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Fri, Feb 21 9:17am · LCIS: should I take Tamoxifen? in Breast Cancer

Sparklegram, YES, I had some pretty severe hives while on Tomoxifin. Last year I was on Tomoxifin and broke out with some pretty severe hives. I tried benedryl, and other over the counter meds., but nothing helped. I was miserable from the itching. It went on for several weeks and got so bad that I went to an emergency treatment center. The doctor there put my on a two week course of steroids to get rid of them. He told me to stop the Tomoxifin while I was on the steroids, and call my oncologist to let her know what was going on. The steroids worked and the hives went away. I saw my oncologist shortly after treatment for the hives. She gave me a break from any cancer drugs for a few months during the summer. I saw my oncologist in September and asked my to try exemestane. I’ve been on that for several months, and the side effect are much better. No hives! I also had issues with memory and cognitive function while on both anastrozole, and Tomoxifin. The memory issues I was having on anastrozole and Tomoxifin, are much better on Exemestane also. I’m very grateful there are drugs for treatment of breast cancer to lessen the chance of recurrence, but finding the right one for each of us is challenging!!! Best of luck to you, and hope you find relief from your current itching problems. Let us know how you are doing! We care!

Sun, Feb 9 11:16am · What is effective in treating joint pain from AI treatment? in Breast Cancer

Bone and joint aches and pains seem to be my worst side effect too. I’m on Exemestane now. I was on Anastrozole which gave me brain fog so badly I couldn’t think straight, and thought I was sliding into dementia. My doctor then switched me to Tomoxifin and I had similar side effects to the Anastrozole. I switched to Exemestane about 6 months ago and it’s ‘tolerable’. I keep expecting to be able to eventually go back to the person I was before my breast cancer diagnosis, but I’m beginning to think that will never happen. I’ve learned to ‘console’ myself by being grateful that I’m alive and for the medication available to us helping to keep cancer away. I’m 66 and looked forward to my retirement from work for many years! Now I feel like an an 80 year old woman due to medication I must take to keep cancer away…

Fri, Feb 7 1:24pm · What is effective in treating joint pain from AI treatment? in Breast Cancer

Oh my, how I wish someone had a solid answer to countering joint pain! I started on Anastrozole also. My worst side effect was brain fog, and forgetfulness so bad I thought I was sliding into dementia. My doctor switched me to Tomoxifin but it wasn’t much better. This past summer my doctor gave me a break from meds all together to see if those side effect went away. I was sooooo much better and felt like my old self again! In September, my doctor asked me to try Exemestane, so I started on that and have been taking it for 5 months now. It’s far from being free of side effects, but for me, it seems I tolerate it better than the others. I saw my doctor for my mammogram and an exam in mid-December, and there wasn’t any sign of cancer returning. I’m trilled with that! So regardless of some joint pain and a bit of confusion/forgetfulness, I’m very grateful to just put up with side effects that are annoying and mildly uncomfortable. Until there is a cure, AI’s are the best treatment available to us… I can put up with the Exemestane, do the best I can, and enjoy what life has to offer by putting breast cancer behind me as much as I can. But I also must admit, knowing there is the possibility of recurrence is always on my mind

Thu, Jan 30 12:22pm · Aches and pains in the bones in Breast Cancer

Bottom line is “Cancer Sucks”!!! We no longer have the choices for a healthy body that we used to have. AI’s are currently our best chance for longer term survival by keeping our breast cancer from recurrence; however, the side effects are very challenging to live with. So far, our choices are very few for alternative treatment that is as effective. Until the medical community finds a better alternative, this is all we have. I’ve been on Anastrozole, Tomoxifin, and now Exemestane. My worst symptom is ‘brain fog’. I can deal with the aches and pains, but not being able to think straight or the forgetfulness drives me crazy!!! Those side effects were the worst on Anastrozole, and not much better on Tomoxifin. Exemestane so far has been better for the brain fog, but I do have joint pain. I’ve done yoga for a little over 25 years, and that helps… but some days I hurt so bad that even my yoga practice isn’t any fun anymore. But I’m alive, cancer free, and able to enjoy the company of my family. I only have one grandchild, and she is the joy of my life! I’ll figure out how to put up with the aches and pains… considering the alternative of cancer recurrence! But I certainly don’t like it one little bit!!!

Dec 12, 2019 · Cancer Related Brain Fog: How do you cope with it? in Breast Cancer

I don’t have any real medical evidence and can only speak for myself and my experience with AI meds and tomoxifin. My husband is not very supportive of my side effects and sometimes even makes fun of me when I can’t think clearly. Thus, I just keep my mouth shut and deal with these challenges as best I can. Last year I was on Anastrozole for about 6 months, and the cognitive side effects were awful. My doctor switched me to Tomoxifin for a few months last spring in an attempt to relieve the cognitive issues. But for me the Tomoxifin was just as bad. Then she gave me a break from all cancer meds to see how I responded. I was off meds for 4 months this past summer; my memory and ability to think clearly was much better. I began taking extemestane in late September. So far, I think it’s better than the other two meds, but there are some challenges with it also. I had some joint pain with Anastrozole and that was also relieved during my break from meds this past summer. I’ve practiced yoga for about 25 years and that also helps. However, my yoga practice is also more difficult now, and sometimes I just don’t do it at all anymore because it’s not as enjoyable with the joint pain. I’m hoping that since my side effects were much better during my break from meds, that when I finish the next few years of taking them, that I will return to my old self again. But I’m not counting on that…

Dec 5, 2019 · Cancer Related Brain Fog: How do you cope with it? in Breast Cancer

Just google ‘cognitive function and aromatase inhibitors’. There is a lot of information available. You’re right Laurie, it is technical, but for me there was still a lot good information to learn from. Though I am truly grateful for the medication to help reduce recurrence of breast cancer, but the side effects can be very challenging. I’m 66, I’ve worked very hard to be financially secure during my retirement years. As grateful as I might be for these meds, I’m also disappointed that my quality of life has been compromised by an essential treatment for breast cancer.

Dec 4, 2019 · Cancer Related Brain Fog: How do you cope with it? in Breast Cancer

Thank you Laurie! I’ve found several things that cause me to have brain fog on my cancer journey. For me the worst is the estrogen lowering medications we need to take for years after initial treatment. I was on Anastrozole first and thought I was loosing me mind! I couldn’t think straight at all, and my memory was so bad I just retreated from everyone because I felt like I was sliding into dementia. My husband makes fun of me and frequently makes ‘cute’ comments about my poor memory and cognitive function. It’s very hurtful, but I suppose that’s how he copes with my cancer journey. I have an amazing oncologist who has worked with me to try different medications to find one with the least side effects for me. She even gave me a break from meds for a few months this past summer to see how I responded. Within a few weeks off the meds, my cognitive function was pretty much back to normal. In late September I started on Exemestane, it’s not great, but better for me than Anastrozole or Tomoxifin that I’ve also tried. I’ve learned to adapt to these memory side effects by writing myself notes and using my iPad to calendar, and make lists to keep track of things. These cognitive side effects of breast cancer drugs aren’t often discussed, but for some of us, they are very real. Unfortunately, until there is a ’cure’, we must do the best we can to live with the treatments available. I try to look at the positives rather than dwell on the things that can’t be changed. But being positive about treatment is challenging sometimes too! I am grateful for the medical advances that we do have, and that breast cancer most often is no longer a death sentence.

Nov 3, 2019 · Concerned about the side effects of anastrozole in Breast Cancer

Karen, I agree with Trixie! You’ve got this!! I was also pretty scared when I had my first mammogram after treatment. It’s pretty much normal to be anxious, scared, and concerned. But for me, I’d rather know if there is another cancer so it can be treated as soon as possible. I don’t want this DAMN disease sneaking up on me when it’s too late to do anything about it! Everything turned out fine for me at my last mammo, Odds are that it will turn out just fine for you too. I’m quite sure though, that I’ll be just as scared and anxious when it’s my time for a mammogram again… Always remember that you have all of us rooting for you! You are not alone in this journey, all of us totally understand your fear. And a mammogram is the best way we have, so far, to detect breast cancer in an early stage. Keep up posted! We’re rooting for you!