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How do you cope with fatigue?
4 Posts
 Would like to hear from members, that as a result of going through treatment ...

1) do you feel loss of energy?
2) do you feel you never got your energy level back as it used to?
3) what do you do to cope up with it?
4) What are some practical practicies and strategies you have can share?
12 Replies

Are you a post-treatment/remission individual with fatigue?  If so how long have you been off treatment?  Or are you currently going through treatment?

I was sick as a teen, and during treatment due to neutropenia and extremely low blood counts (I had oodles of blood transfusions) I was never not completely exhausted with a rare day or 2 in a month where I may have been able to do some normal activities.

Post-treatment, it took time.  I would say 1-2 years after chemo to really feel better, other than the obvious premanant side effects of leg pain after having a bone transplant.  It takes the body time to heal and regenerate it's cells, due to all the damage of the "good" cells caused by chemo.  During that time of enormous healing, I felt exhausted often, because my body was so busy trying to fix itself.  A few years after treatment I found that I was much better, and saw a nutritionist/health specialist that balanced my diet and vitamin intake allowing me to feel great again.
23 Posts
I finished treatment two years ago now and I still struggle with post-cancer fatigue.
During treatment, I was exhausted almost all of time. I'm sure I spent much more than half of that year sleeping.
Now, my fatigue is slowly improving...and I mean slowly. But it is getting better. I definitly feel that my energy levels will not be what they used to be though. I have to "find my new norm".
Some things that I have done to help increase my energy levels are:
- take vitamins (I personally can't take vitamin B because I react but that is what my doc recomended to help with energy)
- excersice (my doc wants me to excersice every day  but between work, school, and the occasional social life outing, I only have energy to excersice 3 times a week. I am slowly increasing this to 5 though)
- NAPPING! I nap about 3-5 times a week
- Not napping. Even though all I want to do is sleep, sometimes, I push through the fatigue (for instance, if I do not have any engagements planned for the evening and therefore, won't be needing expedient amounts of energy). I just bum around feeling tired. I think breaking the habit of napping EVERY day has helped (although fresh out of treatment, this would not have been an option)
- drinking lots of water (something I find difficult for some reason)
- Making sure I listen to my body,give it what it needs, and not push it too far beyond my limits. Pushing through the off day without a nap is one thing, but doing that everyday would not be healthy for me. I am just not there yet and I acknowledge that
8 Posts
Thanks for sharing your experiences and insights, I am off treatment for almost 10 years now. While going through my treatment as Surviormama also mentioned went through blood transfusion, blood count was low, white blood cells low. My docs mentioned that after treatment I will start to feel better "normal" again. But years have passed and my energy level never came back to what it used to be, granted that I don't take care of myself as you ladies are doing. I guess its a man thing , don't take vitamins or exercise.

As far as going back to were we where before cancer, Forget it you can get back most but you will never be the same. Its like living trough a storm it's never the same after. The only thing you can do is try to eat as many fresh fruits, veggies, meats and fish as you can,  they are not full of chemical some similar to the cancer drugs you received. and try to walk as often as possible.This is the first year that I feel like going and doing the things that I like doing without worrying about getting tired. As we all no the fatigue is different for cancer patients and survivors it will hit at the most inappropriate times or just when you want to have a special event.. but if you just persist you will come along very well. Just don't do as I did and feel sorry for yourself and not do what you can for your body repair after treatment.. It took me to long to get going and that's why I'm at 11 years and just now feeling young again.. It can also depend on the type and length of your treatment and your age. I'm 65 feeling 50 again......
40 Posts
I just finished radiation treatment in Aug 11. No chemo required. Felt very tired after radiation. 
I would get these bouts of extreme fatigue weekly. Now I still get them but only about once a month. It is the weirdest feeling, like my body goes to mush. 
When this happens, I just try to relax and it eventually passes. I sleep more than I used to.
8 Posts

Thanks for sharing and useful tips. If I get more responses I will consolidate and make a list of things one should do to take care and fight this specific Cancer related Fatigue.

1 Posts
The fatigue I have had post surgery, with removing 30 pd tumor and losing
my right kidney and half of my large intestines, has been a hard thing for me.
I spend most of my days lying back in bed. It as been a little over a year sine
the massive surgery. I am so tired of being so tired. But, I am pulling thru.
Just need to give it more time. Good luck to all you fatigue-stricken people
it is nothing but a mircle that will happen when energy returns. I look forward
to that day!
145 Posts
One of our newest members, Jem, mentioned in her blog that she still feels fatigued. Wanted to bring this topic up again since we've had quite a few new people join the community since last winter when it was originally discussed. Do you find fatigue is an ongoing problem? How do you cope with fatigue?
4 Posts
I'm 4 years post treatment and am still struggling hugely with fatigue. It's gotten much better than it was, but has improved so slowly that I'm pretty much measuring it yearly now. I was back at work for a while, but ultimately ended up exhausting myself and I'm now back home again. 

Ok, this is a strange one, but my doctor thinks that with a weakened immune system during my treatment, I caught mono and didn't fight it off, and now it has a permanent foothold. Has anyone heard of that before?

Anyway, the bottom line is that I'm just not willing to accept that this seemingly neverending fatigue is permanent yet, so I've been doing a bunch of things with the hope of improvement. Some of the things that have really made a big difference are:
- Joined a sleep program (made a big difference)
- Get outside for at least 15 minutes of sun in the morning (seriously, you'd be suprised).
- Excersise as much as possible (which, granted, isn't very much at all)
- Try to rest between activities, though not napping
- Schedule activities and try to strictly limit how much I do in a day.
- Eat fresh fruits & vegetables as much as possible.

Has anyone else had a problem with long-term chronic fatigue?  Any suggestions on how to kick this thing or cope better?
I stuck with my tried and true approach of dealing with most of life's vicissitudes, by whinnying, but that takes too much energy.  So at the 5 year mark post diagnosis & 4 years post surgery & chemo for S3C colon cancer, I've tried a few things. As mentioned by others : diet (oh those leafy greens !); 45 min on the tread mill 4 times per week (when not interrupted by Life, or ..well...fatigue); a solid 7-8 hr sleep per night ; meditation really helps focus what energy one has; PACING myself....learning to say " No thanks. That won't be possible" and not feeling gulity ; and ACCEPTING that this is the new me. Still here but in a less flashy mode.
I was once the 'Hare' and now I'm the 'Tortoise'. It helps that I know that the Tortoise ultimately not only got there, but he won. 
51 Posts
I am two years post chemo and my energy has not returned to what it used to be.  I also have a 6 year old and a 4 year old so I figure I would be exhausted even if I never had cancer.  I am better when I eat right and exercise more but I find that the kids and the tiredness make it hard to stay on top of it.  My daughter told me today that " you are always tired mommy"  I am trying to show her the right way to live.  To eat right, exercise and find a balance in work, life, family.  I thought I would be done with all of this by now but it's never really over, is it?
25 Posts
I wish there was a magic answer....the only thing I have figured out is to see the vertigo and fatigue as the price I pay for being alive. I do my best to try to live with it and around it.
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