Monday, March 22, 2010

Well, it seems that Tanner has shingles.

Dr. Davis here in Fort Worth is going to delay any further chemo treatments until he has a chance to talk to Dr. Barlogie to get instructions.

In the meantime, they are writing him some prescriptions to treat the shingles and Tanner has doubled up on his Acyclovir.

They said it is not contagious unless you touch the lesions or any infected clothes or sheets.

Guess who has been in contact with all these items?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Tanner has been complaining of his back hurting ever since he's gotten back from camping. I told him it was probably from sleeping on the ground for a couple of nights but now it's been several days and it's still hurting him considerably.

He said that it's hurting mostly on the left side around the site where they've done all the bone marrow aspirations. He has a large lesion on his right femur and the only time that they took the aspiration from the right side, it hurt so bady he cried. Since then, they've done the biopsies all on the left side. A few nights ago, he showed me the spot and there's a small sore and a knot.

Yesterday he told me he has a rash on his legs and I told him maybe he had gotten a heat rash from camping. But then last night, he was showing me again where his back hurts and now there's a rash around the bone marrow aspiration site.

For most of the weekend, he's just layed in bed using a heating pad and I'm concerned about the lasting pain and now the rash.

Tomorrow morning he goes for his weekly maintenance chemo so we are going to ask the oncologist here in Fort Worth what he thinks, but I'm also going to take a picture of the site and email it to Dr. Barlogie's nurse first thing in the morning.

I know that when our friend John started having all of his complications, it happened after he went home and first appeared with a rash and it all stemmed from a reaction to his chemo medications. The doctors in his home town kept trying to treat the rash and by the time he let Arkansas know and got back to Little Rock, he was very sick.

I'm just not willing to take any chances and am going to see what they have to say at MIRT tomorrow.

It's probably something minor, but I'm going to turn to the expert and see what they have to say.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Sorry it’s been so long since I have updated. The only excuse I have is that Tanner and I have been pretty sick since we’ve been back from Arkansas with some kind of respiratory thing.

He’s doing really well, and actually is in Mineral Wells camping with some friends for a few days this Spring Break.

It’s pretty hard for me to let him go and do these things, what with him still being in a full leg cast and his bones still so fragile, but I figure I need to let go and let him be a 17 (soon to be 18) year old boy.

I just keep reiterating to him to be very careful and he keeps assuring me he will and so far things have been going well.

I mean the boy doesn’t let that cast slow him down much at all. When we were in Mexico, he was all over the resort on those crutches and even went swimming and snorkeling. I guess he can handle camping.

The agreement we have made is that he will text or call me three times a day while they are camping. So far, I haven’t heard from him today and it’s nearly noon. I’m sure he’s just busy and having fun, but I’m trying to keep my “mommy panic” at bay since I haven’t heard from him today.

His maintenance chemo is going well, he doesn’t seem to be having any side effects, and his hair is coming back in!

Since the orthopedic surgeon thinks that Tanner’s broken leg is going to heal sufficiently on its own and he won’t have to have surgery, they are going to go ahead and start him on some bone strengthening medicine. Dr. Naier said we should start seeing a more rapid improvement in the resolution of all the bone lesions once he starts on the bone strengthener.

Dr. Davis (the Oncologist here in Fort Worth) wants Tanner to see a dentist before this medicine is started because he can’t have any dental work done for a while once he starts the prescription so we’ve made that appointment for next Wednesday.

He said until these lesions start showing more improvement, we are going to have to keep doing the re-staging tests every three months to keep an eye on them.

We didn’t get to see Tom and Shirley when we were in Arkansas this last time because our schedules were so booked and because Shirley was pretty sick while we were there.

I’ve called our friends John and Lauren twice and left messages and haven’t heard back from them so I’m kind of worried about how John is doing. He was pretty sick with his drug reactions when we saw him last.

We also haven’t heard from Anastasia and Harris since they went back to Greece so I need to email and see how they are doing.

We made some wonderful friends while we were in Little Rock all those months and I need to check and make sure everyone is doing okay…

We didn’t get to leave from Arkansas this last time until 8:00 p.m. on Friday night and by the time I had driven a couple of hours, I was having to shake my head to try and keep awake. I asked Tanner if those energy drinks worked and decided to give one a try and boy, that thing had me awake and wired all the rest of the way home!

I wasn’t sleepy for hours after drinking that thing. I told Tanner I was going to have to be sure and have one of those before every trip!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Let me start by saying that it looks like everything is moving in the right direction for Tanner's recovery.

It was a long day on Friday with us being at Dr. Nicholas' office over four hours and then at MIRT over three hours. We didn't even see Dr. Barlogie but instead saw Dr. Naier. It was an exhausting day and we ended up not leaving the doctor's office until 8:00 p.m. on Friday night for that 5-1/2 hour drive back to Fort Worth.

If it hadn't been for the fact that we had committed to Six Flags Over Texas that Tanner would be the guest of honor to open the park on Saturday, we would have just spent another night in Arkansas but instead we headed home straight from the doctor's office and made it home safe and sound around 1:30 a.m. Saturday morning.

According to the PET and MRI reports, it looks like all of Tanner's lesions are showing minimal to moderate improvement. Dr. Naier said that because he has so many lesions, we just have to keep doing the re-staging tests to continue to track their healing but that everything is moving in the direction we want and it's just going to take some time for all of the lesions to heal.

Dr. Nicholas said that the site of the break on the left tibia is beginnning to build some callous and that when we come back in a couple of months, they should be able to either take the cast off or put on a short cast.

Since that will be right around a year with Tanner in a cast, that is very good news!

We went to Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington on Saturday and Tanner was the guest of honor and helped open up the park. It was a wonderful day and the people at Six Flags made sure that it was a special time for Tanner.

They layed out a red carpet and the Looney Tunes characters and park staff all greeted Tanner. They gave him a gift basket full of goodies and made him "Mayor of Six Flags" for a day. He and our group of family and friends had a private dance lesson with "Mr. Six" and for a while, Tanner was able to put all the worries about his treatment behind him and just have fun at an amusement park and simply enjoy the thrill of the rides.

He picked up a respiratory infection while we were in Arkansas and, being the kind sharing son that he is, gave it to his mother so it's been a long few days and I'm just worn out. I think it's time for some Nyquil and bed so that we will be ready for another Monday starting with maintenance chemo first thing in the morning.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Well, we've finally made it to Friday. Most of the tests are done and we see Dr. Barlogie at 2:00 p.m. for the results. I'm always very anxious at this point. I'm sure it will be good news, but I can't help but feel the tension after the tests are complete and we're waiting to see the doctor.

We go at 11:30 for x-rays of the broken leg then we go see Dr. Nicholas at 12:45 and see what he has to say. Hopefully the high dose Vitamin D Tanner has been taking has made a difference and they will see some healing in that bone. I have all my fingers and toes crossed that it is so.

They have done two MRI's on two seperate days this trip and each one took over three hours. The first one was of his head and trunk and then the second one yesterday was of his arms and legs. Three hours is a long time to lie in the machine and he's just been worn out. They should have a scan of his complete body this trip.

The food poisonin I acquired Monday night has had me dragging this whole trip.

I was so sick at work on Tuesday morning that it was decided that they didn't think I could make the drive back to Arkansas and Alicia drove us so I could lie down and sleep in the back seat. Her husand had some free Southwest Airlines tickets and she drove us from Fort Worth straight to the Little Rock Airport and flew back home.

That ranks up there as one of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me. I know she was exhausted after all of that...

I would have delayed Tanner's appointments but Dr. Nicholas was leaving the country for a couple of weeks and we felt it was important to get back up here and have everything checked out with his broken leg, and also to see how they think he is doing on his maintenance chemo.

We are here and other than the x-rays this morning, the tests are behind us so now I just wait on the results.

On a light hearted note, Tanner will be the guest of honor at Six Flags tomorrow and will help them open the park. It should be great fun after a long week in Arkansas.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

I think Tanner had the time of his life on our trip to the Riviera Maya!

He didn't let the cast slow him down too much - other than the fact that I wouldn't let him para-sail or do the zip lines. I just couldn't see allowing him to do those things with his leg still in a full cast!

He swam in the pool, snorkeled down the senote twice and met lots of new friends (I'm so glad that Medi brought his teenage daughters on the trip).

Wednesday morning we had a PIE kick off meeting and they called Tanner up to the front so that he could speak to the agents . He wanted an opportunity to express his appreciation for all the support they gave which allowed us to rent the apartment and stay in Little Rock while he underwent his treatment most of those first six months.

Pat's voice started quivering when he introduced Tanner, and that set off Tanner's tears. He ended up being able to tell the agents thank you, but I don't think there was a dry eye in the room by the time he finished.

We concluded the trip by surprising Tanner with his diploma so all in all, it was a perfect vacation and I'm so glad I was able to enjoy it with my son. I will be forever grateful to my employer for allowing Tanner and I to share the trip with all the PIE agents and staff!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Well, we are back in Arkansas for three days of testing. I went to eat mexican food with Kirk last night and ended up with food poisoning so it's been a really long day.

I'm just going to post the most pertinent aspects of out trip and will update again tomorrow while at the hospital waiting on Tanner when he's going through all of his tests.

We had a wonderful time and that full leg cast didn't slow down Tanner much at all. He used a waterproof cast cover and went swimming and snorkeled down the senote twice!

One of my agents had his teenage daughters on the trip and Tanner made friends right away. I actually saw very little of him during the day until dinner time rolled around. It was all good, and I was glad he was having so much fun.

On the last night, we had an award's banquet where the agent's all received their bonuses for the year and at the end Pat called up the "PIE Person of the Year" and it was Tanner. They put a graduation hat on him and surprised him with his diploma!

He had no idea that I had received it, and rather than just hand it to him from the mail, we decided to make it a special occassion in Mexico. It went off without a hitch and he was so surprised and excited!!

It was the trip of a lifetime and I'm so glad I got to look at it through Tanner's eyes!!