I’m almost too tired to write this. But I’ve had it. So I’m taking a fatigue symptom inventory. Here goes:
For each of the following, select the one appropriate number in the available scale that best indicates how that item applies to you.
- 1. Rate your level of fatigue on the day you felt most fatigued during the past week:
0 = not fatigued at all, 10 = as fatigued as I could be
Easy. A ten.
- 2. Rate your level of fatigue on the day you felt least fatigued during the past week:
- 3. Rate your level of fatigue on the average during the past week:
4. Rate your level of fatigue right now:
An eight. A six.
- 5. Rate how much, in the past week, fatigue interfered with your general level of activity:
0 = no interference, 10 = extreme interference
- 6. Rate how much, in the past week, fatigue interfered with your ability to bathe and dress yourself:
A five. I was clean, but I just wore what I had in the closet, because I was too tired to bring a load of laundry downstairs to put it in the washing machine. Sometimes this can lead to new and successfully creative outfits. Sometimes not. I didn’t much care. I washed undies in the bathroom sink.
- 7. Rate how much, in the past week, fatigue interfered with your normal work activity (includes both work outside the home and housework):
8. Rate how much, in the past week, fatigue interfered with your ability to concentrate:
9. Rate how much, in the past week, fatigue interfered with your relations with other people:
10. …with your enjoyment of life:
11. …with your mood:
OMG, are you kidding me??? You should see my house. Based on my house, number seven would be a 20. I save my juice for the job. I’d give that a five, because when I’m done with my patient visits for the day, most of the time, I have to go home and take a long nap before I can do my documentation. Three hour naps are not uncommon. Yes, I do work three 10-hour days and one 7.5-hour day, so it’s the 10-hour days that get to me. But the plus side is that it means I have three days off every week. Every two days, I have one or two days off. If I had to work five days in a row, I’d be on disability by now. Numbers nine through eleven? Well, I’m an optimist, so I’ll give each of them a five.
- 12. Indicate how many days, in the past week, you felt fatigued for any part of the day:
Are they kidding? Try seven. I feel fatigued every stinking day for part of the day, if not all of the day.
- 13. Rate how much of the day, on average, you felt fatigued in the past week: 0 = none of the day, 10 = the entire day
Well, let’s see. Not counting eight hours a day when even normal people have to sleep, I’d say I needed from no extra hours of sleep to four extra hours of sleep on my days off. It’s hard to assess my days off, because I spend most of the day in bed sometimes, trying to read when I’m awake, but dozing off for an hour here and there. Sometimes, I crawl out of bed to eat, or do some chore, or sit at the computer, but mostly I sleep. When I have two days off in a row, if I’m lucky, I’ll be able to stay up for four hours at a stretch and actually accomplish something, like grocery shopping or washing dishes or writing blog posts. So, we’ll say zero x one day, two hours x three days, four hours x three days, or 1 + (2)3 + (4)3 = 19, and 19/seven days = 2.71 hours on average per day of extra sleep, so we’ll give each hour 20% on the scale, so that means I felt fatigued an average of 60% of each day in the past week, or 6/10.
- 14. Indicate which of the following best describes the daily pattern of your fatigue in the past week: 0 = not at all, 1= worse in morning, 2 = worse in afternoon, 3 = worse in evening, 4 = no consistent pattern
Oh, there’s a pattern all right. I grab sleep every chance I can get. So, I guess that’s a 4.
So now, what to do about it? Every site I checked for information about cancer fatigue said some version of the following:
Fatigue is such a prevalent problem with cancer treatment that most patients come to accept fatigue as just a part of their lives and believe that it can’t be treated. But this is not true. [Emphasis mine.]
It’s not like I haven’t been taking care of myself. It’s not like I don’t eat well or go to work every day or get exercise or have fun or something. I’m not depressed either, although the fact that this fatigue is still not leaving me alone is starting to get really depressing. I’ve seen my primary care doctor, I’ve had my blood checked, I take my medication. I’m tired of working on this. I’m tired.
I’ve decided to go back to see Dr. Mary Ann. She’s a medical oncologist/hematologist, a big-time smartie. I figure I’ve done my job on this whole thing. Time for her to do hers. I need some help here.
Here’s some information, some of it downloadable. Made me tired just reading it.
Please click on the post title or the comment link below to post a response.