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

Forum: Hormonal Therapy - Before, During, and After —

Risks and benefits, side effects, and costs of anti-estrogen medications. Note: Please remember that there are good experiences and bad with ALL treatments and this is a safe place to share YOUR experience, not to be influenced or influence others.

Posted on: Jul 10, 2012 06:46AM - edited Nov 15, 2017 01:07PM by Moderators

nancyjac wrote:

I found a couple of older threads about Arimidex, but they covered a large time span with a gazillion posts, so I thought I would start a new thread for Arimidex/Anastrozole users.

I am starting on Anastrozole today. Plan is to take it for 5 years, possibly longer. I already have osteopenia and osteoarthritis (limited to one knee at this point), so I am most concerned about the bone and joint side effects. I'm already frustrated by finally having some energy and stamina back after chemo and radiation, but now I have trouble exercising due to the bum knee. I'm concerned about that getting to be even more of a problem on the Anastrozole.

Please share you experiences, side effects, questions etc. about Armidex/Anastrozole here.

Edited by Mods to add content from the main Breastcancer.org site on Arimidex: Benefits, Side Effects and More

Dx 11/2011, IBC, Stage IIIB, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2+ Targeted Therapy 12/7/2011 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 12/7/2011 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 4/10/2012 Mastectomy: Left, Right Surgery 4/17/2012 Mastectomy: Left Surgery 4/19/2012 Mastectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 5/29/2012 Breast, Lymph nodes, Bone Hormonal Therapy 7/10/2012 Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Posts 181 - 210 (17,511 total)

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Aug 1, 2012 07:01PM C-squared wrote:

Ruth~ I picked up both the cleanser and scalp treatment today..., can't wait for hair to grow back!  They are both for chemically treated hair and I finished chemo May 31st so we'll see what happens!  Keep your fingers crossed. 

hrf~ Did you have any hair thinning prior to chemo?  Does it run in your DNA at all?  I'm a strong believer in genetics and unfortunately I was passed the BRCA gene. However, I am thankful that both my mother and father had full heads of thick hair! LOL

Chemo: T & A/C (Jan-May'12) Surg:SLNB (Dec'11); LX (Mar'12); BMX,TE's & Ooph (Jul '12); TE (Aug '12); Exchange (Dec '12) Hormone: Arimidex (Aug'12) & Letrozole (Dec'12) Dx 11/30/2011, ILC, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 1/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Aug 1, 2012 07:49PM Lee7 wrote:

My hair is much thinner after a year on Arimidex. Frown   I do take Biotin, and I don't know if its helping or not. Is Nioxin a prescription or can you buy it in a store?

Dx 10/2010, IDC, Stage IIA, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Aug 1, 2012 07:55PM C-squared wrote:

Lee7~ You can buy Nioxin over-the-counter.  You can find it at an Ulta store if in FL or a salon.  You can also buy it online.

Chemo: T & A/C (Jan-May'12) Surg:SLNB (Dec'11); LX (Mar'12); BMX,TE's & Ooph (Jul '12); TE (Aug '12); Exchange (Dec '12) Hormone: Arimidex (Aug'12) & Letrozole (Dec'12) Dx 11/30/2011, ILC, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 1/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Aug 1, 2012 08:21PM Lee7 wrote:

Thanks!  I'm going to check it out. 

Dx 10/2010, IDC, Stage IIA, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Aug 1, 2012 08:48PM ruthbru wrote:

Any beauty salon will carry Nioxin. They have a scalp massage as well as the shampoo and conditioner.

"Invisible threads are the strongest ties." Friedrich Nietzsche Dx 2/2007, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/11 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Aug 1, 2012 08:57PM kjiberty wrote:

C-Squared:  I started Arimadex on Saturday. I am also taking Biotin and using a scalp shampoo and conditioner I bought at Ulta.  I was going to buy Nioxin, but the hairdresser recommended another brand: Bios?  I will keep you posted and for those of us who are new, please keep me posted on the hair growth/thinning issue. Pre-chemo, it would take up to three hours for my thick, fine hair to dry.  

Karen Surgery 3/12/2012 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel Chemotherapy 4/19/2012 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Hormonal Therapy 7/25/2012 Arimidex (anastrozole) Radiation Therapy 7/25/2012 Breast Dx IDC, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Aug 1, 2012 09:29PM hrf wrote:

Thanks, Ruthbru.

BRCA2+ first dx in Oct. 2004 2nd dx Feb. 2009 a new primary
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Aug 2, 2012 12:25AM marge33 wrote:

I just went off Letrozole because of extreme joint pain and unbearable muscle pain. I'm about to try anastrozole and I'm very nervous about it. I also had to be taken off tamoxafin because I got a blood clot in my lung. I have had a bad experience with every drug and I'm almost ready to take my chances by going off them. I'm going to try anastrozole but I have read mostly terrible experiences. Is there any hope at all with these drugs? Has anyone else decided to take a risk and stop taking the pill?

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Aug 2, 2012 08:54AM nancyjac wrote:

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.

Dx 11/2011, IBC, Stage IIIB, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2+ Targeted Therapy 12/7/2011 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 12/7/2011 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 4/10/2012 Mastectomy: Left, Right Surgery 4/17/2012 Mastectomy: Left Surgery 4/19/2012 Mastectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 5/29/2012 Breast, Lymph nodes, Bone Hormonal Therapy 7/10/2012 Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Aug 2, 2012 08:58AM nancyjac wrote:

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.

Dx 11/2011, IBC, Stage IIIB, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2+ Targeted Therapy 12/7/2011 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 12/7/2011 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 4/10/2012 Mastectomy: Left, Right Surgery 4/17/2012 Mastectomy: Left Surgery 4/19/2012 Mastectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 5/29/2012 Breast, Lymph nodes, Bone Hormonal Therapy 7/10/2012 Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Aug 2, 2012 09:01AM nancyjac wrote:

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.

Dx 11/2011, IBC, Stage IIIB, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2+ Targeted Therapy 12/7/2011 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 12/7/2011 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 4/10/2012 Mastectomy: Left, Right Surgery 4/17/2012 Mastectomy: Left Surgery 4/19/2012 Mastectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 5/29/2012 Breast, Lymph nodes, Bone Hormonal Therapy 7/10/2012 Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Aug 2, 2012 09:17AM nancyjac wrote:

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.  

Dx 11/2011, IBC, Stage IIIB, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2+ Targeted Therapy 12/7/2011 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 12/7/2011 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 4/10/2012 Mastectomy: Left, Right Surgery 4/17/2012 Mastectomy: Left Surgery 4/19/2012 Mastectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 5/29/2012 Breast, Lymph nodes, Bone Hormonal Therapy 7/10/2012 Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Aug 2, 2012 09:53AM Claire_in_Seattle wrote:

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.

Completed all treatment (AC +T, lumpectomy, radiation and 5 years of AIs - anastrazole). Now celebrating every single day for the wonderful life I have been granted. Dx 8/2009, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 1/21 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- (FISH)
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Aug 2, 2012 10:05AM Mini1 wrote:

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!

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." - Jeremiah 29:11 Surgery 4/15/2012 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel Dx IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Aug 2, 2012 10:13AM annie-2 wrote:

My hair did get some thinner during Arimidex, but I am lucky enough to have a very thick head of hair, so it didn't make a lot of difference.

Being off Arimidex for 3 years this May, my hairdresser and I have noticed it is a bit thicker again and I don't notice as much in the brush, etc.

Good luck ladies, hope all these suggestions help you. Hopefully it will get better for you....

REMEMBER MY MANTRA.... THE SE'S OF AN AI ARE EASIER TREATED THAN BREAST CANCER! Wink

JO-5

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Aug 2, 2012 10:29AM Chris13 wrote:

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

"To attend to the moment is to attend to eternity." 2 ILC tumors 1.6. 1/4 positive nodes. Oncotypes 8 & 15. No rads/chemo. Dx 2/24/2012, ILC, 1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 1, 1/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 5/1/2012 Reconstruction (right): DIEP flap Surgery 5/1/2012 Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Right Hormonal Therapy 8/1/2012 Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Aug 2, 2012 02:08PM annie-2 wrote:

Chris 13,

How is your D level?

JO-5

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Aug 2, 2012 11:29PM - edited Aug 2, 2012 11:34PM by Chris13

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. 

"To attend to the moment is to attend to eternity." 2 ILC tumors 1.6. 1/4 positive nodes. Oncotypes 8 & 15. No rads/chemo. Dx 2/24/2012, ILC, 1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 1, 1/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 5/1/2012 Reconstruction (right): DIEP flap Surgery 5/1/2012 Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Right Hormonal Therapy 8/1/2012 Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Aug 3, 2012 10:54AM C-squared wrote:

Question for those who experienced SE from Anastrozole..., how long did it take before you started experiencing the SE?  Weeks, months?  On average.

Thanks!

Chemo: T & A/C (Jan-May'12) Surg:SLNB (Dec'11); LX (Mar'12); BMX,TE's & Ooph (Jul '12); TE (Aug '12); Exchange (Dec '12) Hormone: Arimidex (Aug'12) & Letrozole (Dec'12) Dx 11/30/2011, ILC, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 1/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Aug 3, 2012 01:44PM Mini1 wrote:

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.

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." - Jeremiah 29:11 Surgery 4/15/2012 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel Dx IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Aug 3, 2012 02:09PM - edited Aug 3, 2012 05:23PM by exbrnxgrl

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

Bilateral mx 9/7/11 with one step ns reconstruction. As of 11/21/11, 2cm met to upper left femur Dx 7/8/2011, IDC, Left, 4cm, Grade 1, 1/15 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 9/7/2011 Lymph node removal: Left; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Dx 11/2011, IDC, Left, 4cm, Stage IV, Grade 1, 1/15 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 11/21/2011 Arimidex (anastrozole) Radiation Therapy 11/21/2011 Bone Hormonal Therapy 6/19/2014 Femara (letrozole) Hormonal Therapy Aromasin (exemestane)
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Aug 3, 2012 02:18PM Mini1 wrote:

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. :-)

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." - Jeremiah 29:11 Surgery 4/15/2012 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel Dx IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Aug 3, 2012 05:46PM mcgaffey wrote:

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.

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Aug 3, 2012 06:12PM kjiberty wrote:

Mcgaffey  Congrats!  Wow--Lots of changes in your life!  

Karen Surgery 3/12/2012 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel Chemotherapy 4/19/2012 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Hormonal Therapy 7/25/2012 Arimidex (anastrozole) Radiation Therapy 7/25/2012 Breast Dx IDC, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Aug 3, 2012 07:17PM C-squared wrote:

That's great news Mcgaffey!  Celebrate!

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

Chemo: T & A/C (Jan-May'12) Surg:SLNB (Dec'11); LX (Mar'12); BMX,TE's & Ooph (Jul '12); TE (Aug '12); Exchange (Dec '12) Hormone: Arimidex (Aug'12) & Letrozole (Dec'12) Dx 11/30/2011, ILC, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 1/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Aug 5, 2012 06:52PM ruthbru wrote:

If any of you want some support in the exercise department, check out the 'Lets Post Our Daily Exercise' thread on the Fitness Forum.

"Invisible threads are the strongest ties." Friedrich Nietzsche Dx 2/2007, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/11 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Aug 5, 2012 07:06PM C-squared wrote:

Great new avatar RuthbruSmile

Chemo: T & A/C (Jan-May'12) Surg:SLNB (Dec'11); LX (Mar'12); BMX,TE's & Ooph (Jul '12); TE (Aug '12); Exchange (Dec '12) Hormone: Arimidex (Aug'12) & Letrozole (Dec'12) Dx 11/30/2011, ILC, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 1/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Aug 5, 2012 07:10PM kjiberty wrote:

Ruth:  thank you!

C-Squared:  Love your new avatar!

Karen Surgery 3/12/2012 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel Chemotherapy 4/19/2012 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Hormonal Therapy 7/25/2012 Arimidex (anastrozole) Radiation Therapy 7/25/2012 Breast Dx IDC, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Aug 5, 2012 07:15PM 2FriedEggs wrote:

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.

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Aug 5, 2012 07:18PM SusannahW wrote:

That's great news 2! Very encouraging to those of us who are due to start soon.

Dx 3/2012, IDC, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- Surgery 4/26/2012 Lumpectomy: Right Radiation Therapy 6/3/2012 Breast Hormonal Therapy 8/31/2012 Femara (letrozole) Hormonal Therapy 10/8/2012 Aromasin (exemestane)

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