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Jan 17, 2007 07:11AM
Okay, I'll try again.
I had varied reasons for going off the Arimidex.
In March '05, I had already began menopause when I had a total hysterctomy - uterus, ovaries, tubes, cervix. I was put on HRT in spite of my objections (aunt with BC). I hated the HRT - it made me nuts. I cried at cat food commercials, for Pete's sake! I was waaay to nice - which in my job as a nurse on an inpatient psych unit, was not a good thing. I stopped the HRT cold turkey after a few months - which also was not a good idea
I went back on it, at a lower dose, and weaned myself off of it over the course of about a year. Then, 4 months after that, I'm diagnosed with BC. Did I mention that the aunt with BC also had been on HRT? I honestly believe that the HRT was a factor in my BC. Yes, I am aware that my body continues to produce hormones without ovaries, but at a much lesser rate, and - they are my body's own hormones, one that they recognize; not something made from horse urine.
Per the sheet the doctor gave me, 5 years of Arimidex would increase my 5 year survivability rate 1.7% For some folks, that might be enough edge; for me, it wasn't worth the quality of life issues Arimidex raised. The onc told me we could "manage" quality of life issues - ie: take a pill and shut up.
Okay - quality of life. My body just does not like foreign inputs. I take an aspirin about once every three months when I have a headache I can't get rid of any other way. I take Benedryl if I get stung by a bee (bee venom = foreign input). That's it. I've learned the hard way that my body doesn't appreciate other meds.
Arimidex leaches calcium from the bones, causing osteoporosis and leaving you very vulnerable to fractures. When I had my bone scan done, the docs couldn't believe that they were looking at 48 year old bones - they were in that good of shape. I was told that I needed to take Calcium with Vitamin D to slow the bone loss. Can't take calcium - 14 kidney stones. And I live on a farm. I jump on and off of equipment, get shoved around by critters, etc.. I don't need fragile bones. I'm not taking Fosamax either - too much bad hype about it on the 'net.
Arimidex increases your cholesterol level. My cholesterol is already borderline high (I'm working on it - naturally, with apples and oatmeal). My Pop died of coronary artery disease, as did his sister. Two of his brothers have had multiple stents and bypasses. I could take a statin drug - no, thank you.
Hot flashes. Sheesh. 36 in one day. 16 of them at night. I could take Neurontin...
Insomnia. Did I mention the hot flashes? Try to sleep with those. I could take Ambien, Lunesta, Sonata...
Depression. Did I mention the insomnia? I could take Effexor...
Mood swings. Did I mention the hot flashes, the insomnia, the depression? I could take - oh heck, insert drug of your choice here!!
Brain fog. Did I mention the hot flashes, the insomnia, the depression and the mood swings? They don't have any drugs to push on you for brain fog.
Pain. Pain in my hands that made it hell to try to do my charting at work. Pain in my knees that made it impossible to sit for any length of time. Pain in my back that made it impossible to find a comfortable position to lie in in bed. Pain in my knees and ankles that made it torture to walk. Pain in my head and arm from where I got out of bed to go pee and fell against the door jamb of my room because my knee and ankle joints wouldn't move. I've been off the Arimidex for almost a month now, and the pain in the joints hasn't gone completely away; I'm just hoping that it does. My water bill's gone up by 1,000 gallons from all the hot baths I take to soak the aches out of my bones!
But your experiences may vary. Some folks have no problems with Arimidex at all. I figure that I gave it a shot; and that I made an educated and informed decision about stopping. And I'm willing to take the risks. My family supports my choice.