Care During Chemotherapy and Beyond
Holiday Energy Conservation - Cancer Therapy and Fatigue
QUESTION: I have been a very active person undergoing cancer
therapy treatment for the past six months. I find that my mind is still very
active and motivated but my body is tired out. With the holidays approaching,
I wonder if you could recommend any energy conserving techniques that would still
allow me to participate fully and minimize the impact of fatigue related to cancer
ANSWER: The feelings you are describing are entirely normal.
When you have completed your therapy, your energy will likely return and the related
fatigue will likely disappear. In the meantime, the following are some suggestions
that may assist you in maximizing your activity while conserving energy during cancer
- Most cancer therapy is cyclical. That is, there are times when you feel fatigue
and times when you feel better. If you have been undergoing cancer therapy
for several months, my guess is that these times are predictable. Save your
most energy using activities for that interval of time when you feel better.
If you have gifts to buy, consider shopping out of catalogs or on the Internet.
Most items are available at a wide range of prices. This will avoid traffic,
crowds, and long walks through malls "searching."
- Make lists of things you wish
to accomplish. Make sure each entry is a single task (e.g. make pie) rather
than multiple tasks (e.g. make dinner). This way, tasks can be managed
in short periods of energy rather than requiring a whole day, and fatigue is less
- If you wish to bake, consider a cookie party. Each guest brings
the dough (already made) for one type of cookie. While baking, you can sit
down and visit. Then you divide the cookies among everyone and "instant variety"
- Consider gift bags instead of wrapping paper. The wrapping
process is much less labor.
- Ask for and accept help when the cancer therapy affects you most. Most people
are happy to help. They simply need direction.
- Take a nap if you need
it. Don't try to push yourself too hard.
- Start early. The more time
you have in front of you're the less pressure you will feel and the more you will
be able to accomplish.
- Set priorities. Decide which events/activities
are most important to you. Limit participation to what you can realistically
Allow yourself the flexibility to rest if you need to and do when you feel up to
it. The bottom line is to enjoy whatever you do, and it will lessen the effects
of fatigue brought on by cancer therapy.
Note: We strongly encourage you to talk with your health care professional
about your specific medical condition and treatments. The information contained
in this website is meant to be helpful and educational, but is not a substitute
for medical advice.
Chemocare.com is designed to provide the latest information about chemotherapy to patients and their families, caregivers and friends. For information about the 4th Angel Mentoring Program visit www.4thangel.org