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Fatigue from Cancer Treatment: What It Is and How To Deal With It

I was exhausted. All I wanted to do was sleep, but even that was difficult. Every day I battled fatigue from my metastatic breast cancer treatments. It was hard to keep up with everyday activities, let alone think about anything else.

But one day, something amazing happened. I met a woman who had been through the same thing as me. She told me about her experiences and how she coped with the fatigue. Her words were inspiring and gave me the strength to keep going. 

It was nice to know that I wasn't alone in this battle against fatigue. We shared stories and laughed together, and it made the journey a little bit easier. Maybe you’ve never heard of cancer treatment fatigue. I can assure you, it is a real thing. 

Just the facts, nothing more

Cancer treatment fatigue is a common side effect of metastatic breast cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy. It can cause a feeling of total exhaustion, making it difficult to do everyday activities. It can even make it difficult to write about your experience on this dreadful cancer journey. It has mentally paralyzed me at times. 

More often than not I find myself wanting to talk about this cancer journey as if I'm talking from a third-party point of view. Then there are times when I just want to write about the nonemotional, technical side of this journey. Just the facts ma’am, just the facts. 

I’m finding that I’m just mentally and physically fatigued. I’m wanting to not be compliant. I often ask myself, What is happening? This is when I shut off the emotions and go straight into the facts. Just the facts and nothing else.

Cancer treatment fatigue can be caused by the cancer itself or by the treatments used to fight it. The fatigue may be caused by anemia, low blood counts, or other problems with the blood cells. Cancer treatments can also damage healthy cells and lead to inflammation. This can make you feel tired and weak.

How I manage cancer treatment fatigue

There are a few things that I try to do to help me manage my cancer treatment fatigue:

  • Get plenty of rest and sleep.
  • Eat healthy; most days even that gets tiring.
  • Crafting is a great stress reliever.
  • Take plenty of breaks during your day.
  • I talk to my doctor about everything. Too much at times, she’s that girlfriend that you love who gives unsolicited advice when you least want to hear it. We all have that one.

Cancer treatment is hard work, but you don't have to do it alone. There are many resources available to help you through this difficult time. 

No one should have to face cancer alone. With the right support, you can get through this tough time and come out stronger on the other side. At least that’s what I'm told. I'm still standing in line waiting to get to the other side called stronger and stress-free.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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