Exhausted day after chemo, normal?

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I had my first cycle of EC yesterday (Thursday). Lady at the macmillan centre day before said I should be good til Sunday, chemo nurse said Monday. I was fine til 7pm last night the day of, then suddenly over come with nausea, itching, shaky, terrible headache. I called the on call number by 9pm, she said she wished these people hadn’t said anything as hits people differently. Advised extra anti sickness, antihistamine etc, and I slept well. However today I am exhausted ! I’ve worked out the pounding headache is caused by the domperidone anti sickness, so now taking pain killers with that each time. On/off nausea. But I’ve been in bed most of the day, having slept well last night. Sort of awake couple hrs, nap a couple. Is this normal the day after? All the websites also seem to say the fatigue shouldn’t hit til next week?! I’m just hoping it will not be this way for the next 2/3 weeks, I’m normally a 30k steps a day, with a young son and hiking Labrador. It just feels so wrong to have been in bed all day! 
what are others EC (devil) experience with fatigue?

Thanks in advance x

  • Hi EmAndBob, I've been supporting my daughter who has BC for a year now and your description is almost exactly the way she was after each cycle of EC. She had four, every three weeks.  The acute nausea lasted about five days. She had bone pain, digestive upsets and mouth ulcers in the second week, then it all started to improve and the final week before the next cycle was ok. None of it was fun, of course, but she did cope - and you will too. Daughter is now post surgery and on her third type of chemo, she says EC was definitely the worst for her. So rest assured, it shouldn't get any worse than this!  

    Sending very best wishes and a big hug ((( ))). You'll get through it.

  • Hi EmmAndBob,

    I felt rubbish for about 4 days after EC. The steroids didn’t allow me to sleep well, I had terrible heartburn. The day following chemo was a couch day, I didn’t leave the house. Week before next chemo I started to feel more normal and then it started again. However chemo is like childbirth once it’s done you forget how bad it was. I hope your chemo journey is straight forward without any hold ups. 

  • I’ve just had my third round of docetaxel and find the first week afterwards the worst there are days when I. Wed to sleep and other days I feel fine until I try and do something and am exhausted afterwards, I’ve accepted that now and go with the flow but it is hard to start with. Hopefully you should feel better in a few days and will geT some energy back

  • Hi, I had docetaxel for four then FEC for four three weekly in 2011. I started EC on Tuesday alternating with paclitaxel two weeks apart four cycles of each. From memory and presently is a rollercoaster but we do get off and the further in you get it all becomes less surprising and easier to predict and manage… I am sure I remember that!

    What I found and am finding helped to take the edge off the physical side effects is to make it a focused priority to stay extra hydrated both in preparation and immediately afterwards, ice cubes/lollies/poles, water, fruit juices like pear or mango, sip soups to name a few of my current favourites. Have a pineapple but seems like an unachievable effort to skin, currently on day 6 post treatment am starting to feel my energy retuning slightly so I may find the strength to wield a knife tomorrow. Unfortunately can start to feel my tummy begin to protest, my mouth and throat beginning to feel rather raw and my aches starting to intensify along with the breathlessness.

    In my previous journey I personally found the more medication I took the more side effects I started to experience, after a few cycles I stopped taking home the bags of add on pills and when asked for only what  was absolutely necessary left with only steroids. This time around I have been told great advances have been made in managing symptoms and a lot of the drugsq V they used to prescribe are no longer used. Am hopeful so have taken my pre and post med anti sickness tablets but so far (and thankfully after your assessment of them) managed to avoid the two packets of domperidon. I also have immune boosting injections to take starting day three for five days which seem to be going well, last one tomorrow; well, until the next set. 

    Mentally I find the journey a more of a challenge this time, pre child cancer time (presently have 3yo and 5yo girls) I attended a lot of cancer themed courses; one in particular I initially struggled with but in the end found to be invaluable was a macmillan mindfulness course. Keeping calm and grounded can also help physically, emotions tend to have physical manifestations when they become as intense as mine. Using techniques like grounding breaths, body scans (pain acceptance and release), visualisation, feeling what is “wrong”; accepting that these things are unfortunate but necessary and they will pass and leave us stronger. Helps me sometimes, others I feel too overwhelmed but these times also pass along with the sleepless nights which have as of tonight replaced the excessive amount of sleep I was enjoying before last night’s broken sleep. 

    I hope my words are of some comfort coming from both lived experiences and some shared experiences currently being lived. I definitely found writing all these words down somewhat therapeutic and calming so thank you for posting your question which I hopefully didn’t loose focus on during my above exhausted midnight ramblings. I can only hope we both get to stick to our scheduling for the fastest most efficient and effective side effect light chemo journeys possible!

  • HI

    I had AC and was fit for very little for the first few days after. I did have a problem with nausea and constipation and told the team and they changed the antisickness meds on chemo day, and I was fine, although I did need laxatives for the whole of my chemo joirney. I wasn't doing long walks, but I did have more energy on the second week.

    It changed with paclitaxol, where I was fine for the first few days, although really tired on chemo day. Issue was pain on day 4 to 7. No nausea and no antisickness meds either.

    Everyone is different but please do take a list to your pre chemo review as they can change things to help with side effects.

    Best of luck with the rest of your chemo.

  • I do a daily diary of side effects, saves me having to remember at my onco appointment.    So far I can see a pattern, chemo on a Wednesday, red face day Thursday, then general feeling sick till Sunday.  This time it threw me in a elevated heart rate for a few days.  Super impressed, made an appointment with GP who fast tracked me as first on morning list, checked me over ran an ECG and reassured me nothing to worry about. Nothing more rest, and a bit of deep breathing wouldn’t help with.   

  • Hi, I had my first treatment of EC Wednesday last week and felt ok until the end of Thursday then the fatigue hit like a sledgehammer I’ve forced myself to get out and about as much as possible but that’s not been much in reality I’ve spent so much time in bed or asleep on the sofa, people that have seen me say I look ok even good but I feel so shaky stopping every few yards to catch my breath. I’ve finally got it into my head now that I can’t do everything that I did before which is more difficult as I’m very independent and single shopping will now be done online, chores only when energy allows and then basically done. 
    we are all warriors in a battle we didn’t want to fight give yourself credit and patience with the knowledge that it won’t last forever xx be kind to yourself xx

  • That’s exactly how I feel….I’m saving energy for the good stuff, hubby picking up the slack.  I’m just about to do an online yoga yin class…basically lying about and listening to beautiful words…got to take the breaks when you can.   

  • Thanks all. Things have evened out a bit, vs all day in bed. I think I’m working out when to push through and get moving and when to rest before over doing it. I’m writing down effects each cycle day, so hopefully that will follow on so I can plan next cycle and also let the team know.