope you have had a lovely valentines day also.

Julie xo

YehYa's picture

Re: Radiation after affects?

Hi Julie,

Keloid scarring is a thicker scar that forms over a previously healed scar and can be very itchy and annoying. My daughter had or should I say still has one on her knee. She fell over as kids do but kept knocking it and reopening it after it healed. Maybe thats what they meant when they said you played basket ball too soon. But thats understandable, we feel great then go and over do things. Human nature.

I agree with what you say about times and perhaps thats why the Dr's keep us in the dark a bit there, but I'm they type of person that likes rough estimates so that I can build myself up to it. I have been beating myself up actually should I say getting quite frustrated that I dont think I'm recovering as quickly as I should be. I was much better before radiotherapy than I am now almost 4 weeks after my last radiotherapy session. My radio Onc did say 4-6 weeks and that it will get worse before it gets better but not in which way. Yes the mind is a very strong thing and mine likes to know rough estimates lol Just so I have an idea and also so I can push myself a little without overdoing it.

I have decided that these aches and pains we both appear to be haveing has to be an after effect of radiotherapy. After my last comment on the subject and even though I'm keeping as active as this hot wether will allow at the moment, both my shoulders, lower left back and knees are as you described. Seems like a triumph going one step forward then all of a sudden 2 steps back.

I am feeling much better today (apart from the aches) which is partly due to a horrid cough that I've had for a few months has eased a lot today after starting new blood pressure meds yesterday. Avastin (trial drug I'm on) raises the blood pressure, I was on coversyl before and my GP told me on Friday that it causes a really bad dry cough in some people to the point they gag & regurgetate.

I really do hope your aches & pains are subsiding now. I really do understand why you are getting fed up with it all. It just drags on too long doesn't it!

I hope your having a lovely Valentines Day so far and to all of us a speedy recovery

Lyn xo

Jules2's picture

Re: Radiation after affects?

Hi Lyn

My guess re times is because as humans we are all so different and heal at different rates etc.... Sure, some of that could be attributed to how much work we put into it but i think also for some people itt is easier than others and they heal a lot quicker. For example with my last lot of treatment (radio combined with monoclonal therapy) i had hardly any side effects and most people that go through that treatment regime end up on morphine ... i didnt even need to take panadol. So, there are always exceptions and perhaps if we were told a particular time perhaps it would hamper our healing process. Who knows? The mind is a very strong thing!!

By the way, i should have mentioned me playing basketball too early (am bad) caused keloid scarring. Not sure why thats a bad thing but have been told its not great.

Glad to hear you are starting to mend.

Julie xo

YehYa's picture

Re: Radiation after affects?

Hi Willow'

I had my last radiotherapy on the 19th Jan 2010. I had what i discribe as shooting pain through my breast that seemed to exit through my nipple, so bad at times it actually made me jump and bought me to tears. The head nurse at radio told me it was the nerve endings reacting to the radio. She gave me a big box of panadol and said to take it 4 times a day, when it got into my system there was no more pain for a couple of weeks and then she told me to use panadiene worked for a while and when it started again she got the Dr/onc to prescribe panadeine forte. I havent needed the panadeine forte since last week. Yay! That was what I experienced maybe your should check with your Dr or nurse.
Yes I have been really sore and tender aslo, I put that down to they have cut into nerves and left the area numb and now the feeling is coming back it hurts.(My mum had big lung operation and about a year later she went through similar sensations, the Dr told her that it was the feeling coming back.) Did they give you after opp stretching exerscises to prevent frozen shoulder? Maybe give them a go for a few days and see if it's any better. My shoulders and whole body were achey last weeked & I was getting a numb bum too. It was worse at night when I hit the hay, to the point that I dreaded going to bed. On Wednesday I went for a 2km walk with hubby helping me up the hill lol that night I had the best nights sleep I've had in a long time.

Thankyou Julie you have shone some light at the end of my tunnel with your information. Why don't the medico's ever want to give a ball park estimate on times? You know just an idea of times is all I would like to know.
Thank you Samex neuropathy, I read about that in the begining and forgot all about it. I thought it was my dermatitus trying to rear it's ugly head again lol

All the best

Jules2's picture

Re: Radiation after affects?

Hiyya Willow

I can only comment on my radiation and its a bit like berger paints ... it just keeps on keeping on. According to my nurse coordinator it can happen like this for quite some time, months type time frame. I am constantly having changes.

The last time i had cancer i had a heap of lymph glands out from under my right arm pit ... that took a very long time to get back to normal movement. After the operation i couldnt even hold a pen - so i guess you can just imagine. Ironically, i finally got it straightened whilst playing basketball and wow did that hurt, but it did work. I still have to be a bit careful these days even as i was warned i could get a frozen shoulder if i didnt keep it fairly active and loose.

Glad to read you are getting out and having fun!!! Go you!!! That is one thing i promised to myself that cancer would never permanently take my sense of humour or sense of fun!!!

Julie xo

samex's picture

Re: Radiation after affects?

Hi Willow,
Having not had radiation I can't really help there, sorry. My feet are bad partly due to the residual neuropathy of the chemo so must be a dfferent cause to your pain, but yes I do feel like an old lady!

Like you I try really hard to not knock back any invitations and make sure that I try to do anything I can afford to do. Off to Canberra on Monday on my day off to see the Paris MAsters exhibition. Can't afford to stay overnight so down and back in the day. A friend may be coming but if she can't then I'll go by myself.

Hope someone can help with the other aches and pains.

Have you checked with your doctor or even your GP?


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