Maggie's

See what's happening in the Community

You are not logged in.   Log In

Blogs

What is a blog?

A blog is an online journal. Read other member's blogs or start one of your own and share your thoughts.

Find A Blog

Read our blogs and post your own comments

Meet the team

As well as sharing experiences with our friendly online community, registered members are able to contact our experienced online team. The Centre is staffed during office hours and the online team aim to reply within 24 hours.

Psychologists and experts from other Maggie's Centres and partner organisations also facilitate some group and individual sessions.

Picture of My new relationship with Newcastle RVI

Personal Blog

Selected Blog

My new relationship with Newcastle RVI

by MammaMia

Reflections on Breast Cancer Diagnosis and treatment
14 November 2015 at 13:40

End of treatment: OUCH!!!

Well, my radiotherapy treatment ended on Wednesday, 11 November, which just happened to be my 60th birthday. Not quite how I had planned to celebrate, but a celebration in itself.

Following my experience of 'hitting the wall' after my 7th session, the tiredness and soreness continued. Two clinical reviews showed nothing unexpected and everything seemed normal. However the evening before my final session, I noticed that my nipple had become red raw and very painful, even when applying the moisturising cream, and my areola (the skin around my nipple) had turned almost black! Not one person had warned me about this and I had never read about it happening. The rest of my breast was bright pink and the skin had started to break out in spots. Not a good look at all.

After my final session, the radiographers issued me with a discharge letter and a tube of different cream 'Flaminal Gel' which I was told to use if the soreness continued.... Luckily I had mentioned to the Chief Radiographer, during my clinic review a week earlier, that we would be coming to Spain the day after my treatment ended, for much need recuperation. She had promised to see me after my final session to see how things were. True to her word, she was waiting for me after the session. She took one look at my pink and black boob, pulled a sympathetic face, muttered a couple of 'oooohs' and said that she would give me some dressings and creams to take away with me.

I was led into one of the clinic consulting rooms and was presented with an array of dressings and yet another cream, 'Flamazine' which I was told to use instead of the flaminal gel. I was also warned that the soreness would 'reach its PEAK in two weeks time, then start to improve.' What? it was going to get worse??? I had naively expected the tiredness and low energy to continue, but thought that the soreness would improve once the treatment stopped. Apparently not. I was even warned not to worry if the skin under my breast broke and I got a green discharge. Many GPs diagnose this as an infection, but is actually the radiation trying to break out from the skin. Sounds as though I could turn into the Hulk - incredible!

So, I am now in Spain for a few weeks, at our apartment, still feeling sore and frustrated at my energy lows. I accept that things may get worse before they get better, so am just taking each day as it comes. However, I can't help feeling a little peeved that no one warned me about the possibility of a black nipple area. Even the blogs I have read and all the literature supporting people through treatment for breast cancer have never mentioned it. Surely I can't be the only person this has happened to?

I do remember one friend warning me that my skin would turn black. She had had radiotherapy on her chin and neck when she had a tumour removed some years ago, so that stuck in my mind. If it were not for her words, I would probably have been more horrified than I actually was.

I am also a little peeved that the radiographers did not show any concern when they did my final treatment. They were happy to wave me off with a discharge letter and a tube of gel. I accept that their role is primarily to provide the treatment, but they must see a great number of people with similar skin reactions. A little advice and reassurance would have been nice...

Still, I'm really not complaining. Overall I have escaped unscathed, apart from my scars and multi-coloured breast. I have become stronger and will be forever grateful for the treatment I received and for the amazing people I met along the way.

Onwards.......



Registered Office: Maggie's, The Stables, Western General Hospital, Crewe Road, Edinburgh EH4 2XU   Registered Charity Number: SC024414
The Maggie Keswick Jencks Cancer Caring Centres Trust is a company limited by guarantee   Company Number: SC162451