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Endocrine Therapy Fatigue

By Stephanie





Something that I fight regularly is fatigue. The best way I can describe it is like the fatigue I had when I was pregnant. Just the constant cloud of fog and tiredness you can't shake and no matter what you do it seems that it is always there.


First and for most, I am not a doctor, ALWAYS consult your doctor before trying or adding anything different in to your routine. You and your doctor know your body best and the journey it has had. What may work for me may not work for you.


Once I started on my endocrine therapy I wasn't sure what to expect. They said common side effects are the same as those of menopause because essentially you are in menopause. I tried to keep an open mind and hoped I wouldn't have any side effects like some of the women I have read online. Hahaha my body had other plans.


In came

  • fatigue

  • insomnia

  • sleep problems

  • hot flashes

  • bone pain

  • random nausea

  • emotional stress

The emotional stress was the real kicker. My emotions were all over the place. I felt like I my hormones were all over the place. Thank goodness after a few months that plateaued and evened out. Most of the above did get a bit better. My doctor said a lot would/should subside after my body acclimated. However a lot didn't too. Here I am almost two years later and my biggest complaints are fatigue, insomnia and hot flashes. After speaking with my doctor, research and trial and error I have found a few things that help address these.


Fatigue, Insomnia and Hot Flashes


What I have found that works best is a the following


Schedule

Every day around 2:00 I am completely spent. I started walking during this time and making sure I wasn't sitting around in the house. I spend this time doing house chores, going for a walk, or playing outside with the kids. If you work I would suggest tracking when you feel the most tired. When this time is make a plan to move your body whether you walk to the water cooler, take your 15 minute break or just go speak with a co-worker. Have a plan to move at this time.


Workout

I use to think working out meant I had to sweat. Working out can be anything. You can clean rooms in your house, put laundry away, sweep the floor, go on a run, run around with your kids, etc anything that has your heart rate elevated more than normal is a good place to start. For me carving out 30-60 minutes a day is best. I run and do some type of strength training. This is MY time to reflect. I love to put in ear buds during any of the above activities and dance too. It makes my heart happy. Find something that makes your heart happy and do it EVERYDAY.


Fluids

Water keeps your body hydrated. It helps flush toxins out as well. To my coffee drinkers, I LOVE my coffee, I limit it when I can. I find the more I drink the worse my hot flashes are. If I drink a cup I then usually follow it with 30 oz of water. Although water is best there are other alternatives. Add a packet of Propel or another flavored hydration packet. Be sure to ask your doctor what they believe is best. You can then hydrate and have a bit of variety through out the day. Squeeze lemon in your water or find a carbonated water you like can help too. I have become obsessed with Spindrift thanks to a fellow survivor I follow on instagram suggesting it. There is also tea. You can have this hot or cold. I also highly suggest purchasing a water bottle that you like. Here is just a suggestion for one that you may like. There are so many options now days that have the oz printed on the side and can help you gauge how much you have consumed. Spend the money on the bottle. You'll be surprised how much of a difference it can make.


Bedtime and Waketime

Find a time that works for you to wake and go to sleep each night. Give it a solid week, two would be best. You will find your body finds that rhythm and will be trained to get tired at a certain time. If you have an iPhone you can actually set a sleep and wake time to help keep it the same everyday. Also try to cut back on screen time. I am completely guilty of doing this. I found if I save a few house hold chores to do before bed I'm less likely to scroll. A good book or journaling helps too.


Foods

Who hasn't heard "A healthy diet can help X,Y,Z,etc". Biggest advice, START SMALL. Add a vegetable to one meal. Once you have that down add it to two, etc. Our family eats vegetables at lunch and dinner. We tend to sneak on some at breakfast too every once in a while. I started swapping out packaged snacks with fruit and veggies too or with packaged items that have organic or natural ingredients. One of my families favorite snacks are Engery Balls. These are great because you can swap out different items and make it to your liking. Remember too food not only needs to taste good but look good. You eat with your eyes too.



For more information on side effects see the below links.


https://www.breastcancer.org/treatment/side_effects/fatigue


https://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatments-and-side-effects/physical-side-effects/fatigue/managing-cancer-related-fatigue.html


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