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The Problem With Fatigue During Treatment

By HERWriter
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If it was only feeling tired, that would be another matter. It’s not. Fatigue, a common side effect of chemotherapy and radiation, should not be ignored.

It starts out like an overall feeling of extreme tiredness or weakness. Normal activities become too strenuous. And, the desire to stay in bed becomes more and more compelling. Slowly, you give in to it because every activity just seems like too much.

Fatigue also lays the groundwork for depression and can create other problems such as insomnia, poor circulation or anxiety. Worse, it can cause you to lose the will to live.

Managing fatigue is critically important, both during treatment and recovering wellness. Try these tips to deal with fatigue and gain more control during your journey.

1. Nutrition – Consult a dietitian certified for cancer patients who can show you how to fuel your body during this challenge. Not all calories are equal. Some are better at supporting the specific needs of your body during treatment . . . some worse.
2. Exercise – Although it sounds counter-intuitive, exercising daily helps preserve muscle mass and creates more energy. It helps expend toxins, increases circulation and releases endorphins.
3. Sleep – Stick to your normal bedtime if possible and arise in the morning. Although naps are a great during treatment, limit naps to 1 hour. Don’t stay in bed all day.
4. Relaxation – Do something everyday that relaxes you. The mental noise that comes with cancer is exhausting. Meditate, pray, or practice yoga to release the tension in your mind. It will energize your body.

I’ve experienced extreme fatigue after chemotherapy and radiation, along with the seemingly insurmountable challenge of moving when one feels so empty. However, I also know that my body was designed with vast resources whose sole desire is to survive.

Add a Comment1 Comments

Hi Annette:
I've emailed you several times but it keeps coming back saying bad email address... was wondering how you've been doing....
I'm going into final round of Avastin, Gemzar, Carboplatin phase lll trial and considering the Avastin maintenance which is the 2nd part of the study. You are so correct about nutrition and fitness!!
Although side affects for this chemo cocktail is known to give fatigue I've had very little and I think it's because I exercize daily and have been careful to maintain a healthy diet mostly vegan in manner. And I've stayed busy with my part-time bookkeeping client load, family,church friends and lots of fun life stuff.....and God!
It does seem weird that exercizing and expending energy would help with fatigue but I've found that expending the energy seems to bring on more energy and a just plain feel-good all over! I found this to be true throughout 6 rounds of IP/IV cisplatin and taxol 3 yrs ago and found it again with these treatments!! God has been so good and I am very grateful to Him for feeling good and that once again the treatments worked. How long will I be "dancing with ned" I don't know -but am grateful for it now! Annette, I now live by what you emailed me one time: I'm feeling good now, not treating it today so I live (live) today!!!
Looking forward to hearing from you again!! Miss you!!
Susan Wright

May 26, 2009 - 4:13am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.