PMP Pals’ Question of the Day “When will I feel stronger?”

RS from the US writes, “I had CRS and HIPEC three weeks ago and have been home from the hospital for more than a week. Everything went well during my surgery and my surgeon is pleased and optimistic about my prognosis. I still feel tired from my surgery and am quite fatigued.

When will I feel stronger?”

GG responds “Congratulations on returning home from the hospital!

Generally, after we return home (away from the hustle and bustle of the hospital!) our recuperation gradually improves within the peaceful surroundings of our own home…notice that I said “gradually” as recuperation from major surgery, requires patience, patience, and more patience! Most “Pals” tend to be active, productive people! We are not used to lying around and waiting to feel stronger!

If you have not already advised your surgeon specialist, and your local healthcare provider of your fatigue, please do so today. Aside from the obvious reason of your body needing more time to gradually heal, you may be experiencing post operative malnutrition (fairly common with GI and colorectal cancer patients like us) and/or anemia/iron depletion. Your local physician, perhaps in conjunction with an endocrinologist, can test you for any conditions that may have arisen following surgery. The battery of tests will include checking your blood sugar levels, etc. These tests can generally be performed with minimal stress to you.

Your physician will also want to test you for any changes in your blood pressure, as irregularities may also contribute to your feelings of fatigue.

Are you staying hydrated? Dehydration can also be a factor in feeling excessively tired.

You live in the northern hemisphere and returned from the hospital in late November, during the time period that coincided with shorter days, an adjustment from Daylight Savings Time to Standard Time, and colder weather. It is the natural human condition (not a disorder) for many people to feel less energetic during the colder season with shorter days. This factor may also contribute to your symptom of fatigue.

Recuperation rates vary among patients for a wide variety of reasons, including their age, overall health pre surgery and the caregiving/support they receive at home.

Many post op patients find it helpful to take “cat naps” during the day and to eat six or more small meals throughout the day, to help re build their stamina. Expect gradual and subtle improvements through the next several weeks.

Typically, it takes at least 8-12 weeks, post CRS and HIPEC, for a patient to regain approximately 80% of their pre surgery energy. Your improvement will continue to progress throughout the new year.Tell your physician if your energy level continues to lag. He or she can advise you regarding your personal medical needs.

We are optimistic about your future and will congratulate you on beginning the upcoming new year in better health!”

Articles posted in “PMP Pals” and on are written from the perspective of patients and their family caregivers and are not intended to substitute for licensed professional legal or medical care. Each patient is unique and should seek the counsel of a licensed professional for their own specific case. Copyright © 2011 by Gabriella Graham/PMP Pals’ Network/All rights reserved. Visit us on the web at


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