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Jul 10, 2012 12:50PM
nancyjac - thank you for starting this new thread. I just sit here and watch as the posts on the other one climb to almost 5,000 - and I have to tell you it's intimidating.
I got my Rx for Anastrozole on January 3rd of this year. I haven't opened it yet.
My MO said I could wait til I was off the post-surgery/TE fills pain meds.
I gave her a gazillion reasons why 1) I didn't NEED this drug, and 2) was AFRAID of this drug.
After my BMX, my risk factor for recurrence was 1% - 2%.
I had mostly DCIS, with a microinvasion of IDC: one area that was 1.5mm (half a grain of rice) and .5 mm (a grain of salt). Neither one showed up in my final pathology report. They said the core-needle biopsy must have gotten it all.
I was also 14 years post-menopausal, and I'd had a hysterectomy, so there was no way I had any excess estrogen floating around. She kindly pointed out that estrogen was continuing to be produced not only in the adrenal glands, but also in body fat, of which I had plenty.
At that point I made the decision to enter a medically-supervised weight loss program (Optifast) and am almost at my goal. So far I've lost almost 50 pounds. The MO says this has further reduced my risk factor by 23%. So now it's at .77%? Less than one percent?
I explained that I had so many other medical issues going on in my life, especially osteopenia, degenerative disk disease, spinal stenosis, and fibromyalgia. It was already difficult for me to get out of bed in the morning.....and despite going through a ten week chronic pain management program, there were still days when I needed Vicodin during a particularly nasty fibro flare.
She mentioned that not all women get side effects. (Hard to imagine, while watching those posts on the other thread add up every day...) I also kept hearing my mom's voice (a 26 year BC survivor when she passed at the age of 87) in my head, saying "Honey, you won't know until you try." I also read many, many comments from Stage IV women who wished that the AIs were an option for them.
So I told the MO that I would be willing to try the Anastrozole, but that I would be keeping careful records of any side effects. She understood. I said I MIGHT try another drug should the SEs be debilitating. She understood. I said that my QOL was more important to me, and that there may come a time when I said I wanted to stop completely. She agreed.
The only remaining issue is the fact that she also wants to put me on one of the bone-building drugs. THAT is one thing that I will probably refuse, especially with the current research showing so many problems....
Here is something that has really surprised me: SpecialK mentioned this in her post.....since beginning this diet on March 22nd, my fibromyalgia and joint pain has diminished considerably!
I don't think it's from weight loss or exercise alone, even though I am now able to go to the gym, water aerobics, ride my bike, and walk a few miles a day.
I believe it was getting off the white sugar, white flour, and GLUTEN. (Optifast is gluten-free.) I always wanted to go on an elimination diet to see if it would have an effect, but it was too hard - waaaaaaaa - and now I've been gluten-free for four months. I won't be adding that back into my diet.
I got a reprieve on the Anastrozole while I was on Optifast. This week we slowly start adding real food back into the diet for the next 14 weeks. I see the MO in September. I have a feeling I know what we'll be talking about....
9/15/2011, IDC, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
12/5/2011 Lymph node removal: Left; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement
8/22/2012 Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right)
9/5/2012 Arimidex (anastrozole)
10/22/2013 Femara (letrozole)