The F Word

No, the one you’re thinking of is not the F word I’m referring to here. Although, they are somewhat synonymous in my world. As in, “F*** my fatigue.” I try not to cuss my symptoms, after all, there’s little I can do about them. However, after days, or weeks, of the same nonsense every day I get fed up and have to let the anger out somehow. I can’t very well take out my frustration with my body on those around me so when I get to that point I cuss… a lot. Mind you, not at anyone directly but, my normal profanity level does rise. But, I digress. Cussing is not what this is about. It’s about my dreaded F word: Fatigue.

Per Wikipedia, fatigue is defined as a subjective feeling of tiredness that is distinct from weakness. I am specifically referring to chronic fatigue, which is defined as fatigue persisting for at least six consecutive months. Chronic fatigue may be either persistent or relapsing. Crohn’s, PSC, and Celiac have all reported chronic fatigue as a symptom. The pathophysiology of cancer-related fatigue is poorly understood but, it has been acknowledged. It may be caused by the cancer or the effects it has on the body, by the body’s response to the cancer, or by the cancer treatments. I sincerely hope that cancer has not returned to my body so I won’t be addressing that aspect right now.

In my case, I’m being hit from three angles. To escape my fatigue has proven nigh impossible time and again. The most that I can do to combat it is absorb a lot of caffeine and rest.

Now, I know that caffeine is not the answer. It’s not healthy, especially in sodas. I don’t drink coffee, so my morning Mt. Dew is what helps me get my family out the door. I drink another at lunch to get my afternoon chores done and one at dinner to get me through the evening activities. It doesn’t always help as much as I’d like and I have to force myself to just push through whatever may be going on. Not exactly fun but, after so many years you have to try to adapt.

When the times arise that nothing helps, not even caffeine, I have to succumb to resting. This may not sound that bad to most but when it involves lying down off and on all day, it becomes problematic. Let me paint you a picture.

You’re lying in bed. You can’t read because that makes you more tired than you already are. You can’t work on anything because you don’t have the energy to get up or a clear enough mind to run two thoughts together. So you watch TV or a movie. Or maybe listen to music and play a game on some device but nothing that requires too much cognitive thought. An hour in, two if you’re lucky, you’re eyes are burning so you give in and sleep. 45 minutes later, you awake groggy wanting to go back to sleep but you compel yourself up to go accomplish something. You make it 20 minutes, if that, with your chosen task and you’re back lying down. Then, the process repeats.

These are how I spend those times that nothing helps. What’s the problem with that you ask?

For starters, lying down that much makes my already aching joints hurt that much worse. Next is when this scenario plays out for days on end, it makes me start to feel worthless. I start disappearing into dark recesses of my mind that I prefer to stay away from. Lastly, I start being accused of being lazy by people that don’t fully understand what I’m dealing with. Quite frankly, only other sufferers can really appreciate what I’m going through. It’s not their fault, mind you. Those people just don’t live with what I go through and therefore can’t possibly know, only assume.  Of course, this last issue only adds to the previous problem of worthlessness.

Lying around is not something I choose to do but something that my body forces on me. I would love to have the energy I had before my C’s started wreaking havoc on my body. Unfortunately, wishing will not make it reality. The only thing I do have control over regarding this matter is education. I hope that my cogitation educates non-sufferers on chronic fatigue so that they won’t continue to misunderstand us who have to endure.


**Listening to Michael Bublé**

8 Responses to “The F Word”
  1. A Table in the Sun says:

    It is truly hard for others to understand. I used to be a ball of fire from sunup to sundown. It is my adult children who have the hardest time accepting that I can’t do what I used to do. Funny…all of my oldest daughters strange health maladies are “real”, but for some reason, she believes all of mine are “not real”, even though I made it through 50 years without any health problems and she only made it to her 20’s.

    • asizCreatives says:

      I wouldn’t go so far as to say I was a ball of fire but, I did have my energizer bunny moments. 😉 I am sorry that you have to deal with acceptance issues too. It really is tough when our bodies force us to submit to its whims and no one seems to understand. I hope that your daughter will one day. I also hope that this message finds you doing well.

  2. Chris says:

    I would submit there is another factor at play here. You may or may not have considered this, but it was omitted from the post: extended duration of inactivity may be teaching your body to have less energy. Granted, a few days of being wiped out certainly won’t do much to change your physiological levels of energy or metabolism. But, I wonder if truly extended weeks or even months of not leaving your home is, in essence, ‘teaching’ your body that it requires less levels of energy or reserves.

    I’m no medial doctor, and you could potentially Google just about anything to prove a varying point of view. But, studies consistently have shown that people who exercise on a regular basis have more energy (or, perhaps more to the point: more energy reserves)… Mayo clinic link to benefits of exercise: . Would the converse have some bearing? Chronic fatigue, taking your notion of six months or longer, may have a seriously, and significantly, adverse effect on the energy reserves a person’s body has ‘learned’ through the prolonged levels of inactivity.

    This, obviously, would be an effect of the fatigue’s cause, which then in-turn creates more fatigue due to lower levels of energy reserves. It would seem that the problem of chronic fatigue would then develop into a real, physiological downward spiral that would require significant time and effort to counter-act. I would guess that building reserve levels of the body would require a great deal more time than the downward, fatigue time-frames due to the body’s natural tendency to atrophy (like all living organisms and cells).

    And you’re right, chemicals (even caffeine) are certainly not the answer. But I would pose the question to a medical doctor and ask what, if any, natural exercise could counter-act the negative effects. That sounds like all those Flab-Master commercials (“consult with your physician before starting any exercise regime…”), but a medical doctor would know if the above has any true bearing, and could legitimately suggest natural ways to increase energy that also fit to your medical history and current physical state.

    • asizCreatives says:

      I agree that extended duration of inactivity could teach your body that it requires less levels of energy. I believe that this is more psychological than physical, however. I have been able to will myself to overcome bouts of fatigue before. It is not easy, however, and prolonged fatigue can make that will increasingly difficult.
      I absolutely agree that exercise can help combat fatigue. There are other factors at play here, however. Joint pain, stomach pain, vitamin deficiency, nausea, and access to restrooms, to name a few, can make an exercise regime difficult.I am not arguing for my limitations here so much as I am acknowledging my, and other sufferers reality.
      Seeking medical advise is definitely a wise decision. I think a specialist would be more helpful but, a family practitioner could be effective as well I suppose.
      I’ve also heard of sufferers taking supplements such as malic acid, B-12, ginseng, folic acid, magnesium, fish oil, and countless others to improve their fatigue but, there isn’t sufficient evidence that it helps. Unfortunately, like most treatments, everyone’s body is different and reacts accordingly.
      Since my primary focus was to provide awareness that we sufferers are not just simply lazy, it gave me the opportunity to address solutions as well. Thank you for your comment, dear.

  3. Ally Van Way says:

    So sorry to hear of another sufferer of the dreaded “F” word. I really appreciated reading your post, it was very informative yet still poignant. I may just print this out and pass it around to family and friends. Most importantly- keep on keeping on! We may rock, but we’re not made of stone. 🙂

    • I’m sorry that you’re a fellow sufferer. But, thank you for the kind words.
      If you do pass it around, I hope it helps. (Just remember where ya got it from and come back and visit!)
      I will definitely try altho, I’m sure you now how tough that can be!
      “We may rock, but we’re not made of stone.” I love that. Very nicely put! Hope to hear from you again soon.

  4. Diane C says:

    I had a bout of Candida that lasted 4 years until I was diagnosed by a naturopath. I was put on a special diet that cleared it up after a couple of years during which I had to strictly watch what I ate. That meant about 5 1/2 years of chronic fatigue. I remember having to stop halfway up a flight of stairs not because I was out of breath but because I was so exhausted I just couldn’t take another step. I was so tired that I couldn’t even think about getting up and doing dishes. My ex husband (ex for a reason!) never believed me and called me lazy all the time. Not a very nice guy as it turned out. I really feel for you – there is not much worse that having physical afflictions and then having people either not believe you or blame you as if you chose to be that way.

    • To be honest, I had to look up what Candida was because I had never heard of it. Diane, that’s awful.I am so sorry that you had to endure 5 51/2 years of that.The list of symptoms reminds me a lot of the laundry list Celiac has.
      I’m also sorry that your ex was one of “them”. But I suppose the bright side would be that you got rid of someone that was unworthy of you. It’s a shame that it took something so serious and miserable to realize it though.
      Again, I’m sorry that you had to experience it too but as they say “what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger” and it also helps us to be more sympathetic, as well as, understanding for others. Thank you for caring.

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