His platelet count only rose to a 44 so we thought we might have to stay another day or two but Dr. Barlogie said they could go ahead and take the lines out since the numbers were coming up more and more every day. Then they called the doctor at the hospital to schedule the line removal and he said no, he wouldn't take the lines out until he reached 50!! Dr. Barlogie's office had to do some fast talking about Tanner being a 17 year old who hasn't been home in 2-1/2 months and the doctor at the hospital gave in. The lines came out without any problems and we get to come home until mid October.
We will have to go and see Dr. Davis (the Pediatric Oncologist in Fort Worth) twice a week while we are at home and the clinic here gave us some boxes and instructions to give them for the required labwork. He will need blood drawn twice a week and for one set of tests they can just fax the reports back to Dr. Barlogie's office - but for the other set of tests the blood will have to be put in special vials and then we will have to ship them back here to Little Rock.
I will be forever grateful that the doctors in Fort Worth referred us here to Little Rock where we found Dr. Barlogie. Now that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, I can admit how very scared I was when I was first told the diagnosis. When Dr. Richie-Gillespie called me at work to tell me that the pathologist had come back with a diagnosis of cancer, it completely rocked my world. I fell apart and everyone at work was trying to find out what was wrong and to console me (which is why the doctor called me at work to give me the news - so I wouldn't be with Tanner when I first discovered the diagnosis).
I will always remember the relief we all felt (me, Tanner, Granny Jane, his Dad and Step-Mom)when we were all at the oncologist office in Fort Worth and the doctor told us he was sure that the cancer was contained all in one spot and that it wouldn't be any problem treating the area. Then the total shock when just a little while later we were put in another room and the full body scans were brought up to show us that the cancer was in multiple bones all through Tanner's body. It took everything I had to just not start screaming. The only thing that held me together was the fact that Tanner was sitting there in the room. Truly, there are no words to describe the feelings that were going through me at that moment. It was a parent's nightmare and I can only imagine the thoughts and feelings that were going through Tanner's, and everyone elses, head at that moment.
The doctor's in Fort Worth were just not very reassuring at all and admitted to me that they didn't know what to do for Tanner and that I needed to get him to someone who was an expert on his disease. I was just scared to death.
Then we got here to Little Rock and Dr. Barlogie told us that Tanner could be cured. He had the results from all of the tests and he said he truly felt like he could cure him and Tanner could have a long and healthy life. Can you imagine the relief; the hope?
One thing that has gotten on Tanner's nerves while we have been here is that he finds me looking at him. He gets on to me and tells me that "staring" gets on his nerves but it's something I've found I can hardly stop doing. I look at him. I look to see if he looks weak, or sick, or if he's lost more hair. I just look at him because I love him so very much and I have to reassure myself that he's okay. I am so relieved that he's here with me and thanks to the treatment he's received, is going to be okay. I'm trying to stop "staring" and when I catch myself, I look away. I know that one day Tanner will have children of his own and then he'll understand why I've had to look at him so much. I just have to reassure myself that all is well with my baby.
Being in Arkansas the last two and a half months has been a small price for us to pay for Tanner to have received the life saving treatment that he has gotten here and I will be forever grateful to Dr. Barlogie and the staff at UAMS for taking care of him and never hesitating with his treatment even when our insurance started denying coverage.
I am also so very blessed to have an employer who didn't hesitate in allowing me to stay in Arkansas with Tanner and went above and beyond what anyone could expect in supporting me and immediately setting me up so that I could work remotely - and for my co-workers who have picked up the slack left by my absence in the office. I'm so grateful for my agents, friends, family, and strangers who have contributed to Tanner's Medical Fund which made it possible for us to rent the apartment so that we could have a "home" that Tanner could return to every day while he was so sick from his chemo treatments.
So many people have reached out to us and our lives have been changed forever from this experience. My faith in my fellow man has reached an unimaginable level and Tanner and I will always be grateful to you all for the love and support we have received.