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.