Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Drug Puzzle

This morning I had bloodwork done and then I saw a new (visiting) oncologist. I liked him. He said that in response to the nasty side effect I experienced on Arimidex (the nearly debilitating joint, bone, tendon, muscle troubles) I have three options:
  1. I could not take any drug. He does not recommend this option.
  2. I could try the Arimidex again and see if I can build up tolerance. He said that would depend on the severity of my reaction to it (which I rate as quite severe) and he also said that most people would have already have started seeing improvement during the time I had been on Arimidex. I told him that I would rather not take anything than be on Arimidex again and that I found my experience of the side effect debilitating. Quality of life is definitely a consideration.
  3. I could try Tamoxifen. This is the more familiar estrogen blocking drug (which is also what Arimidex does, but in a different way) and it is the one given to women who are premenopausal. This is what he recommends and so I said I would give it a try. But I'm going to wait another week or two and see if this joint problem will resolve itself first. This time I'm going to thoroughly research the drug FIRST and not just rely on the handout they gave me at the Champion Centre. The handout they gave me for Arimidex didn't mention the possibility of the side effect I experienced, which happens to be experienced by approximately 30% of all people who take the drug. I think that's significant enough to at least alert people to. I'm dismayed to read that one of the most common side effects of Tamoxifen is weight gain. *sigh* Just when I was getting excited about losing my chemo weight. Nothing like more challenges. Maybe I can lose in the next two weeks what I'm likely to gain once I start taking the Tamoxifen.
The above puzzle is the 1000 piece one that Mom and I did while I was in Kyle. It's Betty Boop portraying the 12 signs of the zodiac. We did it one evening. It was just the right amount of difficulty for me ... hard but not too hard. Much easier than figuring out the post breast cancer treatment drug puzzle.


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