- August 20, 2010 at 2:33 am
I had the surgery first, with LND and then radiation.
Actually I am still going through radiation. 8 treatments left. From talking to the doctors, the said that Melanoma is not normally treated by radiation and i did not think it would impact the size of the tumor. They did radiation in my case because they did not get clean margins and I did not qualify for other treatments like IPI without clean margins.
They are doing radiation to the surgery site/skin graft area and also the LND site to try to kill any floating cancer cells that are remaining. I sure hope that it kills them all.
I started the radiation about 7 weeks after surgery. I had some physical therapy just before the radiation started and completed that the first week of radiation. The leg felt great at that time. I was able to walk 2 miles without any discomfort and also bike 7 miles with a little discomfort and tiredness. After about 2-21/2 weeks into the radiation, the cumulative effects hit me. I started getting tired more and my leg hurt like a son of a gun. Thankfully I had some pain pills left over from the surgery. The skin graft area developed some blisters that opened up. The radiation oncologist had not seen this before. i talked to the Plastic surgeon and he said it was normal. The radiation oncologist does not normally treat skin graft areas that soon after surgery so he did not tend to see too many of them. I had leg swelling after the surgery and once the skin graft area started to get red, raw and sore, it started to leak the lymph fluid from the skin graft area after the outer layer of skin had been burned and peeled away. Quite a mess, no matter what type of bandages I tried to use. They used abdominal pads, but they did not have any protective coating on the side away from the skin so if I walked around too much, the fluid would soak all the way through the pads. I talked to people at wound care at the hospital and they said to use baby diapers. Kind of a goofy idea, but once I got the right size (size 6 for my 8 x 12 skin graft area, they worked fairly well. I used to use 4 of the size 2 diapers, 3 size 4 and only 2 size 6. They have a backing to keep the moisture from leaking through. There are new pads on the market that just came out in May that I ordered, called Xtrasorb. hopefully they will work better than the abdominal pads. Just ordered them today. They are 6 x 9 so I will need 2 per dressing change.
Good luck on your journey. Cant wait for mine to get better. Hopefully in another 8 days when radiation ends.
Bill stage iiiC.