Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Double Blind

The past two nights I have slept, slept. I got in bed, turned out the lights and then it was morning, I’ve forgotten what this was like. I haven’t slept well in months, I’d stay up late for fear of going to bed and the hours tossing and turning and then one sleeping pill then another, only to sleep fitfully for one-hour increments. Then suddenly this morning I realized that I’d slept, that I don’t remember trying to sleep because it just happened, no sleeping pills, no angst, what a great, big, giant relief just to get an effortless nights sleep.

I’m hungry too, famished and that’s not so great. I’m still not at my ideal weight and those with my type of cancer fare better when there is no weight gain and they are at their optimal weight after treatment, so it’s not just a vanity thing, it’s imperative that I eat healthy and lose some more weight and certainly don’t gain any.

Which leads me to an interesting fact I just learned as I ponder joining a clinical trial. They have found that fewer type 2 diabetic women get certain cancers {including breast}, and fare much better after treatment, despite their weight and diet when they are on the diabetes drug Metformin. This drug has been around for ages and is inexpensive but seems to have anti-cancer properties, for reasons which I can’t intelligibly synopsize, I have more reading to do.

Apparently there’s quite a lot of evidence for this and it’s gotten to the double-blind study point which I could join. From reading on-line and looking at the Triple Negative Cancer chat boards, it seems a lot of people are taking the drug on their own by getting their primary care doctors to write the prescription which many will do for this off-label use, although I can’t imagine any of my copious doctors doing this. If I partake in the study there’s only a 50% chance I get the drug with the other option being in the placebo group. That’s a drawback, because if the drug works, I want the drug. On the positive side, if I get the placebo, I’m still doing something useful for future patients because somebody’s got to be in the study for it to become a legitimate treatment option. Here it is though, the big downside {because nothing it seems, is simple}... the drug has a pernicious side effect that’s very common. Some people’s bodies adjust in a month or two, some don’t and it’s, it’s... constant, sudden, painful diarrhea. Why, oh why? The other caveat is that you have to start within a year of diagnosis, so I’d have to enroll in November. I’d be willing to possibly suffer these symptoms {temporarily} for the greater good, but not in November, that’s too soon, that’s the holiday’s and last year I’d just started chemo, I felt like crap, I want to enjoy the holidays. I want to feel good for a while, I don’t want to be trapped inside my house, inside my bathroom, I’ve had just about enough of that.

So I’m really torn. I want to do it for so many reasons, including the fact that even if I get the placebo, which I’ll know due to lack of said nasty symptoms, I’ll get monitored more closely and that’s a good thing. Technically, no one, including your doctor knows if you’ve got the placebo or the real drug.

I have a few weeks to think about it and for now I’ll just dwell on the fact that my baby survived the first day of middle school, probably a lot better than I did. Watching my little person enter that massive building was surreal. He got into his locker no problem, erroneously wound up in the 7th grade lunch and sat in on the wrong class for a bit before realizing it, but was unfazed and in a fine if somewhat dazed mood when he got home. Phew.


  1. I have a friend taking that drug for polycystic ovary syndrome! Metformin really gets around. I'm sure you read that it (along with the diarrhea, I guess) leads to decreased appetite and weight loss.

    Anyway, so, this friend feels GREAT on the drug. We are big poop talkers and she hasn't mentioned any distress.

    You have too much to think about--I wish you had a big sister advising you.

  2. good to know. i think i, and you with B should have been assigned complimentary life coaches to help us wade through these new and mystifying waters where the issues and decisions never seem to end. Life coach should be part of the goody bag.

  3. i need a court appointed guardian. no, i'll take the life doula.