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Feb 24, 2020 05:09AM
Hi everyone, long time since I've been on the forum, but am now 2+ years post surgery, and doing well. I had 4 rounds of chemo and 7 weeks of rads, and am now 18 months into Arimidex(Anastrazole). Personally I've been doing very well - thanks in part to the advice of many who came before me - which included adopting a mindset which looked at the positive benefits of AI treatment, and continuing study results which say that long term hormone therapy is having an impact. If taking an AI is going to improve the odds against a recurrence, I add it to the list of other things which are recommended like physical activity - 30 minutes of brisk walking or light exercise 5 times a week does seem to make a difference - and changes in lifestyle - better diet (nothing special, just healthier), lower body weight, no smoking (never did, that was easy) and less alcohol. (Yes, I am that person who still likes her wine and the occasional cocktail (mostly gin based because juniper berries are natural antioxidants - but that's a personal choice - gotta have some vices...) As for the side effects, early on it was mini hot flashes - which ended after a few months - and then muscle and joint pain. And again, sisters before me who were doing well said to exercise. And for me, that advice was spot on - if I am feeling stiff and sore I go right at it - stretch, move, tone. I am not a big gym person - I love walking, low impact 80's style aerobics and light weights. Other than that I don't feel older or tired or put upon. I feel blessed and fortunate that a medicine which is known to have long term benefits for my type of breast cancer fits into my lifestyle. I also don't stress on when I take it - I travel a lot on business and am in multiple time zones - I shoot for mornings - but nothing by the clock. As I had osteopenia, I take it with a daily Vitamin D supplement at the advice of my medical oncologist.
For those just starting the post-surgery/chemo/rads journey and moving onto an AI - do your homework before you sit with your med onco and read the results of the studies and clinical trials - so you can discuss the different types of AI available. The best patient is an educated patient. Please don't read magazine articles or online horror stories - people don't talk or write about good results online much. (it's kind of like the news - good stories don't get good ratings). Please do look at scientific literature and actual published results. Download the ASCO guidelines on adjuvant hormone therapy. For me, the anastrazole has become no different than my daily vitamins and meds for hypertension, a family condition I've had for decades.
We all come to start the journey from different places, and regardless of where the journey takes us, we share a common bond. Look to the good stories - and then pass them on. Wishing everyone peace, happiness and love.
1/2018, IDC, Left, 4cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 1/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH)
1/26/2018 Mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant
3/1/2018 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel)
6/18/2018 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall