Friday, August 7, 2009
We had a really busy day - but Tanner is feeling better.
We went at 8:30 a.m. for the bone marrow aspiration and they took the draws from the left side. Tanner did much better this time (the right side REALLY hurt when they drew from there on Monday) but the RN said there were very few spicules -and they ended up having to go into the bone three times. The nurse explalined that another problem is that his count is low any way since his cancer is destroying the bone and now that they have drawn bone marrow four times in the last three weeks, they aren't able to get much aspirated. He just needs some time for his body to recover from all of these aspirations. There were no tears from either Tanner or myself this time, but I might end up with a few bruises from where he was holding my arm and hand.
After the bone marrow we went over to the Cancer Institute and they hooked him up to the chemo medications. He carries them around in a little 10 lb satchel and we will have to go to the Center every day at 11:30 a.m. and have the bag changed out and some lab work drawn. They said this form of chemotherapy will be easier on Tanner's body since he won't be given masses of the medications all at one time but will rather receive them more slowly over a period of 24 hours. They said he will end up with the same dosage of medication as the other patients but will just receive them at a slower pace that will be easier on his system. In addition to the chemotherapy, he will have to take about twenty three pills each day. I told him we need to get one of those huge weekly pill containers so we can keep up with them all.
With the impatience of youth, Tanner told them "just hit me with it" so he can go ahead and get this all over with. I told him he had to trust that the doctors know what is best for him and his treatment. I have to believe that some of Tanner's wanting them to "hurry" the treatment is that he worries about the expense of us having to live in Arkansas and maintain a home in Fort Worth.
I try to get him not to worry about the financial side of all of this, but I can tell he does. When we found out that one of the medicines was a "special" medication that our insurance required us to pay 30% (which totaled $900), I thought he was going to start crying. I told him to just not worry about it and I would go and get my credit card and just put it on there, luckily the pharmacist told us they were willing to set us up on a payment plan and Tanner settled down. I try to shield him from a lot of the financial side of all of this because I know that he worries, but sometimes he's right beside me when something like this comes up. After that, the doctor's office called and said they couldn't get the insurance company to commit to treatment, so they wanted me to come by the office and sign that I would be financially responsible for whatever the insurance doesn't pay. I had to explain to Tanner that I filed insurance for years and that this was a common practice whenever insurance is going to be filed. All of these medical issues and treatments are hard enough for Tanner to handle so I try to keep him focused on that and tell him that no matter what, he's going to get the treatment he needs and not to worry about anything else. That's what I'm trying to do myself. As long as we can get Tanner well, everything else will work out.
After the chemo appointment, we went to see the orthopedic surgeon so he could check out the x-rays for the lesion in the right hip. When he saw the huge cast on Tanner's left leg, he wanted to know why we didn't have it x-rayed also so he could check out the healing progress. We had to go back downstairs and have the left leg x-rayed too. He told us he would really like to put a nail in the right hip where the lesion is so big because he's afraid that area might break, especially now that they have started chemotherapy, but he doesn't think Tanner can undergo surgery at this time. He told Tanner that for the next month unless we are in the apartment, he wants him to stay in the wheelchair. He doesn't want him going into restaurants or stores or anything on his crutches. He's hoping that we can keep the bone from breaking and that with treatment the lesions will mostly heal on their own. He made us an appointment to come back in a month and wants to take the cast off the left leg at that time and put him in a, hopefully, shorter cast.
All in all, it's been a much better day. Now we just wait to see what tomorrow brings.