A woman takes a nap on the couch with her pup curled up alongside her.

What Do You Do When Treatments Deplete All Your Energy?

Last updated: August 2022

Chemo treatments come with a whole host of side effects, such as brain fog, bone pain, headaches, heart palpitations, etc. It can be tough to navigate through most of them. Plus, if you mention them to your doctor, they will prescribe more medication to offset the side effects of the many medications you probably already take. It's a vicious, vicious cycle.

The one side effect I want to touch on today is a lack of energy. I don't mean feeling tired and unmotivated when I say lack of energy. I mean can not keep my eyes open and can barely move from the bed or couch to use the bathroom. I want to explain that because chemo or cancer exhaustion is NOT the same as being tired from work or the tiredness a person without cancer may experience.

Cancer exhaustion

Chemo and cancer exhaustion is a really "weird" feeling. Like your body stops and starts to shut down. Your body starts to tell you that it needs a break. Sometimes I have a hard time even keeping my eyes open. You can start the day feeling like it's a great day and has tons of energy.

A few hours later, you hit a brick wall, depleting that energy. That is when you know it's time to get to the couch or bed and let your body reenergize, which doesn't always happen.

They have a saying in some communities, especially the autoimmune communities. It's called being a spoonie. Its explained as every person with and without cancer or other illnesses can start the day with spoons.

People that are not sick have an abundant amount of spoons to use throughout the day. Taking a shower uses one spoon. Cooking dinner and cleaning the house would use two spoons, and so on.

For those with cancer, we only have a few spoons to use in a day. So we have to use them carefully to not run out in the middle of the day.

How do we get more energy?

Is it even possible? Doctors may recommend specific vitamins and exercise. Some doctors may even recommend taking Ritalin for more energy.

There are no proven remedies for the lack of energy, but a nutritionist can help. They can recommend what vitamins to take and the proper foods to eat that can give you a boost. Always check with your oncologist before starting any new vitamins.

To sum it all up, chemo and cancer are energy suckers, and unfortunately, there is not much you can do except rest, rest, rest. So when you are run down and have no more energy, rest. Snuggle under your favorite blanket, take a nap, read a book or watch a movie.

Never push yourself to do anything, and remember your body is in a battle, and it deserves to rest. Not only your body but your mind does too. It is not being lazy, it is being intelligent, and you deserve the rest.

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