Chemo finished but exhausted

Hi all, 

I finished 6 cycles of FEC two weeks ago and was expecting to feel happy and relieved, and while there was some of that, I’m now just exhausted. Sleeping 8-10 hours a night and just feel wiped out when I wake up. Bloods were ok. Is it normal? I just want to hang out on the sofa and when I do do some work or exercise, I’m knackered afterwards. Husband reckons it’s the stress coming out, as I’d been nervous and stressy all through chemo. And I have re-excision surgery next week - am worried about going in to that so tired. I walk most days and am eating well …


Hi Karzo

Yes, it’s normal. Treatments often cause fatigue. You may expect to experience it at the time of treatment (I felt like a zombie) but it’s often a surprise if it hits later. Your husband is right - it’s partly a reaction to all the pent-up stress, the relief of a clear diagnosis after all that dread, but it’s also physical. Your body has faced awful trauma -surgery with GA, chemotherapy and all the baggage that carries, and huge amounts of stress with adrenaline and hormones shooting round doing nothing but make you feel worse! There is no rule as to how long it lasts - mine lasted months. You need to accept that cancer-induced fatigue is not tiredness. It’s in a league of its own. Report how you are feeling to your breast care nurse and she should reassure you. Meantime, listen to your body. Rest when you have to. Reassign household chores to make things easier for you. But don’t give up. Keep exercising your muscles. If you can walk most days and are eating well, you’re halfway there.

All the best with the surgery.

Jan x