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Frequently Asked Questions

 


What can be done to relieve the fatigue I am still experiencing since my cancer therapy has been completed? Will any dietary supplements help me?

Thank you for writing and asking your question. The reasons why cancer patients experience fatigue, even during the recovery phase, are multi-factorial and are still being identified. I do not know if just adding any dietary supplements would "do the trick" all by itself.

For 3 years during the 10 years between my 2 breast cancers I experienced overwhelming and debilitating fatigue. No physical reason could be found and I wasn't depressed. I just lived with it and eventually the fatigue slowly lifted.

However, interestingly, although I experienced the same level of fatigue during both sessions of chemo (1984 and 1995), my recovery after the second chemo in 1995 was much more rapid and complete. I do not really know why that is so, nor can my doctors venture a guess. My best guess though is that my sustained level of high energy is due to my holistic approach to recovery this time - physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. Yes, I do take a few supplements as I describe in my book, but I really doubt that my boundless energy is due to them alone.

If I had to pick a few things that I think have made the most difference in energizing me (i.e., reducing my fatigue), they would be the following, and in this order:

1) changing my diet
2) regular exercising
3) "connections and service" - by that I mean my involvement with and commitment to helping others, in other words, serving others in need and not dwelling (too much) on my own problems
4) stress reduction strategies like meditation, yoga, Qi Gong, prayer, and
5) making an effort to keep all of this in balance with lots of fun in my life, too.

Please be sure to discuss your fatigue with your oncologist so that any potentially treatable physical reasons for your fatigue may be identified and treated appropriately. In addition, please ask to speak to the registered dietitian at your cancer center. She will help you with many of these strategies that I have suggested and may also be able to advise you on the careful addition of appropriate supplements to your diet.

Four websites to visit for additional information on cancer fatigue include:

Cleveland Clinic Health System
iBreast
Oncology News
Oncology Nursing Society

A wonderful and helpful audio cassette on imagery to combat cancer fatigue by Belleruth Naparstek is available to order at her web site, HealthJourneys.com

My very best wishes to you as you travel your cancer recovery journey. I commend you for pursuing your recovery with the spirit of "active hope"

faq posted 7/01, updated 9/03, 1/04

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Nutritional Concerns during Cancer Recovery

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Gastric Cancer Do you have diet suggestions for someone who has diarrhea after
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Gastric Cancer Is there any diet to alleviate lymphedema resulting from cancer surgery? posted 8/04
Gastric Cancer How "strict" do I need to be with my diet? posted 5/05
Gastric Cancer What tips do you have to stay on a healthy diet during the holiday season? posted 11/06

 



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These questions and answers are intended to be of a general informative nature. Please consult with the Registered Dietitian in your cancer center or your health care provider for nutritional advice that can be individualized to your specific medical condition.

Contact Information:
Phone/Fax: 734/996-9260

P.O. Box 130221, Ann Arbor, MI  48113

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