Under the Influence; Cancer-Related Fatigue

exhaustion smileyCancer-related fatigue, a consistent plague for cancer patients, is pulling hard on me today.  Writing while I am deeply under the fatigue curse is not my typical mode for writing or working.  Today I choose to write under the influence; to put the feeling of fatigue in to black and white space with a side of fuzzy gray. Walk a straight line-what?  I’m zigzagging through this day!

Currently on a clinical trial through Dana Farber Cancer Institute, I am grateful for the medical chance to rid myself of melanoma, AND feel empowered to help other skin cancer patients in the future.  I’ll delve into the trial more in another writing, but today I want to share with you one of the side effects that I struggle with every single day, cancer-related fatigue.

Intrigue of Fatigue

No, I’m not necessarily tired.  How about you?  Tired is a time for napping or “The Big Sleep” at night after physical and/or mental activity.  Fatigue and tiredness are not interchangeable.  We all have our moments of tiredness or that mid-afternoon slump.

So, then, what is fatigue?  Here are a few examples to consider:

  • Waking up in the morning and surmising that you are dragging
  • Knowing that there is no energy reserve, the tank is empty
  • Finding that you need to take breaks throughout the day
  • Deciding that paying the bills is beyond you right now
  • Feeling frustration for what you long to do
  • Pushing yourself one day, only to have zero to give the next dayanimal cat face close up feline


“Men weary as much of not doing the things they want to do as of doing the things they do not want to” –Author Eric Hoffer

Physical and emotional, fatigue is real and real grueling.  The American Cancer Society’s post about cancer fatigue is worth exploring. When asked, I explain that it feels like I’m dragging cement weights through my day with a side of brain fog. Let me know how you get through your fatigue. Here are a few fatigue cancer tips that work for me:

  • Drink coffee (I just started last summer…not sure if it helps but it tastes wonderful as I pysch myself UP for the day)
  • Exercise or move (let your body know you’re up for the challenge!)
  • Yoga (found this awesome class last Fall-brings together restorative poses and meditation)
  • Pause and give yourself time to re-set as needed


  • Eat Well!
  • Push through the fatigue when you have to (ie. work)
  • Watch for the bigger waves of fatigue, ride them out with what works for you, and also ride the waves of feeling okay
  • Free yourself from the headset that you are fatigued because the cancer is winning-be positive when you can
  • Incorporate fatigue into your life; this may be the new you so get on with living!
  • Laugh and smile – you’re doing the best you can!


Chin up, even when lying down!

Cancer and treatments are just one piece of our lives.  With a 3 year infusion course, my clinical trial is a long haul, and no guarantee that once the immunotherapy is over that the cancer-related fatigue will be gone.  Let’s choose a path of courage and hope.  We all need to carry that inspiration with us for life, no matter how heavy. And smiles carry no weight! #melanomatheskinwerein  #melanoma  #cancer-relatedfatigue #cancer Phew, time for a break!

We can-cer vive!





Author: melanomatheskinwerein

Writer, librarian, humanatarian, and survivalist, melanoma has provided me with the gift of knowing that each day, each moment matters. Family is so important as is the ocean, both course through my veins and are in my heart! Well, that and the immunotherapy drug that's kicking my butt! Let's work through this and infuse hope and education into our lives.

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