Fatigued – I need more sleep

I have always needed a lot of sleep. Even as an adult, I do better on nine or more hours a night. I’m like a 10 year old that way.

Not only do I need a lot of sleep, I need to sleep at the right time. I’m a picky sleeper. I love my night sleeping is the best. Afternoon naps are second bestie. I love everything about early mornings – the way the light looks, except the barking dog next door. (BUT FOR YOUR OWN SAFETY DON’T TALK TO ME! LET ME DRINK MY COFFEE!!!) Now, I just don’t go to sleep or catnap.

On weekends and summers (we don’t have to get our granddaughter up and ready for school), I stay up until 1:00 to 2:00 a.m. (watching Sex and the City, damn I love that show – hey! Didn’t Samantha have breast cancer? I’ll have to check into those episodes, I’m sure she looked fabulous). The next day, I sleep until a whopping 6:00am. That is 30 minutes longer than most days.

When I took my job as bookkeeper, I didn’t have to be at work at 10:00 a.m. but I still got up at the horrifying hour of 5:00 a.m. (which honestly should be illegal) so I could get some housework done and my granddaughter ready for daycare.

I didn’t work, for 6 months prior to the bookkeeping job. I decided to retire and just take care of the grand-babies. I got up at 5:00 am to do housework, got the G-baby up at 7:00 to feed her breakfast. So, I got in the habit of taking a 30 minute nap everyday with the baby. That’s all I needed, and then I felt fine. I’d lie on the couch and doze off, then get up, make dinner, do a load of laundry, etc. I ran errands, went to the store, and picked out clothes for the next day, and generally did everything necessary to function in life. I didn’t even need a nap every day, just once in a while – a little refresher.

Things have changed. Cancer and the maintenance drugs changes all that for me. Now, all I want to do is sleep. I do get up and go to work because I have to. But, I am exhausted all day. I look at my couch (I work from home) longingly, knowing it would make a fine place for a quick, little nap. I was going to fall asleep. Hard. Realizing I might fall sleep for, oh, the rest of my work day and beyond, I wearily got up again, walk around a little bit, and go back to my desk.

Every day I have to stop and take a little nap. In bed. On the couch. I’m asleep by 1:00pm and usually awake around 3:00pm and I only wake up because my I am having a hot flash. Then I go back to bed at 10:30pm. 10:30pm! Like an infant! Weekends are no different. Then I get up at 1:00am because of a hot flash or foot cramps. I don’t get back to sleep until after 3:00 or 4:00am. I am posting to this blog and I check the breast cancer forums but even that is all I can do. I’m not doing much else online or anywhere else.

I’m an “it is what is is” kind of girl and kind of dumb about worrying about the future. If I end up stage four, that may change, but right now I feel like I’m curable and it’ll all be okay. Unpleasant, but okay.

Once I found out I had cancer, I felt that my extreme tiredness was due to my body fighting off cancer cells. And then after diagnosis, you have to take into play Tamoxifen…it causes insomnia and the hot flashes that have no time line. I am always tired.

A couple of people on the breast cancer forums reported the same thing, but most who complain of tiredness are currently receiving chemo. Most find a lump (either themselves or in a mammogram), get diagnosed and start treatment within a few weeks – some have a smaller, less aggressive forms, most others larger or more aggressive forms of cancer than I had.

Actually, I’m too tired to think about it.

I lay on the couch flipping channels from midnight until about 3:00am. Nothing being on TV should have bored me to sleep. But nothing.

So, there is my proof. A bad Lifetime movie confirmed it. I’m tired because my body is fighting this cancer. It’s not stress and it’s not my imagination.

There’s not a lot about exhaustion before you begin treatment online, but I found this on a website, “In a tumor-induced “hypermetabolic” state, tumor cells compete for nutrients, often at the expense of the normal cells’ growth. In addition to fatigue, weight loss and decreased appetite are common effects.”

I did not have a fast growing, high nuclear grade, aggressive tumor so this makes no sense in my case.

Oh, if you have a “Nothin Bundt Cake” I had the lemon for my afternoon snack that was delicious. My last one, due to my life style change that is about to happen.

Tamoxifen can slow tumor progression and reduce the risk of recurrence. Unfortunately, it may also induce insomnia and sleep-disrupting hot flashes and night sweats… Anxiety and depression can also interfere with sleep as can a lack of or reduction in exercise. Insomnia in turn causes fatigue.

Fatigue is hard to describe. You feel like you don’t have any energy and are tired all the time. But there’s not a specific cause, such as doing errands all day, working out, or other exertion. When you’re tired from exertion, if you get enough sleep that night, you usually feel better the next day. With fatigue, you feel generally tired all the time and lose interest in people and the things you normally like to do.

Fatigue is the most common side effect of breast cancer treatment. Some doctors estimate that 9 out of 10 people experience some fatigue during treatment. Fatigue from treatment can appear suddenly and can be overwhelming. Rest doesn’t ease fatigue and it can last for months after treatment ends.

For those of you who have yet to experience a hot flash, it is a sudden, intense, hot feeling on your face and upper body. Hot flashes can be accompanied by a rapid heartbeat, sweating, nausea, dizziness, anxiety, headache, weakness, or a feeling of suffocation, followed by chills. Hot flashes are caused by a decrease in estrogen. When estrogen levels drop or estrogen receptors are blocked, the body’s temperature control system gets confused and the result is hot flashes.

But, if I get any more tired during my days, I’m going to end up in a coma.

Wake me in the spring.

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