Welcome to my world

I am a wife, a mom, a daughter, a sister and a friend.
I've learned that who you have in your life matters more than what you have.
Thank you for stepping in to my world!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Kicking cancer's ass - day 783

Happy 75th Birthday to my wonderful dad!  

Opa, we love and miss you and can't wait to see you again!


On a side note, today I am starting a new medicine.  I have been taking Tamoxifen for eighteen months to block estrogen production in my body.  However, Tamoxifen has proven more effective in pre-menopausal women, where another class of medicines have been proven more effective in post-menopausal women.  Since I had a hysterectomy, that puts me in the second group - hence the switch.  
I'm not overly thrilled.  From the Arimidex web site:
  • Women with a history of blockages in heart arteries (ischemic heart disease) who take ARIMIDEX may have a slight increase in this type of heart disease compared to similar patients who take tamoxifen
  • ARIMIDEX can cause bone softening/weakening (osteoporosis) increasing the chance of fractures. In a clinical study in early breast cancer, there were more fractures (including fractures of the spine, hip, and wrist) with ARIMIDEX (10%) than with tamoxifen (7%)
  • In a clinical study in early breast cancer, some patients taking ARIMIDEX had an increase in cholesterol. Skin reactions, allergic reactions, and changes in blood tests of liver function have also been reported
  • In the early breast cancer clinical trial, the most common side effects seen with ARIMIDEX include hot flashes, joint symptoms (including arthritis and arthralgia), weakness, mood changes, pain, back pain, sore throat, nausea and vomiting, rash, depression, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, fractures, swelling of arms/legs, insomnia, and headache
So...while I wasn't a fan of Tamoxifen, it was the devil I knew.  Arimidex has a lot of the same side effects, with a few exceptions.  Arimidex is harder on the heart.  Arimidex weakens the bones, where Tamoxifen strengthens them.  Arimidex can raise cholesterol.  Arimidex causes more severe joint pain - which I already have on Tamox.  

And the biggie, for me, that's not listed - weight gain.  Both my BFF and my sister-in-law started on Arimidex and gained a significant amount of weight.  I've already put on 20 pounds with Tamoxifen....I really don't want to add any more!  My sis-in-law has since switched to Tamoxifen and has been able to lose some weight.  My BFF is still on Arimidex and has finally been able to lose some weight (but she's trying HARD!).  

I know, I know, it sounds petty.  What's a few pounds when compared to keeping cancer away, right?  If you've ever struggled with your weight, then you know why I feel the way I do.  Would I rather be fat and happy and alive, or skinny and fighting cancer all over again?  You know the answer to that.  I just wish those weren't my only two choices.  

You never know.  Everyone is different, and maybe I'll be one of the lucky ones who have an easier time on Arimidex than Tamoxifen.  It can happen.

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