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    I've been thrown a nasty curve ball!
    mhall6252 posted:
    Many of you know that I am fighting metastatic (stage IV) breast cancer. I had a PET/CT scan on Monday which showed a great deal of progression - the chemo I was taking didn't do its job, so it's time to move on to another one. I have a team of oncologists from Dana Farber who are searching through clinical trials to determine which would be the best one for my situation. The kicker is that they want me to wean myself off metformin. That will open up additional trials to me - in many of them, you must be diet-controlled rather than on a medication.

    One didn't understand why I was on it as I had a "perfectly normal" a1c. She is extremely knowledgeable about breast cancer but maybe not so wise about diabetes and managing glucose levels to get as close to normal as possible. And in these clinical trials, they seem to indicate that an a1c below 8.0 is diet-controlled enough.

    So, I am weaning myself off 2000 mg of metformin. I think I can manage to the mid-6 range without it. Even with metformin, my morning fasting numbers range in the 110-140 range, but then tend to go down for the rest of the day. I have been pretty loose lately but I'll have to tighten up and pay closer attention. It will be interesting to see how I do with this.

    Keep in mind that I am over 60 and many doctors are suggesting looser targets for us "seniors." And to be honest, complications from higher than normal blood sugars are the least of my worries. I can do the clinical trials and since they usually last for just several months, I can get back on the metformin if necessary.

    One interesting trial uses a platinum chemo (known to be somewhat successful with my particular type of breast cancer) combined with generic Actos. That one interests me because the Actos would control the blood sugar (it's hard for me to let go of the idea of tight control) while, combined with the carboplatin, would hopefully knocking out the nasty cancer. I think there is some risk of congestive heart failure with Actos, but I have no known heart issues so I think I'd probably tolerate it OK.

    I have some challenges ahead, for sure!
    Diabetic since 5/2001
    Follow my journey at
    Smile and the world smiles with you.
    Haylen_WebMD_Staff responded:
    Michelle I'm so sorry to hear about the progression. But it sounds like you have a very proactive medical team to search out clinical trials.

    Sending you positive vibes and strength as you wean off metformin. Hoping someone else in this community has some experience with decreasing metformin and can give you support and maybe some tips/tricks to make it easier.

    Fight on warrior!

    dustnbones99 responded:
    I'm very sorry to hear about the progression of your cancer. I used to be somewhat up to date on treatment for breast cancer mets
    but i haven't kept up since my mom died. i hope you can find a clinical trial that works for you. I know breast cancer seems to be one where there is always something else to try.

    I've been trying to wean myself off metformin too. It just makes me too sick and i can't tolerate the gi issues. I've just been using more insulin since most of the orals cause problems for me. My dr. just shrugs and says, "don't take it" when i complain of side effects.
    mhall6252 replied to dustnbones99's response:
    Thanks, Dusty. I seem to remember that your mom had cancer, but I didn't recall that it was breast cancer. It takes too many women these days.

    If the metformin is causing you trouble, then I agree with your doctor - stop taking it. There are other options, no need to suffer.

    Thanks, Haylen! I've got a pretty good handle on eating low carb to keep glucose in check. And now that I've had cortisone shots, my knees can tolerate some exercise - I've been bike riding 6 miles a few times a week. Considering my circumstances, I think that's pretty good. Not riding today, though...the humidity is thick as thieves and it's supposed to rain.
    Diabetic since 5/2001
    Follow my journey at
    Smile and the world smiles with you.
    davedsel57 responded:
    Definitely a very nasty curve ball. My thoughts and prayers will be with you.
    Click on my user name or avatar picture to read my story.


    Debsbears responded:
    Michelle - I am totally at a loss for words. I am sorry - I will keep praying and will have my church family pray as well. My heart aches for you.
    I shall wait upon the Lord and renew my strength.
    Come follow my life's journey at:

    dustnbones99 replied to mhall6252's response:
    My mom did die with stage 4 breast cancer but i don't think it was what she died from. She had a stage 2 cancer in 1988 with a huge tumor. She had chemo and hormonal treatment and was ok for over 20 years. Then her cancer returned in her lymph nodes. She was responding to treatment though and her tumors were shrinking . She started having sob and we learned that she had lung tumors. We didn't put her through a biopsy but her oncologist thought that they were primary lung not breast mets.
    Michael Dansinger, MD responded:
    You are amazing! I admire your thoughtful approach to how you lead your life. Thank you for keeping us up to date and allowing us to learn from you. Stay strong!
    mhall6252 replied to Michael Dansinger, MD's response:
    Thanks everyone! And thanks Dr. Dansinger for your comments. I am honored...

    Now I need to find a volunteer opportunity to work with others in my situation. I do feel I have a lot to share and would like to do some one-on-one coaching with breast cancer patients, and even with some who also have co-morbidities such as diabetes. I think it's an underserved minority that oncologists don't necessarily know how to handle.
    Diabetic since 5/2001
    Follow my journey at
    Smile and the world smiles with you.
    NWSmom4g replied to mhall6252's response:
    Michelle, I don't know what to say. You've fought long and hard, and really deserve a break. Your idea of working with others in the fight themselves sounds good; you can help others and help yourself at the same time.

    Phototaker123 replied to mhall6252's response:
    That's such a great idea, Michelle, even though your cancer blog has helped thousands of women. You know I'm always thinking about you. You are such an inspiration to us all on how to live our lives no matter what hits you!

    This newer method that you will be undergoing is really interesting. So are the trials. You not only will be helping yourself, but countless other women "and" men, too, who get breast cancer.
    Anon_130687 replied to mhall6252's response:
    Volunteering is a great idea. Maybe there are already support groups through hospitals or breast cancer foundations that could benefit?

    Sending hugs your way!

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