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Rest & Relaxation

The procedures required to treat many cancers are tiring, stressful, and physically depleting.  The most common physical complaints of cancer patients is fatigue and exhaustion.  Fatigue levels can range from minor to debilitating; and can negatively affect the quality of your life, as well as your recovery process.  Ignoring the signs of fatigue can potentially leave you vulnerable to other health situations that could compromise your immune system further.  It is wise to pay attention to these signs, and allow your body rest when it requires it.  Signs of fatigue include:

Difficulty accomplishing simple daily activities.

Difficulty concentrating and lack of memory.

Digestive problems and loss of appetite.

Increased frequency of tiredness.

Irritability or impatience with routine situations and other people.

Lack of interest in common grooming and care.

Loss of interest in normal daily activities.

Sleeping more often and falling asleep when not wanting to.

Things you can do on your own to alleviate fatigue:

Allow yourself the luxury of napping when you need rest.

Conserve your energy for those things you need to do for your cancer care on your worst fatigue days.

Don't give up on the activities you enjoy, just do them to a lesser extent.

Find new interests that are less physically exerting, like reading a new book.

Find time to spend with those you love, doing activities you love; so that your spirit is renewed.

Keep your doctors aware of your fatigue level.

Share your emotional and physical burden by asking for support, and assistance from others.

Take short walks or do some light exercise, if possible.

Watch your diet and fluid intake.  Try to eat nutritional, smaller meals, more often.

Chronic fatigue may be treatable by your doctor if there is an underlying reason such as anemia, dehydration, systemic infection, or depression.  Make sure that you communicate your fatigue level, and any differences you experience in that level, with your health care professionals.  You can read more about cancer related fatigue at these web sites:

ACS Fatigue - resources from the American Cancer Society.

Cancer BACUP - a multi-page article on coping with fatigue.  Click next page or links to the left to read further.

CancerSymptoms.com - directed toward lung cancer patients, but beneficial to all.