I was diagnosed with a rare form of colon cancer in May of 2012. After multiple surgeries, twenty eight radiation treatments, and a round of chemotherapy I felt exhausted. With another six months of chemotherapy beginning in one week, I want to keep my energy up as much as possible and be able to continue enjoying life.
Many people who have faced a cancer diagnosis and undergone traditional treatments know that taking herbal supplements is a big no-no. Herbs can apparently interfere with the treatments. That means that I have to get creative if I want to feel as good as possible.
I think that exercise is the best tool that we have to fight fatigue naturally. It’s tough to force yourself to go on a walk or run a mile when you feel like you could throw up at any moment. I started small; taking my dog Edi for walks, gardening, and then working my way up to jogging a mile each morning. After about a week of doing this, I started to feel stronger and happier. It not only helps with fatigue but exercise helps with depression. Doing something good for my body makes me feel like I have a fighting chance of beating this.
I won’t lie. Drinking wheatgrass juice, in my opinion, tastes like face planting in the dirt when you’re a kid and just learning how to do a cartwheel. However, it’s also like a shot of energy in the morning. Natural energy that isn’t damaging to the body. Wheatgrass is also extremely good for you and is equivalent to eating about 25 servings of fruits and veggies. I juice my own wheatgrass twice a day. It’s also available at most health food stores in the frozen section. Make sure it has been flash frozen though, because you want wheatgrass that hasn’t lost it’s nutritional properties. The chlorophyll in wheatgrass is what is thought to help fight chronic fatigue.
What To Avoid
There are foods and herbs that should generally be avoided by cancer patients. There are also foods that I avoid to help fight chronic fatigue. In general, I don’t consume sugar, alcohol, shellfish, fried food, or refined foods such as white bread and pasta. This was very difficult and I learned that people with chronic fatigue often crave these foods. It does take a lifestyle change to avoid these foods. It does get easier, but it takes time to become accustomed to. After getting all of the ‘junk’ out of body, my energy began to increase even while I was going through cancer treatments.
I’ve found that drinking water as soon as I wake up, instead of coffee helps to jump start my body. Of course, an adequate amount of water each day is vital to good hydration, but with cancer patients it’s crucial to rid the body of toxins faster. As a cancer patient, I’m exposed to everyday toxins but also essentially being posioned by chemotherapy. Drinking eight glasses of water a day is a must and helps with fatigue.
Many people don’t realize that fatigue can be assoicated with constipation. That waste must be removed from the body or it can make you feel tired, groggy, and irritable. Eating fiber is of course one of the best ways to ensure regularity. For colon cancer patients, fiber can be a problem if you’ve just had ostomy surgery. Chemotherapy and radiation can also cause other symptoms like stomach pain and diaherra. I only use fiber replacement and eat fiber rich foods when it benefits my body.
Fighting fatigue can be tough without the use of medicine or herbs but it can be done.