Fatigue, the Sequel

February 2nd, 2012

I had my 6 month oncology check up yesterday. I am happy to report that all is well.

My husband came with me because we were feeling very unnerved by the  intensity of the fatigue I have been dealing with the past few weeks.
My risk for recurrence is 20%, and the most likely time for it to  happen is 2-3 years after diagnosis, which is where I am right now.

My blood levels were all normal, but the doctor believes that it comes  from trouble metabolizing the anesthesia from my recent surgeries.
Even perfectly healthy people have setbacks with anesthesia. It takes 6 months to leave the body. Because of the damage from chemo, my liver
is likely only functioning at about 80% of normal, making any metabolic process more challenging.

Cancer: the gift that keeps on sucking.

Anyway, the doctor gave me low dose Ritalin to help me through this time. The fatigue has become really debilitating. I can take a 3 hour
nap, feel fine for an hour, and then feel tired again. It’s undermined any attempts to exercise consistently. My husband has had to pick up more
than the usual slack.

I have 3 kids and a big job, so I know tired and even exhausted. This  fatigue is more like a light being dimmed from the inside. The bottom
is deeper than tired or exhausted can explain. I took a wee dose of Ritalin this morning (half of what the doctor normally prescribes,
given my sensitivity), and I already feel like the lights have been turned back up.

The plan is to do this transitionally until I get some more mojo back.

Will keep you posted.

This entry was posted on Thursday, February 2nd, 2012 at 8:13 am and is filed under Survivorship, Wellness. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

7 Responses to “Fatigue, the Sequel”

  1. February 2, 2012 at 8:21 am

    Good luck with the ritalin. I’ve been on it for a few years – originally for ADD diagnosed as an adult, but I found that it just helped me get through really low moods. For me, it’s like turning on a light – it also cuts through the noise. I hope it makes you feel a lot brighter and less tired.

  2. February 2, 2012 at 8:52 am

    I had a similar discussion with my oncologist last week. Fatigue is very real and hard to deal with at times. Cancer is for sure “the gift that keeps on sucking.” The most important thing, of course, is that as you said, all is well. Rest when you can.

  3. February 2, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    Lani, I hope this works. And I know what you mean about it not just being tired.

  4. February 3, 2012 at 11:35 am


    I’m so sorry about your fatigue. You are going through a tough time right now, and I do believe cancer treatment wreaks havoc on the body. I’m glad the Ritalin is working for you. The fatigue you describe sucks.

  5. February 3, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    Ah, CB, I’m sorry to hearing that the fatigue sinkhole has opened up again beneath your feet again. As you well know, fatigue has been in my back pocket for over three years now. Been trying to break up with it, but it’s a perniciously stubborn little bugger. Got my ritalin, got my provigil. Got my Godiva dark chocolate espresso coffee. I’m way better than I was a year ago, even six months ago. But I still have my days…

    Makes sense to me about the anaesthesia, as well as just the surgery itself. Lots of healing still going on inside you, even as the outside looks good. Every time we have to heal from some external assault like surgery, it throws us into inflammatory-immune-response mode, which has been associated with exacerbating cancer-related fatigue. You WILL climb out from under the bus again. Honest.

    Meanwhile, a little neurostimulant now and then is a blessed thing.

    Sending espresso-spiked hugs.

  6. February 5, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    I am so sorry that you and so many women are going through this. I like the idea of the Godiva dark chocolate espresso coffee recommended above! Dark chocolate rules!!!

  7. February 7, 2012 at 8:38 am

    Fatigue can be, well, tiresome, and sometimes hard to explain. Not that you need explain it; any mother of 3 kids has her hands full, even without all the rest –

    Hope you’re feeling better.

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