My eyeball is trying to kill me.
October 3, 2012 12:30 PM   Subscribe

Eye cancer filter: how tired am I likely to be when undergoing plaque radiation therapy for choroidal melanoma?

So, I have been diagnosed with eye cancer. Wee! fun (not). It's a choroidal melanoma, which is a cancer that grows in the eyeball itself, out of the choroidal layer, which is in behind the retina: it's medium sized (14 mm by 14 mm, and about 7 mm thick) and not actually impeding my vision at the moment. They kill it by attaching a plaque with radioactive rods embedded in it to the outside of your eyeball, to the rear of the tumor. They leave it there for a week, while you sit around watching TV and reading and trying to ignore the throbby itchy burningness, and then they remove it.

The one thing I'm concerned about is being tired. I'm already surprisingly wiped just from the tests and such that I had yesterday -- and I know that radioactive beams exhaust people. But how much energy am I likely to have with this thing in my eye? Unlike most cancers this can't be treated with chemo, so radiation is the only option. I know chemo knocks people right out, but how tiring is radiation?
posted by jrochest to Health & Fitness (1 answer total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It truly depends on the person. Some people experience no fatigue at all; others can't imagine getting off the couch. I've had radiation, but I can't offer up my experience because my radiation treatments were entwined with withdrawal from synthetic thyroid hormone, which makes you tired anyway.

I'll hazard a guess that being wiped from tests is just part of dealing with any health crisis. It's worrying, stressful, and people are doing undesirable things to you that you aren't in total control of.

The best thing to do is to prepare ahead of time for possible side effects. Make sure you've done your shopping, prepared meals ahead of time, have quiet things to do, and hopefully have a support network of some kind to help you with tasks you may not be up for. Ask your doctor about fatigue, nausea, and other possible side effects, and if there's anything he can do to ameliorate them.

I'm sorry you're going through this, and I hope it all works out for you.
posted by xyzzy at 1:06 PM on October 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

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