Treatment fatigue

Treatment fatigue – it is the only way I can explain how I’m feeling. You would think that someone who has gone through cancer treatment would want to do everything they can to help reduce the likelihood of the cancer returning. I would have thought that was how I would feel. It is funny how when something like cancer happens you don’t feel how you thought you would feel.

I’m definitely going through a bout of treatment fatigue. The week after next I’m due for my next round out Lupron and Prolia shots. On Monday I’m going to ask my oncologist if I can postpone them a month. I have not been feeling well for too long, (almost two months now) and I really just want to feel normal for a little bit before I go back to treatment.

When it comes to breast cancer surgeries, the research talks about treatment fatigue. If you do reconstruction after chemotherapy you can end up with breast cancer related surgeries that span two to three years. It is a long drawn out process and many women get tired of the surgeries before they have completed the process. I get that.

The idea of hormone therapy for 10 years is exhausting. I’m not even at year 2 so to imagine that my life for the next 8 years will involve a shot every three months is tiring. The alternative is a surgery to remove my ovaries – but I’m also in treatment fatigue on that front too. I don’t feel the need to remove a body part unnecessarily. I don’t know what the long term impact of that will be.

I expect that if I had a few weeks of feeling better, that I’d be ready to jump back into hormone therapy – knowing that it does reduce the risk of recurrence. It doesn’t prevent it. There is no way of knowing if it is making any difference in me. Statistics are a challenge that way. It makes a statistical difference but it doesn’t necessarily make an individual difference. When you are the individual in question, sometimes that statistics are not relevant. I like to say, it is the statics of one that matters. In my case there are no statistics. My cancer was weird. I had a lot of it, some of it aggressive, but it had not spread outside of my breasts. So I also caught it early – but again, that doesn’t mean that it won’t come back – there is no way to know. Only time will tell.

And so, with that, I fight a bout of treatment fatigue and hope that after a few days of rest I’m feeling better and ready to jump back into it all. Some people use the battle metaphor with cancer – not sure I like that one. In some ways, I like to think of it more as a race. The primary treatment is a series of sprints, but the long term is the marathon – or more like a series of marathons – or maybe it is more like the ultra running races where it is more like running 100 miles and this is done over and over again. Ten years is a long time to be in treatment. When I can only plan 3-6 months in advance, I just cannot see that far – I cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel yet – so I’m hoping for a little sky light to open up and inspire me to keep on running.

Feature Image CC0 Public Domain

  • Becky

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