Well, I tried Arimidex after having my ovaries removed last October. I lasted 4 months on the stuff.
My joints, especially my neck ached like I was 90 from the first week I began Arimidex. But I could live with that. After about a month, it seemed to get better. It wasn’t fantastic but it was manageable. I asked my oncologist about pain meds. I had tried Aleve, Motrin and Tylenol. She said nothing would make much difference except exercise. So I tried that. I keep trying that.
Anyway, I was cruising along and managing the pain when once again, same as Tamoxifen things started to kind of explode. My hands got puffy, my face got puffier. I could handle that though.
By January, my stomach had started to puff out. My whole abdomen really. I thought it was weight gain and cursed myself.
February brought fatigue, brain fuzz and depression. Fun! Fun!
Then I started to have asthma attacks again. That sucked.
It’s hard to keep up the exercise when you can’t breathe and your feet hurt and your limbs are swollen, you know? It’s not easy. It’s a viscious circle. It’s exhausting. Being in pain all the time is absolutely exhausting.
And then about two weeks ago, my tongue swelled. It filled my mouth. I kept biting it.
And that’s when I looked up Arimidex symptoms.
I had not researched side effects before, even though my pharmacist gave me two pages of them every time I filled the prescription.
Because I was worried about self-fulfilling prophecy. I didn’t want to give myself symptoms in order to excuse myself from taking the medication. That makes sense, right?
Because I really wanted Arimidex to work. I really, really want it to work. It’s a very effective medication. It starves cancer.
For me, even the nastiest side effects outweigh the risk. Seriously, a little asthma is better than the cancer getting into my brain, my liver, my bones and my lungs.
At one point, I had chills and body aches and a fuzzy brain and I thought, Am I getting the flu or is this the medication? And I realized how much that sucks. That the last four months, I have felt like absolute crud because of a medication that is supposed to help me fight cancer.
I am guessing I lived with cancer a long time before it was discovered and I felt fine but the treatment is grueling. Just terribly grueling.
Anyway, it turns out the swollen tongue meant I was having an allergic reaction. A severe allergic reaction and we can’t have that.
Your tongue is a very important organ when you think about it. It’s almost impossible to function when it is swollen to twice it’s normal size and is painful to touch.
I stopped the medication a little over a week ago. I see my oncologist on the 20th. There are more options left to try. I am hoping we can figure something out.
Because without the anti-hormonals like Tamoxifen and Arimidex, my options are green tea, exercise and diet control which I am totally ok with but…
I worry green tea won’t keep the cancer at bay. I worry a lot about this. I worry about worrying. I worry. I just worry.
Although there is good news on the green tea front, I had my DNA sequenced at 23 and Me before health reports were banned. According to them, I have the genetic code that has been shown to respond positively to green tea to prevent proliferation of cancer. Yes, there really have been studies done on this and I lucked out with a good code! Go me!
And the weirdest part to all of this, I look fairly healthy. I’m still chubby (in part from swelling) but my cheeks are rosey, my hair is back in full force. It’s just a rage of curl. I look much better than I did a year ago.
But the neuropathy still makes my hands and feet hurt. I still can’t clap. It hurts. My joints still ache horribly even after a week off of the medication. I feel so old. I feel so sick. But I just keep pushing forward, because it’s all I can do. And as my dad would say, it beats the alternative.
I guess I better go put the kettle on, until March 20th comes around, I’m going to be drinking a lot of tea.