“It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life, that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Angie, a MM caregiver I met in Little Rock, asked me to write about caregiver fatigue. Instead, I’m going to write about the value of particular vitamins that are fairly accepted in the medical field as being helpful in dealing with stress, anxiety and even depression. All of which contribute to our feeling of fatigue.
If we can help to resolve these issues, the fatigue should be less debilitating. Fatigue is not the same as being tired. Tired can resolve with sleep. Fatigue is altogether different and it effects everything, including your health.
As caregivers, you know how important it is that you stay healthy in every way, in order to effectively assist your loved one’s cancer treatment and all things associated with that. You have no time to be weary or sick, but you must take the time to make sure that you are in good shape, everyday, to be there and handle whatever comes. It really is vital.
“Fatigue is a daily lack of energy; an unusual or excessive whole-body tiredness, not relieved by sleep.” – Chemocare.com
Vitamin B has long been known as the “Stress Vitamin”. Anxiety, stress, depression, recurring thoughts, all impact our sleep and deplete our vitamin B in our bodies and we need to step it up and replace them consistently. And like my remarks about Cancer Related Fatigue, which comes first, the depression or fatigue, the fatigue or depression? Each will contribute to the other. Like two dogs running in a an open field, they will keep running and running because the other one is. Not everyone who is fatigued is depressed, but I would venture to guess that everyone who is depressed is also fatigued. It can be quite frustrating to manage, especially when you are tired and overwhelmed. (For me, I honestly didn’t realize just how fatigued I was until we would get home. I could sleep and sleep for days and didn’t feel like doing ANYTHING for most of the time we were home until we packed again to go back!)
Many of us have never been thrust into a caregiving situation quite like this before. It is exhausting; physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally. Often there is real fear associated with a cancer diagnosis and Multiple Myeloma treatment involving stem cell transplant. So I will share some things with you here that you might like to try. It generally takes a couple of weeks for all this stuff to begin to kick in and make a noticeable difference for you. It can be less time, but it isn’t like taking a typical drug where you get an instant euphoric or calming experience.
Because of our age when this happened, I was also dealing with menopause while he was dealing with MM. This was helpful for that as well.
The B-Vitamins are commonly associated with:
- cardiovascular system
- skin, hair and nails
- immune system
So here is the remedy in the B’s and then I will add some other options or additional supplements.
1. Take a GOOD multi-vitamin. (We take a fab one by Nutri-West called Core Level Health Reserve (search for them))
2. Take B-Complex in the morning only (for energy)
3. Take B1-100, 2 tabs, 3x a day and always, before bedtime (this helps to “turn off” recurring thoughts)
Other GREAT supplements you can add to the above or try alone:
“Whatever the mechanism, there is little question that SAMe can help fight depression. Since the 1970s, researchers have published 40 clinical studies involving roughly 1,400 patients. And though the studies are small by FDA standards, the findings are remarkably consistent. In 1994 Dr. Giorgio Bressa, a psychiatrist at the University Cattolica Sacro Cuore in Rome, pooled results from a dozen controlled trials and found that “the efficacy of SAMe in treating depressive syndromes… is superior [to] that of placebo and comparable to that of standard…” antidepressants.”
You can get SAM-e at GNC, drug stores, or online.
(I started my sister out with the 400 mg and we cut them in half for dosing to start. She swears by them and has been able to cut back her Xnax from 3x a day to only 1x a day. She has recently told me, after using this in conjunction with the Vit B regimen above, she is happier than she has been in her whole life. She is a recovering alcoholic and has struggled ever since I can remember.)
Courage isn’t the absence of fear; it’s the dealing with it.
This is the one I use. I love it. I put a few drops in my juice midmorning, in conjunction with my multi. It is similar to the SAM-e.
You can get this online with some searching OR you can get it directly from my friend who is a supplier, practices ayurvedic medicine and counsels others to improve their health. I have mentioned Gail before. She is an incredibly accomplished person who lives one of the most disciplined lives of health and spirituality I have ever met. I have known her over 30 years. If you are in the NE Pennsylvania area, I encourage you to put her on retainer and I will be incredibly jealous!
Gail Weinberger (email@example.com, 570-587-5144)
I asked Gail for some foods to help you boost your Vitamin B and she gave me the following that she felt was important to include in your diet. Getting our nutrients from food is always best (I think).
B Vitamins- green peas, mushrooms, green leafy veggies, spinach, kale, nuts
Vitamin E- green peas, parsely, kale, wheat germ, celery, asparagus, avocado
Finally since I’m talking about supplements. This one is unrelated to the Vitamin B’s but something to consider for our patients with MM. Gail can also get this for you and it is also made by Premier Research Labs and comes in a tincture form. I haven’t started Dave on it yet, but I plan to (omitting Velcade infusion days as previously stated in my other postings).
This live-source, nanized concentrate provides advanced support for the blood, lymphatic and immune systems.* Immunocidin™ also supports optimal function of the joints and ligaments, as well as flexibility while promoting efficient lymphatic drainage.
- Advanced support for lymphatic, immune and blood purification*
- Promotes optimal joint, ligament and flexibility support*
- Promotes healthy inflammatory balance and pain relief, especially back pain*
- Naturally contains oleanan-type triterpenes and three new cincholic acid glycosides
I hope that you will give this a try if you are finding yourself struggling to keep up your energy, your patience, your hope. The pressure on a Caregiver to “stay well” during the treatment process of an MM patient is truly challenging (the fact that we know we can’t get sick just adds to the pressure!). Its a bit of a mutual admiration society as caregivers, we can simply look at one another and know, it is a tough job. But we love our MMers dearly and we want to do everything we can to give them every opportunity to make it through – whole. Forgetting to make sure we get through it whole is a common problem, and not unique to Myeloma. So do take some small steps to keep yourself strong, physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally. I know how much our MM patients appreciate us. Just remember that when your major treatment is over, your caregiver’s healing is sometimes just beginning. They have been in overdrive for a long while. Its a bit like falling over a moving finish line of marathon proportion!