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Dealing with extreme fatigue

Posts: 6
Joined: Jul 2011

I went through Stage IIIc breast cancer in mid-2011. I had a mastectomy, chemo and radiation. My treatment ended at the very end of 2011. That was about 20 moths ago, and I am still so exhausted that I sleep 10 hours every night and often take 2-hour naps. And no, I am not depressed. I went to my oncologist for a regular visit and talked to her about it. She prescribed something that I want to tell you about because it is already seeming to help. It was Ritalin, the same thing they prescribe for kids with ADHD. Apparently it produces a different result in adults. It gives us more energy. I was pretty surprised that she prescribed this for me, but it seems to be working. I'm taking one in the morning and one at lunchtime. What a difference! I feel human again. I've been exhausted for so long that I've almost forgotten what a normal day feels like. 


Anyway, I'm just putting this out there in case it might be useful for someone else with the same problem. We need all the help we can get, right?

Posts: 3644
Joined: Aug 2009

I am really surprised that your oncologist would give you a stimulate as strong and potentially adictive as Ritalin.  What were you told about the need for follow-up evaluation, taking 'vacations', how long to expect to be on and so many other issues that go along with using stimulants.

Of course you will be up and moving around - it is a form of 'speed'!   Using it as an 'upper' does not address the underlying issues of why you are so tired - it will only mask for a while.  Have your Vit. D levels been checked?  Your B levels?  These can effect 'tiredness'.    Have you had a sleep evaluation?  How you 'sleep' can drrastically effect the results of the time spent laying down.     You say you are not depressed - perhaps.  Depression presents it's ugly head in so many ways - so differently to all of us.   I deal with a form of depression - SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and have for year.  (I handle it with mega doses of Vit. D and using a light box  from Sept. - May.)   

ADD is very real for many of us - yes adults are ADD.  For us adults - esp women - there are so many misconceptions - the 2 biggest I've dealt with til 1992 were that only boys are ADD/ADHD and 'it goes away at puberty'.  WRONG!  My knowledge is somewhat limited as I'm ADD (as are both of my sons) so that is where I've 'lived' and done most of my reseach/education.

Please do not 'blindly' take speed or more importantly tell others to ask for it or take it.  I do not take Ritilan - it's not the right med for me (as are a couple of others I've tried over the years).

Winyan - The Power Within 
























camul's picture
Posts: 2541
Joined: Dec 2010

for exhaustion. What stopped me.from taking it was the possible se of racing heart, which I get from different meds. I was offered it by both my pain management and oncologist as I would fall asleep whenever I sat down.
They explained that it is used on adults differently than with children and adolesents. I just chose not to take it.

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