Saturday, October 31, 2009

It started off well with our morning trip to 7C. Tanner was feeling so good the nurse thought for sure his numbers must be on the rise but when the labwork came back his white blood count and his plateletts had lowered some more. The nurse said that today was probably his bottom and he should start rising from here. She also said that he needs a platelett transfusion but since he has to be cross matched they didn't have them available for today and that it would probably be tomorrow or monday before it could be done. By then, maybe they will start coming up on their own.

I told her that Dr. B wanted Tanner to have an MRI of his spine area while his system was bottomed out but that no one had called us from MIRT's scheduling department. She checked and Tanner's appointment had been made and I guess they just forgot to call us with the time. By then, we only had five minutes to get over there so we had to rush on over to the MRI Department.

While Tanner was back having the scan, the nurse on 7C called my cell and said that the labwork had come back and Tanner's potassium and magnesium are still low so they wanted us to come back up to 7C again so they could hook him up to the infusers. When we went back, we were put in a room with John and were able to meet his sisters who arrived here yesterday. His family is taking turns taking care of John here in Little Rock and his wife in Virginia. Lauren is scheduled for a lumpectomy on Tuesday and they are feeling positive that everything will turn out well and she should only have to undergo about six weeks of spot radiation. It's hard on both of them to be apart while they are each dealing with their individual cancer treatments. I can only imagine what they are going through.

On the way back to the apartment, Tanner said that he thought he would like to have pizza for lunch. When I brought the pizza back to him, he took one bite and then threw up all in his plate. I had to run and get a trash can for him. He ended up just eating potato soup again. They quit giving him nausea medicine yesterday and I'm wondering if it isn't too soon. At the very least, I think he needs to be taking the stomach acid medicine at least twice a day instead of just at night before he goes to bed. I will talk to the Nurse Practioner about it tomorrow.

This evening, Tom from across the street came over and he and Shirley gave Tanner a gift card to On the Border for a Halloween Treat. That was so very nice of them!! Don't you know that when Tanner feels better he will enjoy going for some Tex-Mex!! I'm so glad they are neighbors at the apartments. It just makes me feel more secure to know they are nearby.

I guess it will be a quiet Halloween here in Little Rock. I've told everyone to send pictures of my grandkids and great-nieces and nephews so that I can see what they look like in their costumes tonight.

Tanner and I miss you all! Happy Halloween!!

Friday, October 30, 2009

We made it over to the MIRT to see Dr. Balogie for our 8:00 a.m. appointment about twenty minutes early. The doctor made it in to the office at a little after 10:00 a.m. They told us that he had an "emergency" conference call. Tanner was the second patient he saw so it wasn't too bad once he finally made it.

Since today is the day before Halloween, most of the staff were all in costume and they were playing movies in the waiting room and had treats, pop corn and soft drinks. They came into our exam room and told us that we could go out and "party" in the waiting area until the doctor got there and they would come out and tell us when we needed to go back to the room.

We went out for a while and watched Pirates of the Caribbean. Tanner really enjoyed it for a while then all of a sudden you could see when the energy level just dropped. He told me he was ready to go back to the room and lay back down.

Dr. B came in and you could tell he was a little surprised about how "down" Tanner is. He really thought he would sail through this round of chemo/stem cell - especially since the chemo was only for one day. The thing is, Tanner's system is already so compromised that it didn't take much to just wipe him back out.

Tanner told him that it kind of hurts when he takes a deep breath so the doctor listened to his chest and told him he didn't hear anything that indicated pneumonia and that he thought it was "all good". He aslo said Tanner should be able to come home by next weekend and scheduled a discharge appointment for him next Thursday.

The thing that kind of worries me is that when Tanner had pneumonia before after he broke his leg, they didn't hear anything when they listened to his chest. They found it when they did x-rays of his chest in the Emergency Room.

Dr. B said now that his sysem is all supressed it would be a good time to do another MRI because it would have better films. He said he would like for him to have another MRI of the spine area and they are supposed to schedule one for tomorrow. Then, next week we go back to see one of the other doctors while Dr. B is out of town and if all of his counts are up, they will dismiss him to go back home for another break.

This break most likely will be for a month and then he will need to come back for his consolidation chemotherapy - which is the chemo that is at about 70% of the normal strength. Most people can go through the consolidation chemo process in about two weeks - and many people only have to have one consolidation but others have to come back and do a second. It's one of those things that we will have to wait and see when the time arrives.

I'm going to try and make sure that they make the consolidation time early enough that he can complete the whole process and be back home in time for Christmas.

It would be so sad to have Christmas away from home!! But for Tanner's health, I guess we will do whatever we have to do. Dr. B asked Tanner if he minded having another MRI and Tanner said, "I think I would do just about anything you told me I needed to do." You could tell Dr. Barlogie was touched, but it's true, we have put our trust in this man and I know that he's doing everything he can for Tanner. As he left the room he hugged me and held my hand and then he turned to Tanner and hugged him and told him "I love you" and Tanner told him "I love you too". As corny as that sounds, it's so very true. You can tell he does what he does because he genuinely cares about his patients. He hasn't hesitated in Tanner's treatment because of our insurance problems. He's put Tanner's well being first before all other issues and I will be forever grateful to him.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The mornings start out rough, then as the day goes by, Tanner gets a little better. All in all, he's still really weak though.

When we got to 7C today, Tanner was really light headed and kind of breathless. The nurses said that his heart rate was too fast and that he was dehydrated. They gave him IV fluids, and he was connected to two infusers - potassium and also the 24 hour anti-nausea medicine.

John and his daughter Cindy were going into the room next door to us this morning and she asked the nurses if we could just go ahead and share a room. They said yes, and that ended up being a good thing as were were there over four hours again today. When we all finally left, we walked over to the Bread Company with them and had sandwiches for a late lunch.

By the time all of that was over, Tanner was exhausted again (as you can see from the photo in the car on the way back to the apartment).

It's 8 p.m. and he's already gotten in bed with a movie playing on his little TV. It's pouring down rain here and I can only hope it lets up some before we head out in the morning. The rain always makes it interesting for Tanner to get around on his crutches or in his wheelchair.

We are going to have to get up pretty early to make it to the doctor's office by 8:00 a.m. Tanner doesn't move too fast when he first rises in the morning.

They are supposed to be having a Halloween party at the MIRT tomorrow so it should be interesting. Tanner and I talked about getting one of the pumpkin stencils and painting a face on the back of his bald head but we've decided he just doesn't have the energy right now. It should be interesting though, to see all the costumes they will have on tomorrow.

Wonder if Dr. B wil be in costume? Maybe a mororcycle dude??

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

We spent over four hours at the hospital today. Tanner is still pretty sick in the mornings and doesn't have much energy. They gave him another potassium infuser and also another of the 24 hour nausea medication infusers.

He couldn't get comfortable in his recliner at the hospital and was getting impatient while waiting on the infusers to be delivered so he got in his wheelchair and went to visit John over in one of the other rooms. John just had his stem cell transplant today so Tanner likes to tease him that when this all started John was a week ahead in treatment and now Tanner has moved a week ahead of him.

While we were out in the hall, we saw Harris and Anastasia (the young couple from Greece) and they said Harris is two days post his 2nd transplant. Then Tom and Shirley came up and it was like a reunion in the hallway. It's great seeing everyone - and John said that it looks like Lauren is only going to have a lumpectomy instead of a full mastectomy. That's great news!!

Tanner decided that he wanted mexican food again for lunch so I brought him back to the apartment and went to On the Border to pick up take out. Tanner ate about half of his enchiladas and said he couldn't eat anymore.

He still feels really weak this afternoon and doesn't even have the energy to work on his latch hook rug - or play his video games. In fact, I put in a movie for him to watch and when it was through he just started it again instead of getting up to put in another movie.

The lady who rents us the apartment called today to find out how much longer we are going to be here. She said there is a waiting list of people who are looking for places to stay. I can only imagine how many multiple myeloma patients must arrive here in Little Rock every day. I told her that we see Dr. B on Friday so I should be able to give her an idea of how much longer we will need the apartment after we talk to him. I don't know how long the next break will be before Tanner's consolidation chemo. We hear from the other patients that it could be anywhere from six weeks to three months. I guess we'll know more after we see the doctor Friday.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I made it back to Little Rock around 2:30 this afternoon and Tanner seems to be feeling better. He was actually working on a latch hook rug! LOL!! His dad and Janet bought board games, car models, and latch hook crafts and I take it Tanner has been keeping busy. Unfortunately (much to my friend Donna's consternation) I don't play games so I'm sure he really enjoyed their visit. He said he feels sure he can interest me in helping him with the rug he's working on and that I can help him finish it. I told him just wait until the nurses at the hospital see what he's working on!

He's officially neutropenic now so he will have to start wearing the mask when he's out in public. Even though his system has bottomed out, he is feeling better than he did those first days post chemo.

We go up to 7C for a 10 a.m. appointment tomorrow so I will get caught up on how he's doing. He said that he started showing symptoms of pneumonia again so they have him doing his breathing exercises throughout the day.

He sent me out to get the new Ice Age movie when I arrived today and we've already watched it. He's on the couch playing his X-box right now and I'm exhausted so I think I will call it a night and crawl into the air mattress.

I'm releived to see that he's feeling better!

Monday, October 26, 2009

This has been a whirlwind trip back to Fort Worth. I left for the All Agent Meeting yesterday morning at 9:00 a.m. and didn't get back home until 9:00 p.m. last night. Today I worked feverishly at the office trying to get a lot of my paperwork done and this evening I went to eat mexican food with the agents. Had a couple of margaritas so I'm hoping to sleep good tonight!!

I haven't heard much from Arkansas today other than Tanner is still really weak. Tonight he messaged me asking where his headache medicine is so I hope this isn't going to be one of those headaches that lasts for days. Last time he had one that lasted nearly a week. They have prescribed Darvon which seemed to help before so hopefully it will again.

Bruce wanted to demonstrate the use of Skype to our agents so he video called me from the meeting room today and while I had everyone's attention, I took the opportunity to thank the agents for all the support and contributions to Tanner's fund.

I had it all planned out. The call came through, I started talking, and then I got emotional and started crying. Not very professional of me, I know. I just hope the PIE staff and agents know how much we truly do appreciate them all. They are a wonderful group of people.

I'm going to hit the sack early tonight because I head back to Arkansas tomorrow morning!!

I'm anxious to see my baby!!!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

I've talked with Tanner today and he said he thinks he's feeling a little better but is still pretty weak. He also said that his CRP is high - which indicates that he has some kind of infection going on. He's glad that they have caught it early this time before it get's too bad and he gets really sick.

They gave him an antibiotic IV at the hospital today and he has infusers connected to two of his triple lumen lines. One is magnesium and he said the other was a 24 hour anti-nausea medicine.

Janet made stew today and they took some over to Shirley and Tom who have an apartment across the road from the one we are renting. They are a very nice couple who have a farm in Oklahoma and they keep an eye on me and Tanner while we are there. It makes me feel better just knowing that they are close by in case we ever need anything. It's reassuring to just not feel so alone all the time while we are in Arkansas away from all of our family and friends.

We had the first day of our All Agent Meeting at the Marriott here in Fort Worth. The agents were all asking about Tanner and I was able to thank and tell many of them in person that we wouldn't have been able to rent the apartment and stay in Arkansas without all of their support and contributions. I truly don't know what we would have done without my employers stepping up and letting me work remotely and all the agents (and other family, friends, and stranger's) contribution's to Tanner's Medical Fund. I often find myself wondering what we would have done without all the help we have received. We are just so very gratefult for all the love and support.

Thank you all.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

I talked to Tim this morning and he said Tanner still isn't feeling very well. He's not so nauseated now, but is really weak. The nurses said that his blood pressure is too low and his heart rate is too high. They sent him home with a 24 hour bag of fluids connected to his lumen line because he is dehydrated at this point.

I knew that beforeI left, he was sleeping so long during the day that he wasn't getting very many fluids down and I was afraid he would end up dehydrated. It's something most of the chemo patients end up battling. They don't feel well and nothing tastes right so they don't want to eat or drink much of anything and end up weak and dehydrated.

I just got a message from Janet and she said that he has slept most of the afternoon and just woke up and says that he feels really tired. I will be so glad when he starts pulling out of this. These are the hardest days. Even when he bottoms out and reaches neutropenia, he usually doesn't feel as bad as he does for the first week after chemo. I was just hoping that it wouldn't be so hard for him since this was a "lighter" dose than he had last month. Unfortunately, it looks like it's making him feel just as bad.

Janet said she is using the crockpot and is making stew for tomorrow. Tanner will love that!

Tanner still wasn't feeling well yesterday. When the labwork came back, they told us he needed two potassium infusers. They connected the first infuser before we left the hospital and gave us the second one to attach after the first completed running after about five hours. I hope it makes him feel better and maybe he will have a better day today.

When he got up yesterday morning, he was really flushed and light headed - and he said his heart felt like it was pounding out of his chest. While we were waiting at the hospital, his body kept heaving like he was going to throw up and I gave him the "nausea bag" provided by the hospital but all that was coming up was stomach acid. I know he was feeling really bad because he turned to me with that almost desperate look on his face and put his head on my shoulder.

As the day progressed, he seemed to feel a little better. It seems like the mornings are the worst.

His dad and Janet got there yesterday afternoon and are going to spend a few days with him. I came on back to Fort Worth for the weekend and will attend my work's All Agent Meeting. Getting in that car and driving away is so hard to do but Tanner kept assuring me that, though he would miss me (Hah! He knew his mother needed to hear that!) he would be fine and was looking forward to spending time with his dad and Janet.

I checked in with Tim last night and he said Tanner was better and that they had pizza for supper (he must have been feeling much better!) and that they had watched a movie.

Tanner text messaged me before bed and said that he was doing better and would let me know how today goes.

They said the chemo usually hits you the worst about 3-4 days after treatment but Tanner got pretty sick by the very next day. I hope he feels better this weekend and can enjoy spending some time with his dad and Janet. They brougtht board games so even if Tanner isn't up to going out, they should have some quality time together at the apartment.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Tanner isn't having a good day today. He is barely speaking and said his stomach hurts. He slept through his stem cell transplant and the subsequent hours of IV fluids that followed. Though i guess sleeping through the process is easier than being awake all those hours. I actually curled up in the chair myself (and my little chair wasn't half as comfortable as Tanner's) - though it's not as easy to nap in a chair now as it was in my younger days.

To show how bad Tanner feels, he has decided that he's not up to going out for mexican food with John and James tonight.

He ate a couple of bites of a ham sandwich (thank you, Aunt Tincey, for the ham) and about half a cup of soup for lunch. When I speak to him, he snaps back. It's just a bad day. Thankfully, the chemo is over and he doesn't have to take any more of the medicines that make him so sick. Now it will be a matter of him bottoming out in the next ten days and then climbing his way back up.

His dad and Janet are coming up for the weekend and should be here by tomorrow afternoon. My work is having an All Agent Meeting Sunday and Monday so I will head back to Fort Worth for that and then will come back here early next week. As his mom, it's very hard for me to leave him, but I know he's looking forward to seeing them. I just hope he starts feeling a little better.

Needless to say, it's a little quiet around the apartment today...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

We spent several hours at the hospital again today. We went in at 8:00 a.m. and talked to the charge nurse about the fact that Dr. Nicholas wanted to see Tanner at 8:50 but that we couldn't change his chemo appointment because of his stem cell transplant was scheduled first thing Thursday morning.

What they decided to do was go ahead and take Tanner's vital signs, do his labwork and give him his velcade (which has to be given 24 hours before the transplant) and let us go to the doctor's office and then come back to 7C for the rest of his chemo treatment. That way, his transplant appointment wouldn't have to be moved.

We went over to see Dr. Nicholas and he said the x-ray of Tanner's left tibia (the broken leg) looks better than the one taken six weeks ago and the bone is much more aligned-- but he wants him to continue in the full leg cast for at least six more weeks. He said that it's nowhere near ready to bear weight yet.

He also said that Tanner needs to continue to be careful of the right femur but that if it breaks they will "fix it". Hah!! I hope to goodness that right thigh bone doesn't give out!!

Well, Tanner is anxious for me to get off here and watch the new Transformers DVD with him, so I guess this is it for the night. We will need to get to bed early so we can get up bright and early and head over for the transplant in the morning.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Most of the day today has been spent at the hospital. The doctor's office called last night and said they wanted Tanner to come in for x-rays of his left tibia at 8:00 a.m. today. After that we went up to 7C and Tanner was given his Dex (steroids) via IV.

Last time he had to take 10 Dex pills orally but this time Dr. B decided that he would give it to him in an IV. The nurse told me that the patients usually have less side effects on the IV steroids than the pills. That's a good thing because the Dex made Tanner really aggressive before. After the Dex IV, we went over to the hospital and they put in his triple lumen lines.

This evening we are going to have supper with Aunt Tincey and Sarah Katherine is taking Tanner out to run around for a while. She asked if he could hang out with her on Halloween so that will be nice. At least he will have something to do.

Tomorrow morning we go in at 8:00 a.m. and Tanner will have his chemotherapy and then 24 hours later he will have his next stem cell transplant.

All the doctors over at the MIRT were going to meet today and look over Tanner's PET Scan, MRI and X-rays. I think they are pretty concerned about all the lesions. Dr. Nicholas' office called and wanted us to come on in and see the doctor tomorrow morning at 8:50 but I told them that we will be at Tanner's chemo appointment at least two hours. Dr. Nicholas only works till 10 a.m. on Wednesdays so she's going to check and see if the doctor wants to re-schedule. I hope that the leg has healed during this last month while we have been on break. It would be so helpful if Tanner could have a shorter cast.

I asked the nurse today what "Consolidation" is since we have heard many of the patients ask if Tanner has done his "consolidation" yet. She said that once the implants are over, you usually get to go home for a break and then come back and do chemo again at about 70% strength. I'm afraid that once we finish treatment this time, Tanner will still have some more chemo to go through before maintenance.

The insurance lady at MIRT told me that she has filed the appeal so now we just wait and see what they decide. Hopefully, they will decide to cover these treatments since the collection letters have already started to arrive at home. Sandra said she sent in some articles to back up the fact that this is proven treatment and is not experimental, but that the case manager at the insurance company told her not to send any more. I don't know what it will take to prove to them that this is necessary, life saving treatment and is in no way experimental.

I woke up about 2:00 a.m. and it took hours to go back to sleep. I couldn't quiet my mind. Sometimes I handle all of this okay and then other times it just overwhelms me. Maureen (the owner of my company's wife) told me when that happens to try to just empty my mind and concentrate on my breathing. I tried but I have to say, it didn't work last night. It just took hours to shut everything down. Of course, right before the alarm was set to go off, I fell deeply asleep.

We were really looking forward to seeing our friends, John and Lauren, but when we saw John at the doctor's office yesterday, his son was with him instead of Lauren. When we asked where she was, he said she was diagnosed with breast cancer last week. I couldn't beleive it! He is here dealing with his cancer treatment and she is home about to undero a mastectomy. It was one more thing I just couldn't get off my mind last night. John put her on the phone to talk to me and I told her I hadn't had a mammogram in 4-5 years. She made me promise I would make an appointment when I get back home.

If Tanner feels okay after his stem cell implant Thursday, John and his son want us to go out to eat mexican food. You know Tanner, he was all over that idea! He never turns down a chance to eat him some Tex-Mex!!

Monday, October 19, 2009

We had a quiet Sunday at the apartment and I was able to work for six hours before Tanner even got out of bed. The only time we even got out was to go and pick up a pizza and some groceries. Tanner decided to do a little reading in front of Walmart. Doesn't he look relaxed? If you look closely, you will see that's a romance he's reading! LOL!! He borrowed Susan's book while they were here and "kicked back" in the wheelchair.

Shirley and Tom, (Shirley is having treatment at the MIRT also) arrived back at their apartment across the road from us yesterday. Tom came over to say hello and to check on Tanner. I must say it feels good to have them back. Tanner and I were feeling kind of lonely at the apartments with none of the other patients around us. I told Tom we didn't feel so alone now.

He asked if we had seen many familiar patients while we have been here this past week and we told him that we have only seen a few so far. I know some of the other couples we met when we were here before are supposed to be arriving this week so I think most of us are on similiar schedules. John and Lauren are supposed to arrive today and Tanner is already wanting to call them!

I'm glad he has made friends and is handling this all so well because I think he's got many years ahead of him with trips to Arkansas in his future!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

We had a great day yesterday! My cousin Kathy and her sister-in-laws, Susan and Joanne, were in Conway and came up to see us. We went out to eat for lunch at On the Border (of course!) and then went to Benton to see Aunt Tincey, Julie, and Alston, It was a lot of fun!! It was sad when they left the apartment last night. It was like part of home was leaving with them.

Dr. B gave us copies of the reports from all of Tanner's tests and from my reading the MRI and PET scan reports, it seems like that his previous treatment and the new clean bone marrow has "unmasked" several lesions that they previously had not seen. In most instances, the reports showed improvement in the lesions that had been previously found. The scans showed a fracture in the left tibia (which is the leg that is still in the full cast) but did not go on to expand to say if the facture showed improvement or not. In regard to the lesion on the right femur (thigh area) it said that this was the largest lesion, over 10 cm, and is in danger of "immenent fracture". This lesion is why Tanner is supposed to use the wheelchair as much as possible and why I almost have a heart attack every time I see him using his crutches and almost fall. He would be bed-ridden if that right lesion gives out and fractures.

All together, the reports says that Tanner has "100+" lesions in his bones, which I feel is why Dr. B wants to go ahead with more chemo and another stem cell transplant. Though the chemo and stem cell transplant he has already taken has resulted in improvement in the lesions and NO more cancer in the bone marrow, he needs to proceed with the treatment necessary to give him the best result possible in repairing these lesions in his bones.

Bonnie, Dr. B's assistant, came to talk to me and Tanner and she asked how long Tanner would be in the cast and I told her Dr. Nicholas had said at least until the end of October (though I'm afraid that starting chemo again will slow down the healing once more). She asked about the right femur and I told her that he was very concerned about that area and she said "I think they all are but they can't do anything until..." and she looked at Tanner and just stopped talking. I think what she was going to say was that they can't do anything about the right femur until Tanner is through taking chemotherapy - and also while his left leg is in a cast.

I'm afraid that once Tanner is through with all of this chemotherapy and stem cell transplants, they are going to move on to talking about sugery on the right leg. I'm hoping when, and if, we come to that point, they will allow him to have that surgery in Fort Worth - but I've been told that Dr. B is very picky about allowing anyone he doesn't know performing surgery on "his" cancer patients. Dr. Nicholas is an orthopedic surgeon who only treats cancer patients and is who Dr. B knows and trusts.

I guess we will have to see what is said about surgery on the right leg - and where it is going to be performed - when the times comes. There's no use worrying about things that might or might not happen before the time has come. We have enough on our plate right now. For instance, the insurance lady at Dr. B's office still hasn't filed the appeal and the insurance is still denying everything as experimental. I talked with one of the nurses at the doctor's office about the insurance and the fact that the "threat" letters have already started. She said there was no excuse for the appeal not to have been filed yet and they are going to schedule an appointment for me to talk to the insurance woman Monday. I'm going to have to tell her that I can accept no more excuses. We are over two months past the initial denial and the appeal has to be filed now or I'm going to have to go over her head and talk to someone else. I hate that we have to worry about something like this when we should just be focusing on getting Tanner well, but this is reality and the insurance has to be dealt with.

On a lighter note, Dr. B's assistant Bonnie also told Tanner that they have been talking with the Today Show about the Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy and they told them about Tanner and how he's the youngest patient being treated at the Center. She said they have expressed an interest in talking to Tanner. Tanner asked Bonnie if she meant on TV, and she told him yes and he said "Heck Yea!".

Tanner would probably excel talking on TV, I on the other hand freak out even when I have to talk to a room full of agents whom I've know for nearly 10 years. But, on the other hand, this would also be an opportunity to put out on national television that Tanner's insurance company is denying him coverage for life saving treatment because they deem it "experimental" - even though the treatment has been proven to save lives and has been used for many years.

Bonnie told us she would tell The Today Show we had given permission for them to contact us so I guess we will just see how this plays out.
Tanner gave Dr. Barlogie a thank you card and wrote on the back of it that he was "our hope". It brought tears to Dr. B's eyes and he kissed Tanner's cheek and told him he loved him. I think he pushes himself so hard because he truly cares about his patients. I know that he always gives him a hug when coming and going from the office.

Friday, October 16, 2009

The good news is that there is still no sign of cancer in Tanner's bone marrow. The other news is that it looks like we are going to be here at least three more weeks.

Our appointment to see Dr. Barlogie today was at 2:00 p.m. and we arrived there about 1:45. At a quarter to six, he finally made it to our exam room. He was very apologetic but we had been watching him from our exam room running from room to room for hours and you could see the exhaustion in his face. He told me he tries not to rush his patients, and then he falls behind. After seeing Tanner at 6:00 p.m. he still had two more new patients to see.

He asked me if we were prepared to stay here a while and I told him that when coming back this time, we didn't know what was supposed to happen next but that we had kept the apartment and had packed to be here a while. He thanked me said he wanted to go ahead and do the next stem cell transplant.

I told him that the insurance lady had told us that since our insurance wouldn't cover two implants (if they cover any of this at all), in one year, that Dr. B might just do one implant. He asked why in the world would she say something like that and that he wouldn't give Tanner any less treatment than he would an old person.

Soooo, it looks like I will be signing for another stem cell transplant to be performed and the process will start next week.

I asked about the lesion in Tanner's right femur, and he said that he didn't want to say anything about that since that was more Dr. Nicholas' area and that he would send a note over to him (the cancer orthopedic surgeon) to look at Tanner's tests and to get back with us about the big lesion in his right leg - and also the lesion and broken bone in the left leg. I know the next appointment with Dr. Nicholas isn't until October 30th but hopefully, he will get with us after he gets Dr. B's note and he looks at the MRI and PET scan that was done this week.

I have a pounding headache from sitting so many hours at the doctor's office without eating so I'm just going to leave it at this tonight.

Tanner and I both are a little disheartened - but Dr. B knows best and I want him to do everything he thinks is best to make sure Tanner has a long and healthy life.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Not much to post this evening. The only thing done today was labwork at the hospital. We saw one of the ladies we met when Tanner was going through chemo and she told him it took her about three weeks to go through "consolidation". Whew! Three weeks!! We are so hoping that because Tanner is so young he won't have to go through that step, but I guess we'll just see what Dr. B has to say tomorrow. Whatever he thinks is best to make sure Tanner reaches a cure.

We stopped by Old Navy on the way back to the apartment this afternoon and got Tanner a jacket and some sweat pants that will fit over his cast.

It's been a rainy, dreary day. Tanner thought he wanted to go to the Multiple Myeloma dinner tonight but has now changed his mind so I guess we'll have a quiet night at the apartment.

I have been working for the last several hours on the computer so I guess I'll hand the internet over to him for the night.

The doctor's appointment tomorrow is at 2:00 p.m. so I will post as soon as I can.

I'm sorry I didn't post last night. The first thing Tanner told me when we got back to the apartment yesterday evening was that he wanted the internet for a while (no wireless connection) before I got on for HOURS.

I told him that I wouldn't be on for hours because there wasn't that much to report but I went ahead and let him log on for a while and I settled on the couch to rest for a little bit. The next thing I knew, the telephone woke me up. I got up long enough to make grilled cheese and tomato soup for supper and then I went to bed.

It's raining here and cooler than in Texas. Thankfully we brought some warmer clothes this time. The people at the hospital tell me it's been raining every day for two weeks. I know that the rain makes it a little difficult to get Tanner in and out in the wheelchair.

Tanner started his day yesterday with the PET scan and then we went over to MIRT and saw the gang at the office and had labwork drawn. He told me he didn't think he needed his "lollipop" (sedative on a stick) and made it through his bone marrow aspiration drug free. He just took deep breaths and the girl who performed the procedure did a really good job. We ended the day with an MRI that took a couple of hours (he did take a Lorazepam to help him relax for those hours spent in the tube).

There is nothing on the books for Tanner today, so I'm planning on running over to Central Licensing Bureau to meet some people I have been working with long distance for several years now. It will be nice to finally meet them and have faces to put with the voices.

We see Dr. Barlogie tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. and Tanner and I are both anxious to hear what he has to say. It seems like, from what some of the patients we met yesterday were telling us, there is a phase after the stem cell transplants called "consolidation" in which the patient has to go through chemotherpay again at about 75% strength . Now we are both afraid that, at the very least, we might be here another week or two.

But, as Dr. Barlogie told us when we asked him what was next, "every patient's treatment is individualized", so I guess we won't stress over what's next and will wait to see what the doctor has to say on Friday.

I'll be sure to let you all know.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Well, we are back in Arkansas. I think that drive gets longer each time.

Tanner slept most of the way and only woke up when I stopped to get gas in Texarkana. When I got back on the highway he told me he was feeling sick. I gave him a gallon baggie and the next thing I knew, he was throwing up. I don't guess the Chipotle that we had for lunch before we left Fort Worth set well in his stomach. He has been having some problems with nausea since we got home so I guess it's something we will need to talk to the nurses about at the doctor's this week.

The apartment looked just like it did when we left except that there was a note on the door that a couple in the apartment building next to us was robbed at gunpoint and that we need to take extra precautions. They went on to say it's the first time something like that has happened at these apartments so I hope it's the last time.

Tomorrow, Tanner has a PET Scan at 7:00 a.m., then he goes to MIRT for labwork, then he has a bone marrow aspiration, and lastly will have a full body MRI. We will have a long day ahead of us so I'm going to come to a close for the night.

Back to the air mattress!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Well, our break is nearing an end and I think Tanner and I both are feeling some stress from the thought of heading back to Arkansas next Tuesday.

When Dr. Barlogie told us Tanner could come home for a month, it sounded like a long time - but the days have flown by.

Granny Jane had a "Tanner's Remission Celebration" dinner and we were able to see a lot of family and friends. Tanner had a great time and was so touched by all the people who were able to attend. He thinks his "Big Granny" (his 91 year old great grandmother) is one of the funniest people he has ever met! He loves it that she has a new joke to tell him every time he see's her.

He's gotten to see many aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews and friends while he's been home and he wants to thank everyone for taking the time to see him while he's been here - and to all of you who have been sick since we've been back and haven't been able to visit, we'll get together when we get back from Litte Rock!

We are so hoping that this trip back to Arkansas will be of short duration with all the tests still showing full remission -- and are hoping that Dr. Barlogie will be sending Tanner home on a maintenance program.

I know that Tanner is scared. He goes through all the motions and shows a happy face, but I know that he lives with fear on a daily basis. He put on his Facebook yesterday that he doesn't know what the future will bring and that he's afraid. I think he feels free to express his fears in writing on Facebook where he can't bring himself to talk out loud about it to his family. I know the fears I live with daily when I think about the fact that Tanner has cancer so I can only imagine what goes through his mind. Hopefully, this trip back to Arkansas will put to rest many of the fears he is enduring.

We will be heading back Tuesday October 13th so I will be sure to update daily once we return to Little Rock.

Thanks to you all for the overwhelming love and support Tanner has been receiving daily!