Radiation Treatment For Beginners Part II
So! I finally completed my course of External Beam Radiation treatment on the 21st December 2012. In my previous post “Radiation Therapy for Beginners part 1” published on the 9th November 2012 I outlined as much technical stuff as I could about the treatment. I also gave an early report on the beginning of the treatment. The following information will round out my experience with this treatment and give some insight into my side effects and how I dealt with them along the way.
The side effects I experienced and how I dealt with them are as follows:
I developed urinary issues with increasing pain and frequency. I eventually began medication with Flowmaxtra pills and Ural satchels. These managed to get me through the course OK and a month after completion I am off both medications. It is interesting to also note that I have not suffered any urinary incontinence since completing the treatment.
My bowel habits became odd fairly early in the treatment and have remained at odds since completion. I developed what I describe as a lazy bowel syndrome, neither diarrhea nor constipation. It is described by me as a many visits to the loo in the hours prior to lunch with not much in the way of deposit apart from small skinny stools. There were no diarrhea like pains just normal urges to go. I was unable to find anything to ease this situation but as it was more a nuisance issue I just put up with it.
I developed consistent painful and stressful reflux and indigestion which threatened to be a real problem until I experienced a series of recurring dreams over three nights. I know this will sound weird but I swear it is the truth. For three nights in a row I had the same dream popping up more than once each evening and waking me each time. After the third night I gave in and did as the dream advised and that was to eat a raw garlic sandwich on white bread with butter????(Perhaps it was a prod from Greg. Who knows?) The reflux almost immediately eased back but I was to also change my diet from this point on. To give relief to those closest to me I dropped the garlic sandwiches after three days and started using probiotics to replace tummy flora and cut out red meat and increased my fruit uptake. (This sounds more like a prod from Greg.) The reflux has now almost disappeared with the occasional reaction due to poor food choices.
I experienced increasing bouts of nausea as the treatment went on. As I was treated on the Sunshine Coast there just happens to be a little town nearby called Yandina. Now situated in Yandina is a ginger factory that is a major tourist centre in this area.( Hooray) I happened to discover (through my wifes insistence) the friendly relationship between ginger and upset stomaches in the form of brewed ginger beer and what is called naked ginger pieces. I am so grateful for discovering the anti nausea properties of ginger and can recommend ginger to anyone having tummy problems. Ginger certainly helped me out with this one.
Fatigue was a huge side effect even apart from the fatigue caused by my ADT. As the treatment progressed fatigue grew in effect almost daily during the later stages. My only real options here were to walk for an hour in the early mornings when I had energy then nap as dictated by the fatigue during the day.
I have just received my latest PSA result since completing my treatment 0.04 ng/ml which is excellent, everything still on the level. My last PSA was taken in July 2012 and was 0.08 ng/ml. The Radiation Oncologist has advised he would like me to remain on ADT for at least the next 12 months and then reviewed. So I assume that apart from four monthly PSA tests and doctors reviews I will just get on with my life until either the wheels fall off somewhere or I end up celebrating my 90th birthday in 25 years time. I think I am actually in remission for the time being and I think Greg would be cheering.
Lee aka Popeye
Further Reading Radiation Therapy For Beginners Part 1.