Dealing with Fatigue
Updated: Aug 10, 2019
When I finished my cancer treatment and I was able to go back home and get back to my normal life, I had so many different things I wanted to do! I was so excited to get back to school, hang out with my friends and just do everything that a normal 11-year-old girl would do. Not long after I got home from hospital, I was continuously sleeping, this included at night and during the day. I quickly realised that from treatment (chemotherapy, radiotherapy & brain surgery) I was suffering from some pretty chronic fatigue. I couldn’t even do some of my favourite things, etc. shopping! As soon as I started walking around and using energy I would get so tired and just have to go lay down or have a rest. This was quite frustrating since I used to be such an active girl and this was so new to me. I am now an adult and have been off treatment for nearly 8 years now (woohoo!) and I still suffer from fatigue. Although it’s not as severe as when I first completed treatment, I have still had to change up my lifestyle to overcome this challenge. Below I have shared with you my tips on how to adjust your life to help with fatigue and get the most out of your day!
Tips for dealing with fatigue:
- Pack as many activities and tasks into the morning as you can. I feel I am most alive during the morning so I try to do everything early in the day so I can do my best.
- Take time in your day to have a rest or some time out. Its okay to take some time for yourself to just chill out and take a break. I try and schedule my university classes so I have a 1-2-hour break in between so I don’t get to over worked and have time to rest.
- Get a good night’s rest! Obvious I know but without a good 8 hours rest, it’s pretty hard to function and complete your day so start going to bed a bit earlier to get some extra rest.
- Let the people around you aware of your condition and that you do need to take it easy and sometimes have a break. During school and now university I let my teachers know that I needed some support for this and they are usually very supportive and will allow you to take a break when needed.
- Try and get a sleep study done. After treatment try and ask your doctor for a sleep study to make sure your body is going through all the different stages of sleep. I had a sleep study done and the doctors found that my body wasn’t going into the most important stage of sleep, REM sleep. This ended up causing me to have severe headaches every day from not enough sleep. The doctors put me on a high level of Melatonin to help me go into the REM stage of sleep and it has helped so much!
- Don’t over fill your day with too many activities. This is a hard one to get used to but if you are wanting to help with fatigue it is very important. If you are in university try and spread your classes out throughout the week so your days aren’t fully packed. Try and space out your times for study as well, give yourself plenty of time to study but don’t cram it all into a few days so your overtired.
- Turn off your electronics at least 30 minutes to an hour before bed. Another obvious one I know but I think we are all guilty of scrolling on Facebook or Instagram in bed before sleeping. Maybe get a new book to read instead of looking on your phone before bed.
- Go to bed at the same time every day. Having a routine for bed is very important as your body knows when to wind down to sleep and you will be able to fall asleep much quicker. Of course, there maybe those nights where this doesn’t happen but as long as majority of the time you are going to bed at the same time it will be okay.
- Use a wheelchair if needed. If your fatigue is more severe use a wheelchair when you know you're going to be out all day or there is a lot of walking to do. I used a wheelchair during my treatment and when I first came home from treatment as my fatigue was so bad. I did hate using it back then but now I wish I used it more to help myself.
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