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Arimidex - Finally Did It

Different Ballgame's picture
Different Ballgame
Posts: 868
Joined: Jan 2010

I was not keen on the idea of taking Arimidex because of its possible side affects.

Well, I decided to take it (because I also have the option to stop taking it). Here’s the saga to having it filled. It took 2 weeks after seeing the medical oncology for me to fill the prescription. The first week was devoted to trying to remove my wedding rings from my finger. I finally was successful. They were on tight and I wanted to be sure that I could get them off before going on the drug. Then the second week was devoted to finding the prescription. I misplaced it. Embarrassed, I was forced to call the doctor’s office to ask for another prescription. I picked it up on Tuesday, March 16. I took it to the pharmacy because I decided to do a price check before having it filled (I was going to shop around town for the best price). Jewel Osco quoted me $30 per prescription for my share under my present insurance plan which unfortunately is going to change in a month. I told him to fill it. Then he saw that it was incorrect for dosage which meant that he had to call the doctor’s office. Another day passes. Wednesday the pharmacist was told that he was correct on dosage, so prescription was filled. I was not able to pick it up until late Wednesday night. Finally, I needed to decide what time of the day I wanted to take the pill. I chose morning – 8:00 a.m. When I gazed at the pill, I thought, “How could one tiny, tiny white pill be so powerful?” Amazing!
TODAY, THURSDAY, MARCH 18, 2010 at 8:00 a.m., I took my first ARIMIDEX PILL. It’s now 3:10 a.m.(CST)and so far I am doing good – no side effects. (I hope you appreciate my humor.)

So I would not drive myself crazy in wondering if the future ache/pain was normal or a side affect to the drug, I came up with a solution. I have recorded/described all my aches and pains prior to taking Arimidex. I am calling it My Baseline for the Body Prior to Arimidex. (I hope you recognize my cleverness.)

I continue to walk 5 days per week, 1 hour per day. I am also back to Weight Watchers (story of my life). BEST OF ALL...my spirits are great and I feel fantastic. In fact, Dr. Fine said to me last week, “You have an amazing amount of energy.” I told him that I should be his role model for energy. He replied that I am his role model for energy.

That’s it for now.

Feisty Janelle

Posts: 1522
Joined: Jan 2010

I appreciate your humor and the tip about keeping an aches and pains journal to comparebefore and during Arimidex. I have my 1st bottle and am waiting for the bone density (and a little courage) before I start. I have fibromyalgia along with bursitis and a touch ot arthritis. Regular aging stuff, but, golly, I don't want to help it along.

I do know a women who felt so good, she convinced her Dr to prescribe it an extra year, so, who knows?


aztec45's picture
Posts: 757
Joined: Jul 2009

Good Luck with your Arimidex. I have been in pain since taking my Femara. I am going in for chemo tomorrow and I am planning to get off of it. I can't do my job with achy, swollen, painful knees, ankles, and back. There are other drugs.

Take care,


jnl's picture
Posts: 3873
Joined: May 2009

Wishing you good luck on Arimidex Janelle!

Hugs, Leeza

Cairmaid's picture
Posts: 64
Joined: Feb 2010

What a great idea about making a baseline assessment! I should do one now while I can still remember. I've been taking Femara for 4 weeks, with a mega-dose Vitamin D pill on Friday (the day of the week I started both). I decided to take the meds at night. My iPod touch beeps every night at 10 pm to remind me (my husband's idea...and it's working great!) I've had prescriptions before that I had to take every day, and many times forgot or was too rushed. Morning getting ready for work is no good, dinnertime doesn't work (even with the d@mn pill bottle on the table!) Evening is the Goldilocks time for me.

The only side effect I can definitely attribute to the meds is muscle aches. Mild enough for Tylenol to help, so we're still good to go. Oh, and I suddenly started sleeping all night the first time I took both pills. Not sure if it's the Femara or the D. However, as soon as Daylight Savings Time started, I went back to not being able to sleep all night. WTH? :-)

It took me a while to get started, too. First, I had to find out which med would be covered by my Rx plan (all three, thank goodness, but it took almost a week to find out!). Then I had to wait for the doctor to call the pharmacy with the Rx (only one day, there). Then I had to wait for the pharmacy to get it in. I live in a small town, and use a family-owned pharmacy which doesn't stock Femara because it's so expensive. I need to remember to call them tomorrow because I'm down to my last 4 pills.

Posts: 12
Joined: Feb 2010

I'm in the research stage...onc dr. suggested arimidex as part of my protocol. How are you doing in terms of side effects today? I've read so many negatives about these drugs, I'm concerned and confused. Thank you for any information you have to offer.

My best to you,


Different Ballgame's picture
Different Ballgame
Posts: 868
Joined: Jan 2010

I am doing good so far. I am hoping if I get past the first 3 months without side affects, then it should be a home run for the the next 5 years (wishful thinking on my part). It is not a month yet. April 18 will be one month on the pill.

Two decisions made me decide to take the drug. First, there are always side affects or reactions to what we do. I read all the things that could go wrong with breast reconstruction, all the pros and all the cons, and still decided to have breast reconstruction. Everything turned out fine. It is now 3 years. I did not allow the negatives to sway me against breast reconstruction and am very happy that I made that decision. I decided to apply this thinking to taking Arimidex.

Second, you are in control of your body and you have the right to say, "Yes, I will take the drug." You also have the right to say, "No more drug." The fact that I can stop taking this drug anytime that I want is my security blanket.

I did not want to drive myself crazy wondering. "Is this is a side affect of the drug," which is why I made a baseline of all my aches and pains (luckily there are not many) prior to taking Arimidex. Words cannot describe strong enough how that baseline calmed me. In fact, I thought I was brilliant in solving this dilemna. I even mailed the baseline to my primary care doctor. I will also give the baseline to my oncologist when I see her in June for my 3 month check up.

I also know my bone density (which was taken 1 year prior to the recurrence). Very happy to report that all my vertebrae are densier than a 30 year old woman's vertebra. However, one hip - the neck of the hip - showed some lesser bone density. At that time I was 68 years old.

With the recurrence in October, I had a bone scan, MRI, and CT scan. I figured that I am pretty well coverred with various baselines prior to Arimidex.

I take tons of vitamins Brand: Carlson:
(1) Super Daily Vitamins & Minerals (Multiple)
(2) Vitamin C,
(3) Vitamin E,
(4) Chelated Zinc,
(5) Nutra Support Bone (Vitamin D3, Calcium, Magnesium, Manganese, Boron),
(6) Nutra Suipport Joint Cartilage Builder (Potassium, vitamin C, Cartilage, Glucosamine Sulfate KCL, MSM)
(7) Vitamin D3 (8000 IU),
(8) Vitamin B Complex,
(9) Vitamin B-12
(10) Niacin,
(11) Folic Acid,
(12) Chelated Magnesium

Please note that I have been taking vitamins since I turned 40 (now 69 years old). I started slowly - 1 vitamin at a time. Only took 1 every 7 days to make sure that I could tolerate it and not have side affects. Allergy reaction can happen up to 7 days from contact.

I also started Weight Watchers in February and started walking 5 days a week, 1 hour per day. I eat fresh salmon (ocean - not farm fed) a minimum of 5 times a week. Everything I eat is fresh and everything I cook is made from scratch. I do not Microwave.

Found out that people who take Femara end up have bigger knuckles - that brings up wering rings. Now sure if this would also happen with Arimidex. I make sure I remove all rings every night.

Julie, I plan on living to my 90s, so I want my body to be in the best shape possible when I reach that age.

That's my update so far. Let me know what you find out and what you decide.

Lots of Hugs,

Posts: 79
Joined: Mar 2010

My first prescription sat on my desk two weeks while I thought about it. It seemed like a snake waiting there...
Finally took the plunge based on my rad onc saying the arimidex was more important than the chemo and rads. I have some joint pain and some insomnia, but every time I refill that prescription I get to count down one more: 12 down, 48 to go:)
works for me, everyone has to find her/his own coping.
Good luck!

KayNYC's picture
Posts: 495
Joined: Mar 2010

I met with my Medical Oncologist yesterday; radiation and Armidex are recommended. I meet with the Rad-oncologist next week for our first appt. I made sure to have my bond density done already, so one week before I end my radiation treatments, I will return to my medical Oncologist for the Armidex prescription. All medications have side effects and I see it as balancing the risks and benefits/pros and cons of taking the treatment or not. For me, keeping Cancer from growing back trumps possible side effects. If this medication doesn't work out, there are others that can be tried.I see myself as one third of the way done with two to go.Surgery was part one. Radiation is the second part of my recovery journey and the hormone receptor blockers, the last and hopefully final stage of my Cancer recovery. Looking to a full and active life ahead (I am 60 yrs old).

Posts: 1522
Joined: Jan 2010

Just wondering how you are doing with Arimidex. It's been sitting on my shelf for a month. I've had 1 excuse after the other....

Loved your suggestion about logging pains and complaints before & during med.


Different Ballgame's picture
Different Ballgame
Posts: 868
Joined: Jan 2010

Hi Sue,
It's been one month plus one week since I started taking Arimidex. Side affects so far are hot flashes. I think what I don't like about hot flashes is dealing with the cold that follows it. I am taking 2000 units of Vitamin E which, I think, has minimized the intensity of the hot flash. I do not experience what I have read on my posting regarding hot flashes.

The good news that I learned at one of my live support groups is that one woman was taking Arimidex for 1-1/2 years. She stopped taking it due the side affects - joint pain - and went on Femara. She is doing much, much better on Femara. However, before going on Femara she had a bone density test taken (while on Arimidex she did weight bearing exercises) and the test revealed that no bone loss had occured in the 1-1/2 years on Arimidex. I would say that is very promising - just keep exercising for the next 5 years.

The fact that I started Weight Watchers is another preventative to gaining weight while on the drug. Plus, as you can see, I am losing weight. Started WW in February 2010 and as of this week lost 13 lbs. 4 oz.

To prevent bone loss, I walk 5 days a week, 1 hour a day. Generally walk at high noon. Also take calcium. In addition, take Vitamin D3 - 1600 units. Magnesium is also good for muscle and I take a daily supplment of it. Finally, I take another ton of other vitamins.

Sue, the day that I finally decided to take the drug was that day that I decided that I would try my darnest to be as pro-preventative as I can be in the hopes that being pro-preventative will work. So far, so good. My first bone density test was taken in March 2009. I was told by my primary care doctor that the next bone density test would be in March 2011. I have turned the pro-preventatives into "My Goals".

Let me know what you decide and how you are doing?

Lots of Hugs,

roseyposey333's picture
Posts: 68
Joined: Jun 2010

Well, Janelle, reading your posts was truly uplifting. You are taking an active roll in your health and I love that.

I started my Arimidex exactly one week ago and feel fine. Not sure how long it takes to start showing side effects but I am going to take your advice and start exercising today.

As for vitamins,I have trouble with my stomach when I take vitimins, even one a day multi but I know that vitamin D is important now. I found some chewable multi that I can tolerate but it does have sugar in it and I started to take the chewable calcium also. I know the sugar is not great for me but it seems to be the only way I can tolerate vitamins right now.

Haven't heard about weight gain but probably should start a plan for that too, uugghhh.

Anyway, thanks for sharing your tips and keep us all posted. I will as well.


lanie940's picture
Posts: 492
Joined: Jul 2009

I have gained about 15 lbs since being on Arimidex. BUT maybe ice cream and Raisinettes have something to do with it! I have some mild ankle swelling, but it goes down overnite.

Posts: 2
Joined: Sep 2010

Just interested in how you're doing at this point. I plan to use you as my guide on this trip of arimidex!! Thanks? Rita

Posts: 2
Joined: Sep 2010

It was so refreshing to read your comments. I also sat here with the arimidex on my desk for 3 weeks and finally gave up and took first pill today. I will sure follow your journey as most all of the posts I read elsewhere are so negative that I had about decided to just take my chances. I am 60, welll 61 the 22nd... and had another lump.(had one 20 years ago) and had rad. for 10 days 2 times a day. After good results on oncotype test, thank God, no chemo but arimidex for 5 years. Anyway I need SUPPORT from all who can give me some positive feedback)if there is any???) BEST WISHES

Mama G
Posts: 763
Joined: Nov 2009

And wishing I was on it. If you read the test results it is a very promising drug! Unfortunately I have numbness on the left side of my body and it still has not improved. I've been off the arimidex for 6 weeks and no improvement yet. I hear from everyone that the nerves take the longest to "rejuvenate". One pharmacist told me it may take years.
Great.... The good news is NO PAIN!!! I could have a tattoo if it wasn't on my surgery side! sheesh

lanie940's picture
Posts: 492
Joined: Jul 2009

I had surgery on my cervical spine in 2000, totally unrelated to my breast cancer. I am still numb in my left hand.

Kimosabe's picture
Posts: 43
Joined: Jun 2010

Arimedex is my next challenge after I finish rads at the end of Oct. I am very nervous about it. I like your idea of a baseline aches/pains record before starting as I seem to have a lot of them lately. thanks.

carkris's picture
Posts: 4554
Joined: Aug 2009

janelle you are a role model, not just for energy but tons of other things. so glad the arimedex is going well.

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