Fatigue and Lymphoma
Extreme, persistent fatigue is a common symptom among people with lymphoma. Fatigue can be caused by lymphoma itself. Fatigue can also be a side effect of treatments like chemotherapy and radiation. Fatigue from cancer or cancer treatment is sometimes referred to as cancer-related fatigue (CRF). Unlike other tiredness, CRF cannot be resolved with a good night’s sleep.
Cancer-related fatigue can have a significant impact on daily life. “I slept all day and could not make myself wake up,” a member wrote.
Another member shared that CRF is among his most unpleasant lymphoma symptoms: “My cancer has metastasized to my spine, causing compression fractures in the bones. The shortness of breath, weakness in the muscle, and fatigue are some of the worst parts.”
Lack of energy can impact people’s ability to work. A nurse on MyLymphomaTeam wrote, “I work three 12-hour shifts per week and find that I need one or two days after to recover from the fatigue.”
In some cases, fatigue persists for months or even years after the end of treatment. “Hubby is FINALLY starting to get his energy back six months after his last chemo,” a spouse on MyLymphomaTeam wrote.
Another member commented, “I have been tired for six years. I don't think you ever get over that.”
Members have different approaches to persistent and severe exhaustion. “I do what I can, when I can. I am not pushing myself,” a member posted.
Another member commented, “I rest when I need to but refuse to change my social activities.”
Talk to your doctor about ways to alleviate fatigue. Exercise, nutrition, improved sleep habits, and treatment for anemia (low red blood cell counts as a result of lymphoma treatments) could help improve your energy levels.
On MyLymphomaTeam, the social network and online support group for those living with lymphoma, members talk about a range of personal experiences and struggles. Fatigue is one of the most discussed topics.
Here are some conversations about fatigue:
Can you relate? How do you cope with fatigue? Share below or start a conversation on MyLymphomaTeam.