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Work Fatigue

Posted 08 September 2017 16:09:43(UTC)

Hi, After receiving salvage radiotherapy I am now on HT until end April 2019. I have been back at work for four weeks now and am finding things pretty tough fatigue wise. I had a really bad incident when out walking last Wednesday when I had a migraine equivalent (diagnosed by a neurologist a few years ago) knocking my vision in and out plus a bit of the shakes. I had to sit for a time twice before getting home. I came very close to passing out. The neurologist told me that when these things happen it is my body's way of telling me I've overdone it. This has started me worrying about whether working full time in a fast paced, stressful, demanding job is going to do me some serious harm including the cancer making an unwelcome return. I am going to speak with my GP soon about this, tried to make am appointment the other day but couldn't get through on the phone!

My question is does working to the point of fairly extreme tiredness (I was in my bed 8.15 p.m. Monday night!) doing me more harm than good?

I am sure others on this forum will have experienced this and worse. I would really appreciate views and advice. 

I have always pushed myself but maybe it's time to back off a bit.

Best wishes, Ian.

Posted 08 September 2017 21:23:03(UTC)

PCUK ran a project about fatigue on HT - it would be worth you giving the nurses a call to see if the programme is still running.

Old Al was in a wheelchair at one point because the fatigue was so bad; he found that swimming changed his life and got him mobile again ... worth you searching for his old threads?

Generally, it seems the advice is to stay as active as you can (and then rest as much as you need to) rather than give in to it but some are more affected than others.

"Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards." Soren Kierkegaard

Posted 09 September 2017 07:39:50(UTC)
Thanks Lyn, I'll give the nurses a call and search the old thread you mentioned. I am determined to stay very active, I think a couple of the problems I have is trying to do too much and also not being able to control when I rest due to my commitments. I am trying to find a way I can keep working and still have energy left to do other things like golfing, walking , gardening when I'm not at work. It's a delicate balancing act!
Posted 09 September 2017 09:04:58(UTC)

Why not ask to go part time - work in the morning, nap, then one of the activities. Or could you take a power nap at work when you need one? John didn't stay on the HT for long because he hated the side effects, but he did work full time throughout plus all the gym and rugby etc. Amazingly, it was stuff like housework or putting the bins out that he was too exhausted for :-/

"Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards." Soren Kierkegaard

Posted 09 September 2017 19:40:39(UTC)

I agree with you Lyn.

I have found throughout my journey that my body will tell me when enough is enough and when I can do more.

For instance I now need at least 10 hours sleep now, as opposed to previously only needing 8 hours.

I am now working part time to suit these needs.

All the best to you Lyn and Ian



"Incurable cancer does not mean it is untreatable and does not mean it is terminal either"
Posted 10 September 2017 15:53:06(UTC)

Thanks Lyn, I am keeping very active walking around 20 miles per week in addition to the fair amount of walking I do at work plus occasional golf. I aim to climb Schiehallion (a munro in Perthshire) on 23rd September if my body will allow me. It's great that John managed the gym and rugby. I will build up slowly but surely. I also hate the side effects from the HT but am reluctant to stop just yet.

I will look at my working hours too, it's perhaps time to cut back a bit.


Posted 10 September 2017 15:57:03(UTC)

Thanks Dave, you are right about listening to what our bodies are telling us. My problem has always been that I push and push until I break which is not sensible and in some way an abdication of responsibilities! I am trying very hard to act responsibly and pace myself according to how I am feeling.

Best wishes to you, Ian.

Posted 10 September 2017 17:25:06(UTC)

Originally Posted by: Online Community Member
. Amazingly, it was stuff like housework or putting the bins out that he was too exhausted for :-/

Typical Man then!!

Thanked 1 time
Posted 12 September 2017 00:38:10(UTC)

Hi Ian

Note sure if I can help much, other than I did experience complete 'burn out' when I was about 40. (see my profile re. latest )

So I have been 'totally wiped out' (not a breakdown).    Hit me from nowhere and took about 6 months to recover (95%)


This was mental wipeout (I couldn't add 2 numbers together ), physically less impact. 

I still struggle to mentally relax, I should try yoga !  however never preserved.

Are you sleeping from 8.15pm, until when ? or was this a once off. ?   Solid sleep obviously should refresh   (not if your waking , having to get up)   I sleep solid for about 8 hrs ..

I try and listen to my mind and body a lot more since, I always wanted to 'burn' all my energy away I think (ie the battery was always being depleted, and was fine whilst I could keep it topped up !)

I'm semi retired, mainly because I want to spend time doing the things I enjoy -  gardening, walking and family etc .  It always concerned me - should I 'ease off'  ?     I'm on zero meds , and have a low alcohol and caffeine intake.   I do lack energy reserves I feel (I'm only 62) and can't put my finger on why.   ie I have to take breaks when digging for instance, yet I'm not out of breathe and resting HB is around 62 (I have a fitbit).   I never sleep during day.

However things are getting no worst or better, if I push too hard, it does bite me back - ie a bit like 'ME' symptoms, so I tend to take things at a slower pace, both mentally and physically.

Hope this helps a little ..

Gordon - Devon











Posted 13 September 2017 06:41:27(UTC)

Thanks Gordon, It sounds like you are trying very hard to manage your energy levels as best you can in the circumstances.

Like you I have always pushed myself to the edge of exhaustion, I have tried very hard to reign that tendency in and being back at work full time is proving very difficult. I am going to bed at varying times, 8.15 was the earliest. I am up at 5.40 a.m. to get ready to leave for work as the road network where I live gets jammed up by 7 a.m.

My sleep is a bit disturbed just now. I fall asleep for a bit , sometimes then need to get up to the loo, sometimes it's a hot flush, sometimes I just can't seem to get comfortable. Some nights are better than others but I never get a full night's sleep uninterrupted. 

I am going to see an occupational health doctor again in the next month so will discuss all this with her.

Thanks again for the reply and best wishes, Ian.




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