It's been interesting hearing about others who are also in the teaching profession. I'm curious to know how others go with fatigue after radiotherapy or chemo? After a few months I accepted it and thought it was normal...yet a year down the track I am still exhausted. I have a 3 yr old and that keeps me busy plus being in the paid workforce one day a week. It doesn't matter how early i go to bed, I'm still constantly exhausted! Does anyone else experience this fatigue and do you have any strategies for this?
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Deceased
Hi Ruby Yes, fatigue is a major side effect of cancer and it was one of the reasons I retired early from my job as an academic. Most of the time we were dealing with mature age students doing a professional masters degree so we taught evenings and weekends in a minimum of three hour blocks. At weekends we often did eight hour stints but by the end of the time both students and lecturer were brain dead anyway. I found that I had to break it up into smaller sessions. Some of the students were not happy as they travelled a fair distance (one of them fours hours each way!) but when I was upfront and explained to them the reasons that I could only cope with smaller blocks of time, they were pretty reasonable about it. But yes the constant exhaustion did get to me in the end. I found that when I hit the wall, usually about two in the afternoon, if I could get an hours sleep then, I could keep going as normal. The final thing for me was that somehow or other all my unanticipated visits to hospital came during non-teaching times. I realised that if one of them occurred during teaching times then it would be absolute chaos. So in the end I took a package and retired early. Strategies: I found keeping fit was useful. Yes, that took time to get to the gym three times a week for an hour, but it was worth it. Afternoon nap if at all possible - even thirty minutes is helpful. Don't take on anything extra - you are still in rehabilitation, and that is a mind set you need to accept. Try to keep regular sleeping hours, even if they are longer than you used to keep. Do things that will help you relax before you go to bed - relaxation exercises, hot cocoa, whatever works for you. Cheers Sailor Any fool can carry on, but a wise man knows how to shorten sail in time. Joseph Conrad
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Regular Contributor
Hi Ruby, I am a high school teacher who finished treatment 18 months ago. I have teenage kids. I went back to work 4 days a week, 4 weeks after finishing 6 months of chemo. Big mistake. I also had to take on 2 year 12 classes. Big mistake again. I was so exhausted that I would cry nearly every morning because I could barely drag myself out of bed. Some days I could hardly stand in front of a class. My school was very good when I needed a day off but I had no sick leave left of course so was dipping into ny LSL and I was reluctant to have much time off with the yr 12 classes. I was involved in an enormous amount of extra- curricular activities but now do much less. I have a wonderful young energetic teacher who has taken on a lot of that, thank goodness. I love teaching and am able to retire in 2012. The reality is though, if I could have retire last year I would have. I am in a great super scheme that will make life easy for me as long as I last until 2012!! All is well so far. I struggle with the stress and the constant deadlines and resent the fact that teaching doesn't allow you to be selfish enough to try to fit enough to cope with the still lingering fatigue. So, take it slowly if you can, take nanna naps and find ways that suit you to develop some fitness if you can and learn to say "NO". Good luck, Samex
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Contributor
Ruby, I was on maternity leave when I had treatment, then moved towns and then went back to work 2 months later. I thought keeping my mind active and moving forward would be the key to getting over it. I to suffered terrible fatigue and found myself getting sick and run down all the time, so I started family day care at home to spend time with my son (now almost 4yo) and only did 3 days a week. I still find myself tired all the time, I have now spent the last 4 months trying to relax, rest and get back on track. Mind you I have just had my 2nd baby so I imagine he didn't help with the fatigue..lOL! My husband on the other hand had chemo only 1 1/2 years ago, he is the healthiest he has felt in a long time. He never gets sick! He is a little sleep deprived form the kids but that is it.Maybe it depends on the type of treatment and the type of cancer...who knows. I have been seeing a naturopath and am on zinc and a few other things, I also see an osteopath and do heaps of yoga. I am finally finding my way through the fatigue and constant illness. My advice is to work on your immune system and overall health and things will start to get to a better place. Best of luck Amanda
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