• Cancer related fatigue

    Asked by Deb60 on Tuesday, April 22, 2014

    Cancer related fatigue

    Continuing to experience cancer related fatigue. I have not been able to return to work. Have walked and exercised but does not seem to help. Any one else having same problem?

    13 Answers from the Community

    13 answers
    • Donnaakins' Avatar

      Hi Deb,

      I have to say fatigue is one of the hardest effects to deal with of cancer. I've accepted some level of fatigue is going to be a part of my life now, so it's up to me to prevent or lessen its severity.

      I focus on two areas - eating right and not "overdoing." I need to add a consistent exercise program to the plan, but I haven't, and that's all I've got to say about that(:

      Prior to cancer I was a serial dieter and a workaholic - two personality types meant to produce fatigue. I often used the starvation method for dieting and rarely ate breakfast. Now I focus
      on what I am eating, instead of focusing on avoiding food. I aim for six servings of fruit and vegetables in a day, and at least two servings of protein. I keep healthy snacks available, especially peanut butter. (It is a good power booster and the single serving sizes fit nicely in my purse). I may have a candy bar too, but I make sure I've given my body food that is good for me as a foundation.

      I've always buried my head in work projects and lost track of time. It's not unusual for me to suddenly realize I'm exhausted, followed by the realization I've been at a task for several hours without a break. Chemo has effected my sense of time, so it is especially important to schedule work. I try to work in two hour blocks, followed by a stretch/walk break. Sometimes I have to set an alarm so I will know "time's up."

      To be on the safe side, make sure there isn't a medical cause for your fatigue. I have developed diabetes since chemo and prior to the diagnosis I had no energy whatsoever. As a last bit of advice, I read a study of cancer survivors being treated with ADD medication to infuse them with a bit of energy. That may be of interest to you if conventional approaches don't help.

      I am sending you lots of sunshine and wishes for energy bursts. My alarm is telling me it's time to get up from my desk!

      almost 6 years ago
    • KLC's Avatar

      I'll 2nd what Donnaakins stated above. Proper nutrition plays a huge role in fighting the fatigue brought on by cancer treatments as does proper hydration, so in addition to focusing on eating healthy please make sure you're drinking lots and lots of water to maintain proper hydration. Sometimes even though you feel exhuasted, getting outside for a walk can counter fatigue. When absoultely exhausted, it is important to rest the body. My Oncologist simplifies it - you have a certain amount of energy to expend everyday and when it's gone for that day - that's it. It's also important to keep in mind there is no such thing as continuity. You may have more energy one day than others. Feel it, go with it, do what you can and don't beat yourself up on days you need to rest. It's temporary, when treatment is over you can focus on healing and regaining strength as you return to normal life. Good luck ! ! ! : )

      almost 6 years ago
    • Lynne-I-Am's Avatar

      It has been six weeks since stopping chemo, my hair is starting to grow back but I still become easily tired . Have been getting out and exercising but like KLC said I seem to currently have less energy to expend in a day so taking it slow and taking occasional naps. My bad is not drinking enough so am working on that and hoping for more energy sooner than later. With all the discomfort and recovery from surgery and the side effects from chemo not surprised we feel washed out. Take care,all the best.

      almost 6 years ago
    • lilymadeline's Avatar

      The others gave you great advise but here is my two cents-
      The fatigue from cancer treatments can be overwhelming and all consuming! But be patient and give yourself time and keep exercising daily but don't wear yourself out running marathons or anything like that. Please have your blood work checked to see if you are anemic or if there is something else going on. And proper nutrition is essential to fight fatigue! Eat breakfast every day and make sure that you have protein in the morning, peanut butter is excellent by the way or eggs. Make sure that you are getting to sleep at the same time every night and get up the same time as well, a regular schedule really helps.
      But you might already be doing all these things, so again please be patient because it can easily take a year or two to recover from cancer treatments...just the way it is....cancer it is a big deal and the treatments are very hard on our bodies, and the cancer is very hard on our bodies as well! It just takes time, pace yourself and try to only work part time for the first 6 months back to work at least. If your boss or co-workers are difficult please set them straight if you can. You just fought a war for gosh sakes of course you are worn out from it! We all are! Good luck and best wishes!

      almost 6 years ago
    • Carol1286's Avatar

      Try not to overdo it. It takes longer to bounce back. Keep hydrated. Remember to enjoy each day.

      almost 6 years ago
    • DorothyV's Avatar

      I still have fatigue two years out from my cancer diagnosis! I did not go back to work. I was teaching first grade and did not have the energy I needed. I try to take a walk twice a day and use an exercise bike when I can't go outside. I am 62 years old, so I think my age has something to do with it also. I was always a go-getter with lots of energy! It's different for everyone. Best of luck to you and God bless :)

      almost 6 years ago
    • fiddler's Avatar

      Hi Deb,
      I'm one year out from chemo and nine months out from radiation. I'm tired of being tired!

      What gets my goat is when people say it's because I'm older "now". Stupid people. I know what I was like in 2012 and what I'm like in 2014 - cause and effect plain and simple.

      Before tx, I had enthusiasm and energy. Now I have neither - and it's not depression.

      My husband and I took a 6 hour flight each way recently and it took me 2 days to recover on each end. And we were in a warmish, sunny climate - which zapped my energy even more.

      I'm planning to retire by the end of next January - sooner if I can find someone to take over my office lease. Never thought it would come to retirement, but I cannot perform like I did prior to 2013. I just don't have the energy to keep up!

      Whether or not I eat breakfast, more veggies and fruit than protein, sugar, carbs, gluten... there's no difference in energy level for me.

      Gently exercise makes a difference in my ability to sleep through the night.

      I nap almost every afternoon for at least 15 minutes - never did that before, but it's so compelling I can't stay awake.

      I say to myself, "This is what it is, hopefully just for now."

      almost 6 years ago
    • lilymadeline's Avatar

      BTW- my oncology nurse told me to take short naps ( 15 to 20 minutes ) during the day if I needed to. She said that most cancer patients need naps and they should take them as well, because our bodies simply need the rest!

      almost 6 years ago
    • Kmack927's Avatar

      I finished TCH cocktail in January 2013 and Radiation April 2013. My energy is slowly coming back, but not what it once was. I have not went back to work yet because I provide therapy to special needs children and with the expander in I have a lifting restriction. DIEP surgery in two weeks YIPPEE! We went on vacation to the grand canyon last month and I did fine on the trip but when we came back I was zapped it took me about a week to recover. I have always been a fairly healthy eater except for meat, I tried to cut it out to only a few times a week and I can honestly say I think I feel even more fatigue. I eat peanut butter and cottage cheese and sliced cheese for protein, don't mind the fat in them right now as I was trying to gain a little fat on tummy before surgery as I don't have much and will go from a D to small breasts as my Dr. says.

      almost 6 years ago
    • MarnieC's Avatar

      Chemotherapy definitely zaps your energy and it lasts longer for some than for others. What I've discovered is that the more proactive a patient is at detoxing their body from all of the residue of the drugs, the quicker they find their energy and zest for life again. I have a few tips on my website about how to do that if you'd like to know more. Just shout if you'd like the web address. Blessings to you!

      almost 6 years ago
    • Roadrunner's Avatar

      I'm one year out from my dx and still have fatigue. It is SO much better then it was so for me I am hoping that it will slowly go away. I used to be a go-getter and now have to pace myself if I have something going on that day. Grocery shopping wears me out!!! i just want to jump in the cart and have someone push me...ha ha ha

      almost 6 years ago
    • marybeth's Avatar

      I finished chemo in Oct. 2013 and radiation in Dec. Am just beginning to feel much more like myself, but I do still find myself getting tired much faster when I attempt to tackle anything that is physically difficult in terms of housework, gardening, etc. I was beginning to wonder when I would start, if ever, to feel my energy returning but am happy to say that it is finally happening at least to some extent. It really does take a lot out of you. At 62, perhaps age has something to do also with taking more time to get back to yourself.

      almost 6 years ago
    • aquagoddess' Avatar

      I am very tired all the time too. I don't do much and I am exhausted I'm not where I use to be and don't guess I ever will.I'm 1 1/2 years out from radiation now and I'm on arimidex and will be for 3 more years. I've gained weight which doesn't make me feel good about me but I keep telling myself I'm alive so there is so much to be thankful for. I am exercising and trying to keep up being active. Hang in there, things will get better for us.

      almost 6 years ago

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