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Three Tips on Post Cancer Fatigue
Fatigue Hangs Around
I was going at a million miles an hour with a full time job, a six year old whirl-wind child, studying for a PhD, running half-marathons, socialising with friends and family, not to mention a long-suffering partner…..well you get the picture, I was pretty busy. Weekends were packed with beach trips, walking, writing and all the other things that a woman in her prime (40 cough something) gets up to.
Then there it was, an innocuous little lump and all of a sudden my life was hospital waiting rooms, needles and a lot, and I mean a lot, of lying down.
One of the hardest parts of the last year and a half has been feeling too tired to do 10,000 things a day because of the fatigue that comes with having cancer and having the treatment for cancer – for me surgery followed by chemotherapy, radiotherapy and herceptin. After my treatment finished all my friends and family wanted to celebrate because they thought it was over. But the fatigue hung around and to my astonishment I was not ready to get back to my hectic schedule the moment the last radiographer wished me well. So for what it’s worth here’s my top three tips for coping with fatigue whilst you’re waiting for it to lift and get on with your life.
Top Tip 1 – Pick your battles
You want to run in the morning, lunch with your mum, take the little darlings to the park and when they are safely in bed swish down to the local wine bar for a few cocktails with the girls? Think again. Pick one thing a day that you really want to do and do that. Getting out and about is essential to beating fatigue, as is gentle exercise (I totally recommend yoga) but you can’t do everything and if you try to then you’ll be wretched for the next week.
Top Tip 2 – Plan
You’ve gotta love a plan. When you’ve picked that one thing you want to do: plan it. How long will it take to get there? Is there lots of walking involved? Who will give you a hand should you suddenly need to lay down in the middle of the street for a snooze? Spontaneity is the friend of the fit. Fatigue means that you may need to think a bit about how you’ll manage your daily activity.
Top Tip 3 – Invest in a good blanket
And while you’re at it get a lovely pair of pjs too. There is no shame in snuggling down under a blanket on the sofa in your pjs at 6pm. Fatigue is the sort of tired that a nice afternoon nap isn’t going to cure, but accepting you will need to rest is part of the package.
So I say embrace it, invest in a blanket that is going to make you feel safe and loved (try the National Trust recycled wool blanket – awesomely comfy and good for the environment) and disappear under that blanket reminiscing about the time you danced on the podium at Ritzy’s in a furry bikini at 2am. There will be a time when you’re up there again, but in the meantime tuck up, listen to your body, and have a nice cup of tea.
Daisy is a working and running mum in her 40s from Wales, and a breast cancer survivor.
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