Feeling very weak and exhausted. - Breast Cancer India

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Feeling very weak and exhausted.

napra profile image

I am due for the seventh and final chemo in a week's time. I already feel exhausted and my shoulders just drop if i do any work with my hands. I feel as though I am shackled with iron balls when i walk. Still I do some kitchen work and tidying up the house, resting every fifteen minutes. Is it normal?

11 Replies
sumeet_shah profile image
sumeet_shahAdministrator

Hi napra,

This is very much an expected outcome of chemotherapy, and most patients pass through this. The cumulative effects of chemotherapy do cause a bit of a problem. Hence, most patients experience such weakness towards the end of chemo. But the important, and good, thing is that your chemo is coming towards an end. You are now in the last lap of your race, which will soon finish and you will win. So just let this time go by, and a month or so, after your last chemo, your graph will go only upward, you will start feeling better and better. You can do the following things:

- drink plenty of water (I guess you are already doing it

- You will not be able to do any form of exercises. But even in a lying down position, if you can try to close your eyes, with some light music on, and meditate, it will surely help

- Eat well. You will definitely not feel hungry because of chemo and may not want to eat. But try eating things which you like. There are no hard and fast restrictions as such.

- Take a whiff of fresh air. Do not remain only in the house. Try going down, and in a non crowded area, where you get some good breathing space, sit for a while maybe.

- Divert your mind. Try to read, watch television etc.

Most women whpo receive taxanes (either Paclitaxel or Docetaxel) very much have these symptoms. These drugs cause a bad bodyache. Are you receiving one of them? You can even take good pain killers round the clock. Do not bother about so many medicines. Does not matter at all. Some people make a big hue and cry for taking pain killers and try to avoid taking them. Do not do that. Take pain killers regularly for a while. It's helpful, and you will feel better.

Let us know how things are improving with you.

napra profile image
napra in reply to sumeet_shah

dear Doctor,

I am given docetaxel.

Apart from the regular food, I take two glasses of nariyal pani, one as soon as i wake up and the other before going to bed. I also nibble at sweets to get instant energy, though it is not a good thing to do. Nimbhupani works well for me.

We do take a break during the recovery periods to stay in resorts, invite friends and so on. i have also started blogging, by putting forth my experiences with people whom i come across during this period. It helps me to keep my intellect in shape.

In spite of all my strategies, the sense of loss and frustration overpowers me sometimes.

However this forum is always ready to comfort me at such moments. thank you for being there.

hi napra

dear at last u r reaching to the end of chemo. think of better days to come and life without chemo it will give u more comfort. when i was near the last cycle i just used to think about the end of chemo. I had also same problems like u but after one month of the chemo slowly i started feeling better. Though today also i feel tired very soon but now as i started taking normal diet it makes me much comfortable. Though i attended the court after 10 days of last chemo but could not do much work but slowly slowly it is improved.

dont worry as dr. sumeet told u take proper diet and lots of fluids.

Most people dealing with chemo find that they deal with varying degrees of "chemo fatigue". It is hard to describe it to anyone who has not experienced it. They all think you mean you are tired and need more sleep. You are doing exactly the right thing resting when you need to. Many suggest eating several smaller meals during the day rather than your regular larger meals. It is important to be well nourished, but you can eat what appeals to you. This might not be what you would normally find appealing as chemo can change your sense of taste or, if you have nausea, you might prefer blander foods. Be sure to stay on top of nausea. I don't know what medicines are called there - someone can jump in with the names of the common nausea medicines. If one doesn't work change to another. Just as with pain killers, taking anti nausea medicine before you feel any nausea seems to make a big difference.

Focus on the day you will finish chemo and think positive thoughts about feeling a little better day by day when you are done. You can do this, and when it's over you will soon be living a normal life again. I know that doesn't seem possible right now. I remember being so fatigued when I was in treatment that it took me forever just to convince myself I could get up out of a chair to go to bed. One thing that helped me was doing little stretching exercises in bed, just to remind my muscles that I was expecting them to be ready for more when I was. You might want to ask about simple stretches that you can do to especially for your shoulders and arms if you had surgery, so they don't freeze up.

Thank u dear friend, for those words of reassurance. But for internet my life would have been miserable. I am an amateur artist, but I don't have the strength to work with colours and canvas. So as a compromise i do pencil sketches, just to feel that everything is ok. One more thing. Will radiation keep you tired and out of normal life?

hi napra

nice u r attached to ur hobby and colors. it is also nice u atleast work with pencil sketches. i also felt tired but will take time to come out of it.

dear radiation has no effect like chemo but to be very frank we still have tired feeling during radiation may be because of chemo it may be. i felt tired because of traveling also it was 70 kms from my house and to travel 140 kms was tiring. All the best to u for last chemo and radiation. Lots of prayers for u

napra profile image
napra in reply to shirdi

thank u. My next post will be after I finish my final chemo and come out of the side effects. I hope to tell you ...."yeah.......I have done it"

Napra - I wish I could draw or paint and enjoy it. I'm sure it is relaxing. My attempts at art are good for a laugh, and when I was teaching elementary school children I never had a student who was afraid to try drawing after they saw mine and we all had a good laugh about it. My sanity is singing in choral groups, which I had no desire to do when I was dealing with treatment. I'm now back at it full force and loving it. And I'm trying to get more into photography. There is a better chance of people knowing what they are looking at than if I draw the same thing.

My chemo was for my leukemia. I did not have any for my breast cancer, but did have radiation. Some report fatigue. I really think that my fatigue was more of an emotional thing. It reminded me of the cancer and the fact that I was dealing with two different cancers, and seemed it like it would never end. Then one day I was scheduling my last week. It had become so routine to drag myself to the radiation center that I was honestly surprised. One thing that helped is that I found a favorite little eating place and went there for breakfast most days after treatment - nothing fancy or expensive, just a way to treat myself. If I felt especially tired I would get a take out meal for later. My cousin and her husband treated themselves to an ice cream cone after each session. Think of some little way to pamper yourself and celebrate that one more day is behind you and you are closer to your goal - a post breast cancer life.

I'm always amazed when I'm with other women, and the subject of breast cancer comes up, how many reveal that they, too, have had surgery and treatment. You would never know if they didn't say something. They are active and living every day to the fullest. Five years post my breast cancer experience I honestly rarely think of it, except when I'm involved in groups to help with awareness. I feel very fortunate to have found my cancer early, and want as many people to know that awareness is very important and that there is life after breast cancer.

Big gentle hug from across the waves!

Pat

hi, it is these little details like how you pampered yourself encourages me to go through the ordeal with a renewed spirit and a smile. It is really so nice of you to tell others as to how you went through your challenging time and how you came out of it victorious. Love you

hi napra

very soon u will also tell others that how u also came out of victorious

Napra - You will soon be on this side and encouraging others. You are so close now!

Keep thinking forward!

Pat

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