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Still tired after Radiotherapy

13 REPLIES 13
Member

Re: Still tired after Radiotherapy

Hi Headandheart,

 

I did have a smile at your description of leaving your top off but only at home!!  Made me chuckle.  I said only the other day I had taken my top off now for more people than I had ever shown my assets to before, enough is enough now.  I am determined to get some of my decorum back.

 

Your yoga at home course sound lovely, very relaxing. Good for the soul.

 

I am crochet mad (hence my rather strange user name crocrazy) and I have managed to pick up my hook again.  A bit odd balancing my left hand breast on a cushion wedged sort of on the side of the sofa and under my body, but it worked enough for me to be able to use enough of my arm to be able to crochet.  I am right handed so that does most of the work.  I find that really relaxing and I am now making another blanket.  I have chosen an easy pattern so can just go with the flow.  Very satisfying seeing it grow.

 

My struggles with the burns continue - I ended up at the doctors again yesterday and they have now given me some stronger painkillers which make me feel like I have had a bottle of wine, but without the headache!  I have stopped driving as they make me feel a bit odd, but they have taken the edge off the raw pain.  It looks clean and I am sure some of the redness has gone down.  It wasn't so agonising this morning having to wash it, so I hope I have turned a corner now. 

 

Hope you are doing well.  Continue enjoying your music too, sounds great X

Member

Re: Still tired after Radiotherapy

Crocrazy

that does sound extremely painful, and not surprising it’s making you stressed. I do hope you got what you needed, and now your treatments have ended the healing and recovery can begin. I was lucky I had no broken skin, but couldn’t bear anything touching my breast or any weight or heat of clothing on it for a couple of weeks, so I went braless and wore a top I could open at the front so I could let air to my breast whenever possible (only at home, I hasten to add!) I also covered it in Jason Aloe Vera cream several times a day, and found this soothing. 

I love choral music and have spent many hours over the last few months lying on the sofa listening / dozing, which calms my mind. Sometimes I have a little cry too, which is also healing. And I am now half way through a 30 day Yoga-at-Home programme on YouTube, Yoga with Adrienne, which has really helped my recovery. I don’t do it every day but when I feel up to it. It helps me feel positive about my body and sleep better at night.

 

i do understand about pretending to be normal. But sometimes the pretending just doesn’t work, and I have also found that the Cancer card does elicit some useful sympathy in colleagues, friends, etc so they are very willing to release me from all obligations! I then have to speak kindly to myself, too.

 

Best wishes and take care of yourself, body and mind x

Member

Re: Still tired after Radiotherapy

Hi Headandheart,

 

Sound advice indeed.  If I could rewind I would definitely take some more time for myself rather than worrying so much about keeping up (or rather trying to keep up!) with everything and trying to be 'normal'.  I think really it was probably a fiction I was telling myself, trying not to admit what I was going through and saying it was business as usual hoping that would mean it wasn't really happening.  Not sure that makes sense but I hope you know what I mean.

 

It hasn't helped I have had to have a battle with my GP surgery today about a prescription for the gel and dressings the hospital gave me.  I think they got most of my pent up stress when they still hadn't sorted it three days after they said they would.  It's the little, stupid things which tip you over the edge.  I could have cried with frustration earlier today - but instead I did a long email to the manager which made me feel a bit better.  I think it was the receptionist saying 'oh it's floating about here somewhere' which was the final straw.  Yes it may be floating somwhere but I have no dressings left, a split under the length of my breast which is raw and an underarm on fire...sort it please!   

 

The holistic lady at the hospital gave me a relaxation CD and I think I may need to use it before I have another rant at someone else.  Never mind tomorrow is another day. 

 

Hope you are ok and still doing well. X 

 

 

Member

Re: Still tired after Radiotherapy

I just spoke to a friend who also finished radiotherapy before Christmas. She’s the same age as me, and very fit and healthy (normally) as well as being highly committed to her work, which she loves. She worked through treatment, took two weeks off over Christmas then went back to work, thinking she would be ok, but hasn’t recovered well. She is so exhausted she’s now having to take three weeks off to rest and try to recover. It seems that you can’t just ignore this tiredness and hope it will go away - you actually do need to rest in order to give your body time to heal.

Member

Re: Still tired after Radiotherapy

Some great advice on this thread! Thank you everyone for sharing x 

Member

Re: Still tired after Radiotherapy

Oh I do empathise, Crocrazy, it is horrible to be forced to rest when you want to keep on top of things at work. I had to say ‘no’to so many opportunities, career and social, in the last 4 months. But it will be ok.
At this point you really need to let your body do it’s healing. The exhaustion is there for a reason, a combination of endorphin response to pain and GHRH in the brain which stimulates production of growth hormone, necessary for healing. So if you need to sleep, sleep. That’s the best advice I received from anyone, and it came from an old friend who is a neurological consultant.
Take care, and let yourself heal. Xx
Member

Re: Still tired after Radiotherapy

Hi Headandheart, thank you so much for sharing your recovery.  It's really helpful to have some idea of how long it is going to take to feel something like normal again.  I finish my 15 sessions radiotherapy tomorrow.  I had a WLE and SNB in November 17 and went back to work three days after the op.  I am a partner in a law firm and self employed so felt the need to go back in.  My work is mainly desk based and not physical.  I have not been seeing clients since then but doing everything else.  I used to be a workaholic, at my desk by 6.00am. I am lucky if I am out of bed by then these days.  I am shattered.  Each weekend since my op has been spent on the settee doing very little.  I was stupid and asked for my radiotherapy sessions to be after 4.00 each day so I could carry on working!  I am suffering now with burns under my breast and arm and have gel and dressings to put on.  Getting my bra on tomorrow is going to be a challenge.  

 

I am feeling a bit low and think I would have been much more sensible to pace myself more and stop trying to be superwoman and carry on.  I am banking on getting over tomorrow and then taking some time to heal and recover.  I thought about booking a holiday but realised that was putting more pressure on myself, so I am just going to wind back and see how I go.  It's really encouraging to know you feel so much better five weeks after competing your rads.  X 

Member

Re: Still tired after Radiotherapy

I just wanted to share my recovery story, as I am suddenly feeling much more normal, and couldn’t

find info from other women about how long this might take, when I was trying to imagine and plan the future during treatment. 

 

I had two WLE surgeries, Sept and mid Oct, went back to work roughly 3 weeks after each, and then had 3 weeks of radiotherapy which finished on 18th December. I worked for two weeks of this, with some reduction in my workload so I had treatments in the afternoon then came home to rest. After 10 treatments I was just too tired, so took 10days off before the Christmas holiday (I’m a teacher). My breast was extremely sore and hot for 2 weeks after this, as predicted, and I napped a lot but enjoyed a few 5 mile walks too. Started to turn a corner on New Years Day, and went back to work on 8th, but with a reduced timetable so I could nap during the gaps. I found three 20-min naps a day enabled me to keep going and enjoy teaching. Two weeks of this, with workload gradually building, and then suddenly this week I felt normal, as in normally tired rather than ‘must nap NOW or I will fall over or cry’ sort of tired. By Friday I was even laughing and enjoying lunchtime conversation with colleagues instead of finding a quiet space to sit. Glad it’s the weekend now, but I really feel quite normal. 

 

In terms of pain, my breast felt much better by 7th Jan and not sore or red, so I tried a tiny one mile run (I normally run half marathons but haven’t run much at all since Sept) but regretted it - my breast felt swollen and uncomfortable for 2 days after, and looked like fresh bruising near the scar. This was shocking, 12 weeks after surgery. But clearly the radio had stopped it healing up properly inside. So I decided to give it another 3 weeks. I bought new pretty underwired bras after Christmas, and have been happily wearing them this week too (very soft non-underwired cotton crop tops were all I could cope with up till then)

 

So normality resumed 14 weeks after surgery and 5 weeks after end of radio for me. I am 52, and took high dose vitamin D oral spray during recovery as well as lots of water, and coffee and ibuprofen helped me when I started back at work. I am still going carefully and being kind to myself, gentle yoga and early nights. 

 

Obviously everyone is unique, but this may give others some rough timescale. 

Member

Re: Still tired after Radiotherapy

Hi gillyb, i hope you are feeling a bit better.

I finished 4ads on 29th dec last year sndxreturned to work on 23rd Jan. I refused a phased return as i 'was fine'. I put my make up and glad rags on every day and was great. I dont know whether i was trying to convice them.or me!

3 weeks in and everything came crashing down. I literally broke down in front of my colleagues. Totally exhausted. They had all seem it voming but i hadnt. They told me i was doing too much and that i looked shattered. They had been trying to tell me but injudt kept saying 'I'm fine'!!

Anyway, after that i did 6 weeks phased. 2 days for 2 weeks, 3 days for 2cweeks, 4 days then 5. After the phased if i needed time in other weeks i would take a days sick leave. I have learned not to put unrealistic pressure on myself.

I had been warned about the tiredness hitting but just didnt realise how it would hit! Anyway be kind to yourself, listen to your body and just give yourself time.

Xxx
Community Champion

Re: Still tired after Radiotherapy

I sugfered vey badly with fatique after radiotherapy. My hospital booked me for accunpunture sessions which helped. But i still can get fatique from time to time. Worth checking out accunpunture its worth a try,
Community Champion

Re: Still tired after Radiotherapy

gilley

 

That is only natural especially when you are very conscientous about what you do, but you need to be selfish in that respect for the time being  xx

Member

Re: Still tired after Radiotherapy

Thank you Helena. I am trying to do all the right things to help with recovery. Silly I know but my biggest problem is feeling guilty about work and people not believing me x
Community Champion

Re: Still tired after Radiotherapy

gillleyb

 

Even though you are over 2 weeks from finishing rads your body is still repairing itself and it will take time.  My breast was red and itchy for several weeks after but I could see that it settling down  still took a couple of months.   Everyone is different some ladies have no problems at all and others can suffer quite badly from fatigue after rads.

 

Thats the trouble unless you walk around showing people your scar there is nothing visible to show that you have had major surgery.   Dont feel guilty you know what you have been through and as long as your employers are looking after your health and wellbeing that is all that matters. 

 

Are you drinking enough fluid during the day, I found when I went back to work after rads, on the days that I got fatigue I realised that I was not drinking enough, so keep an eye on that.

 

How many hours are you doing a day?  If it is too much for you speak to your boss and see if it can be reduced for a period of time.  I was doing 3 days a week but only 4 hours a day and I do a desk job with no stress.  You still need to be kind to yourself

 

Sending you a hug

 

Helena xxx

Member

Still tired after Radiotherapy

2 weeks after the radiotherapy ended and going straight back to work, (only 3 days  week) today I feel absolutely shattered. I didnt feel too bad these past 2 weeks but it feels like tired has suddenly kicked in. Is there a period of time when the tired goes or is everyone different ? I dont sleep too well, so I guess that doesnt help. Breast still red and itchy, though not as bad as it has been. Should I be suffering some breast pain? Its not bad, just the occasional stab. 

I did mention before about feeling guilty as far as work goes, because noone can see anything is wrong, people only seem to be sympathic and understanding if you have a huge visible bandage on. So I feel like noone really understands that I am feeling exhausted - I have had the Radiotherapy so stop dragging it out.....:-(