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    Side Effects (Bone thinning (osteoporosis)): After two years on tamoxifen I found I had 9% bone loss in the spine and 7% in the pelvis. I am not postmenopausal though I am having no periods and am 60 years old. My ovaries have still been producing estrogen, so I cannot go on to the aromatase inhibitors. I began a weight resistance training program 8 months ago and have been going 3 times a week for 1 1/2 - 2 hours workouts. We will recheck my density in March (2012) to see if it has helped. If not I have to go on some kind of drug, not sure which one.

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    slogal shared an experience

    Side Effects (Bone thinning (osteoporosis)): Bleeding problems occured at surgery resulting in a large hematoma that involved the whole breast. No cause was ever found for why I had so much bleeding. I was purple across my whole chest. It took 2 weeks of vibration therapy and massage to reduce the hematoma enough to begin radiation and then another ten months for it to finally resolve. Very painful throughout and one of the hardest parts of the experience.
    Bone thinning - I have experienced a 9% bone loss in my spine and a 7% bone loss in my pelvis in the last two years. I am not postmenopausal though I am having no periods, my ovaries are still producing estrogen. I have been in a weight reisistance training program for 8 months doing heavy lifting and cardio workouts 3 times a week, for 1 1/2 -2 hours each time. In March of 2012 they will test again for bone density and in July for hormone levels. I can't go on to the aromatase inhibitors until I am truly postmenopausal. I am considering a hysterectomy, because I am 60 years old.
    Mouth dryness- With tamoxifen, all the mucous membranes dry out, which also means your mouth. I learned about the effect on tooth decay after I had two root canals and another crown because of the changes in my chemistry. The dentist told me to brush with only baking soda, morning and night and to use biotene mouth rinse 4-5 times a day. It has helped a lot and teeth are a lot healthier at my checkups.
    Depression- I shared about under the drug section.
    Fatigue- It took me over two years to regain my energy. I still need 9+ hours sleep a night and preferably a nap in the afternoon if I am going out at night. I was amazed at how long it has taken to recover. I was in pretty good shape physically before diagnosis, but it really knocked me for a loop physically, mentally, and emotionally.
    Hot Flashes- have been annoying and vary from 6 times a day to 20 depending on weather, time of year, and whatever else decides to affect them.
    Memory changes- I'm assuming it can be blamed on the tamoxifen or menopause, the slowness of finding certain words, the confusion of thinking, just annoying as heck.

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    slogal shared an experience

    Drug or Chemo Therapy (Hormone therapy): I started tamoxifen adjunct therapy one month after I finished radiation. I began a descent into depression that I did not recognize was being caused by the tamoxifen. My oncologist kept encouraging me to exercise to balance the depression, but I continued to spiral down. After four months my internist noticed the change in my personality and put me on Effexor XR. The antidepressant took a couple of weeks, but the change was noticable to everyone. The dosage has been upped several times to counteract anxiety, but I am now balanced. The only bad thing is no caffeine or alcohol, because either will mess up the balancing act. Tamoxifen does have a lot of side effects- it dries out your skin, hair, nails, etc. Sex is a challenge, XXX are hard to achieve; but possible with some creativity. I had not gone into menopause before diagnosis. The treaments did throw me into the hot flashes, no periods, except my ovaries were still producing estrogen that has continued for over two years. I have experienced a 9% bone loss over the last two years. I am trying weight resistance training to counteract the bone loss. Also questioning the idea of a hysterectomy- I am 60 years old, and have a 6 cm fibroid in my uterus already. This spring and summer (2012) will bring some new scans and hormone testing to see where I am.

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    Radiation (External radiation ): After the hematoma was reduced in size, I had 37 treatments of whole breast radiation. I had been going to a rehabilitation gym before the surgery, so I continued to work out all through the radiation treatments. This was to try and prevent some of the problems (frozen shoulder, etc.) that the radiation can cause. The radiation experience was scary at first, the machine is huge and I felt very vunerable.
    The staff was wonderful and did their best to calm my fears. The tattoos were something that bothered me because they were permanent, a constant reminder. One was a blob rather than a freckle and I am still deciding if I will one day have it removed, or incorporated in to a larger design. My daughter was upset that I got tattoos before she did. I have an olive complexion so I did fine on the radiation until the last week and a half. I had a very tanned breast and with the 7 boosts I finally began to burn. The last three were not fun. Every survival instinct in you is telling you to get off the table and run as far and as fast as you can. And instead of fleeing you have to lay there not moving and let the treatment burn. That messed more with my head than anything.
    Afterwards, I healed within two weeks, the tanned faded, then the lovely fireworks of nerves coming back to life began and continued for several months. My oncologist gave me another month off until we would start hormone therapy, I think I slept most of the time. I let down with completion of the radiation. I'd held it together from the diagnosis through the surgery and radiation and I just crashed emotionally.

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    Procedure or Surgery (Lumpectomy): Sixteen days after diagnosis I had a lumpectomy on my left breast, a sentinal node disection, and four lymph nodes removed. The tumor was 1.5cm and deep in the breast (which are the dense type).
    Previous mammograms showed nothing. The surgeon removed a golf ball size of breast tissue with clear margins around the ductal carcinoma tumor and all lymph nodes were clear. After surgery I developed a huge hematoma involving the whole breast. And my left arm lost about half of its strength. The hematoma delayed my radiation for a month and was really painful. The hematoma took 10 months and a lymphedema specialist treating it with vibration therapy for it to resolve. The left arm went on for twenty-two months and was finally diagnosed as a partial blood clot in a vein in my shoulder which finally resolved on its own.

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    Oh No (Diagnosed): An annual mammogram led to a call back diagnostic mammogram. Then an ultrasound, and an ultrasound guided biopsy led to a cancer diagnosis. No one in my family has had any kind of cancer so I was completely caught off guard. I was devastated emotionally and in shock. The next two weeks involved one more mammogram, 2 MRI's, an MRI guided biopsy on the other breast, 4 more ultrasounds, and finally the scheduling of surgery. The torrents of information and decisions to be made were overwhelming. It was a very scary and emotionally unstable time.