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Fatigue after chemo

Posts: 14
Joined: May 2003

I had my first chemo last week. Had it on Friday so I could go back to work on Monday. I have a couple of co-workers that did just that and it worked out just fine. The nausea was nothing worse than being pregnant, but I was not prepared for the extreme fatigue. I didn't make it in at all on Monday, only lasted 1 1/2 hrs on Tuesday, never made it past noon the entire week and by Thursday afternoon my boss called me at home and all but insisted that I not come back until next week. I called my dr's office and was told that this is normal. Is it really? Trust me when I say I am not a wimp, but I barely made it out of the grocery store yesterday on my own steam! Any advice on how to bounce back faster? I got over the two surgeries by pushing myself a little more than was comfortable each day, but when I try that now I crash!

miraclemom's picture
Posts: 42
Joined: Jan 2003

hi-I know exactly how you feel,thought I could be strong and this chemo stuff wasnt going to get me down and boy was I in for a surprise.I finished treatment almost a year ago and still feel the fatigue.After my first surgery I went right back to work about two weeks later but after chemo my next surgerys took alot longer for me to heal and was so tired.Just remember that everyone is different and your body may just act differently then others who have gone through the same thing.Its hard to slow down if your a person who doesnt know the meaning of taking it easy, I was the same way.Pushed myself to hard at times and boy it wasnt worth it,set backs heath wise.Advice,if your tired take a nap dont try to be a wonder woman and it will take time.Best wishes and takecare of yourself,thats the most important thing you can do while going through chemo. Lori

Posts: 321
Joined: May 2002

I know how you feel, give yourself the extra days to get to feeling better. Everybody takes chemo different. It took me 4-5 days (had chemo on Fridays) felt good by the following wednesday where I could go grocery shopping and eat, had a craving at that point for pizza. Ha ha. Felt good wed.& thurs., got chemo again on fri., 2 weeks in a row, 2 weeks off.Take a nap when your body tells you too. You will be tired, don't wear yourself out,OK? When I was able to eat I pigged out, drank lots of Gatorade for some reason, loved the lime and ate lots of cottage cheese with manderin oranges, never ate that before. Mashed potatoes and gravy was another favorite. Don't ask me why. Weird. So please take care of yourself, don't push to hard to go to work, rest when needed and like your doc says it is normal to feel that way. Hope this helps, ((hugs))emmi

Posts: 150
Joined: Jul 2002

Good advices given. You'll be more aware of your body now. Listen to it. I come home from working and take a 1 hour rest, so I can do dinner, laundry etc. I don't necessarily sleep, but I totally rest. My body and mind just shut down totally for that one hour. Everyone knows my schedule now and I do things around it. I never went to bed early, but I do now when I need to--if I've had a busy day. Good luck. Try to keep a journal if you can. It's amazing to look back on. I have had chemo brain and I totally forgot things that happened. It was interesting to go back and read it.

sandytrif525's picture
Posts: 107
Joined: Jan 2003

Hi I agree with all the others. I had AC and slept for 3 days after. At the end of my last chemos 5FU I was pretty tired the whole 2 weeks on. I hope things improve. Never feel you are a whimp. Listen to your body and take care of yourself. Sandy

Posts: 482
Joined: Apr 2003

Two recent messages on the board were a big help to me. The first said to pay attention to fatigue and rest because if you don't you'll regret it and start getting that sick feeling. The second described chemotherapy with Adriamycin/Cytoxan to the sensation of being run over by a truck. I let out a big doofy laugh when I read that... so true! I did beautifully after surgery by pushing just a little more than was comfortable each day like you did. Now when I try that, I crash, too. If you are on 3 week cycles, you will feel a whole lot better the second and third week. I promise. Love, Denise

Posts: 49
Joined: May 2003

I had my first chemo a week before yours and was wiped out for three days. I went to sleep when my body told me to. I scheduled them Friday so that I could be well enough to work by Tuesday but it was five days before I didn't need a nap in the middle of the day. If there is any possibility that you can work part time during chemo I think that you will thank yourself down the road. We could all be supermom and work full time during this but I have friends who are going that route, they are exhausted, stressed and seem to be suffering more side effects. I have found that exercise really builds up my energy. Even 20 minutes on the treadmill or taking the dog for a walk makes a huge difference particularly to the brain fuzz which lasted 6 days. Be kind to yourself and listen to what your body is telling you. Relax. Hugs and best wishes.

Posts: 14
Joined: May 2003

The description of your experience made me feel so much better. I had my first chemo a week ago Thursday. I couldn't go back to work until Tuesday and then only for half a day. I didn't particularly care if I made it through Sunday and started feeling very sorry for myself, dwelling on how many more times I had to go through this (7, with a radiation "break" in between). By Monday I felt like I had turned a corner and have continued to improve to the point where although I wish I could get through it better (read faster), I'm luckier than so many. If your surgeries were fairly close to your first treatment, you probably started out with a diminished energy level though you may have been unaware of this. I had two surgeries and started chemo all within a three week period. I know I didn't even bounce back from the second surgery the way I did from the first so I'm sure starting chemo 8 days later didn't help. Listen to your body and do what's best for you. We're all different and I think as women we want to keep our chins up, take care of others, put on a good front. Unfortunately, this is one time where we have to admit to ourselves that it's OK to rest. I'm struggling with that too. Thanks for your post. It really summed up what I'm going through. You are not alone. We'll get through this and be better for it!!

Posts: 49
Joined: May 2003

Keep in mind that just dealing with the diagnosis is a tremendous strain, you are exhausted, emotionally stressed and probably sleep deprived before you even started the chemo. For me at least, the first chemo came as something of a release. I had made a decision and was on the path to getting rid of this thing. Hang in there, make sure you eat your protein and get lots of rest. (I sound like my mother- aaarrgh!)We will all get through this together. Love and laughter.

Posts: 243
Joined: Jun 2001

Hi Sue,
I scheduled my chemo for Thursdays, because I wasn't hit by the fatigue until the weekend. On Mondays I was tired, but not as bad as Sundays. I don't know any magic formula, except when your body says it is tired, you just gotta rest.
Love, Jayne

bunnie's picture
Posts: 233
Joined: Mar 2003

hi i never did work the whole time i was doing chemo i just never had enough energy too do so.I have been done with chemo since april 25th and i still find if i over do it like this weekend then iam extremly tired.just hang in ther and dont push your self too hard.bunnie.

Posts: 153
Joined: Nov 2002

I agree with bunnie. There are times to "push" past a little discomfort--like the exercises you do after mastectomy to regain range of motion. And there are times to "ease up". I try not to push myself too far beyond fatigue right after chemo infusion. I find it I do that, then I start to feel ill and then can't rest. No sleep, no refreshing recovery. Sometimes it just takes a little nap. If I can't nap, then just laying still for a half hour perks me up a lot.

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