The Silent Cancer Side Effect – Fatigue

Any Human Heart, Cancer & Me

Just to be extremely clear, fatigue is not the same as being really, really, really, tired. It is more than that, and takes hold of your whole being, physically and mentally. Anyone who has had children will probably know what I am talking about, right?  But it’s permanent.

Fatigue takes a toll both physically and mentally. If you are anything like me you are completely hopeless after a bad nights sleep. With fatigue it feels like that all the time, times a million.

Even simple activities, or activities that you wouldn’t normally consider taxing like watching a movie or reading a book can suddenly feel like way to much and like it would require far too much effort.

Signs Of Having Fatigue

  • You don’t feel anymore restored or awake even when you have had a good nights sleep.
  • You feel like nothing can restore your energy.
  • You are often unable to finish tasks, even when you desperately want to achieve them.
  • The above point is usually coupled with a severe lack of concentration.
  • You may also find that you suffer with memory loss as a result.
  • Physically, the lack of energy can mean it is physically draining to undertake the simplest of physical activities.
  • There may even be loss of motor skills.

I really can’t stress enough to severity of fatigue. And, it’s beyond annoying!

You want to be up and about, trying to live a normal life but feel unable to do anything, it is infuriating! Even more annoyingly it can last for years after cancer treatment has finished.

imagesFor me, fatigue was the worst the years after I had cancer and finished my treatment. I think it was a combination of my body healing, riding itself of an unbelievable amount of chemicals and poisons and getting over the emotional side of everything that I had just been through. Hardly surprising but still unforgivably annoying.

I really wanted to make a point about the fatigue because it so easily gets overlooked. Even when you are the one with cancer, I think it is hard to identify it within yourself. Energy levels will fluctuate too much from one day to the next when you have cancer and/or fatigue that one day you will think your fine and the next day you are on the floor and I think the unpredictability of it can be equally hard.

The intensity of the fatigue will inevitably vary from person to person so just because I experienced it quite severely doesn’t mean that you (or your loved one) will, but I would keep an eye out for it and just be extra sympathetic to yourself if you aren’t able to do things as often or as quickly as you hoped.

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Bowel Cancer Awareness Month – Day 14 – When I Knew Something Was Wrong and My Symptoms

Cancer & Me, Colosto-ME

Day 14 – When I Knew Something Was Wrong and My Symptoms

I will always remember the look on the colonoscopy consultant’s face when he told me he had found a tumour he believed to be cancerous.  Pure shock.  The nurse looked like she was going to cry and my husband’s jaw was somewhere near the floor.  This was the beginning of me having cancer for them.  But for me, my cancer experience had started much earlier…

I had been getting rectal bleeding, that was very on and off, for around 8 years.  A classic sign of Bowel Cancer.  Over the years I had visited various GPs but they always said the same, that I was too young to have Bowel Cancer (a common misconception –  Remember Day 4?)  It was probably a small internal cut and if the bleeding went, there was nothing to worry about (another misconception – Remember Day 5?) The bleeding would stop, so that was that. In hindsight this could have probably been dealt with in the early stages if my initial concerns and symptoms had been taken seriously.

This is why I keep repeating over and over during Bowel Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM) that

the only way to truly know is to have a colonoscopy so get a referral from your GP!

The rectal bleeding now combined with discomfort when going to the toilet became intolerable during my second pregnancy in 2011.  I returned to the GP three times during that pregnancy, always with the same responses from the GP.  When my symptoms continued after my daughter was born, I quite literally fought for tests until my GP gave in and referred me for a colonoscopy.  The colonoscopy consultant found the tumour before he had even inserted the camera.

My daughter was only 6 weeks old and my son had just turned 2 years old.

Another symptom was extreme tiredness and fatigue but its only on reflection I am able to see that.  At the time I just put it down to life!  Being a new mum.  A lot going on.  Like I said, life.  Having said that I had said to my husband before “I swear there is something wrong with me, I know I have all these things going on but it can’t be normal to be this tired all the time!”  Now I know it is because my body was attempting to fight my cells turning on themselves.

I know it is harder to diagnose but do keep an eye on your energy levels as they can be a strong indicator that something is wrong.

 

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Life – but not as you knew it: Tired of being tired?

Cancer & Me, Journey Back to Health

Oh my gosh, this is exactly how I feel. In a way I am relieved it’s an actual thing & not me going mad. I have said so many times this is more than ‘being tired’ and it’s not to do with being a busy mum. It is all encompassing & mental as well as physical.

It is also true that rest doesn’t usually help but your not able to do anything either, even think clearly, so your left in a very strange & uncomfortable place.

Fantastic article….

Shine Cancer Support Blog

Fatigue is one of those issues that many people living with cancer experience, but that few discuss and even fewer understand.  At Shine, we know that fatigue often lasts far longer than the period when everyone expects you to be ill – if you’ve finished your treatment, friends and family often expect you to be back to normal relatively soon. And if you’re living with a chronic cancer, you might not look ill or tired, making it even more tricky to explain to people exactly why you feel so wiped out.

In this week’s blog, Sam shares her experiences of coping with fatigue, the impact is has, and how she is coping. Please share this if you can – the more people understand how tiring cancer is the better!


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Guest blogger: Sam Reynolds

The first virtue in a soldier is endurance of fatigue; courage is only the second virtue.
–…

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