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Helen321's picture
Helen321
Posts: 1393
Joined: May 2012

Does anyone actually always consistently sleep for 6-8 hours? I wasn't sleeping before cancer and now every time something new pops up, I go through a few days where I don't sleep. Thankfully eventually I get so tired, I make it through the night. Do you get to a point where you just say it's going to be what it's going to be, sleep is good, I need to do this?

janderson1964
Posts: 2215
Joined: Oct 2011

Melatonin helps and is supposed to help fight cancer.

Lorikat's picture
Lorikat
Posts: 682
Joined: Jul 2011

Yikes, Helen! I HATE those "just can't shut the brain down and sleep" times! I was plagued with them for it seems like forever. Everything rolls in at night and wants your brain to figure it out! AND if you DO go to sleep, you (me).dream about everything that HAS been bothering you during the day! It's like living two full very tiring lives.....

I finally talked with my regular GP and he gave me an antidepressant that I take at night and helps me sleep. Still dream some, but not like before. I didn't want to take antidepressants but sure fill better for sleeping! I guess cancer gave me permission to try and feel better! LOL! Bless you, Lorie

Helen321's picture
Helen321
Posts: 1393
Joined: May 2012

Tried antidepressant, doing nothing for sleep. I'll have to talk with my doc about the melatonin since I take synthroid and the anxiety med now. Leproxa did work great for the anxiety though, at least my arm is no longer hurting. I can take naps for hours, those would be perfect. I slept three days away last week but I didn't get paid and that's no good. This week I have to work so no naps=( I just want to crawl under my desk right now.

Doc_Hawk's picture
Doc_Hawk
Posts: 685
Joined: Jan 2012

Hey Helen,

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1991 you are entitled to ask your employer to make a reasonable accommodation for a nap time during your shift. Granted, it will be off the clock time, but it's better to miss 30 - 60 minutes than a whole day.

Hope this helps out and God Bless

Doc

Helen321's picture
Helen321
Posts: 1393
Joined: May 2012

No way! You rock Doc bc they have a no sleeping on the premises clause at my job but if the law says it, they follow it to the letter. I really need naps lately, not just a little.

LivinginNH's picture
LivinginNH
Posts: 1458
Joined: Apr 2010

Hi Helen,

The doctor gave Rick 1 mg of Lorazepam and he's now finally sleeping soundly at night. It might help you...

"Lorazepam: is used to relieve anxiety. Lorazepam is in a class of medications called benzodiazepines. It works by slowing activity in the brain to allow for relaxation."

Cyn

thingy45's picture
thingy45
Posts: 633
Joined: Apr 2011

Melatonin all the way,it is natural you can by it i n the Health store, I take 3 of 3 mg each at night, It takes about an hour before it works , BUT it works and it is also good against cancer.
No caffeinne at night that includes regular tea. No cola or pepsi. Etc.
I drink Camomille tea that also can make you sleepy.
I am a professional NONE sleeper. Since I take the Melatonin I can sleep at least 6 hours in a row.
Do not take more then 12 mg I was told.
Hugs, Marjan

Helen321's picture
Helen321
Posts: 1393
Joined: May 2012

I'm going to talk to my doctor about switching from the Lexpraxo to something else. At first we tried Ambien, I was talking, walking and yelling at the dog to get away, get away. My family was highly entertained by my outrageous behavior. Lexpraxo has helped the daytime tremendously and I sleep sometimes but every time I go for a new test, boom, days and days of starting over. I need to get my thoughts to stop it and behave! I'll ask about Loraxepam instead. Maybe I need something for actual anxiety instead of depression/anxiety.

annalexandria's picture
annalexandria
Posts: 2573
Joined: Oct 2011

brand name Ativan. Originally took it for nausea during chemo, but found it's also very useful for sleep. Doesn't knock you out or anything, just reduces nervous system activity a bit. I also found that it doesn't have any "hangover" effect the next day, unlike some of the meds that are designed to actually put you to sleep. Good luck, hope you find something that works. It's essential to get some sleep, esp if you have to go to work. Ann

Doc_Hawk's picture
Doc_Hawk
Posts: 685
Joined: Jan 2012

So right, Ann. All of the benzo drugs work on the same neural pathways as alcohol but because (unlike booze) it's not sitting in your stomach all night, I don't get the hangover like I would with other sleeping aids. One pill of lorazepam gets me a good four hours of sleep about half an hour after taking it. The drawback is that it can have very nasty side effects when taken with other meds so the only time I can have it is during treatment.

annalexandria's picture
annalexandria
Posts: 2573
Joined: Oct 2011

as i discovered when in the hospital for surgery. Realized something was wrong when i complained to a friend about all the CATS climbing on my hospital bed. I mean, really, what kind of hospital allows animals in the rooms, for God's sake? Got a funny look from my friend, who gently explained that as far as she could tell, there were no cats in the vicinity. Turns out this particular combination of drugs leads to some pretty intense hallucinations. Who knew? Apparently not the doc who prescribed it to me, or any of the nurses (who hadn't noticed me swatting at kitties for a day or so).

Helen321's picture
Helen321
Posts: 1393
Joined: May 2012

lol I should have sent my granddog in, you could have yelled at her too. Poor dog must have been like what the heck is she yelling for.

pete43lost_at_sea's picture
pete43lost_at_sea
Posts: 3908
Joined: Nov 2010

i even try to have an afternoon nap.
its when the body heals,

i also take melatonin, most nights and aim to get to bed before 10pm and get up around 6am.

sleeps when our healing happens, i hope you get your sleep routine better.

no real studies on this to say you must, but so many of my alternative guru advisers have pounded this into my thick head, that i have accepted it.

go go to sleep myself.

hugs,
pete

ps sweet healing dreams.....

Helen321's picture
Helen321
Posts: 1393
Joined: May 2012

lol thanks, my dreams were not so sweet because I've been up since 4:30. I can SO nap. I just can't because I'm at work. Napping is never a problem when I'm home. Last week I slept 3 days away but I didn't get paid. My body is saying okay get this sleep thing together here. Second person who said melatonin. I just put in a call to my thyroid doc to call me back to give me the clear to try it.

Helen321's picture
Helen321
Posts: 1393
Joined: May 2012

lol thanks, my dreams were not so sweet because I've been up since 4:30. I can SO nap. I just can't because I'm at work. Napping is never a problem when I'm home. Last week I slept 3 days away but I didn't get paid. My body is saying okay get this sleep thing together here. Second person who said melatonin. I just put in a call to my thyroid doc to call me back to give me the clear to try it.

lauragb
Posts: 370
Joined: Aug 2011

I have had periods of non-sleep throughout this odyssey. My doctor gave me Valium, which I sometimes take a half of one. It helps. I also use melatonin and find it helps alot. I am post my takedown surgery and am finding that I am sleeping a lot without taking anything, which has been a pleasant surprise.

I have been careful to not use too much Valium to avoid dependency but am glad I have had it available to me. I have put it away for now. If I have sleeping issues again, I will go back on the Melatonin first.

Goodluck! I love sleep and I hope you get some!

Kenny H.'s picture
Kenny H.
Posts: 503
Joined: Aug 2010

Happend to me also. Dr gave ambeum. Works good and wake up with no groggy feeling.

Helen321's picture
Helen321
Posts: 1393
Joined: May 2012

I think it was Ambien? Ambien made me a nut! lol I laughed hysterically at the top of the stairs while slapping my knee, I remember getting back into bed and laughing hysterically for about 10 minutes. What I don't remember is that I walked around the house yelling at everyone including the dog. Apparently I put on quite a show. My whole family thought it was hysterical. I wish they had recorded it so I could see. Apparently I should not take Ambien. I'm going to try the melatonin. I need to go buy some toothpicks to keep my eyelids open.

Helen321's picture
Helen321
Posts: 1393
Joined: May 2012

I'm taking Lexapro. I keep calling it all kinds of names. My GP called me back. Melatonin is fine with both synthroid and Lexapro as long as you take them all seperately. So I'll do a 3 hour routine. Thanks for the tips. I just hope this isn't all permanent. I really miss sleeping.

Helen321's picture
Helen321
Posts: 1393
Joined: May 2012

I'm taking Lexapro. I keep calling it all kinds of names. My GP called me back. Melatonin is fine with both synthroid and Lexapro as long as you take them all seperately. So I'll do a 3 hour routine. Thanks for the tips. I just hope this isn't all permanent. I really miss sleeping.

steved
Posts: 835
Joined: Apr 2004

PErsonally I was a bad sleeper and the stressful phases of this journey have kep me awake. I always had restless legs as a cause of poor sleep and strangely they have improved since my relapse and I now sleep well. I do wonder if it is the chemo leaving my exhausted.

Drugs are good but aim to keep them short term. You lexapro (escitalopram) is an antidepressant and anti-anxiety treatment which is often useful but is not sedative so won't help you sleep unless the insomnia is just caused by depression/ anxiety. In your situation it is most likely just a symptom of your situation. Melatonin is worth trying and helps some people. Your reaction to ambien isn't that uncommon but was still a good thing to try. The lorazapam idea is one I would save till lower in the list as it is very addictive (more so than valium) but can be useful if short term and intermittently used. Promethazine is another tactic- it is an antihistamine that is quite sedative so not addictive.

Sleep hygeine is vital though- no day time naps and a regular routine. Lie ins only worsen insomnia so try to get up at the same regualr time including at weekends until your pattern returns. No using the bedroom for other things during the day- watching the tv/ resting etc (a bit of nookie okay but not napping after!) No caffeine after 4pm (including tea), last cigaratte before 8pm. If you can't sleep after 30-40 minutes- get up and do something calming eg hot milky drink, read etc. Don't lie in bed and toss and turn. Then go back to bed and try and again.

Sorry- am at work so am in psychiatrist mode. Better stop lecturing do some real work,

steve

Helen321's picture
Helen321
Posts: 1393
Joined: May 2012

Fantastic info! I did take a 4 hour nap this weekend, I guess I'm totally messing up my sleep patterns. I have a TV in my bedroom. Sleep hygeine is incredibly vital. Something that normally takes me 40 minutes to finish took me 3 hours yesterday. I was zombie-ish. I'm going to try the melatonin-lexapro-synthroid routine, see how it works. Where should I send my payment?

smokeyjoe
Posts: 1428
Joined: Feb 2011

My oncologist gave me a prescript for something I probably have the name all wrong Ziplo something or other....leaves a really BAD taste in your mouth...it says take when needed at bedtime....okay so I Needed it for an extended period of time....I have refills avail. but didn't fill the presc......without them had a HORRIBLE time falling asleep so I popped nytol...had the most BIZZARRE dreams once I finally fell asleep. I always wondered how people come up with strange things for movies...this would have been a great movie, weird creatures and all!!!

Helen321's picture
Helen321
Posts: 1393
Joined: May 2012

Well steve, I followed all the sleeping rules tonight, no tv in my room tonight, the nookie will be for me to know;) Took synthroid, lexapro and melatonin. Nighty night and please let me sleep tight! Thanks for the advice.

thxmiker's picture
thxmiker
Posts: 1282
Joined: Oct 2010

Not sleeping was common for me. I would stay up for 36-48 hours at times. I was relaxing other then when I took my walks, and played with the dogs.

Then I would crash and sleep for 10 hours eat and go back to sleep. Soon after stopping chemo, my sleep went back to normal.

Best Always, mike

Helen321's picture
Helen321
Posts: 1393
Joined: May 2012

I haven't even started the chemo yet. If I feel this awful now, I don't want to know what it's going to be like.

Doc_Hawk's picture
Doc_Hawk
Posts: 685
Joined: Jan 2012

During infusion, I usually conk out pretty fast, just can't keep my eyes open. Then, by the time the drugs all wear off, my brain starts racing trying to process all of the things that it was grappling with all day. I had infusion yesterday and didn't get to sleep until 3:30 this morning. It's not even 10:30 at night here and I've been tired all day and don't know when I'll get to sleep tonight. But, hey ... we're all different. So, good luck and happy dreams!

Helen321's picture
Helen321
Posts: 1393
Joined: May 2012

Thanks. My job is making me work during chemo. I only have 103 more days off until March so I have to save those for the surgeries. My coworkers have told me that we'll just let me sleep in the closet (which is a walk in) while no one is looking if I need to. 19 years on a job, you'd think they'd cut me a break. If my brain races at least I'll appear awake. I've had the brain racing thing several times now and I can't stop talking when it happens.

marbleotis's picture
marbleotis
Posts: 700
Joined: Mar 2012

Yikes, I can stay up 2 or 3 days with just cat naps - then I just crash. None of the "sleeping" meds work on me. Once my brain starts its thinking mode forget sleep. It just goes and goes. Since I know sleep is how we heal I really have tried to get better at it. It still is a constant struggle. Usually the day of disconnect I will shower then get about 5 hours - that as good as it gets for now.

Helen321's picture
Helen321
Posts: 1393
Joined: May 2012

I'm trying the melatonin. I'll let you know how it goes.

omrhill
Posts: 125
Joined: May 2012

Helen - have you tried taking the synthroid in the a.m.? That's when I take mine. It probably doesn't make a difference, because it's a drug that builds to a level and stays there, but my thyroid doc specifically ssid to take it in the a.m.. Just a thought. I take ambien to help me sleep -- no funky dreams/sleep walking (although I've heard of those). I'll deal with the withdrawal from the ambien once other things are resolved. One issue at a time!

Good luck and good night!

Robin

Helen321's picture
Helen321
Posts: 1393
Joined: May 2012

Yes originally I took it in the AM but it woke me up at night which was unusual. Now I'm waking up in the night anyway so I guess it wouldn't matter. Melatonin = I woke up a few times last night becuase the cat was crying and then knocked right back out. Missed work because this morning I put my head back down and just woke up at 12:36 in the afternoon! The stuff does wonders. I just have to tweak it all now. Maybe switch the synthroid back to the AM and lower lexapro and melatonin. I can't tell you how good it feels to sleep so many hours. It was apparent in my voice, I called my husband and he instantly said heyyyy you sound like yourself, welcome back!

omrhill
Posts: 125
Joined: May 2012

I'm on Lexapro as well, and have cats that want to keep me awake. The Lexapro is not an issue -- I was on it before the big C ever showed up. I'm thankful now for its anti-anxiety properties. The cats, however, are a different story. They have now become indoor/outdoor cats (they're THRILLED) and spend the nights outside. If they're inside, if I close my bedroom door, they scratch until i let them in. If I open my door, they want to sleep on my head. Even Ambien can't help me sleep through that!!!

Glad you got some good rest. It's as important as anything else we do for ourselves.

Robin

Helen321's picture
Helen321
Posts: 1393
Joined: May 2012

lol I've woken up to a cat on my head many times. We leave all doors open at night as a rule if we want to sleep. He was crying this time because I ran out of dry food and gave him moist food which he doesn't prefer anymore. The nerve of me. I'm going out to get some more dry food for tonight. Whiskers tries to get outside all the time, we call it his escape from alcatraz and then he comes crying at the door like a maniac because we live by a cat lady and he doesn't know how to deal with other, more street-wise cats. I have to say the anti anxiety has really helped. I was having severe arm pain and crazy thoughts. All gone. Just have to learn to control the reaction to new tests and results. Live in the moment and not think so hard.

Doc_Hawk's picture
Doc_Hawk
Posts: 685
Joined: Jan 2012

Glad you got some much needed rest! I slept for about 10 hours last night and then only woke up when the dog decided to start scratching my back with her claws. It sure felt good, but I'm already for a nap again, only two hours later!

smokeyjoe
Posts: 1428
Joined: Feb 2011

Do you have any clue when you're going to start chemo?? You'll need some time off work for infusions, unless they're giving you oral meds. Infusion time will be a few hours every two weeks, and you may have a pump you wear for 48 hours after infusion. I missed work on infusion days, but I did go to work following day with the pump....found clothing that hid it and no one seemed to notice, then you have to arrange for disconnect time. My bottle would empty really fast so early morning was good for me. How your tummy will handle this no one can predict, it may take varying amounts of anti-diarrhea meds, that one you'll have to figure out.

Helen321's picture
Helen321
Posts: 1393
Joined: May 2012

I'm starting in July. I"m on the waiting list for Sloan for the medical and radiation oncologists to move up my end of June appts. I was reading up to figure out how it works to figure out how much time I'd need off and wondering if it was something I could do in the early evenings bc I am allowed to make up two hours in a week at work. So if say on Fridays (I bet that's the most requested day) I can head over at 4:00, then I wouldn't have to miss work or pay. Otherwise I'm going to use FMLA and just miss 1/2 a days pay. If it takes two days then I'd have to do a Thurs. I've been cutting back money to keep up so it just means more cutting back with the loss of pay. I was already on a budget as it is. I so hope it's oral meds. Of course I'm finding all these medications and test preps to be expensive. Double edged sword.

tommycat's picture
tommycat
Posts: 790
Joined: Aug 2011

For me with the chemo, it wasn't the day after the chemo, it was about 2-3 days afterward when I REALLY hit the wall. I think the chemo was so buffered with the mag drip/anti-nausea meds/ativan/benydryl/and ??? that it carried me for a couple of days and then--wham.
I would get the big infusion on Wed. afternoons so by the time I really felt it, it was the weekend and I could sleep.
Btw, chemo was described to me as a mix of the flu and the worst hangover of your life. I can safely say that toward the end that that description was an understatement.
With that being said, you can plan for it and soften the blow as much as possible.
For me, ignorance is not bliss; it's more like a 2x4 hitting you from behind.
Knowledge is where the power's at.
Take good care and hang on...you can get through this.
Tommycat

Helen321's picture
Helen321
Posts: 1393
Joined: May 2012

Oh boy, I am a miserable person with the flu. Nauseua is my worst nightmare. I'm going to have a blanket and pillow at work and one of the women from my group at work said she'd cover me.

Helen321's picture
Helen321
Posts: 1393
Joined: May 2012

It's funny how the pets are the problem. My cat is "elderly" as the vet called him. I used to just think of him as a cat. Now I have to be nicer to the geezer.

maglets's picture
maglets
Posts: 2589
Joined: Jun 2006

Helen I would be careful and thoughtful about what you start taking at this time.As Steve says the benzos are very addictive....I know because I just jumped off lorazapam after eight years.....i should never have taken it that long....I think the heavy sleeping meds are great for a short term crisis but they can go on too long. I really do not want to frighten you....we are all at very different stages in this journey but in MHO I would avoid the benzos if possible....

mags

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