Chemo & Radiation Questions

I just got back from the doctor, and we discussed my treatment plan.  So much was thrown at me, so many possible complications, and so much to learn.  I have to admit, I sometimes wonder if it would have been better to live with the cancer and take my chances.  I do have some questions for anyone/everyone:

 

1.  After a PET scan, my doctor thought I was stage 1B, with a 2.9 cm tumor.  I was scheduled to have a radical hysterectomy via da vinci method.  However, when she opened me up, there was one small lymph node that was cancerous.  So, she took out lymph nodes for testing then closed me up.  The next day, she told me I would do chemo and radiation instead.  I asked her a lot of questions, but never completely understood why she didn't take out the tumor when she had me on the table.  She did admit that there is a chance that they lymph node that was cancerous could have spread the cancer.  And the chemo and radiation I'm going to have is only going to cover the cancer in my cervix/uterus/vagina area.  So, I don't understand why she didn't just remove the cancer by doing the radical hysterectomy.  If there is still a chance that the cancerous lymph node could have spread the cancer, what's the point in dealing with the side effects of chemo and radiation??

 

2.  They seem to be concerned b/c I am a vegetarian.  I may need iron to help me through the chemorads, and meat is the best way to get it.  Has anyone else gone through chemorads as a vegetarian?  I do not eat meat for ethical reasons, but I've also lost the taste for it.  I really don't want to eat meat.  I feel like this cancer has taken so much of me, now it is forcing me to compromise my principles.  

Sorry if I sound bitter...it's only because I am :)

I needed to take iron tablets from 20th April to mid July due to my initial blood loss meant my HB through chemoradiation and brachytherapy was only 80-100 even after the 8 transfusions and iron infusion. I'm not vegetarian, but I was still having active bleeding but not haemorraging until the 4-5 week mark of radiation. They'll monitor your bloods every week though.

Hiya Dog lover

I very very rarely eat meat,like maybe once a month. The only time I had blood issues was the day before my last braccy. I had an injection in my tummy,that was it all sorted.x

Thanks Brucegirl57.  Based on your signature, it looks like we have the same diagnosis and treatment plan.  Great to hear you are doing so well!

I can understand how you feel. I presume you've been reading the side effects of chemorads and it's leaving you a little (lot) worried about what you are going ton be put through. 

From going through it myself and reading what others writems of here, the chemorads are much easier to get through than you expect.  I'm nearly 2 years on and the worst I can remember is diahorrea, constipation (with a sore bottom) and tiredness. It's very manageable and the side effects wear off once treatment ends. The worst I am left with is sore feet for a moment when I first stand.

 

With regards to the actual treatment,  the radiotherapy will be targeted at your tumour and the chemotherapy will kill off any rogue cells that may have travelled 

Thanks Philleepa.  I wonder why the sore feet?  I've never heard of that.  But I am just now looking into the side effects.  I almost think I should stop reading about the side effects, and just take it as it comes.

Hi dog_lover

yes stop reading!!!! Lol. Focus on what you have to do to get through treatment. 

If you can go and seek some help from a dietician and get a game plan, it might not work but it's a start. Then get yourself into a mindset of you can do this!!

i can tell you that I could not stomach anything other then soup and white bread and my diet became soooo bland through treatment as everything went super extraordinarly through me faster then a bullet!!! Boiled potatoes, white bread, plain soda crackers. That was pretty much it.

i also have low iron and low blood pressure my whole life and even with eating this bland diet all through treatment I did not require any blood or shoots to help my blood counts come back. Everyone is different! Do not compromise your ethics unless you absolutely have no choice!!!

with surgury or chemorads there is always risks. Remember that if you do have some side effects most of them don't last long or they are minor in comparison to many other health issues some other people have. 

Im over a year post treatment and I'm finally starting to feel like my old self. It's been tough to get through some treatment related issues but I sometime see other people who have to deal with non cancer related health issues and I'll take my issues over those things any day. 

Think positive!!!

last....

removing the tumour or ground zero site has a greater chance of causing blood spread then removing a lymphnode that has picked up some cancerous cells that broke off from the tumour. That lymphnode picked up a rougue cell as it was travelling through your lymphnatic fluid. The bigger the tumour the riskier it is to cut it out. the chemo you will have is actually to enhance what the radiation does, the radiation will not only target the tumour but also any lymphnodes and it will cover the whole pelvic region as this is where the cells tend to move to if breaking off the tumour. This radiation field will kill off any more rougue cells that might have escaped. 

The dr is doing what is best. Have a little trust that she knows what she is doing. 

Good luck

Lolli888:  I just met with the radiation doctor, and he basically explained what you said...that chemorads is the best way to go for my situation.  It makes sense to me now.  You said you are now a year post treatement and you are now feeling like yourself.  Can you expand on that?  Did your taste for certain foods change?  How long did it take you to get your normal energy back?  Sorry for all the questions.  But I'm the type of person that does not like surprises:)

Sent you a pm:)

Hi dog lover, 

I made a long post about preparing for chemoradiation on Tuesday 28th March 2017 which some people found helpful and might be helpful to you, but I can't seem to cut & paste it or link directly to the post. If you are interested, when you are logged into the site you can click on my name and see the 'previous posts' section. The thread is called 'Fears of what chemorads will do to me' and mine is the first reply on that thread. I'm sorry to link to it this way, but it's so long I really cant face typing it all over again! (Being able to link to your own posts, or the posts of others that have been particularly helpful, would be a really useful feature on this site!)

Other than that, anything that Lolli888 has to say will be good karma & useful.  I found her posts tremendously helpful when I first arrived here and lurked until my treatment was over before I wrote anything! 

The main thing is to drink loads of water, take your rest when your body calls for it and don't sweat the housework. It can wait.

Thanks Cheery1.  I am going to search for that post now.

Hi - I have a vague memory of reading something similar to this before regarding being a vegetarian. Someone suggested Rice Krispies (I think you are in America so no idea if they have them there but I imagine you would have the equivalent) ....... but anyway lots of cereals have Vit B and  Iron added to them. I’m on week three of chemo rads and am able to have a bowl every morning. 

I have no qualification regarding nutrition and my suggestion maybe crazy so please ignore me if it is but I do think you shouldn’t have to start eating meat if that is your choice. You can get iron in other foods. The cereal rice Krispies claims to have 168% of your daily recommended amount. 

All the best with the treatment - as I say I’m only three weeks in but so far it is very do able! (I hope I haven’t spoke too soon). 

 

Good luck with treatment x 

 

 

Thank you, Susan.  Yes, I am in the US, but we most definitely have Rice Krispies.  I actually love Rice Krispie treats, but I don't know if that will count;)  Good luck to you!!  So happy to hear this described as "doable".  That's encouraging.