marysun Member Posts: 39 Member
edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1
Hello all. I am back from a week of dr visits, although this time they are just follow-ups. The dr at the breast clinic says "see you next year for mammogram". The Onc however, has had a hissy fit over my decision to not take the tamoxifin or the femara. "Arimidex! Arimidex!" he shouts, waving his prescription pad at me. "Think Positive! Think No Side Effects! Just try it for One Month!" He is a very expressive dr. He is also a new dr for me, as my previous Onc has left the practice and I have been 'reassigned.' So, with a coupon for a free month of cancer deterrent, I did go down to the pharmacy and found that my insurance will accept $20 copay for this very expensive medicine. Darn. Another excuse gone.

So, my friends, I am asking any of you to please share your experience with this drug. I surely don't want cancer again, but I also surely can't live with the weight gain and constant hot flashes of tamoxifin or the creeping about with the joint and muscle pain of the femara. What's a poor survivor to do? One thing I will do -- buy that bottle of champagne to celebrate 2 yrs surviving, 1 yr 3 mos out of treatment, and loads of love at every turn. ~<:-}


  • SusanAnne
    SusanAnne Member Posts: 245
    Hi marysun. I have been on Arimidex for about a month now. I have less joint pain now than I had while on Tamoxifen. I do take gulcosamine and chondroitin which seems to lessen the effects. I would much rather live with this minor side effect than have to kick myself if a recurrance appears and I didn't do everything in my power to prevent it. It is my piece of mind. Congrats on the 2 yr. mark!
  • seeknpeace
    seeknpeace Member Posts: 259
    Congrats on your two year mark and your 1 plus on finishing treatment. I am assuming that you have already done some of the treatments that have maybe produced these side affects? Or did you do Chemo and now they want to do the other?

    I am lucky in one way and not in another. I did not have to make the tamoxifin, etc, decision, but, I also have estrogen/progest negative cancer. So, I do not have that tool to keep from having a recurrance. I think that I would take it if I did and had a reason as well. My cancer was very aggressive but, it was noninvasive. The noninvasive part would dictate no further treatment, but, the aggressive kind that I had would have dictated the tamoxofin, etc, meds.

    I think that I would take them, I think. I am not sure though. I do not do well with side affects, I get really anxious and it pushes me to the brink.

    Good luck with your has to be hard.

  • bettygee
    bettygee Member Posts: 40
    Hi, Marysun-Congratulations on your 2 year survival! I have been on Armidex since January this year. I had a recurrence in a lymph node while on Tamoxiphen and the doctor switched me to Armidex. I have had no unpleasant side effects and my tumor has shrank! So needless to say, I have only good things to say about Armidex. Whatever your decision, I wish you all the best and hope you are one of the many who find a cure.
  • DiO
    DiO Member Posts: 51
    Hi! I have been on Arimidex since July 1 this year. I did not take Tamoxiphen first as I am post menopausal. So far no side effects I can attribute directly to the Arimidex. I have a few hot flashes, but not at all severe and I had them about the same since menopause. A few aches and pains here and there, but very minor and probably no more than the usual for my age (56). I would certainly give it a try if your doc thinks it's the way to go, and you can always stop anytime should you be one of the unlucky ones to develop bad side effects. Good luck either way! Di
  • sandyk
    sandyk Member Posts: 7
    Marysun, I've been on Arimidex for 6 mos. Prior to that 6 mos Tamoxifin. Hands up on Arimidex in comparison. Still have some hot flashes but think it's due to post chemo menopause. They decreased considerably after 1st month and tend to occur only at night. I sleep by the window! I do have joint discomfort but not actual pain - stiffness. I too take Glucosamine and it helps a lot. I've lost 10 lbs which I don't know if it's due to summer time or meds. I again think that weight gain may happen when we are thrown into menapause from chemo. The side effect that isn't obvious is bone loss. Keep physically active, get plenty of calcium and follow up on bone density w/your doctor. So far ok. I appreciate your apprehension and wanting to have quality to your life however if you have a good doc and have comfidence it's worth considering. Here's a toast to you!
  • krisrey
    krisrey Member Posts: 194
    Hi Marysun,
    I have been on tamoxifen for just over 10 months. I do remember my oncologist talking about switching me only because she thought maybe I would have a better chance without reoccurance with the newer drug. But I can tell you this, I have had no joint pain and my "warm flashes" have deminished to practically nothing. I am 42 years old so I was pre-menopausal. I think I am considered post memopausal now because I have been without a period since chemo last July. As far as weight gain, yes I have gained some but it was weight that was well needed because I was so sick from the chemo. I think I am pretty much back to were I started weight wise before this nightmare all began. The one thing I have learned is that exercise if VERY important and the other is that we all are effected differently with the meds. So while others say they have gained 20 pounds others of us have not.
    I was very rebellous in taking the tamoxifen because of the weight gain. I am a personal trainer and work out a great deal and was scared to death of the weight gain. I called the American Cancer Society and spoke with the research department and asked them what the weight was, was it water weight, was it from eating to much, was it from lack of exercise because of joint pain...what what...They told me that recent studies showed that women on tamoxifen gained no more weight than women not taking it. So I think it all depends on how active a person is and how their body handles the meds. I know I may sound a bit petty about the weight gain, after all I should be just glad I am alive,..AND I AM!! but I also wanted to lead the kind of life that I am use to living.
    I think the key is maintaining an exercise program know matter what level of fitness you are and eating a nutrious diet.
    I am planning on working with women in our situation in recovery to get them physically back to where they were or helping them to build up strength while undergoing treatments and helping them feel better by staying active during and after recovery.
  • marysun
    marysun Member Posts: 39 Member
    SusanAnne said:

    Hi marysun. I have been on Arimidex for about a month now. I have less joint pain now than I had while on Tamoxifen. I do take gulcosamine and chondroitin which seems to lessen the effects. I would much rather live with this minor side effect than have to kick myself if a recurrance appears and I didn't do everything in my power to prevent it. It is my piece of mind. Congrats on the 2 yr. mark!

    Thank you all so much for your responses. I am game for a month, and since I have already had 1 1/2 yrs of the anti-cancer meds, technically I only have 3 1/2 yrs to go. Dr says the 2 yr mark without recurrance is significant -- the next milestone is 4 yrs. Here I go . . . .
  • tlmac
    tlmac Member Posts: 272 Member
    Hi marysun, I finished my chemo in May of 2003 and started taking Arimidex immediately. It has never upset my stomach and I have only had 1 hot flash in over a year. I do suffer osteoporosis and am stiff after riding in a car for any distance or upon getting out of bed in the morning. My mother's side of the family all suffered from osteoporosis and non took Arimidex. I'm certain it doesn't help my situation but I'm not convinced it caused it. Other than stiffness, I have no complaints. I've always considered myself one of the lucky ones whose cancer was significantly ER+. This allows me to take a drug that has proven it's ability to protect against recurrance in study after study. I take Bextra for the stiffness and Fosamax for the osteoporosis. Several of my middle aged friends take the same drugs and have never had breast cancer. You must certainly decide what's best for you but I'm glad to hear you'll give Arimidex a try. Going without it, for me, would be like flying without a net. Good luck.
  • wildangel
    wildangel Member Posts: 81
    I am an ER/PR- girl...that means we don't get to chose ANYTHING from the buffet! BUT- if I was ER+ I would BEG for Arimidex. I have heard nothing but bad side effects from Tamox and only GOOD things about there is no risk of blot clots like Tamox, there are less aches and pains, not as many hot flashes or moodswings...BUT the BEST thing i heard about it is that is works 30% better than Tamox in preventing a recurrance!
    I hope it is easy to tolerate for you and that you can stay on it. It really sounds like a life saver.
    Good Luck!
  • SweetSue
    SweetSue Member Posts: 217
    Hi, I've been on Arimidex for a year and have experienced no side effects. Do whatever it takes to prevent a recurrance.
    Good luck,
  • Babyzenne
    Babyzenne Member Posts: 2
    marysun, I am in my second year of survival of breast cancer and will soon start my 2nd year on Arimidex and I feel great. Congrds to you give it a try. My tumor marker has stayed the same. Babyzenne in Ms.