Fatigue and cancer treatment

Posted by Nancy, Volunteer Mentor @1nan, Sep 20, 2019

It seems that fatigue has affected all aspects of life in the years I have had treatment for multiple myeloma. (Into 4th year.)The cancer causes fatigue, and all treatments list fatigue as most common side effect. My greatest challenge has been to manage time so fatigue doesn’t rule every day, and I wonder how others deal with it. My greatest strategy comes from recognizing that there is major difference between physical and mental fatigue. I have activities that are doable when physical fatigue limits what I do, like writing, mind games, or reading. But having physical energy doesn’t always mean I feel like quilting, baking, etc. I just feel lazy! How do you deal with your fatigue so you stay productive in a good way that keeps you happy?

@deirdrebrownw– I agree with you to do any physical activity in the AM even if you haven't slept that well or don't feel rested. Often times as I was recovering I napped but really didn't feel all that rested. This was after chemo and surgery. Fatigue does take a while to overcome so take advantage of any time you do feel rested.
Another thing that I do after an operation is to stand as straight as I can the first or second time that nurses get me up. It makes subsequent times much easier.
@1nan– How are you feeling now?

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@merpreb

@deirdrebrownw– I agree with you to do any physical activity in the AM even if you haven't slept that well or don't feel rested. Often times as I was recovering I napped but really didn't feel all that rested. This was after chemo and surgery. Fatigue does take a while to overcome so take advantage of any time you do feel rested.
Another thing that I do after an operation is to stand as straight as I can the first or second time that nurses get me up. It makes subsequent times much easier.
@1nan– How are you feeling now?

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Hi Merry. This has been the toughest thing I have had to deal with yet. Of the 3 prior cervical spinal fusions, one totally broke loose from poor bone quality and the cord was severely compromised. The second prior fusion had to be removed, and two surgeries, anterior and posterior, a week apart, resulted in fusions C2 to T2 and discectomy at C7-T1. The 10 inch incision down my back has healed beautifully and pain is getting more tolerable every day. I was off myeloma treatment 7 weeks, started back 2 weeks ago. That has caused some back sliding since I am still healing, but just some exaggerated side effects. I am so blessed that some severe problems were discovered and dealt with and I will come out of this better than before. One miraculous thing is that hard substance had formed on my spinal cord and had to be "chiseled" off the cord!!! This Thanksgiving we have so much that blesses us. I am getting stronger each week and have great hope for Christmas and moving into the new year. Add to that, we will have a new great grandchild in about 3 more weeks. I see lots of rocking and cuddles in my near future. Yes, we are more than blessed, and God has been present every step of the way. Gene, my husband, was my rock through it all. On December 1 we will celebrate our 57th Anniversary, and we couldn't be more grateful. When my Myeloma blood work showed miraculous leaps to remission while I was OFF treatment, I had replay in my head/heart, "Be still and know that I am God". There is nothing more to say. I hope others can find hope in my experience and know that we are never alone. That is the source of my forever peace. Thank you so much for thinking of me and asking. I am slowly following some conversations on Connect and love the work all of you are doing. Nancy

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5CHOP therapy go to play golf and need to sit out every other hole. no energy to work out had 5 of 6 Rxs. Does it get better

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@anacreon

5CHOP therapy go to play golf and need to sit out every other hole. no energy to work out had 5 of 6 Rxs. Does it get better

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@anacreon The fatigue you are experiencing is one of the most difficult side effects of chemotherapy. But I am so glad that you’re still getting out and playing golf. I found this website that may have helpful information. https://www.lymphomation.org/CHOP-tips.htm
Course, you may not have lymphoma, but the information is the same for all cancers and chemos. You get outside and that’s very good, just please practice social distancing. You are in a high risk category. Becky

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@anacreon

5CHOP therapy go to play golf and need to sit out every other hole. no energy to work out had 5 of 6 Rxs. Does it get better

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5CHOP I admire your fortitude as you deal with this very difficult side effect we all deal with. Does it get better? My experience says it changes. You are doing what is necessary to keep strength and stamina at your best at this point in time. With a goal to not lose ground you will realize other things you can do. If we focus on what we can do as you are, the losses seem less. If you call that better you will feel successful. Keep finding the good in what you can do as you accept your changes. That golf effort is more than many of us can do or could have done. Will you check back in with the other successes you see? Nancy

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@anacreon

5CHOP therapy go to play golf and need to sit out every other hole. no energy to work out had 5 of 6 Rxs. Does it get better

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typo: R-CHOP

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In reply to @anacreon "typo: R-CHOP" + (show)
@anacreon

typo: R-CHOP

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@anacreon Hi again. I have been thinking about you and wondering if changes in treatment has resulted in any changes with your fatigue. It is also true that season changes can present opportunities to address fatigue in new and meaningful ways. With all restrictions being realized during the Pandemic we all need to also be attentive to symptoms that are appearing in response to all happening there. Increased fatigue would not be unusual. Have you met success in new or different ways to address your fatigue? Nancy

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This week I realized another lesson in this beautiful iris. My mother somehow saved some of the iris from the Valley Mills farm in WV where she grew up. They were growing there in the late 1800s. Throughout her life she continued to move some rhizomes with her, continuing to share their beauty with family and friends, and later I did the same. On one of our moves I forgot to take any iris with me and went back to ask the new owner if he would allow me to have a few rhizomes. “No.” Caught off guard I proceeded to explain why it was so important to me. Again, “No”. Not one to give up I pressed on and he finally allowed me one. He supervised my getting that one.
Today I have a large Valley Mills iris bed that has been divided and shared many times over the years since I rescued that one strong family rhizome. Today as I pushed a little extra hard to make some things on my to-do list happen I looked at this beautiful iris bed and realized that I have been like this wonderful family flower. We have to go through many changes in our lives and not all are in friendly familiar places. But we can continue to pursue beauty without losing our own, and we can refuse to accept what may appear to be a dead end. Faith does not make things happen, but it certainly can make them possible. Believing in our own strength can help us be that next generation to pass God’s beauty to others. You can be like that one rhizome and keep your strength and beauty for others.
Faith makes it possible.
Nancy

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