If you read this post, you know that I have had a big cancer med change. After 3 years, I dumped Tamoxifen, as it was NOT the drug for me, and now I am going through the process of becoming POST menopausal by taking monthly Zoladex shots. I will start taking Arimedex in a week.
Arimedex is an aromatase inhibitor that can only be taken by women who are post menopausal. It inhibits production of estrogen NOT produced by the ovaries in the body, making sure none is left, which is the goal for us cancer survivors whose tumors are fed by hormones.
When I got my first shot last week, I searched the web for first hand stories of women who had been in my shoes. I am one who likes to know what to expect, so reading others experiences and stories is always comforting to me. I found some personal stories, but not many. I thought I would keep a Zoladex/Arimedex side effect journal not just for my own sake but for those who will come behind me wondering what they are in for.
I’d love to think there will be no side effects, and some women are that lucky, but most are not. I don’t think one can expect to go from pre-menopause to post-menopause in the period of 2 weeks and not have side effects.
I apologise to the men reading my blog. Lots of female talk….although…I know these very same injections are used for Prostate cancer in men to shut down testosterone, so if you are man reading this in the middle of that battle..WELCOME. I know you have your own set of side effects that are not fun. May God be with you and keep you well.
I also know Zoladex is often used for those who suffer with endrometriosis, so if that is you, WELCOME, and know that I have read your stories and my heart goes out to all the suffering and pain endrometriosis can cause. I pray the shots work for you and relieve your symptoms.
On to my Zoladex Journal:
Sore from injection. Immediate nausea, but I think this was due to the emotional stress the shot brought.
Day 2: Sore at injection site. No emotional symptoms. I feel great!
Day 3: Bruise at injection site. I feel great!
Day 4,5: I feel good. No symptoms. I actually feel more than good. I feel great and very emotionally stable. Zoladex gives a burst of estrogen and testosterone the first week, then the second week is when it shuts the ovaries down. I guess my body likes that burst.
Day 6: Starting to get hot flushes. Not too extreme. It is worse in the late afternoon/evening. I was also teary in the evening. I had reason to be, but I cried more than I normally would and was aware that I was reacting differently than I normally would. Felt on edge during the day…less patient than normal. Also took a 4 hour nap which has not been normal for me.
Day 7: Woke up very nauseous. Headache. Lightheaded and a bit of ringing in my ears. I feel tired and want to take a nap at 10:00 am. Looks like I’m officially on the ride to instant menopause. Blech!
So there is week one. I am typing this in my pj’s from my bed. I’m going to get up, get dressed and go shopping even though I don’t feel well. I’m going to pretend I feel great and see if my mind can convince my body to feel better! (it worked)
Despite feeling icky, I still feel better than I did on Tamoxifen, and this is easier to take because I expect it. To chemically shut down hormones and achieve such a fast menopause cannot be a walk in the park, so we will see how this next week goes!
Day 8: Slight headache, no big deal. Feel great emotionally. Hot flashes at night before bed.
Day 9: Woke up with slight nausea and headache. Did not last. Felt great emotionally. Energy good. Hot flashes at night. Not too severe.
Day 10: Same as day 9.
Day 11: Ditto.
Day 12: Woke up with hot flashes, but they did not last. Felt great emotionally during the day. Had pretty severe cramping in my ovary area. It felt like ovulation but more intense. Lasted a couple hours. Had an emotional breakdown late in the day. Argued with hubby and YELLED at the poor guy. He would say he deserved it but my reaction was way over the top and I cried a LOT. We were able to get it together…forgiveness, making up, making out….;)…and took the kids to a movie.
Day 13: Woke up with hot flashes & headache but slept great. Head feels heavy today, ringing in ears, hot flashes gone by 10 a.m. Energy low today.
Day 14: According to what I have read, I should be in chemical menopause by day 14. So far so good! I am pleased this shot has been easy so far. I am nervous about starting the Arimadex, and I’m going to put it off a week so I can enjoy my birthday and Thanksgiving. I will keep a journal about that drug, too, and let you know how it goes! Eek!
Here is the verse God gave me this in church, and I am claiming it as I face the unknown of this shot and its side effects, and also the unknowns of how the drug Arimadex will affect me as I start it next week. Love this verse…here are two versions.
“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes. (Matthew 6:34 MSG)
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:34 NIV)
I have been on Arimidex (aromatase inhibitor) for 2 weeks. I am due for my 3rd monthly injection of Zoladex tomorrow. I am doing well on both. I have many hot flashes and that is becoming quite the nuisance, as I get really chilled but then immediately have a hot flash. I take my hoodie jacket on and off all day long! I will talk to the Doctor about this, but overall, I am doing really well and I am SO GLAD to be off the Tamoxifen. I am no longer needing 3 hour naps! It is so great & I am so thankful.
BethApril 28, 2015 at 2:29 pm
Thank you so much for your post. I was diagnosed with Endometriosis 2 yrs ago through a laparoscopy. Tried various hormone treatments which didn’t work or I couldn’t stay on as caused migraines etc. Now about to have 3 month trial on Zoladex . if the symptoms respond positively then my gynae is doing a hysterectomy. Whip it out I say!! I’m 35, have a beautiful little boy and a long term poorly husband. All of which mean I won’t have more children, making this decision an easier one. I just hope I don’t react badly to this implant. All previous hormones haven’t worked n I need this to!!! I can’t live with the continual pain etc any more. Anyway, your post has given me hope ..I can deal with hot flashes n mood changes…already get them anyway but with a stash full of others on top!! Thanks again,
Inspired by youJanuary 18, 2014 at 1:08 am
Glad to hear everything has gotten better. I had my ovaries out and have been on arimedex since. It seems like my hot flashes have lessened. Hope everything continues to go well.
SusieEJanuary 15, 2014 at 2:30 am
I taken Femara, the “other” post menopausal inhibitor for two years now. One I adjusted to my 2nd menopause, it has gone pretty well. My onco put me on mangnesium for muscle pain, and vitamin E for hot flashes and it helped tremendously. We can do this!
Tari BramlettJanuary 13, 2014 at 5:30 pm
Wow Amy….this is really great news! I am thankful that I am not in need of Tamoxifen…and glad that the doctors are trying new way to end the hormones that feed the nasty cancers. My worst condition, thankfully, is RA & OA that i am able to work with. I take Methotrexate weekly, which is a drug that some docs swear by and other docs swear at, LOL….and every 6 weeks we do an infusion of Remicade. Both of these are autoimmune suppressants, and i know you know about avoiding sickies 😉 All this being said (why, i have no idea, LOL) last January I changed my way of eating….cleaner, fresher, reading labels, and NO Wheat or gluten. This made such a change in my RA I was amazed! I think clearer, more alert, within 5 days I noticed a 50% reduction of joint pains….totally amazed! Thank you for sharing and thank you for this blog & Facebook pages….so very thankful for your tips and recipes and encouraging words!
Warm Regards and Healing Thoughts,