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Posts: 87
Joined: Nov 2006

Hi all
Okay you all know we are new to all of this so just need to know more information. Husband did great through his first chemo just a little nausea, but today he is extremly fatigued. Now we want to know is this something that will let up in the next few days or is he gonna feel like this all the time. He is upset because if he is gonna feel like this their is no way he will be able to do his job and that freaks us both out!

JADot's picture
Posts: 720
Joined: Jan 2006

Hi Sandy:

Fatigue is one of the biggest side effects of chemo, and you have have to make room for it. If that interferes with work, then perhaps you can look into changing the work schedule. Right now the important thing is to focus on the treatment. Once you husband is healthy, there'll be many years of happy working later. It's not the best to have too many conflicting priorities now. Most of all, don't get anxious and upset about being tired, it'll just wear down your immune system - that last last thing you want to do right now.

I worked during chemo, but not full time. I arranged it such that I get chemo on Thursday afternoons. I basically stayed in bed on Friday-Sunday, because I was just too tired to do much. I was able to make my own meals during those days, but definitely could not work. Simply didn't have the energy and the clarity of mind. Having the chemo on Thursday made it possible for me to do most of the recovery over the weekend, so I was not feeling guilty. This became a working compromise while my body recovered. During my 7 months of chemo, most of the time I was well enough to work normally the Monday after each treatment.

Fatigue is the way our body tells us that it needs rest. We must listen and give it what it needs. Keep in mind that the only time our immune system can repair itself and do its thing is when we are sleeping. Cancer and chemo are extremely hard on our immune system, therefore sleeping is at least as important as getting chemo and eating, if not more. Do not deny your body the rest that it so sorely need to help you heal. My philosophy was - while in doubt, just sleep until the doubt goes away.

While nothing replaces sleeping, there are two other things that are equally important - good nutrition and mild exercise.

On the nutrition front, please get hold of the Patrick Quillin book "Fighting Cancer with Nutrition". It'll open up a new world of possibilities for you. It is also critically important to eat well and eat enough so that you can withstand chemo.

Exercise sounds counter-intuitive at first, but mild exercise is so critically important in several ways:

- It burns off the blood suger that can help cancer cells grow
- It helps oxygen-ize your body, making it more alkaline, which denies the cancer cells the fermenting, acidy environment they need to grow in
- It creates serotonin, the happy horomone which helps dealing with chemo blues and increases our overall sense of well being
- Last but not the least, doing what you enjoyed before cancer will reinforce the belief of "I will beat the bastards and get back to my happy healthy self again"

Hope you find this helpful and good luck to you!


Betsydoglover's picture
Posts: 1256
Joined: Jul 2005

Hi Sandy -

Everyone is different (you will hear this so many times that it may start to annoy, but it is true.) I was on a 3-week cycle of Xeloda/oxaliplatin/Avastin. It was partly a luxury I allowed myself, but I took the first week of each cycle ("the chemo week") off from work. Then I went back. And yes, I was fatigued - think that pretty much goes with the territory - but the fatigue ebbed and flowed and I managed to keep up with work. I kept functioning pretty well, but even though my work colleagues thought I seemed "normal", I actually felt off and on tired and not my usual "normal" self.

Have you husband rest as much as he can and hopefully he will be able to work for much of the time. But, there is no question that chemo tires you out in the short term.

I wish you both well,

Posts: 1961
Joined: Aug 2003

Everyone is different in their reactions. But, for me, I was usually wiped out (and nauseaous) for a few days - but then bounced back. And then felt pretty normal until the next cycle. During that time, I could go to work, gentle exercise, go out socially. That being said, I usually had a nap (or put my feet up) every day. So, I certainly wasn't my usual self. But, I was functional. This went on throughout most of the chemo. But, near the end, the fatigue really hit and I needed a lot more rest. I did 11 out of 12 cycles of chemo. I'd say I was doing great till the last couple (say around round 9 or 10).

But as I said, everyone is different. And, it is important to get as much rest as you can while going through this. It's a battle!

Best wishes to you both.


spongebob's picture
Posts: 2599
Joined: Apr 2003

Sandy -

Betsy and Tara are right on when they say that chemo affects everyone differently. Likewise, Ying is exactly on the mark about exercise. I not only worked my regular (60+ hours a week) job, but also had to get a near-full-time part-time job (divorce sucks!) during chemo. I also made it a point to ride an exercise bike for 20-30 minutes a day. It helped a lot.

- SpongeBob

lfondots63's picture
Posts: 822
Joined: Jan 2006

Hi Sandy,

I agree with what everyone said. Naps were my new normal during chemo. He should rest as much as possible. I had my treatments on Wednesday and Thursday and Friday the pump came off. I was lucky and could work from home those days. I actually just said in bed on my computer and rested while working. I know while doing chemo I would come home and go to bed for a rest. I didn't do much the week after chemo. I was only almost normal the few days before my next treatment. Terrible cycle but you learn to work around it. It did help to get out and do things. It kept me going. HUGS and tell hubby we all understand.

Lisa F.

Posts: 553
Joined: Mar 2006


Yes, everyone experiences side effects differently. My dad went in for his treatments every other week. About midway through the week of his treatments was when he became fatigued. Then it wore off by the weekend. He still managed to keep active, though. Could your husband try some mild exercising during his treatments? I agree with the others who have responded. Any time you can fit exercise in, it is very beneficial and may even give your husband more energy.

God bless,


nanuk's picture
Posts: 1362
Joined: Dec 2003

the Dr. should be checking his red blood cells; if they are below a certain number, they usually give a shot to boost the RBC's. I was out to lunch the first week, and worked the second week. Make sure he is drinking at least 8 glasses of water per day. dehydration can cause fatigue also..

chynabear's picture
Posts: 483
Joined: Jul 2005

I Had chemo wednesday, thursday and was taken off of my 48hr pump friday. I started getting pretty wiped out thursday afternoon, usually slept all day or most day friday, most or all day saturday, and half of sunday. I started bouncing back sunday around noonish.

Fatigue is a big factor and you must make time to rest.

Yes, make sure that nutrition and hydration are kept up.

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