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Regular breathing during radiation - HELP!


RJN

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Due to start radiation next week, and had my breath recorded and CT planning scan. I am asked to breathe as regularly as I can and am shown a monitor where my breath has to stay between two lines. I find it really difficult and panic which results in too deep inhales and exhales. I am told that during the actual radiation, the machine will stop each time I go outside the lines. I know it sounds silly, but I am getting really stressed as I am scheduled for 30 sessions. Has anybody experienced this, and if so, do you have any tips? Thank you, Rikke

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Rikke,

I've had lots of radiation but never a procedure that required breathing regulation. I think I'd panic also if I had to keep my breathing rate between two lines. I think it would be far better not to have lines to look at and to just try and relax.

Maybe a dose or two of Xanax might calm you during the procedure.

Stay the course.

Tom

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Thanks Tom - How odd. Maybe it’s the specific VMAT IMRT technology or the location of the lesions in the upper lope. I also had 3 tattoos to ensure everything is exactly the same. Stressing me out a bit - but will try to close my eyes (and if it doesn’t work maybe the sedative route).

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I always laugh (silently) when they say breath normal. Once you think about how you are breathing you get out of a normal rhythm. Getting lost in mundane thoughts helps. And I definitely close my eyes. Good luck 👍 Kris 

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RJN,

I used to hate meditation because they always wanted me to slow down my breathing and the more I focused on breathing the more anxious I got and it took me so long to learn to ignore my thoughts and just breathe slow and relaxed.  In your case this isn't meditation so I'm with Tom; if you need to take a Xanax and let it relax you so you can let your mind drift to more calm things.

Lou

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Agree with everyone about the sedation. I need sedation when I go to the dentist! 

Rikke, I also got too focused on breathing normally and would start to breathe more heavily, but I never got to the point of them stopping. And this is when I was coughing a lot, so I worried about that too, but somehow didn't cough. The good news is that my coughing disappeared after a while. 

Hopefully you'll become accustomed to your treatments, but use the sedation if you need to. Radiation is a necessary evil and is very effective killing cancer. 

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