As I mentioned in my previous post, I have passed the five year mark of being on an aromatase inhibitor. So now what? I have decided I am going to stay on Aromasin. I do not know how long I will stay on it, but I am going to hang in there for a while longer. I want to stress that my decision should not necessarily be your decision. Believe me, I get it if you decide something different. I totally understand and respect the decisions others make regarding these meds. Many women (and men) do not stay on for the full five years. Some of us, me included, take breaks. Others skip a pill here and there (Yes, I have done that). Still others, pop that darn little white pill no matter what and do not understand how anyone could consider not doing so.
We are all different. We all experience different side effects and some don’t experience any at all. In fact, I would love it if you would comment about how well you are tolerating being on an AI or tamoxifen if this is the case for you. Sometimes we don’t share so readily when things are going well. And it’s important to do that too.
So why did I decide to continue?
First of all, I have done everything in my power to keep the cancer beast at bay. Bilateral mastectomy, check. Chemotherapy, check. Ovaries and Fallopian tubes yanked out, check. Uterus – removed for good measure, check (yes, there was no real consensus on the value of doing this part, but…). AIs for five years, check.
And now my oncologist is highly recommending that I stay the course. I trust him. I have to.
In addition, dear hubby has been very clear on what his wishes are. He wants me to stay on, despite the nasty side effects. And yes, he bears the brunt of some of them. I admit it. He does.
And I know the decision is ultimately mine, but then again, is it? (Post for another day).
I’m BRCA+. Do I have a greater chance for recurrence?
Supposedly not, but…
So those are my reasons. Such as they are.
I do not like the side effects of these drugs. At all.
My hair (what’s left of it) is awful. I often feel de-feminized. My joints hurt. I have bone loss. I struggle with fatigue, weight gain and other side effects listed on the handout that comes with these dang drugs. I hate these drugs.
Plus, I don’t like how there is not yet a consensus on what a woman in my position (post-menopausal at diagnosis and completed with the first five years on an AI) should be doing. Data is still being collected.
I’m signing on for a bit longer because I hate cancer more than I hate these AIs.
And again, this does not mean I am suggesting my decision should be your decision.
In all honesty, if I were living in a cocoon all by myself, I would likely opt out.
My oncologist (bless his heart) suggested this: “My advice is to continue, but tackle this in smaller time frames. Forget about staying on another five years. Tell yourself you’ll give it a try for another three months and then revisit.”
I like that advice.
I’m going to take it.
For now, it’s still one day at a time.
It guess it always has been.
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Note: In my next post I will share about the relatively new Breast Cancer Index Test which I have been investigating with great interest.
If you’re on an AI or tamoxifen, what do you plan to do after five years?
What side effects are/were you experiencing, if any?
Have you ever skipped your pill(s) on purpose?