Tired Of Being Tired

I have now been living with cancer for 12 years, and today marks my 7 year stage 4 diagnosis. At the time, being alive and well at the age of 30 seemed impossible. There are so many conflicting emotions around particular dates such as this one, I am sad I feel I have missed out on so much, but am hoping there is much more to look forward to in the not to distant future. If I can make 7 years as a stage 4 patient who is to say a couldn’t make another 7! I literally owe my life to those developing new treatments and the healthcare professionals that have chosen cancer as their specialist subject.

The issue that has been haunting me most of late is that for me treatment doesn’t have an end point, and I struggle with this often. I’m tired of it. This is not a temporary situation which I can learn to power through, every aspect of my life until my dying day is governed by this illness. Having immunotherapy every three weeks has become the norm. I often grieve for the life I could have had without cancer, but It hasn’t broken me yet. I guess I have probably learnt a lot about myself in this time. Sometimes (not always) I feel I am now a stronger person for what being ill has taught me.

Coming to terms with the physical changes cancer has had on my body has been an extremely challenging task, not to mention the impact on my mental health. Hospital visits make me particularly emotional and sometimes I burst into tears so quickly, and then my mindset will be negative for days on end. It’s small things such as having to cover up my portacath, or not wear something too revealing as I don’t want to exposes too much of my sensitive skin to the elements. Lucky, winter is slowly setting in so I’ll fit right in.

I live life in a different way now, the pace is slower than I would like, but I cannot change it. Sometimes I get on ok, other times I want to scream at anyone who claims to be tired. TIRED? You don’t know the meaning of the word. Exhaustion comes in waves, and when it does hit seems to effect me in an instant. And I am one of the lucky ones. It is as if somebody clicks their fingers and my energy levels plummet straight away. As soon as the drugs are pumped into my blood stream I become a total zombie. My legs feel like I’ve been hiking up mountains for days on end, I’m going to end up needing one of those fold out camping stools for when I just can’t walk any further.

My thoughts don’t seem to make sense anymore, like a ‘glazed over’ feeling of not quite being in the room. I had no idea what exhaustion was really like until I had chemotherapy, even the thought of being active exhausts me. I just want to be able to click my fingers and be in bed with a large pizza. That’s one super power I would love to have.

There are so many ups and downs during each cycle, as soon as you get over one intense period of treatment its time to begin the next cycle all over again. Nothing ever seems straight forward, after some appointments I’ll feel sick, others will give me a bad stomach or a rash. All very bearable of course, but aside from the fatigue there doesn’t seem to be standard reaction each time I have treatment. This is typical of me, as I’ve been told many times I am ‘not the norm’. 

Over the past few days I’ve know I’m  in a bad way as I’ve been caught at the barriers at London Underground stations. So embarrassing, but funny when you think about it. I tap my Oyster card and the barriers open, yet somehow it takes my brain a while to figure out I should be walking through. My mind and body are slower to react, and I end up being one of those people who get their bags caught because they weren’t paying enough attention, much to the amusement of others. 

Suffering from this kind of fatigue and trying to resemble normality is exhausting. I’m tired of being tired. It’s taken me ages to finish writing this blog post as I just haven’t been able to find the energy. I am not even sure I remember what it’s like to feel awake and energetic.

I’m powering through this week, but by Monday I should feel vaguely normal again, regular levels of tiredness as opposed to completely wiped out. They often say normal is boring, but I’d love to feel normal and part of the In crowd again. 

I’m a morning person so I am off out for a jog / walk – it’s the last thing I want to do, but I’m hoping the fresh air will do me some good and somehow help to replenish my energy levels. That’s if my legs can do what my brain wants them to! 

5 thoughts on “Tired Of Being Tired

  1. Feeling for you Jo. Hope you have people around you who can give you proper, appetising and nourishing food – it takes quite an effort to make when you have to do it yourself. You are doing all the right things – even forcing yourself to go out for a walk (or jog when you feel well enough?). Your story has made me realise how lucky I am – I am a stickler for healthy food, no junk food, biscuits etc (hardly ever feel tired now I am NED) and I have also forced myself to go for a 1m jog each day as my blood pressure was high (constant headaches with momentarily feelings of dizziness) and 4 different medications made me feel worse. Have been jogging for just over a month now and my BP (and pulse) have dropped, headaches and dizziness more or less gone, and a 1m run only takes me 12mins per day. It is like a miracle cure. Your courage and determination are amazing Jo – Atta Girl!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am deeply moved. What pulls me through is that I am never alone in this, even though I am not past the first year mark yet. Fatigue lowers my flame, and wears me out, I feel for and with you. I wish I could give you my healthy years when I was your age and travelled everywhere. I will follow you from now, so you know I am there for you. Love

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Jo. Thank you for another blog post. I learn a great deal from the things that you write about – including things that I think many people would find difficult to talk about. I wish I could reach out and give you one of my bear hugs (they’re good – really!). For me – I just want you to know I read your posts and when see one in my inbox it’s a priority read. I hope in some way they are therapeutic for you. Thank you for sharing with us. Pete 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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