Just had my first pelvic radiotherapy session

FormerMember
FormerMember
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Hi All,

I thought I would explain my first Radiotherapy session for anyone who is waiting to start and wondering.

I am having pelvic radiotherapy as adjuvant treatment following surgery which removed my uterus, tubes and ovaries. My lymph nodes were left, due to adhesions.

So, I had my planning CT scan 2 weeks ago. This morning , I had it all explained to me again by the radiologist, I asked and confirmed which structures they were zapping. Then I laid on the bed in the centre of the room, with support under my head and knees, so was comfortable. Then the radiologist and assistant left the room. There was some background music playing. The machine , which looked and was very high tech, moved round me, making some quiet little sounds sometimes. Then it was all done, and the radiographer came back  and said that was it, and discussed the timings for tomorrow( starting chemo as well then, having the chemo first).

The machine was image guided, doing a type of radiotherapy called VMAT ( volumetric modulated arc therapy), so the machine moved round me in a 360 degree arc.

The whole thing took 30 minutes from walking in to walking out. I wasn't timing it but I guess about 15 minutes was the actual treatment.

The radiographer said the effects are cumulative, so I may not get side effects for the first 2 weeks.

Hope this is useful for anyone who is wondering. 

  • Hi . Always good to get the first one out of the way as you then know what to expect. You then get in to the daily routine. Surprising how upbeat these places usually are and not all doom and gloom as you may expect. I had 6 weeks of it and didn't really have any side effects other than tiredness towards the end. I hope all goes well for you. Best wishes.

    Best wishes to All,   rily.

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  • FormerMember
    FormerMember in reply to rily

    Hi Mrs Woodentop

    Goodness me I'm old enough to remember the woodentops.

    I've just completed eight weeks of pelvic radiotherapy. The team I had were fantastic, and I had a pleasant, personal, and positive experience.

    I had a few minor side effects, which were easily manged, and I kept my team informed of anything that was happening. I found them to be very supportive,and helpful, especially as I messed up on the odd occasion. Keep them informed, and the odd packet of biscuits, or cake shows your appreciation of what they're doing for you, and certainly helps with your treatment.

    Best wishes for your on going treatment

  • FormerMember
    FormerMember in reply to FormerMember

    Thanks flightsim,

    Its reassuring to hear you only had a few manageable side effects from 8 weeks. Glad you had a positive experience.

    I am finding the team really kind and supportive too. I messed up a bit today, have learned what not to have for breakfast! It was 3rd time lucky after emptying and refilling, but there were others to be seen in the gaps so I did not feel too bad. 

    I will definitely make sure the team know how appreciated they are.

    Best Wishes for your continued recovery now you are done with treatment.

  • FormerMember
    FormerMember in reply to rily

    Thanks rily 

    Its good to know that lots of side effects do not have to happen.  Glad you had a good experience.

    Thanks for the encouragement. 

    Best Wishes to you too.

  • FormerMember
    FormerMember in reply to FormerMember

    Well I finished my 5 weeks pelvic radiotherapy on Friday last week and just finished a treatment free week before my next chemo.

    Everyone was lovely, especially when I got it wrong in judging the empty bowel /full bladder combination.  I am looking forward to getting back to eating fruit and veg and not having to be bothered with timings!

    I have been lucky so far with side effects. I have had some digestive system pain and soreness, bad enough for co-codamol once or twice, but otherwise so far the main effect has been tiredness. 

    It's been very manageable so far. 

  • Hi Mrs Woodentops, I haven't started with radiotherapy yet.  Could you tell me more about the food you couldn't eat?  love fruit and veg it keeps me going otherwise my system halts.

  • This was very helpful. I am going back today to discuss the radiotherapy- she has said I will need five weeks. I have been concerned about possible side effects but only time will tell.

  • Hi Mrs Woodentop,

    just to say that I appreciated this post. My first radiotherapy session is on 9th October and now I hav e more idea what to expect. Have you had many side effects?

  • FormerMember
    FormerMember in reply to TC108

    Hi TC108,

    My side effects were tiredness after the end of the second week, and some digestive system soreness.

    I had concurrent chemotherapy, ( my last chemo is on 24th September), so at least some of the tiredness is that.   I found radiotherapy with Cisplatin really no problem.  After I finished radiotherapy on 12th July, I switched chemo to Carboplatin/Paclitaxel.  The first cycle of that was in the recovery phase from radiotherapy,  and my digestive system was quite painful for a few days at the start of that cycle. 

    I would say it was 4 weeks after the last radiotherapy to be pretty much over any noticeable side effects.

    One I have had is some slight vaginal spotting on tissue/discharge like when pre-menopausal ( very slight), which my oncologist says is from the irritation to the vagina which is in the radiotherapy target area, caused by the radiotherapy. I am not sexually active so it's not a problem for me.Its expected to go anyway.

    I have just seen also the question about diet during radiotherapy. You need to present yourself with an empty bowel, which includes empty of wind, as otherwise your bowel edges into the target area, which they aim to avoid. Fruit and veg consumption can make this challenging! I found if easier to stick with protein and carbs during my radiotherapy weeks. On the other hand they want a full bladder for the same reason, so drink plenty during the day so it's easy to top up to full on demand. Takes ages to do that if you are dehydrated. 

    On clothing, I wore trousers and a top mostly.As it was for pelvic,  I went into the room in undies and top. There was a changing room outside and I just left my trousers and bag in there.Once you are in position they just get you to pull your top up to below your boobs and nickers down to your groin. Once you are zapped and the machine has moved out of the way,  you re arrange yourself, hop off the table and thats it.

    It really is very manageable. 

    Best wishes x

  • Thanks for your email it really has been helpful. I find the prospect quite daunting. Hope your chemo is going as well as possible.

    best wishes x