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Help! I'm tired & I can't think

ladybug626's picture
ladybug626
Posts: 32
Joined: Dec 2003

Hi,

I finished 5 rounds of chemo (Taxol + Carboplatin) 5 weeks ago. I still feel tired all of the time. I think I may be depressed. I am very anxious about a possible recurrence. There is also a constant burning in my stomach not present before the treatment. It is difficult to think. Sometimes it is hard to complete a sentence without forgetting the words mid-sentence. The oncologist is running a test on my thyroid. Has chemo effected anyone else's thyroid? How long does it take for the side effects of chemo to wear off? I am in remission and hope to feel better soon. Your advice & support is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

God Bless,

JAshe2350

shmurciakova's picture
shmurciakova
Posts: 910
Joined: Dec 2002

Hi! I am not real familiar with the after effects of breast cancer drugs....I am a colon cancer survivor and the side effects are different. I am 7 months post treatment for a recurrence to the liver, so I had two different types of chemo. Some of the lingering side effects I have had are occasional missed periods, abdominal hot flashes, watering eyes (blocked tear ducts), and some odd sexual side effects. Also I had a strange effect during the chemo called "hand and foot syndrome" where the capillaries in the hands and feet become enlarged and you get blisters, swellings, etc. All of this stuff has gotten better over time, but I would say that it takes AT LEAST 6 months for many of the long term side effects to go away. I mean, the chemo drugs are actually very toxic and it just takes a long long time for all of that stuff to totally leave your body. Unfortunately I think sometimes side effects are permanent. In your case, maybe you could try something like a prescription anti-acid for your stomach and try drinking lots of water to flush all that junk out of your system. Also, for me, exercising has helped w/ the fatigue and the overall state of mind. Just hang in there! I am sure much of it will get better w/ time and if it doesn't, please, tell your doctor and do not let them blow you off!
Good luck, Susan

lneuma1's picture
lneuma1
Posts: 14
Joined: Feb 2003

Jashe: One day at a time, keep putting one foot in front of the other, keep breathing in and out, and most of all, be patient. You will get past the tiredness, the forgetfulness. At first it seems to take forever, you think these symptoms will never go away and you will never be the same...it takes a long time. Improvements are incremental, slow but daily. You don't wake up one day and "poof" you feel fine. I am one year out after ending 8 rounds of chemo. I can say compared to a year ago, I feel like a million bucks...but it took that long. Keep resting, keep being patinet with yourself. Your hair, eyeleashes, will grow back, so will your brain cells. I had to go on a mild anti-depressant to help me through to the end, and it DID help me. I still have some stomach sensitivity, but tolerable...I just don't drink soda anymore, and no more chili peppers. No big deal. Keep moving forward, its a long road, but persistence and patience, and belief that God believes in You will get you there. ---Laura

neon356
Posts: 137
Joined: Mar 2004

Hi,
Almost everyone whose had chemo will tell you that the effects vary widely. Some have little or no side effects while others are pretty miserable. After my chemo for colon cancer over 10 years ago I got very sick, very tired, some days complete 'brain freeze'. It can take a long time for the chemo to completely get out of your system, so just hang in there. As I understand it, a lot of the chemo is taken up into the liver, and maybe it's in my head but I swear that ten years after my treatment some still occasionally gets released back into my system and I'll have a few days of the old symptoms again. I think that one of the things we have to learn about having and fighting a disease like cancer is patience. With time you WILL feel better, and it will all be in the past, one of your personal war stories. Good luck,....Carl

luannt
Posts: 11
Joined: Jun 2004

Hi,

The tiredness does get better, but it takes along time. I had 6 months of Taxol and Carboplatin 4 years ago, so I understand how you feel. I still have days when I forget a word in mid-sentence. I hate it! But at least we can blame it on the chemo, right? When I was first in remission I was also worried all the time about recurrence, somedays I would get sick to my stomach with worry. Finally, I decided I couldn't live like that anymore. I promised myself not to let myself ever get that scared and worried again, and I haven't. It does get easier with time. But we have two choices, we can either make our lives better or be anxious and worried about every little pain we feel. My oncologist told me early on that if I have a pain that last longer than a week or two then I should have it checked out.

After chemo I had to start taking nexium, it's for acid re-flux desease, and also my throid is low so I had to start taking Synthoid. Gee, I hope this helps. Feel free to email me if you have any other questions.

Luann

roxie_24fan
Posts: 5
Joined: Sep 2009

I was diag in 3/09, last treatment 6/18/09 with anal cancer with mets to pelvic area. My 6wk check up was very good, with hopes of being even better at 3 mths. I have had the memory and concentration problems too, but I feel like thats better. I am tired all the time though. I try to do the things I use to do, and cant. I am a nurse. I am use to full force ahead. I dont know much about cancer recovery. I am bored, get restless, sleep poorly, heartburn that I didnt have before. When I feel this way, I feel if I just eat something I will feel better. Needless to say, I'm getting fat sitting around here. I have great days and terrible days. I have been on antidepressants for years and recently had that dosage increased. What suppliments are available for concentration and energy. I want to get back to work soon. My employeer has been very supportive and willing to work with my needs.
Also, my doctors are in Houston and I love them. Do I need a local onc? Any treatments I need will be done in Houston. Thanks. I'm so glad I found you guys.
Roxanne

juneaugirl
Posts: 12
Joined: Aug 2004

Hi Jashe. I finished 6 rounds of Taxol and Carboplatin 6 or 7 months ago. I know how you feel. It is very hard some days for me to get through a day of work because of the fatigue and joint/muscle aches. I am progressivly feeling much better but it isn't happening nearly as fast as I want it to. The chemo did a number on my stomach too, but it has gotten better. Even so, I still occasionally have stomach pains that will wake me at night. I try to keep in my forethoughhts that I am alive and I have so-o-o much to live for. Even if I'm never entirely back to "normal" it's ok. I've decided that I may have to invent a new "normal." Just hang in there!

mrmartinstenger
Posts: 2
Joined: Jan 2009

MY NAME IS MARTIN STENGER I AM A CANCER SURVIVOR SINCE FRIDAY 13 1982. IT WAS MY LUCKY UNLUCKY DAY. I DISCOVERED A NINE INCH TUMOR IN MY TIBIA. THROUGH THE WONDERS OF MISDIAGNOSIS MY LIFE WAS SPARED. IT COMES TO FIND OUT THAT THE FORM OF CANCER THAT I HAD GOT VERY PERTURBED IF YOU TRIED TO TREAT IT WITH ANY NORMAL WAYS (CHEMO, COBALT,ETC.)ITS NAME IS A NUMBER ONE ON THE LIST OF CANCERS ADAMANTANOMA. I CALLED IT ADAMANT TO KILL YA. ANY WAY I WAS SPARED THE HARDSHIPS OF WHAT YOU HAVE AND ARE GOING THROUGH. I HAVE RECENTLY ACQUIRED MY LICENSE TO PRACTICE HYPNOTHERAPY. I HAVE BEEN A PRACTICING HYPNOTIST SINCE THE AGE OF 15. I WAS A PROFESSIONAL MAGICIAN AT THE AGE OF 14 DOING BIRTHDAY PARTIES FOR KIDS. THEN I MET DR. MICHALE DEAN, WHO WAS AT THE TIME SAN DIEGO'S FAMOUS HYPNOTIST. I MET HIM WHEN HE WAS PERFORMING AT MY JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL. AFTER SEEING HIS ACT I DECIDED TO ADD HYPNOTIST TO MY LIST OF TALENTS. I HAVE BEEN ABLE TO HELP PEOPLE DEAL WITH PAIN. JUST BY USING A POST HYPNOTIC SUGGESTION. WHENEVER MY SUBJECTS WERE IN PAIN I TOLD THEM TO THRIMP THEMSELVES ON THE ARM AND THE PAIN WOULD GO AWAY. WHAT I SUGGEST TO YOU NOW IS TO RESEARCH SELF HYPNOSIS AND MEDITATION. I BELIEVE YOUR PROBLEMS CAN BE MANAGED WITH THIS. I HAVE ALSO HEARD MANY YEARS AGO OF A MIRACLE THAT WAS ACCOMPLISHED WITH THE USE OF HYPNOTHERAPY. A CHILD THE AGE OF 11 WAS DIAGNOSED WITH CHILDHOOD LEUKEMIA. HE WAS HAVING PROBLEMS EMOTIONALLY SO HE WAS REFERRED TO A PSYCHOLOGIST. THE PSYCHOLOGIST HYPNOTIZED THE BOY, WHILE UNDER THE DR. PUT A LARGE PIECE OF PAPER AND SOME COLORING PENS, AND TOLD HIM TO DRAW HIS ILLNESS AS IF IT WERE A MONSTER. SO HE DID. IT WAS BIG, HAIRY, LARGE EYES, CLAWS, FANGS, SOMETHING VERY INTIMIDATING. THEN THE DOCTOR TOLD THE CHILD TO DRAW A PICTURE OF HIMSELF. HE DREW A VERY TINY STICK FIGURE IN THE CORNER OF THE PAPER. WELL THAT WAS ALL THE DR. NEEDED TO SEE. NEEDLESS TO SAY THE CHILD FELT OVER WHELMED. THE DR. GAVE THE BOY A PHOTO OF A HELMET, SWORD AND SHIELD AND TOLD THE BOY TO LOOK AT IT RIGHT BEFORE HE WAS TO CLIMB INTO BED. NOW FROM THAT DAY FORWARD, WITH THAT SIMPLE BIT OF VISUAL EMPOWERMENT THE CHILD WAS ABLE TO COMBAT HIS ILLNESS. WHENEVER THE BOY WENT BACK TO HIS DR.S HE WAS GIVEN ANOTHER PIECE OF PAPER AND WAS TOLD TO REPEAT WHAT HE DID THE FIRST TIME. NOW THE MONSTER WAS SHRINKING AND HE DREW HIMSELF BIGGER AND BIGGER WITH SWORD HELD HIGH AND A SMILE ON HIS FACE. WITHIN A FOUR MONTH PERIOD HIS ILLNESS HAD DISAPPEARED IN UNISON WITH THE DESTRUCTION OF HIS MONSTER. WHAT I BELIEVE IS THAT THIS SAME FORM OF THERAPY WOULD WORK IN ANY SITUATION. ALSO WHAT ALWAYS HELPED ME IS TO REMEMBER THAT I WAS LOVED BY GOD AND I WOULD PRAY FOR STRENGTH TO PERSEVERE. I WOULD FORGET ABOUT MY PROBLEMS WHEN I WOULD SEE SOMEONE IN WORSE SHAPE THAN I WAS. I WAS A NURSES AIDE FOR THE ELDERLY WHEN I WAS 21. I WOULD SHOW UP AN HOUR EARLY JUST TO MAKE SURE THAT THE PEOPLE UNDER MY CARE GOT THE BEST CARE THAT THEY COULD. TO SEE THEM GRATEFUL FOR THE SLIGHTEST THING MADE ME FEEL GOOD THAT I COULD HELP. I ALSO FORGOT ABOUT ANYTHING THAT I HAD THOUGHT WAS TROUBLING ME. ONE DAY I WENT INTO THE RECORD STORE AND FOUND OUT THAT MY FAVORITE MUSICIAN RELEASED AN ALBUM CALLED HEALING. BY TODD RUNDGREN. I THINK IT CAN HELP YOU. IT SURE SEEMED TO HELP THE PEOPLE THAT I PLAYED IT FOR. YOU CAN DOWNLOAD IT FOR FREE BY USING LIMEWIRE OR FROSTWIRE WHICH YOU CAN DOWNLOAD FOR FREE ONLINE. I HOPE THIS WILL HELP YOU, I WOULD LIKE TO HEAR FROM YOU. I CAN BE REACHED THROUGH MY EMAIL mrmartinstenger@yahoo.com I ALSO HAVE 5 THINGS THAT I TRY TO DO TO KEEP ME GROUNDED. 1.PURGE CLUTTER, IF YOU HAVEN'T USED OR FIXED SOMETHING THAT YOU HAVE ALWAYS THOUGHT THAT YOU WOULD GET A ROUND TO IT. PUT IT AWAY OR GIVE IT TO SOMEONE WHO CAN USE IT. 2.BE AROUND DEPENDABLE FRIENDS, IT NEVER HURTS TO SHARE LIFE'S UPS AND DOWNS WITH THEM IT MIGHT SURPRISE YOU THAT THEY MAY FEEL THE SAME WAY THAT YOU DO. 3.GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO NOT BE PERFECT ALL THE TIME. 4. DON'T GIVE INTO REGRET, REMEMBER THAT YOU CAN NOT CHANGE THE PAST. WOULD'VE, COULD'VE, SHOULD'VE BUT DIDN'T, OH WELL, JUST TRY AND DO BETTER ONE SMALL DEED AT A TIME. AT LEAST YOU TRIED. 5. ALWAYS HAVE A BALANCE OF WORK TO RELAXATION. I MYSELF HAVE USED THESE METHODS AND IT SEEMS TO WORK FOR ME. I ALSO HAVE FIGURED OUT THAT ANY PERSON WHO HAS A JOB THAT IS A HOBBY AND IS SOMETHING THAT THEY ENJOY DOING ALONG WITH BRINGING IN AN INCOME, THEY ARE BLESSED. IT IS LIKE THE NYMPHOMANIAC WHO IS ALSO A HOOKER, SHE IS GETTING PAID FOR DOING SOMETHING SHE ENJOYS. ALSO WHENEVER I HAVE WORKED IN THE PAST AT A JOB THAT I DIDN'T ENJOY I WAS JUST WASTING MY TIME AND THEIRS. WHAT I SUGGEST TO ANYONE WHO IS DISABLED, FIND A HOBBY OF SOME KIND THAT IS WITHIN YOUR ABILITY. I SUGGEST PAINTING, SCULPTING, WRITING POETRY. IN FACT YOU CAN FIND SOME OF MY WORK ON POETRY.COM UNDER MARTIN STENGER. LIFE IS WHAT YOU MAKE IT. GOD GAVE US THE MASTERY OF OUR OWN EMOTIONS. WE ARE NOT ROBOTS THAT HAVE TO RESPOND TO CAUSE AND EFFECT. JUST BECAUSE SOMEONE YELLS AT US WE ARE NOT OBLIGATED TO RESPOND IN THE SAME MATTER. TWO WRONGS DON'T MAKE IT RIGHT. IF SOMEONE DIES THAT IS A LOVED ONE DON'T BE SAD. I WROTE THIS FOR A FRIEND OF MINE WHO DIED UNEXPECTEDLY FROM ASTHMA. I CALL IT "TO LIVING FRIENDS" DO NOT GRIEVE, WHEN I HAVE PASSED, KEEP YOUR MEMORIES OF ME, AND HOLD THEM FAST, LIVE YOUR LIFE LIKE I HAVE DONE, I HAVE GONE TO JOIN OUR FATHERS SON, I WILL BE WITH YOU TILL THE END OF TIME, I AM ALIVE INSIDE YOUR MIND, REMEMBER ME EACH PASSING DAY, IN YOUR MEMORIES I WILL STAY, DON'T STOP LIVING, BECAUSE I HAVE PASSED, HOLD TIGHT TO LIFE AND MAKE IT LAST. I TRIED TO READ THIS AT MY FRIENDS WAKE, I JUST COULD NOT CONTAIN MYSELF. SO I LET THE KEYBOARDIST READ IT FROM THE BAND THAT WAS PLAYING. EVERYONE LIKED IT. I GOING TO STOP NOW WITH THIS THOUGHT YOU ARE NOT ALONE, I CARE AND SO DOES GOD. MAY GOD BLESS YOU. YOUR NEW PEN PAL MARTIN STENGER. P.S. MY FRIENDS CALL ME MARTY.

tasha_111's picture
tasha_111
Posts: 2043
Joined: Oct 2008

What you are experiencing is Chemo-brain. Chemo is a poison to your body, it is supposed to kill the nasty ,deformed, cancer cells..it does, but it also kills normal healthy, thinking cells.... like those in your brain and peripeheral nerves (just like it kills hair and nail cells) Your brain will re-generate, I thought I was going insane when it happened to me, i couldn't complete a sentence, remember common words or even remember my own name somedays...it gets better. I am 4 months out of treatment now and I am actually starting to remember stuff that I thought would NEVER come back..

What you are going through may be horrible (yep. it is) but it's also normal after this assault on your body. The worst thing you can do it let it worry you, you have enough stress to deal with right now. Just tell people you are "Not Quite Right".. and let them deal with it.

maya00i's picture
maya00i
Posts: 43
Joined: Jun 2009

I found it hard to think also. Hard time remembering things etc.I had forgot that I was at the Oncologists office for a shot to keep my white cells up. The next time I was there I asked if it hurt. They said you had the shot before and I insisted I did not. Anyway the nurse said I had chemo brain. I thoguht she was kidding. A few weeks later the other nurses gave me an article on Chemo Brain.

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