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    Radiation after effects
    sadblossom posted:
    Hello ladies.........long time no type! Hope you are all doing well my friends.
    I have been doing ok but have a couple of questions........1. sense I finished radiation 2 yrs ago I take colds/viruses/sore throats/coughs very easy and very often, as I did not before.....and.........I have also had an itchy scalp sense radiation treatments too. Is either of these comman? And if they are what can be done. I seem to keep a sore throat and cold and my scalp itches so bad I want to pull my hair out at times.
    I know both of these questions are kind of off the wall but in hind sight that is when they started. Radiation affect immune system?
    By the's was 2 yrs in Aug. sense surgeries and my arm is still numb, still does not have normal strength or virsitility and both arms have become very large but are not swollen.I have had a weight gain and do not know why. Doctors do not commit on that. I am still on Arimidex, 2 years in March. Still fatigued and ribs and spine still hurt.
    Ok, that was a quick update. Would appreciate feedback from any of you that can relate to any of this.
    Oh, Tator Tot is growing and doing very well!
    Love and Blessings.......
    GGrandmaJan responded:
    Hi Pat, Welcome back. Was wondering how you have been. So sorry you are having all these problems.

    Have you checked with your primary Dr on all your questions? I found the Onc Dr's usually only handle the cancer stuff. Perhaps you need an appt with your Radiation Dr and see if he/she could answer your questions. I do not feel these could be related to Rads---but I am no Dr. I didn't have any of these things happen after I did rads. Perhaps something else is going on with you.

    As for the wt gain---when I was on Tamoxifen I found the wt creeping up no matter what I did. It could be from the Arimidex.

    Are you sure your arms are not swollen? One of the possibilites is lymphedema. I measure my arms each month to see if my lt arm is getting bigger as that is the side I had my mast on. Then of course, I write it down in my journal as my memory is totally shot.

    Sorry I can't remember but did you do Chemo?

    I think I would be bugging the heck out of my Primary Dr with your questions. There has to be some answers for you. Sorry I couldn't be more help. Hopefully Judy will have some better answers for you as she does all our research.

    So happy to see you posting again. Glad Tator-Tot is doing good.

    Jenna291 responded:
    Hi Pat,
    I finished my radiation 4 years ago, but I had chemo before that. I do have a lot more sinus issues and colds than I ever did before bc treatment. I really associated some of it with the lack of protection in my nose from the hair that didn't completely come back after chemo that was causing more sinus issues for me, therefore giving me more sinus headaches and pressure. I think all around our immune systems took such a beating with treatments we are never the same. I have a flu shot every year, but as I write this I have a miserable head cold and just feel plain yucky. I know Arimidex causes fatigue and headaches, I am sure that doesn't help with getting these colds/viruses. I have been on it now for close to 2 years, prior to that tamoxifen for 18 months. No matter what I do, rest, eat well, exercise, I still get a lot of sinus headaches. I have talked with my pcp and oncologist about it, they say the usual, steam, medication, hot showers. Sometimes nothing helps except to sleep, which unfortunately is not that simple, as I am currently sitting at my desk trying to work under bright fluorescent lights!
    Have you gone to physical therapy for your arms? I had 14 nodes removed, and pt helped a lot. It took about 4 months twice a week to get complete range of motion, a lot of pain and work, but worth it. The affected side still gets tired sometimes and sore, I think that is one of the unpleasant realities of what we have to live with.
    Glad to see you back and hope to chat again soon ~ Jenna
    brcansur responded:
    It is so nice to see you back on the board and to hear that tator tot is doing well also that is great news. I just wish that you were feeling better also sorry to hear you are still having troubles. I didn't have rads so don't have much info on that for you. But I can say I did have bi mast and the breast area is still numb and it is almost 4 years now. I still get fatigued very easy, and my ribs ache also I thought it was because of my implants rubbing on them. All of my bones aches all the time I have had a full body scan done and all they found is arthritis which I already knew I had. Thank god no cancer. Chemo makes the arthritis worse I was told by my doctor that I see for it. I too gained weight after chemo but am finally starting to lose some of it now it took for ever and I don't eat much at all I never feel hungry and when I do I can't eat much before i am full. I exercise and walk as much as my body will let me and I hike when the weather is nice. But I still didn't lose weight and the doctors only reason for this was because of some of the meds I did and still take. Meds have a lot to do with weight gain in a lot of people but you can't just stop taking them you have to talk to your doctor and work things out. That is what I did and we cut down on some and changed others and finally I am losing weight. But the pain meds will do a number on your weight and your body they help with arthritis or other kinds of pain but can cause headaches and so on. That always got me it is a pain meds and causes pain as a side effect.
    I have also had a lot of sinus trouble since chemo I don't know if you had chemo plus rads. The itching could be from dry skin which I have had also since chemo very dry skin all over. I use a lot of coco butter on my body and conditioning shampoos for my hair. None drying look for shampoo that doesn't have alcohol in it but has moisterising elements. I hope that this helps you out. I hope you feel better soon and that you have a great new year angel hugs Roberta,
    judyfams responded:
    I am aso glad to hear from you again. You have been missed!
    I am sorry that you have so many health problems.
    I don't remember your history in detail, but will try to give you some insight just from my research.
    Chemo does suppress the immune system - and if you have been out of chemo (or didn't have chemo) your immune system should be better. You can rebuild the immune system through nutrition - are you getting lots of lean protein and vitamins and keeping hydrated? Maybe you should consult a nutritionist at this time.
    Radiation does'nt really affect the immune system, but can affect the ribs and spine as well as the arimidex too. Have you spoken to your onco about changingto another AI to see if the rib andspine pain changes in any way.
    If both arms are swollen - I would definitely advise you to see a lymphedema physical therapist. You do not think it is lymphedema - but there are degrees of lymphedema and you might have a lesser degree, but you can be guided with exercises that you can do at home to decrease the swelling.
    As for the scalp itch I would recommend your seeing a dermatologist to see if there is something going on. You could also try changing to an organic shampoo that doesn't contain any sulfates or other irritating chemicals to the scalp.
    As for the fatigue - diet and sleep and exercise might help as well as getting more sun exposure.
    Weight gain might just be a function of us all getting older and being post menopause. But do remember that even if we are all aging - like good wine we are also getting better!!!!!!
    You should not have to deal with these problems and there may be help for them.
    I hope you can find some answers and some relief - and please don't wait so long to stay in touch with us!
    Glad to hear tater tot is doing great.
    Have a good 2012!
    mhall6252 responded:
    Pat - so sorry you are still dealing with the after-effects of treatment. It seems like things never get back to what we knew as "normal" and we're constantly adjusting our expectations to the "new normal."

    Have you had recent lab work that might indicate low blood counts? Or a low functioning thyroid? Those are things that could affect your immune system. Ask your doctor for simple blood tests to check. It could also be causing fatigue and weight gain.

    Arimidex can cause thinning of your bones, which could be the reason for your joint and rib pain. A bone density scan could verify this, and you should probably be having one every year because you are on an AI.

    Talk to your oncologist and request these tests, then get copies of the results for your records.

    I hope you get some relief soon.

    Read my blog at
    Smile and the world smiles with you!
    Rachael67 responded:
    Hey, "Angel of the Candles" !! Welcome home to you and to Tator!!

    There is nothing I can add to what the others have said, but did want to chime in with a "happy to hear from you again!"

    Please let us know if you find any solutiions, and how you are doing. Pet pup for us as well!

    Always listen for what is silent and see what is invisible...That's where miracles hide, and it can make all the difference!
    sadblossom responded:
    Thank you all ladies for all of your replies.

    Yes, I have had bone density test and they were in range.
    I did not have chemo so we can rule that out.

    Right now DH and I have the flu. So, I will be brief as I feel so 'lousy'!
    But wanted to thank each of you.
    Also........I really love seeing all the 'pet' ID pictures on here! What a sweet change. I hope I had something to do with setting that off. :>}
    Thanks and God Bless you my dear friends.
    brcansur replied to sadblossom's response:
    Sorry to hear that you and hubby have the flu hope you both are feeling better soon. That is all you need on top of everything else. My prayers are with you for a speedy recovery and for everything to get better soon. Have a good day get some rest make sure to drink plenty and eat small meals to keep your energy up. Angel hugs Roberta,
    Rachael67 replied to sadblossom's response:
    Please feel better soon!

    Blessings you and your DH!
    Always listen for what is silent and see what is invisible...That's where miracles hide, and it can make all the difference!

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