To most people it means being tired and maybe a bit overworked or run down – nothing that a good night’s sleep won’t cure, right? Wrong! If you’ve gone through treatment then you know what fatigue really is! That “walking through treacle” feeling of not being able to even find the energy to get dressed some days.
Most of the info about cancer treatment says that the feeling slowly wears off after about 6 months post treatment but for some of the unlucky ones, myself included, it can last for several years after your treatment has ended, especially of you have been left with other long term side effects. Most cancer patients seem to say that the fatigue is the most disruptive side effect of having cancer and I would agree. The one thing you want to do after finishing your treatment is try and get back some sense of normality into your life but if you are constantly battling being tired then it can really get you down, and that in itself can create even more tiredness so it becomes a vicious circle that is extremely hard to break.
Fatigue can also be very frustrating because it’s not as if you are being lazy and not wanting to do anything; very often we desperately want to go out with our family or go to a party it’s just that we know that we can’t physically manage it. All I have wanted to do since I finished my treatment is to go camping again but I know that it’s just not feasible.
Sadly, in the past most GP’s have ignored this side effect and many patients have felt alone and isolated, however things are beginning to change. It’s now being recognised that cancer patients often need long term aftercare many months or even years after their treatment has ended so they can continue to live a full and active life.
There are ways of managing and treating fatigue but you need to let your Doctor know how you feel. They can’t help you if they don’t know how you feel. Trying to deal with fatigue is nothing to be ashamed of; help is there.
xx Kaz xx