Week 2: I can see half way from here!

First round of chemo is behind me and today was day 9 of radiation.  My body is being a trooper and handing everything pretty well so far.  My blood work was great with no dip in anything except plateletes so far (recheck next week), raw mouth but no sores, a few days of nausea and a digestive roller coaster, and my bum is starting to sting, but I am having some good days and no terrible ones yet!  (Thank you, Tyndall, for your newby tips!)

I am curious, my doctors are not planning a break from radiation, unless and when needed.  I have heard some docs consider it mandatory halfway, and I have not heard anyone say they went straight through with no break.  What has been your experience with that. 

Also my face has lit up with the chemo going to work on precancerous spots I guess, and my face lotion burns.  Any suggestions on what to use?

Olga likes this post.
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Coconut oil or jojoba oil. I have always heard not to take a break.
Alicia likes this comment
I agree, no break if you can take it. Most of us didn’t have a break, the ones that did were pretty sick...
No idea about your radiant face, you must look like you’re glowing. Keep hydrated, eat whatever agrees with your gut, keep it nutritious. You’re going to be fine!
Kim, Alicia like this comment
Good news! Glad to hear you’re hanging in there! I’ve always been told it’s best to avoid a break in the radiation if possible to maximize its efficiency. I ended up taking two days off because of my burns and simultaneously due to an ice storm, but they just added them back onto the last week. I would be surprised if the doctor recommended a break based on my conversations with others on the blog but perhaps treatment approaches are evolving? For example...Are you using a dilator during your treatment to avoid pelvic stenosis? I asked about this repeatedly two years ago and they made me feel like a crazy person, yet recent blog members have shared that they’ve used one during their radiation sessions (frankly I was both ecstatic for them and angry for myself because my instinct kept telling me that would be a good idea and sure enough my stenosis has been my biggest hurdle post treatment). I guess my point being that maybe your doctor has a slightly different approach based on recent research? But I do believe you will find nearly all of us on bfac we’re told not to take a break. Hope this helps! Big hugs to you 🤗!
Alicia likes this comment
Not my doctor, but I met someone who took treatment 3 years ago, whose Doctor told her a break was mandatory. I think I will push through.
About the dilator, wow, my doctor doesn't even want to discuss it! When questioned, his response was "I have to give you one after treatment". I tried to do research on what I should be doing during treatment but could find not info on anything that is not addressed until after. I realize from others that long term it is a major issue.
I had the same issue with my face, but by the end my skin looked really good - enjoy it! You’re so lucky to be tolerating things well and I really hope that continues. I would not advise a break in radiation - I had a 10 day one due to a hospitalization for an infection and it reduces your long term survival chances by 20% or more. Power through if you can!
Olga likes this comment
Thanks for the info Julie! I do feel lucky after the horror stories I have read. I will stay strong and power through!
You might want to talk with one of our experts: and a nurse "Michele (ihavebuttwhat)" she has very strong feelings about this.
I have very strong feelings about doing less than the full recommendation nigro protocol: do it all. Do everything you can to live!!
I would say 95% of us, have done the full protocol, or we wouldn't be here.
You can look up the NCCN.org protocol, which is compiled best practices treatment. Or ask the doctors to pull them up on their computer and explain to you.
We still don't have alternative, in this cancer.
You can do it!! We are warriors, stronger than we think!
Big hugs
I went straight through all the radiation treatments. I don’t think I’d want to prolong it as you’d just have to wait longer to heal. The blisters get bad after 3 weeks or so but after finishing I was amazed at how quickly my skin repaired itself. Track down Releveum by Desert Harvest (Amazon or direct). It’s 4% lidocaine and aloe with a bunch of healing herbs. It was a life saver for me.
Tyndall, Julie like this comment
I tried to push through and couldn't. Too much pain for me from radiation burns. I did take a break after talking with my doctor. I think it was 3-4 days. Not only good physically for me but also helped me emotionally to push through the last couple weeks. It was not mandatory totally up to me to do so.

I am glad you are doing so well at this point. I remember someone telling me how good my skin looked after I was done treatment. He said, to my surprise, it was from chemo.
Cheryl likes this comment
The only time a break is needed if there is radiation toxicity like severe burns etc..otherwise, the literature supports continuous treatments. From my experience, at the 3rd week is when it gets funky. Do use
Oops these stupid phones. Go continue, do use the creams for burns, baking soda rinses to prevent mouth sores, drink water each time u pee, eat anything u want when ur not nauseous. U will be done soon Alicia..hang in there!
The only breaks I had were over the weekends...

Hang in there you are doing really well!!!
I did not take a break. My radiation doctor offered me one in the last few days, as I was quite miserable. However, I decided I just wanted to get it over with, which I'm glad I did. I am still here over 10 years later. I think no break is best if a person can do it. I don't know what the current Canadian protocol is, but it used to include a break. However, no break is part of the protocol used in the US, which uses the NCCN guidelines. Try to hang in there--you can do this!
Hi Alicia. Sorry that I'm just now seeing that you are new here. I added a post to your vaginal stenosis question. I did not have any breaks and only missed 1 day of radiation in the middle because my platelets were too low. Other than that, no breaks. Sometimes I wish I had had a break of a week, but I was just wanting to get through it and start the healing process.
Interesting about the chemo and your facial skin. But that sounds right. I had a friend taking the same 5FU for her skin cancer on her face. Made her really nauseous. Definitely switch to a non-irritating cleanser and gentle moisturizer. Maybe ask a dermatologist for a recommendation. My dermatologist actually prescribed Biafine for the burns on my bum as that is what they give their skin cancer patients.
Some other helpful hints are:
I'm sure Tyndall has shared her moisturizing tips with you, and all I can say to that is to do what she suggests. It is critical to keep the area moisturized in order to protect your skin.
In addition, I recommend a daily probiotic for women, and one geared toward intestinal issues.
Talk with a nutrition counselor about diet changes as these will become important in order to manage your symptoms. Also ask about supplements. I took large quantities of L Glutamine as it is very healing, especially for the lining of the small intestines. I think I used 6 teaspoons a day mixed in water throughout the day.
Water, water, water. Literally you need to hydrate from the inside as the radiation will dry everything out in the radiation zone.
High protein diet - super important for healing your burns.

Cheryl likes this comment
Best wishes for you. Hope you will recover soon. If the treatment is long term, then do it properly and completely. There are different health plans available to take which helps in covering the medical expenses which covers the different costs like medicine costs, hospital rent and other costs related to the hospital facilities. The various plans are Mutual of Omaha Medicare supplement, Medigap plan G, AARP Medicare supplement plan G https://www.thehealthexchangeagency.com/aarp-unitedhealthcare-plan-g, Mutual of Omaha Medicare.

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Vital Info


November 29, 2018

Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas 71913

April 18, 1963

Cancer Info

Anal Cancer

Skin Cancer

Squamous Anal

November 17

Stage 1

0.1 - 1.0 cm



Genesis Cancer Center

February 15

None for the anal (I have always had irritable bowel) except 2 squamous skin on calf and shoulder and my dermatologist told me to get a colonoscopy because the outside can signal what going on in the inside,


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