What Not To Do If You’re A Cancer Survivor With Fatigue

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Introduction

I’ve worked with so many exasperated cancer survivors who’ve essentially given up hope of having energy after cancer. They feel they’re destined for a life of chronic fatigue, of being less than they were before.

They’ve given up hope because everything they’ve tried hasn’t worked - they’re still tired, weak - and they’re convinced that nothing else will.

So let me extend an olive branch here, a gesture to encourage inner cancer survivor peace, and list a few things that don’t help you.

They don’t help you succeed, they motivate you for the wrong reasons, and they lead to disappointment - not the joy and vitality after cancer you want and deserve.

It’s a different place to start, maybe a more negative place, but I want to give you reassurance that if you recognize yourself in this list, or tried some of these tactics and your energy jar is empty…well that’s just fine.

Take heart, because it wasn’t going to work in the first place.

Go it alone.

Cancer survivors with emotional support can do anything. They can beat cancer. They can do what they need to do to recover from treatment and regain their strength and vitality. And they can do what’s necessary to keep their cancer from coming back.

Cancer survivors who try to get through it alone struggle. They struggle really hard.

Not everyone has the pleasure of having a strong support community. I realize this. But if you do, you need to ask them for help.

I know you asked everyone for help during diagnosis and treatment and you don’t want to bother them anymore, but right now is a pivotal moment.

Because when the healing starts the cancer prevention lifestyle also needs to start. And to do that well, you need to gather your people.

Make changes that don’t fit your life.

Using cancer as a jumping off point to get healthy is totally awesome. But making changes that aren’t practical for you when you need to restore calm and routine in your life doesn’t make much sense, particularly during this tumultuous time.

Making extreme changes, even toward the noble goal of getting and staying healthy, doesn’t serve the purpose of creating real, healthy habits and long term, positive change.

Renewing commitment to healthy habits you already have and looking for easy ways to get healthy, one day at at time, makes more sense right now.

Because you want to do this right, and that takes thought and time. Don’t rush it, do what you already enjoy but do it even better.

Make it work for your life.

Have the wrong expectations.

Ok, so you’ve just been through a lot.

Cancer treatment is no joke. It can deplete your energy stores and muscle mass, compromise your nutrition, and decondition and change your body in ways you couldn’t have imagined a few months ago.

Remember - this isn’t like recovering from a little viral cold. Expecting to bounce back immediately is not realistic. But knowing this is half the battle.

Set your expectations where they belong - average progress is great, conservative may be even better. Go easy on yourself. You’ll get there, but it might take more time and effort that you’re prepared for.

Baby steps, my friend.

Do stuff that lacks evidence.

I know your friends and family have lots of advice. I know you’ve read a lot of theories on fighting cancer and staying well.

It’s great you’re investing time and are willing to invest money in whatever it takes to find the energy and vitality you want.

But please make sure there’s medical evidence to justify your investments.

I wrote a whole blog post about this issue (you can read it here) so I won’t get nuts and elaborate too much here.

But remember, if an intervention lacks evidence, it probably won’t work.

Don’t spend your precious time and money on a wish and a hope. There are plenty of evidence based techniques that are actually darn cheap.

Ask your doctor what to do. Stay in touch with us here at Brio. Engage with people who believe in evidence and programs based on that evidence and you’ll get the results you want, even if it does take a little more time and work.

Don’t do anything at all.

You’ve got to make an effort if you want to find energy after cancer. You’ve got to restore what those treatments took away from you, and it just takes a little doin’.

Everyone says, “I want my old energy back.”

But you have to go out and get it.

If you rest and wait, you’ll feel worse. Your muscles will shrink, you’ll be isolated, you’re mind will stay foggy, you won’t restore yourself through good nutrition, exercise, and mindfulness, and your mindset and health will suffer.

It’s not always clear where to get it, so shout what you need from the mountain tops.

Feel guilt or shame.

Many cancer survivors tell me their family and friends just want them to “get over it and get on with their lives.”

No. I’m not kidding.

They want the survivor to just “get over” cancer.

Uh, hello!

It’s as if these people are inconvenienced by the survivor’s need to recover, to adopt healthy new habits, to see their lives and the world differently now.

And the survivor ends up feeling ashamed and guilty they’re asking their loved ones to understand their new perspective.

If you’re being made to feel guilty and ashamed, I’m telling you right now: they are wrong and you are right.

Your fatigue is not going to get better under those circumstances. It’s going to get worse.

So take what you need.

And you’re awesome.

Play the victim.

So this is a touchy subject, but it must be mentioned.

Cancer survivors who feel victimized by cancer often also feel they shouldn’t have to do what’s necessary to fix their fatigue.

And they suffer because of it.

Sometimes they’re offended when they’re advised to work hard or invest in their health because they didn’t ASK for this, it HAPPENED to them, and they feel the world should give them a get-out-of-fatigue-free pass.

Well, I live in a world where cancer is a normal part of aging.

You’re not a victim. You’re a person who had an illness and you’ve proven, simply by having the illness, that you’re at risk of that cancer coming back or worse, developing a second primary malignancy.

You’ve got the most at stake here.

Don’t play the victim and disadvantage yourself. You’re worth more than that.

Don’t have a plan.

Ok. So getting rid of fatigue is not something to take a stab at.

It requires creating and implementing a cancer survivor wellness plan that’s backed by evidence. It requires a plan you can commit to and implementing that plan with knowledgeable support that will get you to the finish line.

Stop guessing. Stop winging it.

No more improvisation.

It’s time to hop onto my FREE Online Workshop - A Survivor Fatigue Solution in 3 Steps (and a secret!): How to find boundless vitality after cancer and make your “new normal” a new lifestyle - without feeling alone, overwhelmed, or confused!

I can’t wait to see you there.

Take care, Survivor!

XOXO,

Susan