Radiation side affects

I am trying to find information about any problems
post treatment. I had 29 external radiation,
6 chemo, and 65 hours of internal radiation.
I have to frequently urinate and lately I feel
I am having bowel changes. Has anyone else
experienced any of these changes? Please
help

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hello 9catnaps, yes of course i and most of us that have had treatment for cervical cancer have experienced the same unfortunate changes in our bodies. the radiation does a bad number on your pelvic region. in my case it did get better. 2004 radiation sent me into almost uncontrollable diarrhea. you kinda have to accept it and deal with it at the time. even had adult diapers for several months. your not alone and for most i think it does get way better. your in good hands here with all of us experienced gals. life gets better if you let it. smiles and an early spring to you.
mary

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hi 9catnaps, you are soooo not alone in this.

i thought it was interesting when I started radiation and chemo, that they said radiation may cause diarrhea, but chemo may cause constipation. i had my fingers crossed that they'd cancel each out LOL. no such luck... lotsa diarrhea.

i made sure i always had immodium a.d., and scoped out the cleanest restrooms between home and the cancer center. i also kept a supply of flushable wet wipes.

i am 16 months out of treatment and still having some bladder issues. it used to be a really frequent urge, but nothing but a trickle came. that's improved immensely over time. my bigger problem is leaking. i went to a urologist in early 2007, and after much testing, she said my bladder has a smaller capacity now, probably because radiation may have scarred my bladder. she said the scarred tissue would soften over time and things would improve. she had put me on vesicare at one time, but i really didn't notice a change, so i quit taking it. she said, and i quote, "it may be something you'll just have to live with."

i did recently ask my gynonc about diarrhea, because i seem to still have it a lot more than i used to, before diagnosis. he said radiation side effects can show up or happen for years.

i'm sorry i don't have a solution... i sure wish i did!

gerri

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I agree with the other two. I am 14 months out of treatment and still have bladder and bowel problems. Yes it does get better at least in my case. I only go 8-10 times a day instead of 30. lol Bladder still has some leakage too. Certain foods seem to make it worse so you might have to pay attention to what you eat and see if there are some foods that trigger bigger bowel problems.
Good Luck and hopefully things will get better

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I am 10 mos post treatment. The acute effects of the radiation and chemo cleared up and bowel and bladder were good for 2 -3 mos and now I'm having bowel problems again. This time constipation. I am investigating with my GP to see if something is fusing or scar tissue is closing up the GI tract. I find eating an alkaline diet (fruit, veg, tofu & whey protein) is helping me regulate my bowel during this time. Hoping to be able to add fish and bread later.

I had similar tx to yourself. 29ext rad, 4 int. HDRad, 3 chemos.

I'm still fatigued are you?

Susan BC

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I had 6 chemo, 29 external radiation and 5 internal radiation treatments that ended one year ago December. I experienced bladder and bowel problems then, and still do over a year later. I also experience alot of pain and ALOT of fatigue. I wonder if this is normal?

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Hi 9catnaps.
I realize I am coming in late to the discussion, but we all totally understand what is happening to you. Believe it or not, the years will go by quickly and you will no longer feel bad for taking up a bathroom stall for thirty minutes, even on an airplane. You will never know what triggers the 'attacks" it varies by day, week and month. I keep an extra set of pants with me also, as there has been the occational need to threw them away before leaving the bathroom.

Flax seed oil and prescription strenth limotal do good jobs in keeping if under some control.

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I AM FORTUNATE THAT I DON'T HAVE BOWEL OR BLADDER PROBLEMS. I DON'T THINK I COULD TOLERATE ANY MORE SIDE EFFECTS FROM RADIATION. MY SIDE EFFECTS ARE FROM RADIATION BURNING OUT MY BONE MARROW. NOW I HAVE FRACTURES IN MY SACRUM AND PELVIS (SYMPHIS PUBIS) . I HAVE HAD HORRIBLE NERVE PAIN IN MY RIGHT LEG AND HAVE LOWER BACK PAIN AND PAIN IN THE DEEP PUBIC AREA. I TAKE A LOT OF PAIN MEDS AND GET NERVE BLOCKS. I USE A BACK BRACE AT TIMES AND MY LIFE IS SOOOO DIFFERENT NOW-VERY LIMITED ON PHYSICAL ACTIVITY. PAIN MEDS MAKE ME GOOFY- (WHY DOES ANYONE WANT TO TAKE THEM IF THEY DON'T HAVE TO? )THEY CAUSE REALLY BAD CONSTIPATION TOO. JUST FOR KICKS I HAVE LYMPHEDEMA TRIGGERED FROM INFECTIONS IN MY ABDOMEN POST OP. ANYONE OUT THERE WITH ANY SIMILAIR PROBLEMS? (HOPE NOT)

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Yes "MOVINGFORWARD", I'm out here with very similar problems! My radiation ended in October/2006 and just a little bit over a month later I began with my ongoing very painful side effects. I have insuficency fractures in my sacrum and have been in pretty bad shape for over 16 months now. I can't hardley walk and I've not been able to sit since this began. I am in so much pain every single day and I just pray pray for a miracle all the time. I am mostly in the bed - my husband does pretty much everything - bless him. My sister who lives in Canada came here to help me 3 times last year .. each time was for a lttle over three months - 9+ months total. I developed radiation soft tissue necrosis in my vulva/vaginal area about 8 months ago (I still have this) and also rectal bleeding. I have some lymphodema in my upper inner thighs as well. After a very very long fight with my insurance company, I was finally able to have 30 hyperbaric oxygen treatments. This was very difficult for me to go through because I have to lay on a love seat cushion in the back of our car to and from the clinic which is an hours drive each way and I also lay in the chamber for 2 hours every day except week-ends and this only further hurts my sacrum. I can now barely just make it to my bathroom since having the 30 trips which are 9 weeks past. They helped my bleeding problem pretty good - not totally - but not my other problems. We will be paying for 10 more treatments ourselves (they gave us a discount) and I start up again on the 20th. if I can make it. I don't know what else I can do. My doctors don't have any other answers for me and I feel so alone at this point but I know that my life is in God's hands and there is always hope in Him. I pray right now for you and for all of these other precious ones who are going through these horrible side effects from the very treatment that alot of the time heals our cancers .. yet can hurt us so much.

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Susan,
I found your post while looking for help. Same problems you were having. 45 external 2 internal and 6 chemo's. I had raging diahria (sp) early on during and just after my treatments ended.Last October. I seemed to be fine for about 5 months then BAM different side effects began. Chronic constipation. Only small what I call rabbit pellets when I can go at all. Either a fissure or internal hemroids which sometimes bleed. When I finally called the doctor I was told that these were all common side effects from the radiation. Oh yeah and one other little dittie the ONC told me. Apparently one of the little capsules from the implant radiation is unaccounted for so the Onc says its probable still in me but not to worry. OK yeah right I wont worry!!!!!!!!!!!!the same radiation capsules that have a shelf life of 100 years!!!! Isn't that just festive. Anyway, what did you finally discover with your bowel issues? Is it scarring from the radiation? Is it any better? What did your Dr. reccomend?
Hope you are doing better. Don't you just wish SOMEONE had told us about all these crappy side effects so we could prepare.
Connie

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Hi Connie

I am now 13 months past the end of treatments. Supposedly cancer free. I have 3 major complications that I deal with. I have bladder cystitis (interstitial cycstitis) which feels like a bladder infection all the time but isn't. It is caused by the radiation killing the cells that line the bladder and protect the bladder from the acids in the urine. Menopause and the hot flashes, nite sweats, depression and sleeplessness. I am on estrodot for menopause and am getting some relief now and am no longer depressed and am getting sleep with extra medication (zoplicone) Gastrointestinal problems from heartburn to constipation, lack of mobility and abdominal pain. I am scheduled for a colonscopy Aug 18. In Canada it typically takes several months to get a diagnostic test and each one is done sequentially. It took 5 months to diagnose cystitis. The GI problems have been an issue since Feb/08 and as yet is still not diagnosed. I am managing with metamucil, suppositories and sometimes senokot. I am learning to live with the chronic bladder pain but it is challenging at times. How are you doing now?

Susan

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Susan, I feel for you. I have all the same lovely symptoms except the bladder pain. The constipation has been the real demon for me. Although I amashamed to admit it, my bladder issues are mostly just the need to go constantly. And I have at my age (49) even wet the bed on a few occassions. Seems to happen on night when the sleeplessnes is bad enough to take something to help me sleep. So which is worse sleeping through it or not sleeping? When I consider the alternatives to being where I am or not haven taken the treatments I can live with them. The night sweats are bad too. I live alone so I just set the air conditioning to sub artic when I go to bed and that has helped a little. My poor dog gets so cold he has taken to sleeping under the covers with me. I hadtried everything for the constipation to no avail, but finally tried mirilax and may (hope hope) have finally found something that helps alittle. I take 1/2 a dose every other day. Do you also have aches in your hip area? That seems to be the new thing with me. I try to get comfortable when I lay down but my hips and upper leg areas just seem to ache. I haven't ever had that problem either. I have another appointment scheduled for July 14. That will be my 1 year anniv from diagnosis. The doctor doesn't give me much encouraging news about the long term side effect of the radiation. "could get worse - could get better" Gee thanks doc! but I try to keep positive and live the best I can day to day. Keep in touch. Let me know how things are progressing with you.
Connie

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Hi Connie

I am 54 and feel for you being 5 yrs younger with a bladder system that is 20 yrs older. Or at least that is how I have come to see my bladder and GI problems because they seem to match people in the 70's range. I guess radiation and chemo really age the body! Yes I have bilateral hip pain , the PET identified bursitis in both hips I did not have this problem before treatment. I push myself in exercise program 3.xwk and walking on Sundays 5-8 miles. Recently Iwalked 13 mile 1/2 marathon. Just about killed me and took over a week to recover (the hips still hurt) but the exercise is my elixir and has been for years for managing emotional stress or pain. I went through some really dark periods this last year and don't want to go there again!

wishing you well, I am sympathetic and empathetic with you pain and I know it's hard to tell others as all they see is "cancer free" Even the onc. docs really just focus on cancer free not quality of life after cancer. At least mine brush that off. But ina way they are right., focusing on quality of life issues is depressing and out of my control whereas being cancer free is a gift. Living cancer free was a given before last year, that's the only part I didn't really realize before. Because of family hx I expected my cancer to arrive in my 60's. I felt cheated of 10 yrs of health, now I realize the treatment has bought me 10 years, I hope!

bye for now

Susan

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I'm almost three years post hysterectomy, chemo and radiation. The diarrhea gradually got better, but for months, I almost passed out every time I had a movement. I've been thinking that I'm really "normal" now. Then, after two busy days of too much activity, I was just zapped with diarrhea again. The only thing that really clears it up is a very mellow diet and laying low for a couple of days. Old movies are good company.
Lethargy is a funny thing. Just when I was resigned to a nap or two every day, I managed to go all day without one. It still comes and goes though. Frustrating, but even these side effects are better than the alternative.

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I hear ya I was always constipated I felt gassy but couldn't pass gas. I now have a nicely tanned ass and puss. and white as milk everywhere else. You will learn to be happy you made it thru it. and even though it seems to take forever. It really isnt all that long!!

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First of all, I'm so sorry for all that you have been going thru. You certainly had a slew of side-effects, more than most I've read about.

You describe the soft-tissue necrossis effect almost exactly what I'm experiencing. This has been excruciatingly painful and dibilitating for me. Was yours painful and how long did it last? I'm told I have an extreme case of it.

On top of that, I was diagnosed as having a Urinary Tract Infection, that I can't begin describe the pain.

I know posted a while ago, so I hope from my heart that your side effects have substantially lessened.

Your response will be so greatly appreciated.

Wishing you the very best,

Peggy

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