I’ve had ten treatments so far. I’m scheduled for 28. From what I understand, most side effects will appear around the third week–so around treatment 15. The main side effects are swelling and heaviness in the breast, skin changes in the treated area such as dry, itchy skin & hyperpigmentation (a darkening of the skin), and fatigue.
After dealing with chemo, I’m happy it is a relatively short list. The main side effect I have is itchy skin. It isn’t painful or unbearable, just irritating. I am faithfully using the Aquaphor in the morning and at night and lotion every three hours in between. I also have hyperpigmentation. It is just slightly tanned underneath my right armpit and on my side. I can’t get a picture that really shows it. However, I think that it is also because I am right-handed. I can’t get my damn arm/hand out of the way.
One thing I forgot to mention in my radiation information post was the super cool Elasto-gel pad. For obvious reasons, my radiologist doesn’t want to just shoot radiation throughout my body. Thus, they lay this 1cm thick adhesive gel pad over my side and chest when they are giving me radiation in the lymph node area under my arm and by my neck. It kind of acts like a second layer of skin, slowing downing the radiation. The radiation gets to the nodes but not, for instance, my esophagus. I think that is so neat. It feels like a giant window cling.
So far, so good. I’ll update you again next week!