Chronic fatigue is something i’ve had to deal with since treatment ended which has been a massive struggle personally.
When you google chronic fatigue post cancer, it will most likely tell you that it will last for a few months once you’ve finished treatment which is totally normal, I mean your body has been through a hell of a lot and sometimes up to a year but for some people including me there’s long term chronic fatigue and that can last for several years after treatment has finished. It’s scary not knowing how long your body is going to take to recover. A lot of people will just call it tiredness but it’s more than that. It’s waking up in the morning completely exhausted even though you’ve just had 10 hours sleep, it’s taking naps in the middle of the day, it’s cancelling plans because you physically can’t move, it’s not have the energy to climb the stairs or even eat, it’s paralyzing.
I’m now 7 years post treatment and the fatigue has got less year after year, I struggled mentally a lot in the beginning, it can be draining and takes a lot from you but even now on tablets and vitamins to help I struggle daily, I just know now how to manage my levels although I can be my own worst enemy and overdo it, I really do have to remind myself that I don’t need to do everything at once. There’s nothing that prepares you other than you just need to listen to your body and take it every day or even every hour at a time.
. Prioritise tasks everyday – decide what the most important things are and prioritise them. Make sure to plan them out, also making sure you plan in breaks to rest when you need to and do things slowly so you don’t take up too much energy on one task.
. Take walks – this may sound silly but exercise helps (a lot). Walking is a great way to ease fatigue and will obviously help you sleep better at night once you’ve used up some energy. I’m not talking go on a 10 mile hike but just a couple of little walks each week will generally help ease the fatigue and you should start to see some improvement.
. Change your diet – throughout treatment I was eating whatever and whenever I felt like it because I had to, you don’t have much choice, you just have to eat when you don’t feel sick but my eating habits carried on when I finished treatment and that wasn’t the best thing for my recovery. Try adding more protein into your diet, cook simple meals that don’t take too much time.
. Prioritise your own health – if you need to cancel plans because you’re physically exhausted and haven’t got the energy, then do so. Prioritise YOUR health. There’s been so many times when i’ve not put myself first and gone out physically and mentally exhausted and not thought of my own health and paid for it. Sometimes you need to put you first and it’s not selfish.
. Be kind to yourself – You’re not being lazy, you don’t have to be positive all the time. If you need a rest day or even two, have one. Binge Netflix, read a book, journal, start a blog! Looking after yourself is important and a step in recovery.
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