Fatigue - what helps?

Fatigue seems to be a fact of many of our daily lives that we live with, cope with and manage. I get to know myself so much better as every day passes. I believe my fatigue comes on either immediately or up to 48 hours after I have overdone it emotionally and/or physically. Initially I did not connect the cause and effect. I also know since diagnosis I do not deal with what personally stresses me as well, suddenly everything is all too much and I often get emotional and feel the fatigue setting in. Personally I also do not think anyone who has not experienced fatigue can understand it. There seems to be more evidence coming out to say that gentle exercise, fresh air and ‘taking your mind off’ helps. Personally I think there is a time for rest and a time for some exercise, fresh air and in my case interaction with people. When I make the effort I seem to feel better afterwards, I have heard it gets the endorphins going. I also think that trying to declutter my life and organising myself helps me. I also try and eat regular healthier meals, but to also have the odd treat, and to try and get enough sleep. I am a great one for a nap or a duvet dive, when needed, as well. I would be interested in what others think?

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Hi my name is Lynne and my partner has lymphoma. His treatment is every 21 days on a trial Plus RCHOP. After a week of chemotherapy he seems to hit a slump or as though his battery has run down, as though he hasn’t any energy at all. We try and make the best of things when he is feeling ok. I have taken driving up after 41 years of not driving!!! Just to help with going to doctors , hospital etc. It has totally changed our lives. But we are quite positive and just get on with things as when we can. All the best to you.

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Hi Lynne, I think you describe fatigue so well by ‘hitting a slump or as if your battery has run down’. Wow, taking up driving after 41yrs of not driving, what a star. Don’t forget being the family member can really take it’s toll practically, emotionally and physically and often nobody thinks to ask you how you are. The Bloodwise support line on 0808 2080 888 is there for you too and they are available Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm and on Wednesdays from 10am-1pm but you can get in touch whenever you want and leave a message - they say they will get back to you within one working day. This community forum is also here for you so please keep posting what it is like being you.

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I actually couldn’t agree more! I still work two days a week but it keeps me going! It is local, and flexible, and I try to alternate my days so I have a rest day in between. Like you, Erica, I have got to know my body and know that physical and emotional stress both trigger that awful fatigue when you just feel like doing nothing. With my recent leg ulcer, I have had to spend as much time as possible with my legs raised anyway, so - as frustrating as it is sometimes - I give in to it. When I feel a spurt of energy, I make the most of it, but don’t best myself up for sitting around a lot. You are so right that energy is needed for everything - even (or sometimes especially) seeing or talking to people. I have withdrawn a lot, which is not necessarily a good thing if it’s overdone, but I know that those that matter are still out there! I agree about the eating too. I am more sensitive to what I eat but still eat healthily - and feel no guilt at having chocolate when I fancy it! I never used to be one for napping, but now my fatigue and severe anemia mean that sometimes I can’t help myself. For the first time in my life I occasionally drop off in front of the tv! I’ve also given up trying to explain to people what true fatigue is. They just don’t get it and I am tired of being told they are tired too!!

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Dear Marilyn, I currently have terrible fatigue due to being on chemotherapy and one of the things I’ve learnt is eating large meals takes an enormous of energy as the blood flow goes to the stomach during digestion and away from the brain, it’s sometimes referred to a as food coma. So smaller lower carbohydrate meals with protein and some fat more often tends to help with this problem and also not too much fluid with meals as this also makes digestion more difficult. I hope this is some help to you. Best wishes as always. Alfie

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Wow, Alfie, thanks so much, I had never heard of food coma, but it really makes sense and I think so right. I also did not realise that too much fluid with meals made digestion more difficult. I was brought up to have a cup of tea with meals. I don’t now but I do try to keep my drinking of water intake up during the day. I am so sorry to hear that you are suffering from terrible fatigue due to your chemo, I think it feels so debilitating. On top of everything else you are contending with too. Thanks so much for your posts they are so welcoming, inspiring and educational, take lots of care.

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Oh, Marilyn, the knock on effects of your leg ulcer must be so hampering and frustrating. I think you are really doing well still working 2 days a week. You are aware you have withdrawn a lot and the knock on effects of that. I have come to realise that interaction with people, especially the priceless ones, really helps me, they say laughter is the best medicine and I think that is so true and as for that special bond when you can just ‘be’, however that manifests itself, with someone is exceptional. But at the moment I am impressed you realise that you might need to decide how to use your depleted batteries, perhaps housework is a low priority, but then I find it so frustrating when I see my ‘to do’ list escalating. Yes, if one more person says they are ‘tired too’. Take it steady.

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Agreed! Thanks for your comments Alfie and your interesting insight. That explains very well why I only seem able to finish a simple basic meal these days as more complex dishes - however delicious - just require too much energy. I need to drink more water so over-drinking is not a problem for me! I’m sorry the chemo is giving you terrible fatigue and I do hope this alleviates for you soon. Best wishes Marilyn

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Funnily enough - after I wrote this I sat for a bit and then felt the urge to get up and do something. Doesn’t happen often! So I did some cleaning and feel really good for having done it. When you stop looking you tend not to notice the dust building up ;-).

We are going to stay overnight with some friends this weekend and I am so looking forward to it - they are utterly accepting, non-judgemental and uplifting people … the kind that give you energy instead of draining it!

Thanks, as always Erica, for your validation and support. I hope you are feeling well at the moment.

Best wishes to you.

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I think this, although brilliant for me, was meant for our mate, @Alfie.

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Marilyn, have a brilliant weekend with who sound very special friends. I realise how much I am in my own, comforting, little routine at home and even spending quality time staying with friends and being entertained by people that give me energy can, on the flip side, be very tiring for me. Oh, I really, really love my friends and spending quality time with them but I do love my little home and my bed.

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[quote=“Marilyn, post:8, topic:1613, full:true”]
Agreed! Thanks for your comments Alfie and your interesting insight. That explains very well why I only seem able to finish a simple basic meal these days as more complex dishes - however delicious - just require too much energy. I need to drink more water so over-drinking is not a problem for me! I’m sorry the chemo is giving you terrible fatigue and I do hope this alleviates for you soon. Best wishes Marilyn

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Oh thanks. It all appeared on the same thread so I assumed my replies would too.

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I love my home and my bed too!

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Agree that large meals won’t help; three courses with all the trimmings is a bit much! I’ve also always felt that the glass of water/cup of tea while eating the meal may not help digestion. But one of the things that seems to be considered important is drinking plenty overall. Not going overboard like young people seem to do today with their ubiquitous bottled water (contributing more to the profits of the suppliers than the health of the nation!) but making sure you get around 2-2.5 litres of fluid per day. That includes water that is in your food, so don’t feel it has to be 5 pints of water/tea/whatever.

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Thanks, I agree with everything you say. I like tap water and would object to buying expensive bottled water and the empty bottle contributing to our waste. How are you and what is going on with you?

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Hello everyone, glad to see my post about overeating sparked a lively discussion, so I thought I’d follow it up with an article that tries to explain the known science behind the theory.


Anything that can help alleviate fatigue is worth knowing about, and I agree there is a balance between drinking to little water and too much, many drinks with artificial sweeteners create thirst which drinking plain tap water does not do, it’s self regulating in that respect. I generally drink a small glass of plain water with meal and wait about 2 hours after the meal. Bon appetite alfie

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Thanks for this article Alfie, I learn something every day. Food for thought. Bon appetite and yes, your posts are so valuable to all of us, whether people respond to them or not.

This is brilliant thank you for sharing @Alfie

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Hi there Erica…what you’ve said is so true and I totally agree with you…I suffer from fatigue greatly…I am only 44yrs old and feel 84 sometimes…I do believe I overdo it at times but know when to rest and take time out…and I make time for that…I can be in bed all morning if I’m so tired …I try to delete stresses from my life and remain calm and in my own surroundings where I’m most relaxing…hot baths…reading…just watching a film can help me…but when my fatigue is really bad I do very little…even housework…washing my hair…eating meals just doesn’t happen…I am very house proud and these things I put pressure on myself for…I try to keep going and remain active…stay strong and take care Erica x

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