Sharon, hi. I had stage 1a, all margins were clear, no lymph node involvement, then chemo, then radiation, I am 55, was having a regular period until my first chemo treatment (which I think contributed to my having breast cancer, no family history, etc.). I have tried tamoxifen, then arimadix, I am the classic, if it has side effects, I will have them. I am pretty much disabled with the side effects. I am seriously thinking of not continuing with the follow up treatment, and just keep getting screened. Especially since that 17 year old girl, Britney, developed that app to make the computer 99% effective in diagnosising cancer. Although, I'm sure that big pharma will stop the implementation of this app. Someone, please give me some hope.I had stage 1/2 breast cancer. Nodes clear. ER positive. I had the oncotypeDX test and because the numbers were low (indicating Chemo would not provide a significant benefit) and I had radiation for the usual 6 weeks. My oncologist nearly had a stroke when I told here I did not want to take Arimidex.
That said, it would help if I know the percentage of risk of not taking this med. Cancer does not run in my family. The surgery removed the tumor and had a very clear margin. What would you do if you were me?
#23 Aug 2, 2012
#24 Aug 4, 2012
Kim, I really think it's a myth that pharmas have the power to stop what this girl has done. It's so widely known through the medical industry. The doctors would have a fit -- really, most of them are good people trying very hard to save our lives.
I typically don't have severe side effects from meds, but I had side effects (like panic attacks and terrible insomnia) that weren't even documented at the time (now they are).
I took Femara first; then Arimidex, which had all the side effects of Femara PLUS headaches (in addition to the migraines I was now having three times a week instead of once every two months or so); and on Tamoxifen within days I was very significantly depressed. Within five days of stopping Tamoxifen I was very significantly NOT depressed. Clear cause and effect -- for me.
You may be different. If you haven't tried the AI's, give 'em a shot. Give'em everything you've got, because they really do save lives.
I feel I took a terrible gamble by stopping them, but I also felt I had no choice. I still feel that way. I got lucky is all.
#25 Aug 15, 2012
Hi Sharon -
I'm 53 now - diagnosed almost 2 years ago with stage 2 breast cancer - they found 4 nodes in my left armpit - I had 8 chemo treatments, a double mastectomy where they removed 12 nodes and then 5 1/2 weeks of radiation.
Because I was still getting my period prior to the start of chemo, I was put on tamoxifen 2 mos after radiation. You do need time to recover, but they like to get you on the blockers within 3 months after. I was on tamoxifen for 1 year and once they confirmed I was definitely in menopause, they switched me over to arimidex.
So, I've had both and arimidex is the lesser of the 2 evils, while being more effective. Side effects suck - hot flashes, insomnia, achy joints and just plain bitchiness.
If you can tolerate it (and that's a big "if") I would recommend doing it. You've come this far, if you can give yourself better odds - take it.
My oncologist explained that the blockers were as important as the chemo or radiation, but because it's a pill, we don't take it as seriously.
There are natural supplements and treatments that can help - acupuncture is great for overall health. Calcium, Omega 3s and vitamin C and D are essential. Your doctor should give you a list of what you need and the doses. Try and get 25 minutes of exercise 5 days a week if you can - even if it's just walking.
I am blessed to have dogs that need walking and some mornings it's the only think to get me moving, but once I do - I can start to feel normal and I think that's huge. I was a swimmer and got back into the pool as soon as I was allowed. I now swim over 6 miles a week and thumb my nose at cancer with every lap I swim. It's the little victories.
I take Ambien to sleep and I will hurt anyone who suggests I stop while taking Arimidex. That's my deal with my oncologist. If I can find something else natural that will work, I will switch, but not before.
Do what you need to survive and whatever you can to feel normal. Mental health is the MOST important factor! Do things that make you happy!
#27 Mar 11, 2013
Well, I guess you are all saying to take the arimidex. Since these postings are all old, not sure if anyone will see and respond to mine.
I was diagnosed with stage IIb breast cancer in October of 2010. Had chemo and radiation as well as a double mastectomy. Only tiny amount of cancer cells were found in the sentinel node. Other 4 nodes removed were clear.
NOW, my oncologist suggests I take arimidex. Not sure why, after almost 2 years of being cancer free that I should start on it.
The side effects sound terrible. Of course, I could be lucky...other than neuropathy and baldness, my chemo side effects were not that significant; at least not in my eyes.
I just don't know what to do.
Any advice would be appreciated.
Since: Feb 10
#28 Mar 12, 2013
Donna, try it. You don't have to sign a contract to take it forever if you don't do well on it. You could ask your doctor "why now," but I believe it's based on recent discoveries in research regarding who is likely to benefit from it.
I really wish I could have tolerated it. I see no good reason to skip one of the weapons available against this disease. If you can't tolerate it, you can make a choice then to stop it. But at least give it a try.
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