Extreme fatigue

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Hi, my partner has extreme fatigue. Any suggestions or advice please?

He has bile duct cancer and he's had 6 chemotherapy cycles, then 15 days of radiotherapy. The treatment began in July and finished at the end of December - we've been told the effects can get worse for about two weeks, which is about where we are now. He'd been trying to go out for a short walk every day but for the last 3 days he's been absolutely wasted - he gets up and dressed, but has to lie down most of the day and everything seems a big effort.  He's spoken with our brilliant nurses, who just said this is what he should expect.

The worst thing for me and probably for him is that he's feeling so down - the treatment was supposed to keep things at bay but it just feels like a continuous downhill (we realise it might not work). He's usually calm or up-beat but just now there isn't much joy.  It's been a really long 6 months (and the wet/grey midwinter isn't helping).

I'd really appreciate any experience that will help us get through this. And do most people get at least some energy back?

  • Yes my partner is the same though he has myeloma and going through chemo on his second stage and already feeling really fatigued and tired. It takes an effort for him to do anything. I am his carer too. Hoping he’ll get some energy back too

  • Thanks   - sorry you're living with this too but I'm glad I'm not the only one. Very good wishes with it all.

  • Thank you I feel as if I’m the only one coping with all this. So glad I am not. Good wishes to you too

  • Hi - I had 4 cycles of chemo (May to Aug 2022) and then 5 weeks of daily pelvic radiotherapy(Aug-Sept) for womb cancer. This was after total hysterectomy (April22) Oct-Dec I was extremely fatigued and it is only now in the new year that it is starting to settle. I no longer need a lie down each day. I have been trying to walk for 30 mins a day on good days and find that helps with mood. I have also started taking multi vitamin and calcium/vit D supplement. I am now looking at my diet and trying to eat a bit healthier. I bought a blender and on the days where my appetite was low or I had nausea I found homemade smoothies helped. I agree about the wet /grey weather- it really doesnt help. Hopefully with spring on its way he may start to feel a little more recovered. One other thing I found is that it was easy to overdo it on good days and that put my recovery back. To begin with I tried to focus on doing one thing each day. Friend around for coffee or a walk or a bit of hoovering etc. I found this helped. His experience sounds really normal to me. Chemo on its own takes months to recover from.


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  • Thank you so much  . I know all of this in theory of course but it's much more real and reassuring to hear from someone who's been through it. It's a long haul isn't it?! - but I'm really glad to  know things are improving for you.

  • No problem- I hope that your partners fatigue improves- am sure it will given time. Its not easy but in my experience is does get easier x


    Macmillan Support Line - 0808 808 00 00, 7 days a week between 8am-8pm

  • Hi I've just joined and seen this. I suffered with chronic fatigue earlier last year, I do sympathise as it's draining and I understand that lack of joy.  Even going to the toilet was a major effort for me, it's like your weighed down and moving through treacle!

    I do eat mostly healthy unprocessed foods but I also started taking a B12 complex (one from the terranova range is very good as no extra nasty fillers/binders/bulking agents etc..) & it made a difference.  You can't take too much B12 either & blood tests only show a 'total amount' of B12 & not the active amount - so what may appear to be normal range (which we all differ with anyway) could actually be mostly inactive / not being used by the body.  

    Others known to specifically aid fatigue are: 

    18. If radiotherapy makes you tired:

    Try Acetyl-L-Carnitine. Used by Olympic athletes for an energy boost after their activities, two Italian oncologists showed it would also help cancer patients regain their energy levels (13).

    20. Ulcers, tiredness, bloating in radiotherapy:

    Mouth sores, bloating and gut disturbances are not uncommon when having radiation Therapy. The usual cause is excess yeasts in the bloodstream. Damage to the microbiome results in the body’s failure to deal with the yeasts that come in with your food and some drinks. Yeasts make toxins, cause bloating and reduce blood oxygen amongst other things. Oregano oil kills yeasts in the bloodstream. 180 mg pills first thing in the morning, last thing at night from the first day of radiotherapy until the last day, 6 weeks after the end of the radiotherapy.

    The above info was taken from this site in relation to radiation but has other areas e.g. chemo can view. Thought I'd share in case anyone was interested / also finds it useful prior to treatment. It's from the CANCERactive site.

    20 ways to improve your Radiotherapy experience | CANCERactive

    I would always recommend informing your oncologist of any additional treatments / supplements. If decide to try herbs / supplements, I personally would always go for an organic and 'clean' one without any nasty fillers / binders etc.. as the supplement industry is not regulated and many add unnecessary stuff to them that is harmful.  I take a range and definitely help me. I hope your partner feels better soon.