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Type 1 diabetes and chemotherapy

30 REPLIES 30
irenea
Member

Re: Type 1 diabetes and chemotherapy

Hi hbunny,

Hope everything has gone well for you with the chemo. Do you have a diabetes nurse to speak to about your treatment? It is really difficult to keep blood sugars down if you are having steroids which I expect you are. As you probably know the steroids make you insulin resistant so you need more insulin  either with food or without. I was surprised how much more insulin was needed but I remember the same happened during pregnancy, that is needing much more insulin.

It's very nerve racking to just give a lot more though, isn't it?  Especially in a short space of time, like 6 hours after chemo and suddenly you need a large dose increase. My level went up to 18 the first time. I kept giving more insulin and nothing happened, so I kept giving more until it eventually came down and then increased the base rate. I think I'd go carefully and request an appointmnt with a diabetes specialist. My diabetes nurse said to reduce dosage after the last steroid dosage as requirements drop quite rapidly. I have found so far that I have dropped the dosage from quadruple to double 24hr after the last steroid dose, and kept a close eye and reduced basal insulin quite quickly to prevent hypos. But we're all different and I think you should have been offered some help.You can always have an extra bolus if sugars are running high.

Anyway, hope the first one went ok.

Best wishes x

irenea
Member

Re: Type 1 diabetes and chemotherapy

Hi Lucy BCC

Thank you!

 

irenea
Member

Re: Type 1 diabetes and chemotherapy

Hi Katie,

Thanks for your help. Obviously you're working during the radiotherapy so you went back really quickly, I don't think they're expecting me back until the radiotherapy is finished. I was just wondering if it might take longer than that to feel up to it, but sounds like you are feeling well enough during the process, so that's good. I'm part time anyway so should easily be ok to go back quite soon after the radiotherapy if your experience is fairly typical. Mind you, it's different for everybody so we'll wait and see, but chemo not as bad as I thought, so hopeful.

Best wishes x

 

Lucy_BCC
Member

Re: Type 1 diabetes and chemotherapy

Hi Irenea

Welcome to the BCC forums, along with the support you are sharing here our helpliners are on hand with further practical and emotional support for you so please feel free to call to talk any concerns through

Lines are open weekdays 9-5 and Saturdays 10-2

Here's a link to the BCC radiotherapy information and booklet which I hope you will find helpful:

https://www.breastcancercare.org.uk/breast-cancer-information/treating-breast-cancer/radiotherapy

Take care
Lucy BCC

Katiecjm
Member

Re: Type 1 diabetes and chemotherapy

Hi irenea,
The actual treatment is really quick, I would say taking into account getting undressed and getting on the bed with them checking all measurements and then the actual dose of radiotherapy and time to get changed again, all in all it takes less than 10 minutes. I have a bit of a journey to the hospital too, it's not that far away but the roads are really busy getting into Manchester so can take anything from 25 minutes to 90 minutes each way. Luckily I had my chemotherapy at the local hospital. I haven't felt any burning (yet) but my left boob feels warm for a while after and apparently you get a bit of a tan/red mark that appears from about the 2nd week. I'll let u know how I get on. As for work I went back to work at the beginning of June (3 weeks after last chemo), I am currently only working 3 days a week. I'm hoping to increase my days in August and then be back full time in September but will just have to see if I get really tired. Take care x
irenea
Member

Re: Type 1 diabetes and chemotherapy

Hi Katie,

Thanks for your help. I was just wondering if the radiotherapy lasts very long or is it just a few minutes?  I've heard mention from a friend who went through the same chemo and radio process last year that she felt quite tired with the radiotherapy as it was every day and she had a long journey to the hospital. I wondered if you felt anything like burning or if you've been told what to expect. I expect they'll tell me this later, I'm just eager to know what's coming and get it all over and done with! I'm also wondering when I'll be fit enough to go back to work. Not that I'm in a particular rush, but still have bills to pay.

Best wishes x

 

 

Katiecjm
Member

Re: Type 1 diabetes and chemotherapy

Hi, radiotherapy is every week day. How many sessions u have depends on each individual really, I'm having the 15 as standard and then 5 booster sessions as long as my skin is ok. I was diagnosed in November last year with a grade 2 tumour, luckily lymph nodes were clear. Started chemo on 22 January 3 courses of FEC and then 3 courses of Taxotere, last chemo was 14 May. I was very lucky and didn't have many side effects. I started radiotherapy on Friday so am 3 down 17 to go. Take care x
irenea
Member

Re: Type 1 diabetes and chemotherapy

Hi All,

Nice to see these posts on here as haven't been able to find much on the internet about diabetes type 1 and cancer. It's good to see how everyone is just getting on with it as those with the diabetes always have to!

I was diagnosed with Grade 3 breast cancer in February but very lucky, no spread to lymph nodes. Undergoing FEC chemo currently, 3rd session 04/07. Radio planned afterwards.

I started on an insulin pump in January, not the best timing I think, but I buried my head in the sand and thought the biopsy was going to be negative. Diabetic for 53 years from age 4. The pump has helped as I have been able to quadruple my base rate in order to keep the sugar levels down without worrying too much about hypos as can always switch it down if sugars drop too low, which hasn't been a particular problem with the steroids!  Blood sugars all over the place even so as also needed to treble food boluses.

Can anyone give me more info about the radiotherapy? I haven't asked too much so far as more keen on getting the chemo sorted. How long are the sessions and is it every day or a break at weekends? And how many days , is 20 the usual number, I presume that is 4 weeks with a break at w/ends?

Thanks for your help.

xx

 

Katiecjm
Member

Re: Type 1 diabetes and chemotherapy

Hi Hbunny, I found the best way of dealing with the highs was to at least double the fast acting insulin (I'm on Humalog) - it really is trial and error but to be honest I wasn't too hung up on it as it really is only for the few days that you are taking the steroids (watch out for the dip the day or 2 after you finish that course of steroids). I was told to keep my long acting insulin (I'm on Lantus) the same however I did increase it by a couple of units but it didn't really make any difference. It really is all trial and error but try not to worry too much about the highs, just be extra careful with what you eat and remember it is only a few days at a time. Keep checking your blood sugar and if you have to then inject a bit more fast acting. If you have any questions at all just ask if I can help in any way I will. As for me first radiotherapy done, all ok, 19 to go!!!! Hope your side effects are minimal (I was very lucky with mine and will be interesting to hear how you get on just to see if it's because we're extra tough). Take care xxx
hbunny
Member

Re: Type 1 diabetes and chemotherapy

Hi Katie, do hope your first radiotherapy session has gone well, and quickly. I managed to get my chemo brought forward to yesterday so feel si much better the first is out of the way. No real side effects as yet, but still plenty of time for that.

only concern you might be able to help with is how did you deal wit the constant sugar spike. Did you just double both short and fast acting to cope. Struggling to get levels below 15-18 at the moment, but also don't want a back up of insulin? Any ideas greatfully received. Take care of you. Hbunny
Katiecjm
Member

Re: Type 1 diabetes and chemotherapy

Hi it's a shame u have to wait to get started, it's so frustrating having to wait when all u want to do is just get started. When I went for my radiotherapy planning appointment they decided to delay my radiotherapy till after my weekend away (this sent me into floods of tears as I just want it all over with) so I am now starting radiotherapy on 4th July and I will be having 20 sessions so it's takes me up to 31st July. Make the most of your pre-chemo time, hope the side effects are minimal when u start. Let me know how u get on. Take care x
Blue23
Member

Re: Type 1 diabetes and chemotherapy

From someone whose hair has just fallen out ( after 2nd chemo ) would recommend getting it  cut shorter if you have longer hair but don't shave it until you need too. If your chemo is a few weeks away , then it takes another few weeks for it to fall out ( mine was 3 ) then you still have about 6 weeks of hair !! I would recommend leavig it as long as you can as we are going to be bald for a while !!:-)

Once mine started to fall out though couldn't wait to start wearing wig as it felt very thin and lank and could not be brushed for falling out. Have worn wig now last few days and does look good  !

Good luck xx

hbunny
Member

Re: Type 1 diabetes and chemotherapy

Hi katie.  Just had my first oncology appt. Confirmrd FEC-T as expected 3 sets of each over 18 weeks, however I have a 2 week wait to chemo assessment and then another week to start treatment, i was hoping for sooner, but everything in others hands - back to the waiting game which im not good at, getting very impatient!

 

Got an appt with the wig lady booked so will be off to have the head shaved before i start chemo just to feel in control of something.

 

How is your radiotherapy going, hope its not making you feel like a fried chicken? You will soon be done and still have some summer to look forward to.

 

Take care, sending hugs coz sometimes nothing else helps.  Hbunny xx

hbunny
Member

Re: Type 1 diabetes and chemotherapy

Hi katie, thanks for the encouragement, its good to hear chemo isnt always as bad as expected.  Good luck with the radio and really hope you have a very special weekend away - spoil yourself, you deserve it.  Best wishes. Hbunny xxx

Katiecjm
Member

Re: Type 1 diabetes and chemotherapy

Hi hbunny, at least you have all the facts now. Chemo for me really wasn't too bad and I was very lucky with the side effects. Had my radiotherapy planning session today which was ok but because I have a long weekend planned at end of month the won't start my treatment till after so radiotherapy will now take my treatment till end of July. X
hbunny
Member

Re: Type 1 diabetes and chemotherapy

Hi ladies, well the results are now in. Its a grade 3 ductal with 1 out of 4 lymph nodes effected and also vascular invasion (god knows where its planning its next attack). ER negative and HER2 negative, still waiting for PgR result.  All in all means 18 weeks chemo (probably FEC-T) followed by radiotherapy to breast and effected arm pit. I thought that was a better option than complete clearance? 2 weeks to first oncology appt and another 2 weeks to start therapy.

 

Was hoping for some moer positives in there, but its still curable! Holding on and hanging in - the rabbit hole gets deeper.

 

Ps - did any of you have semi permanent eyebrow tats?

 

Thanks for your help and love to you all. Hbunny xx

Katiecjm
Member

Re: Type 1 diabetes and chemotherapy

I haven't suffered with any permanent neuropathy although I'm still early days. With my final cycle I've had numbness in my face but this is now back to normal and I am 12 days post my final dose. Hopefully you won't suffer with any neuropathy x
peacock
Member

Re: Type 1 diabetes and chemotherapy

I did, and still have some strange feelings in my fingers, but I'm sure it was nothing to do with diabetes, just with the taxotere.

hbunny
Member

Re: Type 1 diabetes and chemotherapy

Thanks for the advice ladies.  Did you suffer with any neuropathy type problems as i read that is a poss side effect of some chemo drugs.  Ive been lucky to escape that with diabetes so far and worried in case chemo might trigger an ongoing problem. Thanks hbunny

peacock
Member

Re: Type 1 diabetes and chemotherapy

Hi ladies,

 

I was dx the first time in 2008, had adjuvent chemo x 6 taxotere and at that time I had been a type 1 diabetic for 40 years.

 

I monitored my blood glucose carefully,  the steroid tablets caused a raise in them so I had to inject more whilst taking them.   I took all the anti sick pills and pessaries i was given and luckily although nauseas, was never actually sick.   So  i would advise frequent testing and adjusting insulin as required.

 

Good luck with it

Katiecjm
Member

Re: Type 1 diabetes and chemotherapy

Hi hbunny,
Glad everything went well. My last chemo went well although it's strange now to really believe that part of treatment is over with. I have met my Clinical Oncologist regarding radiotherapy and I am now just waiting for my planning appointment but it should start at some point in the next 2-3 weeks. I'm feeling ok at the minute although I'm still having good and bad days but it's only 11 days still my last chemo so in a few more days I will feel even better. Hope you get the results you want. Let me know how you get on. Katie x
hbunny
Member

Re: Type 1 diabetes and chemotherapy

Hi katie. Just a quick post to say all went well yesterday, was able to go for a wle rather than mx as the results of calcification was "innocent". First good news so far! Blood sugars not too bad and now back to normal. Still no other info however, that will come in another two weeks along with follow up plan. I know this will mean radiotherapy but fingers crossed will get away with chemo, although probably not with grade 3.  Anyway how did your last chemo go hope your now feeling good and ready for a good summer.  Xx hbunny

hbunny
Member

Re: Type 1 diabetes and chemotherapy

Thank you katie - watch this space
Katiecjm
Member

Re: Type 1 diabetes and chemotherapy

It's certainly not dull is it Hbunnie? Honestly if I can help in any way or if you just want to have a rant then please do. You can private message me if you have any questions that you don't want to be public. Take care of yourself and remember everyone on this site will support you and can offer advice and tell you their stories. Katie x
hbunny
Member

Re: Type 1 diabetes and chemotherapy

Thank you so much katie, its just one more problem to make life interesting.  So pleased you are coming out the other side and can now look forward to the rest of your life.  I will keep you posted andd certainly take yoou up on your offer of support over the next few months.  Take care.  Xx hbunnie

Katiecjm
Member

Re: Type 1 diabetes and chemotherapy

Hi Hbunnie,
I am now almost finished, my last cycle will be next Wednesday (14th May). I have been very lucky with side effects and haven't really suffered much at all. My blood sugar tends to be sky high when I am taking the steroids and have the chemo but I adjust my humalog and do more blood tests and get by. If you have any questions or need any help with anything message me. It's tough going but u will get through it and if I can be of any help please let me know. Katie x
hbunny
Member

Re: Type 1 diabetes and chemotherapy

Hi katie, just wanted to offer support, although im sure you are well on your way by now.  I too am type 1 for the same no of years - lantis and novorapid. diagnosed on tues with Grade 3 although have no further info as yet, although op on 23 May probably mx and scared to death. Let me know how the chemo affected you as i might be there soon.

In the meantime, take care and good luck. Hbunnie

Katiecjm
Member

Re: Type 1 diabetes and chemotherapy

Thanks KittyKat, the party was good although at midnight I got a bit emotional lol. Thanks for the understanding, it's hard sometimes as everyone thinks it's what you want to hear and I know I will beat this but like you said it's scary as it's the unknown and I can't control it (usually I am a bit of a control freak). Katie x
KittyKat7982
Member

Re: Type 1 diabetes and chemotherapy

Hi Katie

I can offer no advice on the diabetes, but I just wanted to say that don't worry about trying to be positive all the time. I think it's only natural to feel scared, worried, nervous and all the other emotions we go through. We're human, not robots! So you carry on as you are. Be positive for your children, but don't allow yourself to bottle things up - that could end up making you feel worse in the long run!

Hope you enjoyed the party as much as you could 🙂 x
Janet_BCC
Member

Re: Type 1 diabetes and chemotherapy

Hi Katie,

 

You might find it helpful to talk over some of your concerns with one of our helpliners.  They can offer practical information and emotional support.  They will be open again as normal tomorrow; 9-5 on weekdays and 10-2 on Saturdays.  The number is 0808 800 6000

 

Very best wishes

 

Janet

BCC Moderator

Katiecjm
Member

Type 1 diabetes and chemotherapy

Hi,
I have been a type 1 diabetic for almost 30 years and in November was diagnosed with Stage 2 DCIS. I had a WLE and sentinel node biopsy on 2nd December and I consider myself very lucky as my lymph nodes were clear and they got a clear margin around the lump they removed. Due to my age (40) I will be having chemotherapy followed by radiotherapy and today I received my appointment to see the oncologist which is 9th January. I am just wondering if anyone out there is also diabetic and has had chemo? If there is how did it affect your diabetes? I am terrified off all the side effects of chemo but I know it has to be done to give me a better chance of long term survival. Also my breast cancer was not hormone fed and I was wondering if I should ask for a genetics test to see if I carry the BRCA (???) gene, what do people think? I am trying to remain positive as I have 3 children aged 16, 11 and 8 but sometimes it's hard to be positive when you are facing this, why don't people understand that you can't be positive 100% of the time? Still tonight I will go to a party, put on a brave face and I'm sure will shed a few tears at midnight. Happy New Year to everyone who reads this and thank you for listening to me going on. Katie