Sunday, January 22, 2012

You won't know until you try it

Do you remember the commercial for Life cereal? 'Mikey likes it!' As children we were encouraged to try new things - maybe we would really like lima beans if we would just try them. (And I knew the cat would eat them if I put butter on them.)We were also the daredevils who had not yet developed the fear of pain as we rode our bikes down the steep hills (without helmets as they were not yet invented).

Some how as adults we remain skeptical of many things and have developed a healthy sense of self preservation and aversion to pain and ailments. I see this all the time as friends and people I know through online boards are not sure if they should try a medication because of fear of possible side effects. Maybe the years of seeing the single page of medical ad followed by the two pages of side print on side effects has brainwashed them.

I find this mind set a bit silly. Do they have ESP and know they will get all the possible side effects? If your doctor is recommending a medication, perhaps they are doing it to either potentially save your life, relieve pain, or cure you? They went to medical school and are more familiar with the medication than you are. Yes we can do our research and convince ourselves we will not benefit from the medication and will develop all the side effects known to man. STOP! The side effects don't happen to everyone.

If you are concerned about a medication and its side effects, talk to the prescribing doctor and ask them to give your more details on it and what you should be on the look out for. You can do research on websites such as drugs.com or rxlist.com and see the real numbers of what the chances are of a specific side effect. Tamoxifen is known to rarely cause uterine cancer - but this is so far fetched that it is not listed as a side effect on either site.

A bunch of women on a breast cancer board were discussing whether to take Tamoxifen or not because of fear of side effects. One woman chimed in and said she had not taken it because of the potential side effects and now was coping with stage IV with several metastases - those can't be undone. I was on it for 2.5 years and did not have significant side effects.

I was on Lyrica for about 2 years for back pain until it stopped working for me. During that time a friend said to me that her doctor had prescribed it to her but she was concerned about the side affects and possibly becoming addicted to it so she wouldn't take it. I recently heard from her and she is still dealing with a lot of pain and not taking it.

A bunch of women on a breast cancer board were discussing whether to take Tamoxifen or not because of fear of side effects. One woman chimed in and said she had not taken it because of the potential side effects and now was coping with stage IV with several metastases - those can't be undone. I was on it for 2.5 years and did not have significant side effects.

I am now on my third or fourth back pain medication. When one stops working and my doctor suggests another one, I give it a shot. I don't hesitate at this point. If I am living a pain filled life and there is any hope for pain free living, I am eager to try it. After breast cancer the idea of Tamoxifen and then Femara to significantly help prevent recurrence, why not. I am having osteopenia issues and my oncologist has said she wants to keep me on Femara even though it may be increasing my bone loss but she said then she would put me on something to counteract that for a year or so after I am done with it. I can live with that. I may not be happy about it but I can cope if the alternative is greater risk of stage IV cancer.


All I can say is you won't know until you try it. What is it about the fear of the unknown that keeps us from trying new things that could broaden and saves our lives? There are millions of therapists happy to make money off those who suffer from this fear.

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