fatigue & checking in

Bluebells just because.

I realize that in some respects I am repeating myself, but this expands on things a little more and gives you perspective from my point of view.

I do get tired of saying how tired I am. I have to remember that this is my reality.


fatigue – cancer-related

Fatigue is confused with tiredness, and there is certainly an element of that because usually we know why we’re tired and a good night’s sleep solves the problem. Fatigue is a daily lack of energy; a whole-body tiredness not relieved by sleep.

Fatigue under normal circumstances is draining. Pandemic aside, my fatigue is largely influenced by cancer treatment and insomnia. As I mentioned before, cancer-related fatigue cannot be overcome by getting more rest.

To sum up: I have no stamina. I feel washed out and constantly feel drained.

On my worst days a nap adds a brief energy boost to get me through the day, but the nap doesn’t resolve my fatigue. My plan to manage my fatigue is simple: I try to balance periods of rest and work, I try to work at a moderate pace and at all times endeavour to reduce the amount of stress I am exposed to (at least trying not to respond in a manner that creates stress).

fatigue – insomnia

Lying in bed, listening to the sounds around me – Vince snoring (his grunts and sleep talking also in there), the neighbours being neighbours, traffic going by, sirens (police mostly, fire sometimes) – meanwhile I am wide awake and it’s a problem. Funny enough, in lying awake, I am often solving work problems and world problems. The work solutions I remember in the morning, the world ones, not so much. In order to avoid the rabbit hole, my cell phone is no longer allowed in the bedroom. But it doesn’t stop the mind from meandering and wondering about stupid, nonsensical things. The other night I wondered what the name of the daughter of a character on a tv show was. I didn’t get it right away and would allow my mind to move onto other thoughts, but I ended up coming back to it again and again. I finally remembered. As I try very hard to avoid looking at the clock, to stop increasing my anxiety that I am AWAKE, I have no idea how long that took.

The more nights I have insomnia, the more effects are noticeable. April was just awful. I went on quite the insomnia jag. What I hate is how I feel/think when I get that bad. I have memory issues, typing mistakes in emails (from repeating myself to spelling), general irritability (more than usual!), increased sensitivity to things (get upset/emotional), and I get punch drunk at the end. My whole self-confidence is eroded. And it doesn’t help that I have metastatic cancer. That last item is what contributed to how splendidly awful April was. I have said all along that if my cancer affects my ability to do my job, I will have to look at whether I can continue to work. So here I am, so fluffing tired, feeling the effects of insomnia, and equating them to my cancer. Did I make that mistake because of new brain growth or is it because I’m tired? Naturally I go the cancer route and start second guessing what I’m doing. Add in a situation where there was a problem with a communication, executive were involved, fingers were pointed at me, and I got really upset to the point of tears. I didn’t do anything wrong, but the finger-pointing happened before all facts were known. All in all, when I finally slept that first night through, it was such a relief and put everything back on an even keel.

Though I think that I’ll take punch drunk over super sensitive/emotional. This example is from years ago. Something went spectacularly sideways for a legislative session and I was on the phone with the Cabinet Secretary explaining what happened and seeking a solution to fix it. I had a serious case of the giggles and couldn’t stop myself even though I knew how it would be perceived. Once we had a solution, I ended the conversation by offering an apology for the giggles, saying that I knew they were completely inappropriate but I was so upset that I had no control over them, and if I didn’t laugh, I would be crying. She was wonderfully understanding, which was relieving for me at that time.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I don’t like relying on artificial ways to force sleep. The side effects, such as drug hangover the next day, are not worth it.

checking in

And folks, it is that time to check in and give you an update.

I am so happy to be able to say that my latest brain scan (MRI) is showing stability still.

6 thoughts on “fatigue & checking in

  1. Thanks for the update Gayle. That insomnia is quite a beast! I wish that I had suggestions. All my thoughts are with you!

  2. Wish I had an answer for you to help with the insomnia my friend. My strategy is always to colour everything blue…blue grass, blue trees, blue bicycle, blue dogs, etc. Sometimes it works, sometime it’s just fun making everything blue!
    Hugs to you!

  3. Thanks for the update. It’s good to hear from you. I have no suggestions for insomnia, but I understand what you mean … not sleeping is so frustrating, and the middle of the night is such a lonely time. I’m thinking of you.

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