• Great fatigue

    Asked by Lindy on Wednesday, September 19, 2012

    Great fatigue

    Tired, tired, tired. GP or onc?? Seems I am going to have to find someone who treats people and not just cancer. Need to know why, after finishing 16 months of surgeries, chemo, radiation, monoclonal antibody, vaccine trial that ended in the Spring...I am spending half my days in bed with little energy or strength. Anyone else been through this??

    Thanks KarenG_WN for suggesting the ask forum

    14 Answers from the Community

    14 answers
    • lynn1950's Avatar

      And are you now taking Arimidex? Oh, friend, you have just put yourself through major physical, mental, and emotional stress. Of course you are tired. Let yourself rest a bit now. Do what you can and what interests you.

      If you feel that some of the fatigue is related to depression, be sure and let your GP know. I would let my onc know at my follow-up visit about the fatigue, as well. It could be anemia. The strength part you will have to build back slowly. I walked, swam, and practiced yoga. All have helped me be better, be more energetic, and feel better.

      about 4 years ago
    • GregP_WN's Avatar

      You have been through more than I did on my last treatment. I have been out of treatment for 4 years and I am still tired in the afternoons. I love to see 10pm come, thats my nighty nite time and I love to sleep and nap. Sad isn't it.

      Hope you get some energy!

      about 4 years ago
    • Tracy's Avatar

      No matter what kind of cancer you are going through you are going to have lots of fatigue. I think it is a reaction that the body has to force you to slow down. You are in shock and your body is in recovery, this is very normal. One big issue is that people who have not been in this situation (the big C) think that you are "cured" and you should be back to "normal". But you have been fighting a war in both body and mind, to expect you to be "normal" is not reality. Its is kind of like PTSD, You are still fighting this and the poison that treatment has done to you. You are also experiencing the worry that you will learn to live with, it will get better but you are in the new reality of cancer. Don't push yourself and know that we all go through this. Find a Dr who will listen to you, you will know your body better than anyone. We have a problem with depression after treatment which sounds odd but our lives change so dramatically after this experience. Its is so hard to get back to the place you were before this because you are no longer the same person. You are strong and you have many new friends who have been through it! Take care of yourself and be know its all OK. Tracy

      about 4 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      16 months of active treatment is very tiring. To date, nobody has found a cure that prevents us from feeling fatigue when out bodies are stressed and as we grow older. I know it can be frustrating, but it is not the fault of your doctors, just of nature.

      about 4 years ago
    • workit's Avatar

      I know it sounds counter-intuitive but exercise. To me, that is where the fight comes in fighting cancer, getting moving when I don't feel like it - I always feel better afterwards. Did you get MUGA tests for your heart with your chemo treatment?

      There are lots of cancer research articles to support it as well. You can go to PubMed and search exercise AND cancer AND fatigue using the advanced search tool there. You can even add cancer type if you want to be more specific. Be sure to select 'Title' or 'Title/Abstract' rather than the 'All Fields' where it says 'Builder' and 'AND'.

      A number of commonly used chemo drugs do a number on the cardiovascular system, that is why fatigue is prevalent, not exercising exacerbates the problem. If muscles are not used they whither (get smaller), like putting a broken arm in a cast, once the cast is removed the muscles in the arm are smaller and weaker. A common problem with breast cancer patients/survivors is weight gain, therefore, combining smaller muscles due to inactivity with cardiovascular damage from chemo drugs and weight gain means more fatigue.

      Give it a try, ease into it. Best wishes for reduced fatigue and increased energy!

      Some related articles below:

      Using exercise to fight fatigue in breast cancer survivors: challenges
      and future directions
      http://www.expert-reviews.com/doi/pdfplus/10.1586/erp.12.20 (full text article)

      Modulation of Anthracycline-Induced Cardiotoxicity by Aerobic Exercise in Breast Cancer (full text article) http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/124/5/642.full

      Long-term toxic effects of adjuvant chemotherapy in breast cancer (full text article)

      Cardiotoxicity due to Cancer Therapy (full text article)

      Cardiotoxicity of the cancer therapeutic agent imatinib mesylate (Gleevec) (full text article)

      Exercise interventions on health-related quality of life for cancer survivors. (abstract)

      Exercise interventions on health-related quality of life for people with cancer during active treatment.
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22895974 (abstract)

      Differential effects of exercise on cancer-related fatigue during and following treatment: a meta-analysis.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22813691 (abstract)

      about 4 years ago
    • ErinJ's Avatar

      Yes! I figured it was just recovery from going through treatments while a being a working mom with two young children. After a year, a friend who is an actupuncturist/ nutritional healing insisted I come see her. She ran some blood work and low and behold- my thyroid was not functioning! (Actually the thyroid doesn't completely quit- but your TSH is an indicator of how your thyroid is working. A normal range is 2-4. Mine was 86! She sent me to my general practioner and now I am on synthroid and feeling normal. I have bloodwork every six months to monitor the dosage. My point is, don't chalk it up to just recovery. I would recommed your general practioner or a naturopathic practioner.

      about 4 years ago
    • attypatty's Avatar

      Dear Lindy:
      First off, give yourself a break. You have spent the last year+ being slashed, poisoned and burned. Of course, your body is tired. Imagine if you were a soldier in some foreign land and had parts of your body ripped out, exposed repeatedly to harsh chemical weapons, and then irradiated with mega doses of radiation. Wouldn't you expect that it would take some time to recover? You are not being a wimp. Yesterday I went for a 300 mile motorcycle ride with friends - one of my favorite things to do in the world. Nothing could have been more fun and relaxing - out in the great outdoors of the Northwest Rockies, perfect weather - 80º with autumn touching the air, leaves falling, trees yellowing. Nothing could have been further from work or worry. Yet toward the end of the ride, I was so tired I could only collapse into bed when I got home. So the fatigue is real and don't feel bad about it. Just do what you can when you can and rest when you need to. Only time, and letting go of the worry - oh, and exercise, too! - will help.
      Fight On,

      about 4 years ago
    • princess123's Avatar

      when I was first diagnosed I was so tired I could not function enough to complete daily tasks. After 2-3 treatments I could do a lot more. I have been changed to a different type of chemo and now am back to being tired. My Onc has talked about reducing the strength of the chemo I am taking if this time isn't any better than last. I'm not sure yet how the next week will be. It could be the chemo (toxins) that you'r on that's making you tired. Your Doctor should be able to tell you if this is one of the effects of whatever your on right now.

      about 4 years ago
    • KimmieC's Avatar

      I don't know if it will make you feel any better, but fatigue is my biggest problem (joint and muscle pain is a close second.) I have a hard time resting well at night. I take a nap as soon as I get my kids off to school, and sometimes, according to what responsibilities I have, sometimes I take a brief rest either before I cook supper, or after supper. Every time I ask my onco or GP about it, they usually say "Its the Femara." I went to a psychiatrist, more than once, and his conclusion was that I am not depressed. I had a sleep study, and I have no sleep apnea, but I never entered REM sleep. No one could tell me how to fix that, or what caused it, whatever, and I am SURE that has alot to do with my fatique. But I also believe that anyone who has been through a rigorous, aggressive cancer tx regimen such as you and I, well, most folks get kicked on their butt for a while. I wish I had been all rested up and in better shape BEFORE, I might have tolerated it all better. Just know that the effects of all of it are different for everyone, and you aren't lazy. Do check into possible depression, though. And if that is not it, well, I have heard it gets better. I sure hope so.

      about 4 years ago
    • karen1956's Avatar

      I was told that for each month of treatment is a month of recovery...I would talk to your onc first, then your pcp....

      about 4 years ago
    • mariet615's Avatar

      The fatigue may be occurring due to Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome, where the adrenal gland has been going at full speed for so long during the cancer fight (and before) that it quits. No adrenaline, cortisol production weak, DHEA nonexistent, and other hormonal levels (if done by age) so bad that my PCP says it indicates someone in their 90's (I'm 53). The fatigue began for me, just like yours, several months after all treatments stopped. I now take Adderal just to have any energy at all to get out into the world.

      about 4 years ago
    • Tracy's Avatar

      Hi Lindy,
      I see that you have lots of answers to this which shows you that we all go through this problem. Watch out for depression, it hits hard and in unexpected ways. Just take one day at a time and give yourself permission to get the rest you need. Tracy

      about 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
    • Lindy's Avatar

      Thank you all, what a gracious sharing. I have signed up for a gym, picked out my outfit. Next step is to go...I promise to start this week. Really.

      about 3 years ago

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