Why am I so tired?

Why am I so tired?

Why am I so tired? Its probably a question each and everyone asks ourselves each day and depending how far down the road we are the answers will vary.

I finished treatment 21/2 years ago and I am on tamoxifen for another couple of years but just recently I have really felt tired. I work full time, my husband is in retail which means the last 3 months have been so hectic due to the run up to Christmas and I spent last weekend at my in-laws which is very stressful at times. My doctor sent me for blood tests before Christmas and they came back clear and he said that I need to find a way of slowing down a bit, easier said than done. I’m on a new department at work and am learning new work so that could be a factor in it. One thing is that (touch wood) I don’t catch any of the colds etc that are always going around, so that must be a good sign.

So is anyone feeling the same as me? I think I have probably answered the question myself. Also one thing I don’t do is get regular exercise other than a short walk once a week, perhaps thats a part of it.

Any ideas?


sadly very common As you probably know, tiredness, even many years post treatment, is sadly quite common - I must have finished treatment about the same time as you, and I certainly feel that I’ve never recovered the energy levels I used to have. I don’t know if it the knock on effects of treatment, or the psychological impact, but I can’t do all I used to. I’ve had to change my work patterns (I still do full time, but I now have a job that offers flexi-time now so I can get back any overtime I have to do) and load more household stuff onto my husband (well rather I’ve not taken it back on after finishing treatment).

I go to a group at Maggies, and of the 7 regular attendees that are no longer in treatment only 2 work full time - some feel that they can’t work more thans a couple of days due to fatigue.

I don’t suppose that’s any comfort… but you’re not on your own

It may also be the time of year. It was only last Thursday that I felt in any way back to normal energy levels. It’s been so dark and dismal! I think too that you probably need to organise to take a walk every day. Is there any way you can build in a short walk into work and out again?

Mixture of many things Thank you for your replies, yes it is a mixture of many things. I drive to work but if the weather was okay I could go out for a walk at lunchtime.
I work flexi-time whereby I can build up to 2 days a month off which I always take mid-week to break up the week but that does need me to work 8 hour days to build the time up. Whilst I really want the days off I think that working the longer days isn’t helping. I probably cope better in the summer than winter with working longer hours. I’m going to have a rethink over my hours and I 'm going to make sure I take a longer lunchbreak to get away from the desk.


me too! I too am still suffering from extreme tiredness. I finished rads last may and I am taking arimidex. I started back to work just before christmas and it is really taking its toll on me even though I am only working 3 hours a day instead of my usual 6. I work in a warehouse and its all walking and lifting boxes. I felt I was getting over it before I went back to work. Now I just feel like I’m going to collapse!! Forget about housework, I just havent got the energy for that after work so i try too catch up at the weekend.
When it comes to midweek I’ve had it. Still having lots of joint pain too and stiffness.
I’ve been feeling quite positive about everything especially after my first year mammogram results were clear, but its hard to keep going when iI feel like this. It seems it is something we have to live with.
I also find that others dont really understand as they think you are just tired and a half hours lie down will solve it!! but its more than that as we all know.
I m thinking of going to my doctor and maybe get blood tests done, but is it worth it?
sorry to moan so much but I do feel a bit better after downloading all my stress here!
love annie x

Dear all, sharing your misery re this. Finished chemo 1y ago. now aged 36y, 3 young kids, back to work - trying my very hardest, but absolutely exhausted and feeling a bit despondant. As my outward appearrance is normal now, everyone expects me to be back to normal. Having the wig at this point would be almost a good thing. However, have realised that I no longer desperately need my aftenoon naps and so I do acknowledge a forward move on the fatigue front - but this is extremely slow, far more than I anticipated and ceratinly far more than my doctors understand. Commiserating with you all deeply, but I’m sure things will get better given a lot more time.

Hazel I am 3.5 years post-treatment and I still feel tired all the time. I work mornings only and sometimes I come in from work, have lunch, sit down to read the paper and next thing I know it’s an hour later, cos’ I fell asleep!

I don’t get much exercise either, though I don’t have a particularly sedentary job, and I do seem to have more energy on holiday when I’m rushing round trying to see everything in a particular place, so I think that must be a factor. Could also do with losing 3 stone…

Me too… Diagnosed December 2002 a few weeks before my 41st birthday.

Suffered extreme fatigue and could not get back to full time hours even after a year post treatment. Now job share and work flexi hours every Monday, Tuesday and every second Wednesday.

Very fortunate in that my husbands job changed and allowed me the chance to cut down on my work hours without severely affecting our household budget.

Still get tired on my 3 day week and usually spend that Thursday in my pyjamas catching up on my Australian soaps…

Be kind to yourself - patient too. Take ‘me’ time every day or so and soak in a bubble bath, go for a beauty treatment or anything else that allows you to de-stress. You owe it to yourself after all you’ve been through - we all do!

Take care and be well.


Saying No Hi

I finished my treatment in August 2005 and had to go back to work full time in the November (my husband left during my treatment so with 3 kids it was a case of having to). On top of working full time I have a 45 min to 1 hour drive there and back. At first I was so exhausted I would have to go to the loos at odd times during the day and just sit and close my eyes for a while - I stopped short of nodding off but it helped to just give in to the tiredness for a while. I would then fall asleep straight after dinner, sleep for a couple of hours and that was the evening gone! I resented having to work full time (I think I am the only one of my support group who works f/t) and still do but I am coming to terms with it slowly. I still get very tired and have learned I still have to pace myself. I am coping better now because I’ve learned that instead of pretending I’m back to normal (whatever that is!) I’m admitting that at times things overwhelm me and saying “NO” to doing things that I know will add to the tiredness. I let friends help whenever they offer - with lifts etc and am trying to listen to my body and rest whenever I feel tired. I’m also trying to go out for a walk in the park at lunchtime every day (although today I am doing this as I just couldn’t be bothered!!!) I do sometimes wonder though if I will ever have the energy levels I used to?

Love to everyone!

annie Hi
I can relate to you’re post I too have been feeling really tired after my ops in aug/sept and then rads finished in Nov I am also on armidex
and feeling so miserable on it
I even asked oncologist to take me off it but he said it was beneficial for me to keep taking it ,which I know but just fed up being so miserable
I had been of work for 6 months but recently returned on the
1st Feb was only there for 3 weeks when I came off again to go on holiday,thank goodness, it was just awful going back, sadly holiday came to a end and again I am back at work, and it is getting worse, they placed me on a new job, so have to learn from scratch and I have to say I’m finding it very difficult to absorb, just can’t seem to concentrate or take anything in, I feel like I’m slipping into depression I feel so emotional can’t stop crying and trying to do full time work when you know you’re not up to it is so hard, but trying to tell them at work, how you feel is like banging you’re head against a brick wall, have finally managed to get app with occ health so am going to try and get them to reduce my hours if I can(not holding my breath for it though)
I know I can’t go on like this, but thanks for listening, feel a bit better for writing this.
love Liz x

Helpline and Peer Support Dear Liz

I am sorry that you are feeling this way at the moment, many patients have similar experiences and I am sure you will receive support and advice from other users.

Please remember that you are also very welcome to contact our helpline for confidential support, a listening ear and any information that you may need during this difficult time.

The helpline team are either breast care nurses or have experience of breast cancer. They come from a variety of backgrounds, so you can talk to someone who has an understanding of the issues you’re facing and they can talk to you about both technical and emotional issues surrounding breast cancer.

The number for the help line is 0808 800 6000 and is open Monday to Friday 9am - 5pm, Saturdays 9am - 2pm.

Alternatively you may also find of interest Breast Cancer Care’s peer support service. This puts you in touch with someone who has personal experience of breast cancer or benign breast conditions and has been trained to listen and offer emotional support. We do our best to match you with someone who has experienced the issues that are most important to you, for example, you may want to discuss your options for treatment, the effects on your family life or simply share your feelings with someone who understands.

you will find the link below.


I do hope you find this information of help, but please keep posting on the forums as I am sure you will receive plenty of support here.

Kind regards.

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hi liz just read your post, liz. it is so hard going back to work after all this. maybe you’ve gone back too soon? you really shoud’nt be doing full time, you must make them understand that, and get reduced hours, you should have been phased back in gradually. have you got a union at work? if so they should be able to help.
go to your doctor or speak to the breast care nurse about feeling depressed, dont try to cope alone. i think nearly everyone who has went through this gets very emotional, i cry at the drop of a hat these days!

i am doing four hours a day now and am starting to feel less tired than i was, but still have my off days. my normal hours are six a day but not sure whether i will go back to that, ive got til may to decide, im lucky as well as i am also been paid more than my four hours, my work has a long term sickness plan which pays me til i decide what hours i want to do. i know not a lot of employers do this.

i hope things get sorted out at work and keep posting here, it really does help. its helped me enormously, kinda like an extended family!!
take care.
love annie x

many thanks for you advice

well had my app with occ health today
have to say he was very nice
He says should not be at work as I’m showing symptoms of depression
I did say I would like to try and do a few hours at work but will see how I get on if it gets too much will just have to go of sick again
he has advised I cut my hours at least for the next 4 weeks when I have to go back and see him again
so my boss has decided in their wisdom to try and get me some p/time hours now so that they don’t have to pay me f/t wages for the hours I do
not that I expected it anyway
Think I need to get myself sorted then take a bit of time to find myself other employment but that’s a bit of time away yet
Getting to the stage I just don’t want to work there anymore
anyway thanks all for the support
love liz x