Tired to the point of tears

I cried this evening.

I began to get tearful while talking to a friend on the phone, describing how tired I’ve been lately. Just tired. “It scares me,” I said, and I welled up. I did my best to keep it in but only partially succeeded, so I went and blew my nose and splashed water on my face and came back to the phone, declaring myself to be “just fine”.

After the phone call I set about doing evening things  – tidying the house, wiping the kitchen counters, going upstairs to get ready for bed – and I burst into tears. I feel like I’m declining – slowly, but inexorably. 

I’m not ready yet. So much left to do! There’s a major writing project that is barely off the starting block. There are people I haven’t yet told how important they are to me. There is a broken relationship in my family that I’d love to mend before I leave. 

Then I realized that it’s still not death that is worrying me, but the inactivity of end-stage illness. I am nowhere near that point, but I find myself thinking about it more often recently. This increasing fatigue makes me think of it.

Being the person I am, I began researching cancer-related fatigue. This is a way of gaining control: perhaps there are factors I can influence. Even if there are not, knowledge is a kind of mastery for me. Things are less intimidating and frightening if I understand them.

I found this diagram at CancerNetwork, home of the journal Oncology. It is from an article called “Fatigue and Dyspnea” by  Sriram Yennurajalingam, MD and Eduardo Bruera, MD of the Department of Palliative Care and Rehabilitation Medicine at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center and was published on 11 November, 2011 in the online edition of Oncology.

Factors in cancer-related fatigue

I can see I’ll be referring to it frequently in the coming days. I already see some factors that I can influence and probably change with a resultant improvement in my energy level.

  • Dehydration. I am very bad at getting enough to drink, especially in the winter. I already have a medicine tracking sheet, so I’m going to add a column to it where I can keep track of how much I drink each day.
  • Pain/drug side effects. I need to rethink my decisions about pain control, to discuss it again with my doctors.
  • Psychological distress. I will stop diagnosing myself (I’m fine!) and arrange to be evaluated, especially for depression and anxiety.

And now I feel much better – for real this time. I’ve gathered information and started to make an action plan. It’s a quarter to one in the morning; I should probably think about getting some actual sleep after all this talk about fatigue.

9 thoughts on “Tired to the point of tears

  1. All very good ideas dear friend………….however knowledge alone isnt enough me thinks.

    Your spiritual condition is far ahead of mine , and the physical stuff you are going to go thru as well as what you have already can be daunting i’m sure.

    what i notice above is a need for some positives, some “fun” just for you whatever that is. a FUN Bucket list so to speak i guess.

    Maybe a forbidden chocolate once in awhile, maybe extra sun on the tootsies, maybe just a day outside the home, of walking around best you can doing whatever makes a smile come to your face and heart dear Knots.

    there has only been maybe 2 times in my life where i said ok Lord take me if it is your will when i meant it.

    i find now with the new grand baby we have who just turned 6 months that my “thinking and prayer ” is more , Lord id like to see her graduate from High School. of course with all my facultys lol.

    Or Lord please don’t take my Nancy before me cause I’d be lost without her BUT don’t take me either cause I’m not ready. lol……

    I have no real idea where all this from me is headed, but same could be said for Life 101.

    Maybe you find some more peace and find a way to dwell on Happy now vs a to do list……

    Luv as always

  2. I’m glad that you were able to come up with an action plan. It helps, but may I suggest consentrating on the people in your to do list. The writing project won’t care if you don’t finish, but the people will be blessed that you reached out to them. We have forever to write and learn in heaven, but only now to bless the suffering.

  3. Research and reasoned action is one course, which obviously suits you, and I am glad to see you are taking some great steps, but, as others before me have said, time to indulge oneself in little joys, and reaching out to people while you still can are also essential for your total well being.
    Blessings and prayers

  4. Pingback: Wednesday Video: Cancer-Related Fatigue « Telling Knots

  5. Thank you, everyone, for the “likes” and comments. I really appreciate your input, and especially your palpable caring and concern.

    The thing about this fatigue is that it’s keeping me from doing fun and pleasurable things, too, so I really have to make addressing it a priority. But don’t worry! Anyone who knows me in “real” life knows that I don’t go for long without having fun. 🙂

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