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extreme fatigue after radiation?

Posts: 17
Joined: Feb 2012

My Mom had 10 treatments of radiation that ended a week ago. Now she can barely stay awake. Is this normal? She falls asleep while people are talking to her sometimes too. Her legs have so much lymphedema that they are now giving out on her. I guess that's the reason. Guess it could be fatigue or the tumors in her legs/groin area.

Posts: 17
Joined: Feb 2012

I forgot to add that she is stage IV with it in her legs, pelvic bones, and lungs too.

jazzy1's picture
Posts: 1385
Joined: Mar 2010

I had 33 sessions of external pelvic radiation and by the 2nd week I felt like a tree fell on me. Literally no energy at all! Now I'm the energy gal who is always moving and loaded with tons of energy. This is first time I ever remember being so tired and sluggish. Yes this is part of the radiation, as told within 2+ weeks I'd feel tired.

I didn't have any lymphedema after treatments, therefore, can't comment accurately. Will tell you this is a side affect from most treatments in people. I'd definitely ask the doc as retaining fluids isn't good at all, plus very uncomfortable.

Best to you and your mom!

daisy366's picture
Posts: 1493
Joined: Mar 2009

Is your mother on any strong medication?

When my sister was taking strong opiate medication she would fall asleep easily - even at the dinner table. She was over-medicated.

Posts: 17
Joined: Feb 2012

She is on strong pain meds, but they are the same ones she was on before radiation and she was fine in terms of tiredness...meaning she was not tired all the time. I'm guessing it's the radiation. Hopefully I will get to speak to the doctor next week. Thanks. Jules

Posts: 471
Joined: Feb 2011


So sorry to hear your mom is enduring all of this.

What my integrative doctor prescribed for fatigue (although I actually had very little of it during 26 sessions of pelvic radiation) were two things:

Astragalus (an ancient Chinese herb used for thousands of years with few if any side effects or contraindictions); two capsules two to three times a day after meals.

Another is rhodeola rosaea, another herb used for centuries including by Russian astronauts battling fatigue.

Both herbs are available online; a good brand is GAIA.

I believe there's a formula called "Stress Response" that contains BOTH herbs. If you can find it online, have you mom take two capsules, two to three times a day as directed on the bottle.

Finally: whey protein smoothies, made in a blender, might also help your mom. They are great for cancer patients, full of protein and glutathione precursors, and easy to digest. In a blender put the euqivalent of one to two glasses of water.
Add a scoop of whey protein. Add half a banana (good source of potassium) and/or blueberries or blackberries--about half a cup of berries. Turn on the blender on "liquefy" for just thirty seconds or so.

If your mother can eat this once to twice a day, it may help her tremendously.

Good brands are as follows: Dr. Mercola's Whey Protein, Life Extension Whey Protein, or Whey Cool.

Finally: If you mention astragalus or rhodeola to her oncologist, don't be surprised if they say "What?" They are NOT trained in nutrition whatsoever in med school; very few of them know much about it, ironically. Most patients just consult an integrative doctor and take supplements recommended whether their oncologist knows about it or not. ONLY a few supplements could be harmful or incompatible with surgery or treatment. Fish oil and vitamin E, for example, are best not taken IF blood platelets are very low, for they thin the blood further. If you are approaching surgery or chemo, and your platelets are low, you don't want to further risk lowering them via fish oil or vitamin E succinate. (Otherwise, both supplements are highly recommended by most alternative doctors who treat cancer patients.)


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