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Feb 13, 2019 · Aromatase Inhihibitors: Did you decide to go on them or not? in Breast Cancer

This is how I learned to live with arimidex. At age 61, diagnosed with stage 0 bc, 12/17, lumpectomy 1/18, radiation 2-3/18. Onc. was insistent that I try an AI, recommending arimidex. I was afraid because of possible side effects: hot flashes, night sweats, and espec. muscle/joint pain. I started arimidex 4/18.

I had muscle/joint pain during month 1 that went away during month 2. I had no menopausal symptoms. What I did have was fatigue, by Sept. at about 50% of my normal energy level. Worst, once or twice a week I would "hit the wall" with a debilitating fatigue and body aches. All I could do at those times was go to bed. This extreme fatigue was also accompanied by left arm discomfort which led me to have 2 cardiac stress tests in August, the first test inconclusive, the second indicating good heart health.

In Sept., I told my onc. that I wanted to quit arimidex due to the fatigue. She agreed that this was a significant quality of life issue. She said my choices included quitting arimidex, trying another AI, or learning to live with arimidex. I decided to stay with arimidex for a few more months. I switched taking my pill from morning to evening. The onc enrolled me in a 16 week conditioning/strength building program with twice weekly sessions with a personal trainer; I am now in the last week of the program and committed to continuing on my own. This exercise regimen helped me both physically and emotionally, and also helped with my insomnia.

My energy level is now back to about 80% of what it was before arimidex. I no longer have debilitating bouts of extreme exhaustion. Ten months in, I plan to continue with the arimidex for the present. I do not know if I will make the recommended 5 years on AI, but for now I feel that the additional protection against recurrence is worth the disadvantages of living with arimidex.