Five years of experience and fatigue

Sunset in Tucson

It is coming up on 5 years since my recurrence of ovarian cancer journey began. My level of energy has been up and down over the last five years providing a physical and mental challenge. So much research says activity helps mood and especially during chemotherapy. Also, research on healthy subjects, shows the incremental gains that can be made from consistent and increasing levels of endurance or strength training. I have found that trying to increase anything seems counterproductive and leaves me in a worse place the following day or two. My family can vouch for this and frequently ask me to slow down or not do something that my mind wants to do and my body is a bit reluctant. I found two articles this week particularly helpful in explaining why. One is an internal technique in planning out what someone with chronic fatigue can do to manage their energy. This is relevant for anyone that has fatigue from chemo, long CoVID, or other chronic disease. The technique is called pacing. This is planning out minimal energy usage each day, evaluating along the way, and only adding activity as energy allows. Being aware of one’s energy is the most important part and mindfulness will help in evaluating your energy level. “Powering through” is not helpful, is hurtful, and in the long run adds to a lower level of activity.

The second article is a way to talk to someone about their level of fatigue so everyone is on the same page of understanding. Spoons serve as an analogy to energy level. The number of spoons it takes to do an activity can vary by day.

Hope this helps if you have the issue or someone you care about has this issue.

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