Tips to help combat cancer-related fatigue…

CSC welcomes Robyn Stoller, founder of CancerHawk and tireless patient advocate as a guest blogger. We’re thrilled to be working with her and look forward to additional informative and insightful posts in the coming months.

Fatigue is one of the most common side effects of cancer treatments. The Cleveland Clinic explains it perfectly. “Everyone gets tired. In fact, it (tiredness) is an expected feeling after certain activities or at the end of the day. Usually, we know why we’re tired and a good night’s sleep will solve the problem. But fatigue is even more… it’s a daily lack of energy; an unusual or excessive whole-body tiredness. In fact, cancer-related fatigue is often described as ‘paralyzing’. It usually comes on suddenly, does not result from activity or exertion, and is not relieved by rest or sleep. And it may not end – even when treatment is complete.” OY! So here’s the dealio (as my daughter always says)…

Below are a list of tips that can help combat cancer-related fatigue… If you know of any other tricks, please post them… knowledge is power… share the power!

1. Limit time in bed to approximately 6–8 hours per day (sleep for the usual amount of time before illness). More sleep can actually be detrimental. A study of outpatients with cancer showed that the later patients got up in the morning, the more fatigue they experienced.

2. Keep a regular sleep schedule, even on the weekends. Try to go to bed and wake up around the same time each day, even if you have not slept well the prior night.

3. Limit daytime naps if possible. If you must nap, keep it under 30 minutes, and do something active right after like walking.

4. Exercise regularly. A 20-minute walk can help you relax, but don’t exercise in the evening.

5. Avoid stimulants such as caffeine, nicotine & alcohol.

6. Avoid large meals at bedtime.

7. Turn off the TV one hour before bedtime. Listen to quiet music or take a warm bath instead.

8. Use the bedroom only for sleeping or making love.

9. If awake at night, do not remain in bed. Get up and read or do something else in another room. (avoid mental stimulation and return to be when you feel sleepy.)

10. Practice an evening relaxation technique such as imagery, meditation, hypnosis, or Reiki.

11. Delegate tasks to help conserve energy, while at the same time allowing family and friends to feel useful.

12. Talk to your doctors. Let your health care professionals know immediately that you are having fatigue.

(sources: Cleveland Clinic; MD Anderson)

Click here to read Robyn’s full blog, CancerHawk.

About Robyn Stoller

Founder of CancerHawk.com, Robyn Stoller is a patient advocate and champion. Just last year she lost her 47-year-old husband Alan to cancer, but has put their journey to work for others. At each crossroad—from finding the best doctors with the right mentality to accessing obscure (and amazing!) resources—Robyn's gift for research, networking and tireless advocacy and a lot of luck led to just the right places. Now, Robyn’s mission is to help patients and caregivers touched by cancer find the information they need to make informed choices. To get straightforward answers to the questions you haven't yet asked with a dose of humility and humor, visit www.CancerHawk.com…the REAL deal for cancer patients & their caregivers.

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