I’ve been trying to puzzle out a rhyme and reason to fatigue.
I’ve been feeling “fatigued” since my surgery in February. It’s different from being sleepy or simply “tired.” It’s more like an exhaustion that has rooted itself deep in my body and no matter how much I sleep or sit or rest or even move around, it stays there. A lack of muscle-energy inertia. A tired-ness in my knees, ankles, feet, and hips. A slouch in my back. In the morning I feel it less. In the afternoon I feel it more. But not always. This afternoon, because I showered, then had lunch with a friend, then cooked dinner, then went to physical therapy (and worked hard at it), and then finished cooking dinner (and now, for some reason, I am writing this post), I can barely get my body to move. Most of the time my mind can will my body to move. I used to be a long-distance swimmer; I guess i’m used to tests of endurance. But no amount of Vitamin B-12, Vitamin D, electrolytes, protein, hydration, rest, or even pain medication seems to make much of a difference. Time between treatments, time since my surgery, is making it lessen perhaps; but I still feel it lurking all the time.
I once read a blog post comparing fatigue to “using up all of one’s ‘spoons’ for the day.” Like you start the day with a certain number of spoons, or energy bars like a video-game character, and you have to portion them out very carefully among everything you plan to do in a day or else you’ll use them all up. Today I used up all my spoons. I’m not sure if this is a bad thing or not. Presumably i’m fatigued because my body is busy healing me, or growing tumors, or killing tumors (hopefully the latter) or something. If I use up all my energy in a day does that mean my body will be too tired to do the other important things that it does? Or does it just mean that i’m tired for the rest of the night and that i’ll sleep well tonight?
My physical therapist says exercise has shown to help with fatigue. That sounds counter-intuitive. But I guess i’m getting the blood flowing and reminding my muscles to work. Today, when I told her I was tired, she said “Good!” Then she said that the more I push it, the more i’ll set the bar on my energy level higher, and eventually, the more energy i’ll have. I hope that’s true. I have been resting more than pushing myself the past few months but this week, with my nurse being gone, i’m making an effort to make plans for myself. I’m pushing myself more than resting. With the help of physical therapy, i’m starting to feel a little stronger, a little more confident in my body for the first time all year.
Despite my current fatigue–dare I say it? I feel good.