It would. I’m just saying.
Every time I think I’ve hit Fatigue Level: Ultimate™, my body surprises me. And the fatigue gets worse.
Fatigue is hard to describe and even harder for those who don’t experience it to understand.
I remember when I was a non-runner, pretending to be a runner and training for 5Ks. I’d jog for 20 minutes without walking, bend over with my hands on my knees, and huff and puff for a few seconds and think that was fatigue.
But after a minute or two I’d catch my breath and be pretty much recovered. I could climb in my Corolla and drive myself home from the park. I could make dinner, do some laundry, write a blog post or two, go to bed, and then get up, shower, and work an eight-hour day. Repeat three or four times a week.
Not now, baby.
Right now, fatigue for me is:
- Praying I can make it to the bed without fainting after a shower
- Being unable to even ask Dan to grab my laptop for me, talking is too much work
- Sleeping 12 hours at night and needing a nap midday
- Getting winded walking from the living room to the bathroom
- Having to sit on my rollator while waiting on the electric kettle
You know, it’s funny (in a non-humorous kind of way). I remember how excited I was to be able to stand the entire time I brushed my teeth in February. I was in the hospital awaiting tests and, ultimately, brain surgery. The doctors had just given me something like 10 mg of dexamethasone, and I felt invincible.
“I feel amazing,” I told the doc who would later slice my head open. “My sinuses are even clear.” I inhaled really deeply. “I didn’t need help with my shower. I DIDN’T HAVE TO LEAN ON THE COUNTER WHILE I BRUSHED MY TEETH THIS MORNING.”
He laughed at me, but not cruelly.
Well, now I’m back to leaning on the bathroom counter while I brush my teeth. I can’t stand upright for even two minutes. I’m frankly a little scared that I’m going to revert to pre-surgery disability and spend the rest of my life there.
But it doesn’t really help to worry about that yet, I know.
There are lots of things contributing to my fatigue. First of all, I’m fat. At 238 pounds, I am asking more of my muscles than I ever have in my life. I put on about 60 of those pounds in about 6 months. So I didn’t build up any gradual strength to support my own weight, like I might have if it’d taken me a year or two.
To reduce my weight, I’m weaning off the dexamethasone, but that leaves me extremely tired and achy. My weight is dropping, but oh so slowly. It’s so unfair. I’m trying to lose the pounds without the ability to exercise. How is that going to result in anything but failure?
And then there’s chemotherapy. Fucking chemo.
Last night I got my lab results from this week’s blood work. There’s nothing too scary in the numbers, but I continue to see a decline in all things red blood cell related. Basically, the shit’s making me anemic, on top of my already significant list of woes.
Anemia and fatigue go together like macaroni and cheese.
And I have at least 8 more rounds to go.