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Newly diagnosed-night waking

NualaNuala SydneyMember Posts: 6
edited January 2019 in Newly diagnosed
yet again I’m awake at 3am, so thought it was time to check out the online forum.
I was diagnosed with early breast cancer just before Christmas (the day before we were meant to take the kids to europe to visit family).what a whirlwind. I’m so glad I trusted my gut instinct and got myself checked out, a proactive gp got me checked out and into specialists really quickly and I am so grateful for that, not grateful for having to cancel our trip, but health has to take priority!

so here I am almost 4weeks later, I have already had 2 sessions of chemo and am experiencing the nice effects of hair loss. Other than that the side effects haven’t been too bad so far (anti nausea seems to work pretty well), apart from my energy levels being low
i keep waking up at 3am hungry, almost feels like being pregnant again! I even tried a snack before bed, but I am keen to hear other suggestions on getting a decent night’s sleep, if there can be such a thing.


  • ZoffielZoffiel Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 3,197
    Ah, the elusive sleep. It's great that you are coping OK with the chemo; it's never fun but I was the same with AC, life was bearable. Apart from the sleep.
    I honestly have no solutions for you ( or I wouldn't be awake at 4 either) I only work part time and I've come to embrace the early hours on the days I don't have to heave myself up the hill to be nice to people. Particularly in this heat.
    I'll be heading off for a walk in a couple of minutes then will do some housework when I get home. I've already answered my work emails. Mind you, I live on my own and the Hound hates the vacuum cleaner regardless of what time I use it. 
    There is a thread 'night howls' where you can often find the sleepless. Mxx
  • SisterSister Adelaide Hills, SAMember Posts: 4,938
    Welcome @nuala Sleep, or rather the lack of it, is a constant refrain here hence the existence of Night Howls - somewhere you can chat or rant in the early hours (or anytime, really).

    Bugger about the trip but unfortunately this does take priority.  That's great that chemo hasn't had to much impact on you.  The tiredness thing seems to be cumulative and it doesn't help when a solid sleep eludes you.  I'm 13 months from diagnosis now and I'm just starting to sleep the night through.  Not this morning though - combination of heat, hayfever and back to work after Christmas I think!
  • arpiearpie Mid North Coast, NSWMember Posts: 4,897
    Welcome to the forum @Nuala - what a shame your holiday was cancelled - but ... health always comes first.

    Sadly, sleep deprivation is the one thing that most of us endure as a result of BC ..... either from the stress of worrying about it, or from the side effects of surgery & medication.   I try to keep external noise to a minimum, so wear ear plugs and sometimes (on full moon) I even wear an eye mask (as from airlines) to keep that extra light out of the room.   Being too hot or too cold can also affect your sleep (I currently have a small portable aircon/dehumidifier that I use on the hotter nights, which helps - and the ear plugs cut the noise out!) 

    All the best with your ongoing treatment xx  Whack up any questions that you may have & we'll do our best to answer them xx
  • kmakmkmakm MelbourneMember Posts: 7,973
    Hi Nuala. I'm sorry to say that I have barely had a decent night's sleep since my diagnosis just over a year ago. Sometimes when sleep is really eluding me I use the Headspace app which has some handy sleep aids on it.

    My chemo put me into menopause so now it's hot flushes that wake me up 2 - 5 times a night. I've got used to going back to sleep quickly most nights, but unbroken sleep is gone forever now. However, there are people on this site who have achieved it, so don't give up hope!

    Do all the things that the experts say, and they should help. All the best, K xox
  • FlaneuseFlaneuse BrisbaneMember Posts: 886
    @Nuala Yes, as the others have said, sleep disruption will be an ongoing issue.
    While you're on chemo, if you're hungry - eat. Preferably something healthy. In the middle of the night, a spoonful of peanut butter is wonderful!
    All the best. F xx
  • SoozSooz Epping, NSWMember Posts: 19
    Hi @Nuala, I was diagnosed just before Christmas too and have had insomnia since. I sometimes can't get off to sleep and sometimes wake up about 4am and sometimes both. I have a 3 year old so she just started to sleep through and this happened. So I'm non-stop frazzled for years now! I have tried sleep podcasts (podbean has a load of them) and one called sleep well (she recommends the snack before bed to avoid low sugar in the night). I have also tried a breathing technique - breath in for 4, hold for 7 and breath out for 8 and have found that helps a lot. I am having the oncotype done so am waiting to find out if I need chemo. I have been reasonably ok this week since I had a meltdown on Sunday night just from frustration. Good luck with your treatment and hopefully you'll get some improved sleep soon.
  • Jen001Jen001 Member Posts: 31
    Not sure if this helps or applies to you Nuala, or anyone else.  But I found while having chemo treatment, I couldn't sleep and was super (I mean really super) hungry all the time and the only thing I felt satisfied with was basically junk food, which I rarely ate prior to diagnoses.  When I mentioned this to my chemo nurse and oncologist they both said it was probably the steroids given prior to chemo.  Thus I had my steroids reduced to half, and then the following week reduced again.  Wow, this certainly made a huge difference for me for both sleep and hunger.  
  • kezmusckezmusc Member Posts: 1,540
    Hi @Nuala

    Welcome lovely.  The steroids can definitely keep you more awake and hungry. 

     I would say that from day of diagnosis through treament etc it would have been 18 months before I could sleep reasonably. That also depends on the amount of hot flushes and the level of joint pain. Thankfully I can get back to sleep quickly now.  It's a long road back to sleep for a lot of us. 

      What helps you sleep...well, I am good friends with codeine at times :wink:

  • SoldierCrabSoldierCrab Bathurst NSW Member Posts: 3,361

    Below are a couple of links to help you find your way around the forum and also how to find a breast care nurse and how to order a MY journey Kit if you haven't got one yet. 

    It can be a whirlwind when we first get a diagnosed.... Breathe and take it one step at a time. 

    How to post on the main forum – use this link to get to the main forum and begin a new post. https://onlinenetwork.bcna.org.au/post/discussion


    Navigating the online community formerly the what and how thread.


    Breast Care Nurses


    My Journey online tool and other resources. 

    My Journey Online Tool resources


    BCNA Helpline 1800 500 258

    If you have any questions, concerns or require any further information or support please call 1800 500 258. BCNA’s helpline will now be open from 9am-6pm Monday to Thursday and 9am to 5pm Fridays.  


    How to understand your pathology reports


  • NualaNuala SydneyMember Posts: 6
    Thanks for all the tips ladies. Have downloaded the calm app (also recommended by the yoga teacher at the Lifehouse) so this is quite helpful and ear plugs and eye mask have been very useful too. Taking time for afternoon nanna naps is also helping
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