• Any advice for severe fatigue? Currently on lomustine, procarbazine, and vincristine. Can't sleep at night, just toss and turn.

    Asked by LizC on Monday, April 23, 2012

    Any advice for severe fatigue? Currently on lomustine, procarbazine, and vincristine. Can't sleep at night, just toss and turn.

    12 Answers from the Community

    12 answers
    • CarolLHRN's Avatar

      I am experiencing extreme fatigue and it's so hard for me because I never took a break in life at all. It has been a challenge but I have tried the following. I got a calming CD to listen to an hour before bedtime. I will also turn it on in the middle of the night if I wake up. I also have a white noise machine that seems to help me fall into a deeper sleep.

      I have learned not to fight the fatigue but embrace it. When I get home from work, if I feel tired, I put my PJ's on and veg on the couch. If I'm really tired, I'll even take a nap. I do try to go to bed every night at 9 and wake up at 6 (I am still working). On the weekends I don't set the alarm and whatever time I wake up, that's when I start my day.

      I have given up on a clean apartment. It's neat but not clean. I also have started having my friends do my laundry. Doing chores seems to sap up any energy I have at all. Microwave meals have become my friend, along with plastic silverware so there is no clean up. Anything I can do to avoid having to do more, I have tried.

      Don't be afraid to ask for help and take the help. The journey is like a marathon, not a sprint. You will need different things during different parts of your journey. Don't be afraid to ask for help. It helps your friends feel good too about helping you out.

      over 4 years ago
    • steve70x7's Avatar

      My mind seems to effect my fatigue level as much as my body. Reading and writing get my mind off my cancer, even when that is the subject of my writings. When I have had a productive day of writing my mind seems to be able to relax at night.

      If you want something to put you to sleep, just read my blog. ;)


      over 4 years ago
    • Marbleotis' Avatar

      I went weeks without sleep, even Rx's wouldn't work. I found the problem was the general roller coaster that you are on with cancer. Up, down, up, down it never ends. What I did was focus on my positives. My stage 3 colon cancer was caught before any mets so surgery and 6 mon of chemo was my road. I am done with 4 already. I tell myself all the time. "I have no other choice". Chemo will make you very fatigued but if your brain is upset you will not be able to sleep. What I found to be very relaxing is sewing, embroidery specifically. I love to sew but the numbness in the hands from the chemo makes that hard now. I found embroidery helps with the numbness. My Onco said it was a very good idea. I also turn the tv off as I find tv to be a waste of time. Best of luck to you. Think about what you like to do, your talents and add that to your day. You will find sleep will come!

      over 4 years ago
    • rob58's Avatar

      i take vicodin 10/325 .they help me get energy.they may at least help you short term for energy,im sure they donot recomend them for long run. for sleep i take remeron 30 mg and lorazepam .5 mg. i sleep good . im one year out of therapy chemo/ rads, [7 wks of[ and 1 year post therapy.i hope this helps. i go to the gym 3 times a week for about an hour each time. robg

      over 4 years ago
    • Ter's Avatar

      All - did you have to request something in order for your doctor(s) to help you out with this? I have a great oncologist, but he has not "offered" anything for fatigue, but every week I am losing more and more energy - do you recommend I just ask for something, and if so, what does everyone recommend? (I have already tried diet/nutrition, exercise, etc, etc.)

      over 4 years ago
    • markmather's Avatar

      When I went through my chemo regimen I never slept for more then 20 minutes at a time and when I was able to catch some zzz's I would sleep sitting up because my stomach would do weird things if I laid down flat. I tried everything my oncologist would give me but effects would wear off and would stop working or the fatigue was so strong nothing would work. I found that waiting to take fatigue meds until the middle of the night seemed to work the best and I just tried to get through the days without taking anything. It was a bad time all around grinding my teeth and generally feeling like a kicking mule was trying to get out of my body. But as everything else during chemo the saying of this to shall pass works well also. Keep the faith you will get through this.

      over 4 years ago
    • Cazbah's Avatar

      have you tried melatonin right befor bed? That helps me and supposedly helps boost your WBC'S...which you lose during chemo. Also, if you can do a little exercise 3 or more days a week, that is supposed to help- I am going to start walking with a friend starting this next week- I will let you know how it goes.

      over 4 years ago
    • Ter's Avatar

      Cazbah -

      Thanks! What is "WBC's"? So far nothing much has helped (i.e.: exercise, diet, etc.) and it is the ONE thing I don't think the doctors are really enthused about trying to help with - I get the impression from almost everyone that it's viewed as "oh well, it comes with the territory so you'll just have to deal with it", when we all know that there are certainly things that COULD help! Anyway, thanks for listening while I vent - keep me posted on how it goes for you and let me know what WBC's are... Ter

      over 4 years ago
    • Cazbah's Avatar

      Hi Ter,

      WBC is white blood counts. If you haven't read the following books, folks, there are two great books written on the subjects: Ben A Williams wrote a book about living with terminal cancer - he is a 16 + year survivor of Glioblastoma. It is an easy read. It is called Surviving Terminal Cancer. The other one is by David Servan Schreiber called Anticancer. He recently passed away, but lived for 20 years after his diagnosis. Ben A williams also updates the info in his book on Musella Virtual Trials every year.

      over 4 years ago
    • workit's Avatar

      I had sleep issues too so I spoke with a cancer researcher who specializes in circadian rhythms - which cancer can disrupt. He recommended:

      Cool room
      Dark room
      Cover glowing lights, particularly green or blue lights (alarm clocks, etc.)
      3mgs. Melatonin In the evening (our pineal gland produces less as we age)
      Consistent bedtime
      Avoid harsh lights (computer screens, etc.) before going to bed
      Less carbohydrates in the evening
      Exercise but not in the evening

      Contrary to many patients' belief, research has shown that exercise actually helps with the fatigue.

      Give these strategies a few weeks and see if they help. My sleep improved (faster to sleep and sleeping longer through the night, although I seem to be currently experiencing an 'anxiety' wake-up about 3-4 am more mornings than I'd like ... weird & frustrating).

      Good sleep to you, I understand the frustration!

      over 4 years ago
    • workit's Avatar

      I forgot to mention to check with your oncologist if you are still in active treatment before taking melatonin, it is an antioxidant and some antioxidants can interfere with chemo drugs.

      Even though you do not have breast cancer there is a study going on called the MELODY trial which is investigating the effects of melatonin on depression, anxiety, and sleep disruption, among other things. If you google it read the discussion section towards the end, it is not too lengthy or too technical but mentions many of the common problems experienced by breast cancer patients (me as well with lymphoma) related to sleep and mental disposition.

      It is surprising to learn that this is the FIRST study of it's kind in breast cancer patients! As a previous poster mentioned, most oncs just look at us as with a 'this comes' with the treatment attitude but offer little remedy for it. Perhaps studies like MELODY will provide some evidence for oncs to start helping patients with the sleep disruptions that can come with cancer treatments.


      over 4 years ago
    • DaveWaz's Avatar


      I just wanted to let you know that your question helped inspire an article on the site about battling fatigue after chemotherapy. Perhaps you will enjoy reading it. Please comment below the article if you have any other suggestions for WhatNexters!


      Best of luck!

      about 3 years ago

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