Menopause or arimidex

Hi everyone, not sure where to post this so will also post it on “after treatment has finished” as I am 3 years down the line and just on arimidex now (47 when diagnosed). Had oophorectomy in April and was started on Arimidex, having the usual aches and pains that seem to go with the arimidex but i can cope with this as its not too bad. The problem is the low moods, feeling tearful and being really down. Before BC I was always really happy and bubbly, nothing bothered me but now it is a real effort to laugh. The moods come and go but it makes me so miserable. My doctor says this is perfectly normal as the last 3 years have been very difficult, especially with a severely physically disabled 20 year old son who needs round the clock care - he is very bright, has just sat his A levels so needs a lot of mental stimulation. GP also said that these symptoms are typical of menopause whether you have BC or not, just the arimidex will make the symptoms worse. As I am sitting here typing I am close to tears, I try to “pull my myself together” but it just seems to make things worse. My Dad is in a hospice at present as he has terminal cancer which has spread everywhere, Mum keeps going into graphic detail about the treatments he is having which is scaring me even more, so I just feel like I want to run away, being a big baby and not trying to make the best of things. Any encouragement from you lovely ladies out there would be really appreciated.

Love Jannie1

Jannie - what a lot you have on your plate - it is quite normal to feel as you do going through the menopause and along with taking Arimidex but even if your doctor says this is perfectly normal, in my opinion this is totally unacceptable. With modern medicine today there are several medications to take to change your mood and I would definitely ask for something. When I was on Tamoxifen and having my menopause I got very depressed but my husband being a doctor recommended to my oncologist that I take an anti-depressant and I have to say about 2 weeks later I felt very much better. I also found it helped me sleep which is really important. I do hope you son does well in his A levels. Do let us know how you get on and come back any time you want a shoulder to cry on. We have all done it. I send you a big hug.

Hi Olivia

Thank you for your support. Had a good nights sleep, only had to get up for my son 4 times instead the usual 7 or 8, so feel much better today. Lack of sleep certainly seems to make everything else so much worse and harder to cope. Its so nice to be able to come on this site, to chat, cry, laugh and rant/rave. I know the BC nurses all say to ring them if you have a problem but they are always so busy that I feel I am intruding on their valuable time, especially when there is nothing specifically really wrong. Yes, if these low moods continue I will mention it to my Onc when I see him in October. As I have only been on Arimidex since April after the oophorectomy I will give it a little longer but at least I now know that there are things out there to help. Thank you also for offering a shoulder to cry, hope you have big shoulders lol. Speak to you soon.

Love Jan

Hello Jan

Oh no, you’re not alone. I was on Tamoxifen for 6 months but then proceeded with the BSO and so changed to Arimidex and I am like a coiled spring - irritable and probably very irritating!!! There was no change to the flushes; I get them late afternoon onwards. I can recommend a Chillow though - just Google it. It’s a plastic pillow thing and I se it over my lap in the evening or behind my back during the day in my office. Cannot sleep with it though but definitely worth a try for some relief, at least if you feel a bit more comfortable physically it may lighten the mood a little too.

Sleep is a constant challenge and this past few weeks have been worse for some reason. I get up any time from 01:00 and come downstairs to sit in my recliner and try to snooze. I mentioned it again to my consultant today but he must think that I sound like a broken record. I started on Zopiclone about a year ago and until March was doing a month on/off but now the prospect of trying to get off is not something I would care to cope with and I’m sure I’m already taking more than is good but …

Anyway, as Olivia says too, I hope your son does well and keep coming on here for a virtual hug, we’re all here for one another.

Best wishes
D

Hello Dahlia

Nice to meet you. I’m not too certain about some of the terminology so do forgive me for asking, what is a BSO? Oh how right you put it, a coiled spring. I can be in tears one minute, then I have a few giggles and then back to being tearful. I accuse my poor hubby of not caring so when he comes to give me a cuddle I can be quite aggressive and use language that I never dreamt I would ever say!!! Hubby has said that it is never boring coming home because he can only guess at what mood I will be in. Doing really silly things too, like cooking porrige for breakfast with strawberry jam instead of making rice pudding and jam for dessert lol. Strange food cravings too, peanut butter and cucumber sandwiches, which are in fact really nice. I enjoy a glass of red wine or two but wonder if this also contributes to feeling a little down. Never mind, will just have to do some retail therapy at the shops tomorrow.

Love Jan

BSO = Bi-lateral Salpingo (includes the tubes) Oophorectomy. Simply put it means having your ovaries and tubes removed, both sides.

Sorry 'bout that, it irks me at work when people throw in TLAs (three letter acronyms) into documents/emails all over the place without spelling it in full at least once.

When the pounds were dropping off I tried peanut butter (an old favourite) but couldn’t swallow it. I used to love a peanut butter and banana sandwich or peanut butter with raspberry jam on top - looked like an open wound!!! I care little for alcohol these days (never been much of a lush) but I am now really mad for olives and they HAVE to be in oil, brine is no good. It’s weird what chemo does to your tastes, couldn’t drink tea for months but eventually came round and have stuck with Red Bush (ROOIBOS), a South African organic tea which has a distinct but smooth flavour. I’m rambling …

Re: husbands - poor souls. I never show aggression or “use language”, it just gets left to bubble under as my pulse rate increases and I bite my tongue - some days I’m just plain incommunicative. Someone, in a thread, some weeks ago described herself as a “peeled nerve” - I thought that hit the hammer on the head. Wish someone would hit me on the head - would make for a good night’s sleep if nothing else.

Cannot say I’ll report back on peanut butter and cucumber but may I dare you to try corned beef (butcher’s not tinned) and sliced beetroot? Very moreish …

Enjoy melting some plastic.
D

Hi girls

Good day today, went shopping with my son, great fun watching him tear around Tesco’s in his electric wheelchair, he seems to aim for all the “old dears” and then at the last minute veer off in another direction and then gives them all puppy dog eyes! Going to see my Dad in the hospice Saturday, looking forward to seeing him but not the place, hitting too many raw nerves.

The corned beef and sliced beetroot sandwiches sound delicious, will let you know when I give it a try.

I know its only been a week since my third annual mammogram but can’t wait for the results. I think I will be able to relax again and calm down. Am really trying hard Dahlia to take a leaf out of your book, not to swear and keep my temper. Hubby will be thinking that I am definitely having a hormonal mood! Never used to swear before BC or lose my temper, I just put everything down to the hormones, nasty little blighters aren’t they.

Have a good evening.

Love Jan

Hi Jan, what a brave woman you are, i have two teenage children still at home, one just doing his A leves, the other doing her G.C.S.E`s, i find them hard enough work at times, but they give me space when i need it, as does my hubby, but you have so much more than i do to bear, my parents both died many years ago, and all i have to put up with really is the outlaws, but they go away for three weeks this weekend, so what relief!!! i am lucky as i do what i want when i want, i know it isn’t the same for you, is there any chance you can get a few days with just your hubby, do you have close enough family who could give you a little respite when you feel really low? do you have a support group in your area where you can just go for a chat with other women? and as for swearing, well, i could do it for england some days, and the temper can be horrific, but it goes with the territory i suppose.

you take good care of yourself

lots of love

Alison xxx

Hi O, D and A

Had a nice long talk with my best friend last night who really told me off. After talking to you nice girls I really opened up to her and told her exactly how I felt. She said I have hidden my moods well and she would never have known and she feels upset that I couldn’t confide in her. She also said that if I feel like a good cry have one, don’t hold back, as she believes it helps to relieve the stress and she made me promise to ring her any time I am feeling miserable, said that’s what friends are for. She started as my son’s full-time carer at his special school, moved on to mainstream juniors with him and left him when he was 11 when he went to senior school. We see each other frequently so she knows our family circumstances well. My son was dx at Great Ormond School Hospital (GOSH) at 14 months. We were told that he would not live to see 5, then it was 10, then it was certainly he would not see his teens. Here he is now almost to his 21st birthday so that just goes to show that the doctors don’t know everything. His condition is rare but similar to muscular dystrophy. It is a progressive disease and in the last few years he has become so weak he can’t even lift a pencil. He is fed by tube into his tummy through the night as he has lost his swallowing reflex and has to have night-time ventilation by machine as his lungs only work at 30%. I know this is a long message but I needed to explain this as I feel very guilty for complaining about how I feel, even though I know BC is a very dangerous and scary condition, it is nothing compared to what my son has gone through. He is always happy, laughing and cheerful, never complains and his philosophy is to “just go with it” come what may. He is an inspiration to a lot of people and he has always maintained to use his disability as an advantage to help others in the same situation. My husband and I have sat by his hospital bed twice to be told that he won’t make it through the night. I suppose I also feel that I have let my family down by getting BC although I know thats a little silly but its how I feel. My family and in-laws live 2 hours and 1 hour away respectively but they are now both in late 70s and early 80s, my friends all work during the day so since my son left College a year ago I have had no break. I can’t expect my husband to get up during the night as he works full-time, at least I can rest during the day. I can’t go into details but hopefully soon we will be able to get some help.

Thank you for listening to me, just writing it all down has really helped me to get things into perspective. Speak to you all soon.

Love Jan

Dear Jan

Thank you for taking the time to post all that and I hope it made you feel better. I feel priviliged you have used your precious time to explain a few things to us and I am pleased that you have now opened up to your friend a bit so that she can support you a wee bit more.

Sorry I can’t promise decent weather for the weekend but I WILL be thinking of you and hope you get some enjoyment out of it.

All the best
D

Dear Dahlia

Thank you for your kind words. Yes, it was good seeing my Dad. He is very frail but still so positive, under 8st now but the Hospice have sorted his pain medication out and he is considerably better, eating a lot more and has a lot of interest in the things he would like to try and do once he gets home. Saw some unpleasant things there which I wished I hadn’t, but hey can’t run away from these things. My friend and I were able to have a really nice chat whilst in the car and I am just so sorry that I did not tell her things before. She said she knew what I was going through by talking to others at work who are in a similar situation but she did not want to press me and respected that I may not want to talk about things. So good to get things in the open. Feeling pretty good at the moment despite getting on the scales this morning and whoa 10st 4lbs. I’ve put on over a stone in a year. I am only 5ft so look like a little barrel. Must do some exercises or just stop eating the cream cakes!!!

Love Jan

Hi Jan, your an inspiration to us, and so is your son, glad that you’ve managed to talk a little more to your friend, i find it very difficult to talk unless its on here, i rarely ring my bc nurse as i don’t like to waste her time (but i’m very quick to tell others to do it!) i feel a lot of the problem is that i’ve never been ill, and i don’t feel ill, ok, i have discomfort, and the side effects of the drugs are hell at times, but i sometimes feel like a fraud because i’m not lying in a bed. i feel that its the mental side of this that really gets me down, the loss of control, the lack of all that used to seem normal that i took for granted. i now how bad it is for me at times, but i have so much less stress in my life than you do Jan, god bless you

Alison xxxxx

Dear Alison

Thank you for your kind words. Would you have any objection if I tried to send you a private message? Don’t be worried to say you would prefer not to, its not a problem. I have never sent a private message before so it would be fun to try. Perhaps the first time I’ll just say “hi” and see what happens, I suppose you would click on the private messages box at the side and see if you receive anything. I could always send a private message to myself and see if that works also lol.

Love Jan

Dear Alison

Don’t think I’ll be sending you a private message as experimented in sending myself a private message to see if it worked - lo and behold everyone could see it too.

Hope you are OK.

Hugs to everyone

Jannie

Thanks Dahlia. Have given it a try so will let you know. Off to do the evening chores now.

Love Jan