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DCIS - lumpectomy + radiation just completed + healthy diet tips

DCIS - lumpectomy + radiation just completed + healthy diet tips

Posted by MLYuen on Mar 12, 2019 4:32 pm

Dear All, I am brand new here! Glad to find an online support group. I am from BC.
I was confirmed with DCIS back in Fall 2018 via my usual mammogram screening in Summer 2018. Biopsy followed in Sept and then lumpectomy to follow in Nov 2018. Just finished my 16 sessions of radiation.

The lumpectomy went fine with good margin, and I recovered well after 1 week off work and then kept to my physio and other doctor's f/u appointments. 

The radiation went ok too, I was very worried about this part, actually. However, after learning and talking to others who went through this treatment, I felt better. The treatment clinic's staff were very good and encouraging too, during my many daily visits to the clinic.  I just finished my last session on the past Friday and is taking a week off to rest up at home to recover.

My skin has been managing the radiation ok, just a little pink and now the skin has a mild itch. The radiology doctor mentioned that there are all common side effects on the skin and told me to keep to the skin care routine I have been doing for another 2 to 3 weeks, these side effects should go away eventually.

I have also started to visit a naturopathic doctor and she has been great. Learning a lot along the way to use wholesome foods as 'medicine' to help me recover from these treatments and change of eating habits. 

She does mentioned green tea is fantastic as a detox agent and full of anticancer fighting agents in them. I loaded up with green tea since a month ago prior to radiation and consume it everyday. I am Chinese therefore I also learning to add some Chinese medicine knowledge to complement with the food advice of my naturopathy.  Will see how I feel in a few weeks.

Hope to hear anyone who has similar breast cancer journey to share too.

Re: DCIS - lumpectomy + radiation just completed + healthy diet tips

Posted by WesT on Mar 12, 2019 6:26 pm

Hi MLYuen‍ and welcome to cancerconnection.  Sorry to hear about your diagnosis but it does sound like your treatment and recovery is going in the right direction.

I am tagging in Kims1961‍, cancertakesflight‍ and ashcon‍ into the conversation as they are all breast survivors as well.  Not sure if they were dealing with the same specifics but they may be able to offer advice or support.

Good luck with your journey!

Re: DCIS - lumpectomy + radiation just completed + healthy diet tips

Posted by MLYuen on Mar 12, 2019 7:05 pm

Thanks so much WesT for tagging others and the warm welcome!

We all need support of any sort to get through our cancer treatment journey!

Looking back onto these past months since my diagnose, I feel blessed that I do have a positive mind set, and proactive to start conversations with others who are going through (or gone through) similar journeys, and also educated myself by reading up and researched a lot on this topic.

My family has been a great support throughout these months.

Love to hear sharing from others too.


Re: DCIS - lumpectomy + radiation just completed + healthy diet tips

Posted by Kims1961 on Mar 12, 2019 7:48 pm

MLYuen‍ Welcome to this awesome community.  Thank you for the tag WesT‍ !

I found my lump on my 56th birthday in 2017 .  I elected for bilateral mastectomy - then had chemo and radiation - as the margins weren't clear and there was 2 nodes with micromets.  I am ER+ and HER2+ - so had to do a year of Herceptin and will be on Letrozole for 5 years.

You are doing so well with your positive spirit, healthy eating, naturopath and family support!!  Wow...that will definitely ease some of the stress of the journey.  It doesn't mean we still won't have tough days but being on the path to wellness helps to heal the soul as well.

I found my mental health an area that i also had to work on - besides my physical health.  Getting outdoors and exercising was so healing.  I initially was so focused on healing my "body" that i forgot my "mind" needing attention as well.

Thank you for posting and let us know how you're doing!


Re: DCIS - lumpectomy + radiation just completed + healthy diet tips

Posted by cancertakesflight on Mar 12, 2019 10:45 pm

Welcome MLYuen‍.  Like you, my original diagnosis was DCIS, but it was so widespread that a lumpectomy was not an option. I also had a few tumours in the mix, so a mastectomy was my only option. On top of that I had chemo (cancer in two lymph nodes) and radiation. Like you, I used complementary medicine during my treatments and continue to use it since my treatments ended.  

I had a positive attitude during my cancer journey. Once I had a diagnosis, I was very calm. I continued to work during my treatments and I was able to see the humour in things. I also had the support of my family, friends, and co-workers. After reading some other people's stories, I know how truly lucky I was to have the support I had. Not everyone is so lucky. 

I have signed up for a program in my area that will help with the exercise and eating portion of my follow-up care. 

It sounds like you are doing a great job to keep yourself healthy. That's all we can really do. 

cancertakesflight (Debbie)

Re: DCIS - lumpectomy + radiation just completed + healthy diet tips

Posted by MLYuen on Mar 12, 2019 11:07 pm

Hi Kim & Debbie, thanks for your encouragement.

I'm taking my recovery a step at a time, been telling myself no more pushing myself like I have always been in the past many years. I have been a f/t working mom for the past 20+ years and work has not get any easier at the office, can get stressful often. It is a fast pace admin office.  May be I have been doing way too much these many years, and forgotten to slow down and take things a little easier :) 

Thank God for my loving husband and grown daughter, the 2 of them have been supportive during the past many months. Without them around, it would have been very tough for me to keep working and getting through the surgery & radiation.

I have a church group who also have very kind members praying for me the past months, and from time to time they sent their regards on how I am doing, this too, have been comforting to me.

Part of my recovery plan from my naturopathic doctor is to eat a 'clean diet' - making changes and be mindful of what I am eating, plus being more active to keep me healthy in the years to come.  I will resume my weekends trail walks and hiking with husband once the weather gets nicer in BC.  Part of the plan is to cut back on eating carb (i.e. breads, pastries, wheat, rice etc) and (trying my upmost best) to cut out sweets and sugar altogether.  Drinking green tea daily + one cup of matcha (they can be bitter, but got use to it by now after weeks) for detox after treatment and these teas are known for their cancer fighting abilities. It was tough to start out as I love my breads, pastries, desserts, and my English teas and enjoy a good cup of coffee often!  Took me some time to get used to not craving for these foods, but I believe I slowly got used to drinking green tea all day, matcha daily, cut out sugar a lot, and if I really crave for coffee, have a cup of black decaf as a little reward once in a while :) 

I also add a lot mushrooms, ginger, and dark green veggies to my diet, cut back on red meat, and go for organic white meat if at all possible.

I started to feel better after about 2 to 3 weeks into this new diet regime and drink lots of water too everyday.  

For my skin care post-radiation - my radiology doctor (and my family doctor) recommended Luriderm unscented body lotion, which I have been using for an overall body lotion.  For my breast care, I am read up from years ago that calendula plant is very good in healing from burn, skin issues and general skin care, very gentle.  I purchased a jar of nature calendula balm (unscented) from a local health food store to start with.
During radiation days, I applied the calendula balm onto my skin gently first, top it off with organic aloe vera gel (I used the brand 'Real Aloe' which has no alcohol in it, so I found this brand very smoothing without drying my breast), and after a few minutes, finish it off with a handmade cream with plant oil base (e.g. coconut oil, shea butter, vit e) - total 3 layers. I do this regime in the morning when I get up after a shower, so to give it a few hours for skin to absorb, to arm me to deal with the radiation in the afternoon. DON'T do this if you have less than a couple of hours before radiation.  I always gently use a wet wipe to wipe off any oil reside in the change room, before I go into the radiation room.  After the radiation treatment, before I changed back into my own clothes, I would repeat this regime again before changing back to my own clothes.  I would do this 1 last time before I go to bed. The bed time one is the best because my skin has at least 8 hours to take in the nourishing oils, ready for the next day's treatment.  Total 3 times daily during radiation days.

After 16 sessions of radiation, I am glad to report that my skin reacted fine with the treatment, just mild pink and soreness, no peeling and no blistering.  I hope in the next few weeks this regime will continue to help me recover, and can cut this back to morning and night only (twice a day). I should be able to eventually cut back to once a day before bedtime in a few more weeks.  

Hope the above tips help those going through radiation if you are into natural herbal skincare. I've always know a little about herbal benefits and this regime worked very well for me.


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