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For Arimidex (Anastrozole) users, new, past, and ongoing

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  • nancyjac
    nancyjac Member Posts: 59
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    Funny thing about good nutrition is that it works for everybody, whether you have cancer, diabetes, heart conditions, or are perfectly healthy.  A balanced diet that gives you both the macro and micro nutrients you need is the definition of good nutrition.  All of these eat this and don't eat that diets are pretty much marketing gimmicks that feed into the "if a little is good and lot must be better" myth.  And whether you track your diet by glycemic index, weight watcher points, fat grams, etc. really doesn't matter, they pretty much all get you to the same place.  

    I been eating a balanced diet for a long time, long before I was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer.  The only time my diet went to hell in a hand basket was during chemo.  Much of the 4 months I was in chemo, I survived on cheese, crackers, and tomato soup just because for whatever reasons those foods were the only ones that had a tolerable taste to me.  Fortunately, that is no longer the case and it was pretty easy for me to get back to my usual diet once chemo was completed.

  • nancyjac
    nancyjac Member Posts: 59
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    MsBelle,

     I am also on herceptin and an AI.  Have not had any problems with loose stools.  I would definitely suggest talking to your oncologist about this.  I may be totally unrelated or it may be a side effect, but in either case, if it has been going on for a long while or continues to get worse, it should be treated.

  • nancyjac
    nancyjac Member Posts: 59
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    hrf,

    I can't really tell if I have thinning hair or not, since mine is still growing in after being completely bald from chemo.

  • nancyjac
    nancyjac Member Posts: 59
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    Marge,

    Do you have any sort of exercise routine?  I've found that to be the best remedy for all sorts of things, whether they be side effects or just getting older. It doesn't have to be strenuous, but it does need to be consistant.  I walk for about an hour everyday and do a lot of stretching and flexibility (range of motion) exercise.  I might also be worthwhile to see an orthopedist.  My oncolgist referred me to one recently because I had developed constant pain in one knee that was keeping me from exercising and just normal walking became difficult.  Turns out I had osteoarthritis in that knee totally unrelated to cancer or any cancer treatment.  He gave me a cortizone shot an it has made a world of difference.  I do still get very stiff when I am still for too long but it goes away pretty quickly once I am up and moving about.  I take one Aleve at night before I go to bed an then when I first get up I immediately do stuff that requires moving around (e.g feeding cats, making coffee, scooping cat boxes, emptying trask, etc.) before I sit down to my morning coffee.  And throughout the day I make a point of getting up and moving around for a few minutes at least every hour or so.  

  • claire_in_seattle
    claire_in_seattle Member Posts: 2,793
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    I realize that I could vary my exercise routine more, but I go for simple and effective.  So crunches on an exercise ball, followed by four different routines with 10 lb free weights.  I do this weekdays and work in at least one mile of walking.  As I am training for a second double century cycling event, I get in a lot cycling, mostly weekends.  Last Saturday's hilly 50 miler kicked my butt!

    Yesterday's walk was about 3 miles to bank, market (vegetables, including fresh beans!), and meeting a friend at the wine bar with another stop for tea candles on the way home.  I will need to buy beans again today as gave away most of them to my friend and wine bar manager.  (Sometimes I tip with vegetables.)

    I thought that I would be left with relatively thin hair, but now see that mine didn't grow in all at once.  It took about another year for the hair around my temples to fill in, and I think the same was true elsewhere.  Mine now needs another shot of color which I will give it later today.

    I still eat meat, having elk sausage for dinner last night.  YUM!!!  I avoid soy, but that is about the only dietary change I have made.  We have wonderful bakeries here in Seattle, so often have something yummy, or some amazing bread.  I bring back fresh eggs from my cycling adventures.  We have amazing salmon here too.  Just broil with a bit of butter and dill.

    One new starch I have discovered this year is farro.  We have some grown in Eastern WA, by Bluebird, made from Emmer wheat.  I cook as rice, but it takes about 70 minutes, not 45.  Nutty and delish, but not cheap.  YUM!!!

    I need to get moving on eating up the tomatoes and raspberries, plus cook up the purple carrots and beets.  No, I don't need anything special to help with the digestion.  With all the veggies I eat plus exercise, things work just fine.

    Plus, I now follow something that I realized earlier this year during one morning in church: we eat far too much, but don't feast nearly enough!  I treasure every single day, and make sure I take every opportunity to celebrate.

  • Mini1
    Mini1 Member Posts: 1,309
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    I started off with Anastroole. Horrid side effects too numerous to name. I changed to Aromisin which seemed better at first, but now i find myself very of short of breath after a single, leisurely walk and pain in my ankles that I never had prior to my DX. Oddly I have relatively little pain in my spine and hips where I do have osteoporisis. I also have balance issues that I didn't have before.There is no history of heart issues in my family.

    I have researched until I am half crazy and believe that with my early stage of CA and having surgrey and radiation that I am going to try to see how I do with exercise, supplements and diet for maintenance. It seems counter-intuitive to me, but it also feels right. Talk about an oxmoron. I don't think we can prevent or "cure" cancer with diet, but I believe our substandard diets and wilingness to shove pretty much anything into our faces that tastes good (and I include myself in that demographic) regardless of what it contains that can hurt us plays a key part in things. I will work closely with my onco doc, but I feel I will do a grave diservice to myself if I don't at least give it a try. Wish me luck!

  • Chris13
    Chris13 Member Posts: 112
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    Well, I'm back on the "A" team again. Took it for 2 months right after DX (ILC, 2 tumors) and then stopped after UMX/DIEP recovery and waiting for Oncotype scores. First one an 8 and 2nd (after long wait because they sent the wrong sample) is 16. MO concerned that 2nd score not lower (still in low range) and had one positive node, but we decided no chemo as I'm not in the young range where she would push it more and tumors were grade 1.

    Had few problems with AI the first go round, so we shall see. Am taking all the great advice for Claritin, fish oil, Ibuprofen etc. and hoping for best. I do have osteo in neck and osteopenia in 2 places tested so that's a concern. Also have an unrelated anterior tibial tendonistis that makes walking painful. I mean, really? When I want to be as active as possible?

    Best wishes to all of us on the AI journey.Cool

  • Chris13
    Chris13 Member Posts: 112
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    Taking extra right now. Was not tested so far, so will check with the MO when I meet her again next month. Fortunately I already had an RX for the AI from my BS (and had taken it before), so I can wait to meet with the MO. Not enough drs. to go around, even here in dr. intensive Philadelphia.

     And since I'm on my own for a bit (obviously I can call....before she is gone for 3 week vacation)--I decided to follow other advice here and alternate the pills for the first week, then every night after. 

  • C-squared
    C-squared Member Posts: 338
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    Question for those who experienced SE from Anastrozole..., how long did it take before you started experiencing the SE?  Weeks, months?  On average.

    Thanks!

  • Mini1
    Mini1 Member Posts: 1,309
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    Not to be a downer, but I did. About three days in. Quit after a month and switched to Aromasin. That was going well at first. I'm three months in and I'm starting to get very painful joints, shortness of breath, and lots of fatigue. I was optimistic, but it's fading fast. Sorry to be kill joy.

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,838
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    Mini, sorry that you've had such a rough time with AI's. Hope that whatever you decide to do, that things improve.

    C-squared, everyone has such varied reactions to AI's. Some se's come on quickly, some surface after a few months and some have no problem at all. It is so hard when there are no clear answers!

    Caryn

  • Mini1
    Mini1 Member Posts: 1,309
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    Thanks exbmxgrl. On the plus side, all my calcium, magnesium, D, etc., levels are good. I'm still not willing to be a guinie pig for Prolia, but it's good to know that my new diet plan is having good effects. :-)

  • mcgaffey
    mcgaffey Member Posts: 45
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    Off Big A for one month now after the full 5 years and started a new job, changed residences, moved countries. I am exploring and getting trained and still can't believe that I only take one pill in the a.m., for thyroid problems. Do I feel different? If I do, with so much going on, I am distracted from my health. My rhinitis stopped but that may be from the change of weather. My bad knee hasn't kicked up but I haven't been walking much. All I can say is that I had so many pains and aches like described above and dizzy. That was the worst. Am I dizzy now? No, it is better. Just a little. It is better. That's right. Kicking up my heels. Fingers crossed ladies. Am I happy I stuck with the program? You betcha.

  • kjiberty
    kjiberty Member Posts: 687
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    Mcgaffey  Congrats!  Wow--Lots of changes in your life!  

  • C-squared
    C-squared Member Posts: 338
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    That's great news Mcgaffey!  Celebrate!

    Wishing you all health and happiness in you new endeavors!  Laughing

  • ruthbru
    ruthbru Member Posts: 47,035
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    If any of you want some support in the exercise department, check out the 'Lets Post Our Daily Exercise' thread on the Fitness Forum.

  • C-squared
    C-squared Member Posts: 338
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    Great new avatar RuthbruSmile

  • kjiberty
    kjiberty Member Posts: 687
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    Ruth:  thank you!

    C-Squared:  Love your new avatar!

  • 2FriedEggs
    2FriedEggs Member Posts: 324
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    C-squared Did you start your AL as planned on the first? If so have you noticed any SE's yet? I'm about 2 and 1/2 months in and haven't noticed anything that I can blame on it yet.

  • SusannahW
    SusannahW Member Posts: 375
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    That's great news 2! Very encouraging to those of us who are due to start soon.

  • kjiberty
    kjiberty Member Posts: 687
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    2Friedeggs:  I started on 7/28.  No S/E's so far. Fingers crossed.

  • SusannahW
    SusannahW Member Posts: 375
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    Good luck Karen! I'm right behind u, should be starting 9/1.

  • kjiberty
    kjiberty Member Posts: 687
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    Susannah:  I will be rooting for you!  We can do this!  

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,838
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    I don't mean to be the Anastrozole cheerleader but I'm glad to see people giving it a chance. I am now going on 9 months and what few, mild symptoms I had are virtually gone save for some stiffness after sitting for long periods of time and waking up. Both of those disappear in less than 5 minutes once I get moving. I don't lead a sedentary lifestyle so it's hardly a problem. I do take glucosamine, D3 and recently started Boswellia. Continued se free days to those who have started and if becomes unbearable you can just stop. Caryn

  • ruthbru
    ruthbru Member Posts: 47,035
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    I don't know about being a 'cheerleader', but I am certainly an 'encourager'. I came to Als with perhaps a different outlook because I was originally mis-diagnosed as triple negative (a long story of its own). When I found out I was estrogen positive, I was thrilled! Being able to take an Al cut the amount of chemo I had to do in half and gave me a 40% recurrence reduction (as opposed to the 20% that chemo gave me). It may be a crap shoot in the sense that there are no absolute guarantees no matter what we do. But Als can help us load the dice and really do improve our odds.

  • kjiberty
    kjiberty Member Posts: 687
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    Ruth:  I totally agree with you, and I LOVE your positive attitude!  Thank you!

  • nkb
    nkb Member Posts: 1,561
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    Did you start your AI after rads, or during?

    Did you start right after you finished chemo or wait awhile?

  • kjiberty
    kjiberty Member Posts: 687
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    NKB:  last chemo 6/28.  My RO gave me the rx on 7/20.  Rads started 7/25.  I started the AI on 7/28 as I was too chicken before that. 

  • SusannahW
    SusannahW Member Posts: 375
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    Many thanks to ruth and caryn for giving us some positive news and hope!! I'm determined to give arimidex a fair trial, but need a lot of encouragement.

  • ruthbru
    ruthbru Member Posts: 47,035
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    Susannah, I would keep really busy so that you don't have that much time to think about it. I finished rads on a Thursday, started Arimidex Friday, and school started Monday (I teach). I think it helped me to get started by having other things I had to focus on.