The Princess and the Fatigue Ogre

September 4, 2018

The Princess has not put pen to paper for a while? Why, I hear you ask?

Well, about 6 weeks ago, the Princess was consumed by big, hairy ogre called Fatigue, that’s why. And he continues to consume the Princess on a daily basis.

The ogre appeared when the Princess started taking the magic beans, Niraparib.  Fatigue is one of its many side effects.


Isn’t fatigue just being very tired, you ask? If only, would be my response. If only more sleep was the antidote to being consumed by the fatigue ogre!

The dictionary definition is “extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness” but it’s so much more that.

If you can think back to your misspent youth, when you would party all weekend, then sleep all Sunday, wake up and still feel so tired, jaded, faded.

It’s like the worst hangover you’ve had (in my case, with the nausea), but without the joy of drinking to get yourself to that point (no alcohol for the Princess at the moment, yuk).

Or if you’ve had proper flu. Not just a bad cold but the type of virus which attacks your muscles, your bones and zaps you of every ounce of energy in your body. That’s fatigue.


Jet lag is probably the closest I can find as an analogy, your body is constantly confused by which time zone it is in so is unable to function at all.

It’s like your mind is willing but your body is weak. You want to get out of bed but your body just won’t move - you just can’t get the two to communicate and collaborate. With fatigue, the body is constantly weak.

I was recently introduced to the Spoon Theory. Imagine you start the day with a certain number of spoons, say 12. Each activity carries a certain number of spoons which will get used up. So a shower and hair wash is 3 spoons, getting dressed 2, having breakfast 1 - suddenly you’ve used up half your spoons before you’ve properly started the day!

That’s what it’s like everyday for me. So I conserve my spoons and use them sparingly. If I know i have a busy day ahead of me, I may not shower for example. Recently I was going out for dinner and knew that it could use up all my spoons - just sitting upright at a table for a couple of hours can be exhausting - so I spent the day in bed in anticipation of that! I constantly have to pace myself and have regular rests in between activities or tasks. Sleeping isn’t always a quick fix, as it’s not tiredness but more exhaustion.

Even little relaxing activities like watching the TV or reading take enormous effort and are more a chore than an enjoyment.

Some normal functioning people have excess spoons, it’s such a shame they can’t donate those to someone who is running out of spoons.


Right, after penning this blog, I’ve used up more spoons than I should have and need to have a lie down. 

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