The fatigue I am experiencing as a result of my chemotherapy is unlike anything I have ever experienced before in my life. It is unlike anything I could have ever anticipated and I suppose medical professionals call it “cancer-related fatigue” for a reason.
My health care team always explain that until someone experiences this level of fatigue, they can’t even begin to imagine or fathom what it’s like. And that’s true. Before feeling this way, I didn’t know that this level of tiredness and exhaustion even existed.
You may think that sleeping for long periods of time is great or sounds like it would be the best thing ever, and I certainly was one of those people who once thought that, but it’s not. I remember many times when the tiredness of being a full time university student and working 1 and sometimes 2 part time jobs would catch up with me and I would say “Wow, it would be so nice to sleep for 3 days straight.”
But now that I’ve actually experienced that, I can tell you, it’s not nice. It’s not nice to have your body literally needing sleep and craving sleep. It’s not nice to feel like you can’t keep your eyes open. Eating can be too much of a task and sometimes it takes too much energy to just sit up and eat. Your brain is so exhausted that you can’t focus and motivation is low. Even responding to text messages can be a task. The worst thing about fatigue related to cancer treatment is that no matter how much you sleep and how much rest you get, the fatigue doesn’t go away. It’s still there. I can sleep for 12 hours and wake up yawning.
The fatigue is frustrating and unpredictable and overwhelming and distressing. It has been such a hard adjustment to go from a seemingly healthy, normal, active 20 year old to now being 21 and feeling like I’m way older than that number.
God wants us to be good stewards of our bodies and good stewardship involves giving your body the medical treatment it needs which in turn means doing cancer treatment. I know that fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of cancer treatment/chemotherapy but it is so hard.
1 Corinthians 6:20: “You were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your bodies.”
In this verse, Paul reminds us that our bodies are sacred and a place where the Holy Spirit dwells inside of us. This verse gave me some perspective today.
Taking the time to rest through this fatigue means that I am spending time taking care of the body that God has given me.
God wants me to be a good steward of my body. My body was sick with cancer, so I am helping to heal it by doing a year long cancer treatment. That treatment causes me to feel like I have the flu 24/7 which means periods of rest are crucial and so important. God needs me to rest to take care of my body. As much as the fatigue sucks and there are moments where I wish I could just be a normal, healthy and active 21 year old, I know that God wants to heal my body and I know that our bodies heal when we sleep.
I am going to take care of my body because I want to honour the one who gave it to me and I am going to take care of my body because every part of me belongs to the Lord. Self-care and rest are so important.
This is week 40 of chemo injections and my body is so sick and tired of being sick and tired but I am not giving up.
For those of you who have dealt with cancer related fatigue – do you have any tips that you could share with me? How did you get through the dreaded fatigue? Any advice would be appreciated!
If you could pray that this fatigue becomes a little more manageable for me that would be great!