Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving - 2010

Happy Thanksgiving.

The boys are gone this evening and I've made the broccoli salad and the no bake cookies.  I've got the plates, cups, forks, and napkins all ready to go.  Everthing is ready for the big meal tomorrow and I've taken my Tyelnol P.M. and am waiting to crash.

Tanner is at a concert with his girlfriend and her dad.  He seems to be doing really well lately.  Of course, I worry about him at a concert on his crutches but when I said something to him he said that he could sit and things would be fine.  I hope so.

I was going stir crazy at the house tonight.  I couldn't settle down to read or watch a movie so I went out for a drive.  Let's just say it didn't make things any better.

My heart is aching at this moment and I'm just worn out from my internal turmoil.  I've been thinking about Thanksgiving and what all I have to be thankful for.  It seems that, no matter how I might moan here on the blog (so sorry), I do have a lot to be thankful for:

In December Tanner will have been in remission for a year.  He tolerates his maintenance chemo well and seems to be doing great in his personal life lately.  Thankful?  Thankful doesn't describe the depth of my feelings for this fact...

Trevor has been doing well lately also and has a possible job opportunity and is supposed to call the man back next week after the holidays to "get the ball rolling".  My grandson, Beckett, turned two today and is a sweetheart.  I haven't seen my granddaughter Kayleigh in a while but she turns three in December.  She too is a sweetheart and I hope to see her soon.  I have wonderful friends; Donna (she's been with me through it all), Sandy (who remains a true friend no matter how much time passes between visits), and Kelsey (a wonderful mother to my grandson who has become an essential friend to me) just to name a few and their wonderful families whom I've also grown close to over these many years.

I'm thankful for my brother Terry and his wife Cathy and my nephews Dewane and Myles.  I'm grateful for my niece TD and for all of my great nieces and nephews.  Though I might not see them often, I love them all.

I'm thankful for my Uncle Little Boy and his wife Suzy, my Aunt Onvie, and all my cousins (even though I don't get to see them very often anymore) and I'm so thankful for my Aunt Tincey and her kids and grandkids in Arkanas.  They open their home to us every time we return for Tanner's tests and always make us feel so at home.

I'm thankful for MIRT and Dr. Barlogie for taking such good care of Tanner this last year and working so hard to save his life.  Just writing this sentence is so inadequate.  There are no words to describe my thankfulness for Dr. Barlogie and the staff at UAMS.

I'm thankful for Shirley, Tom, Harris, Anastasia, John, and Lauren who all became very special friends while we spent those long six months in Little Rock while Tanner, Harris, Shirley, and John underwent their treatment.  You can't get through those times without friends like these.

I'm thankful for my boy's grandmother Jane and grandfather Jerry for loving us so and always being there for us.  I'm thankful for their Dad, stepmother, and grandfather for loving the boys no matter what.

I'm thankful for my job and the people I work with. Pat, Bruce, Alicia, and all my agents - again there are just no words adequate to express my appreciation for all you've done for me and Tanner this last year.

I'm thankful to Traci and her family and also Big Granny and Aunt Judy - and all the family on that side who have supported Tanner and I this last year.

I've saved them for last...  Probably because they are so very essential to me and my survival.  I am so thankful to my Aunt Gerry and her kids Kathy, Kirk, Kevin, Joan, Bobby and Diana.  They took me in over twelve years ago when my life drastically changed and have taken care of me and my boys ever since.  I'm thankful also for all their kids who have become like my own, Jesse, Rebecca, Iris, Eva, Kelson, Brian, Linda, Brennan, Stephen, and Beth (the daughter of my heart).  I love them all...

I'm thankful that, though time doesn't erase, it does heal...

So, Happy Thanksgiving to all of you...

"All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another."

Friday, November 19, 2010

Someone there for me

I had a really rough night - and a pretty rough day.

I would say that I had maybe three hours of restless sleep last night.  I find that my mind goes round and round and I just can't shut it down.

Then I went to work this morning and the tears just started flowing.  After an hour or so, I got it back together and the rest of the work day turned out much better.

I came home from work around 4:30 p.m. and Tanner and I met with the wish granters from Make a Wish.  They had asked him to make two wishes.  The first wish being the one he would really want to do and then a second choice. 

His first choice was to go to one of the small islands of Hawaii and his second choice was Key West, Florida.

Kim (the lady from Make a Wish) asked him what kind of physical limitations he might have (since he's still in a brace and uses a crutch) and then asked him if he would like to go on a helicopter tour of the island in Hawaii.  He was really excited by the idea.  Of course, I was sitting there thinking "helicopter??". 

He told them he had done research online and if Key West was the wish granted, he would like to do a jet sky tour - and he had the information to give them on the service that provides the tours.

I hope that he gets granted one of his wishes.  It would be such a wonderful experience for him.  The wish granters that were here tonight told him it would be a vacation of his dreams; that the Make a Wish foundation goes over the top to make sure the wish is above and beyond anything you could imagine.  It would be something I would never be able to give him myself.

The other side of me just becomes very emotional that he has a disease that qualifies him for something like Make a Wish.  You would think after more than a year of this, I would not still have so many of these moments where I struggle so.

After they all left, I just sat on the couch staring into space for a long time and Trevor asked me what I was doing.  I told him I was thinking and that sometimes I just struggle.  He told me to always remember it could be worse.

Surprising as it may sound, I have issues in my own personal life that, in conjunction with Tanner's illness, overwhelm me sometimes.  Lately, I seem to have a lot of these issues and I find I can't sleep and getting through the days become a struggle.

I've been thinking about going back to the doctor and asking to be put back on anti-depressants.  I guess we'll see if I pull out of this on my own.  I really hate to go back on medication but I've got to admit some of these days have been really, really, hard.

Trevor went out for a friend's birthday and Tanner went to his girlfriend's house so I went for a long walk and ended up spending a little while this evening venting with Kirk.

Thank you Kirk, for all you've done for me and my family.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Living with hope

Things have been really quiet in regards to Tanner, his illness, and his treatment lately.

After the year we have had, that's a good thing!

We had an agent meeting for my work this past weekend that ran through Tuesday so Tanner spent some time with his dad and step-mom.  It's easier for me when I have something busy to do like the meeting where I'm going to be gone until late at night for days in a row to know that he's somewhere safe where I can count on not having to worry about him.

I know he's 18 now, but what does a mother do? It's our job to worry...  I think I worry about him more now at 18 than I did at 8. LOL!

His treatment has been going without any complications lately.  He goes back to the doctor this Friday at 1 p.m. and I need to let them know that he needs to get in and out as quickly as possible.  We have a couple coming to our home at 4:30 on Friday from the Make A Wish Foundation to talk to him about his wish.

I ask myself why this wonderful opportunity for Tanner to have a wish granted makes me feel like crying.  It's just that I never in my wildest dreams ever imagined that he would be in a position to ever be granted anything from a foundation like Make A Wish.  I never imagined I would have a son with cancer.

I was driving in to work this morning and heard that there's only 37 days until Christmas and then when I got here, I received a message from my cousin asking about Thanksgiving.  It's just surreal.  The year has gone so quickly.  I've gone through more emotional upheaval in the last year than I have in my whole life (and that's saying a lot).

Tanner will have maintained remission for one year in December.  We've come a long way from that horrible day last year when we first received the news.  At least now we are living each day with hope.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Going Okay

I took Tanner to his weekly doctor's appointment this morning and Dr. Albritton said that everything looks really good and that he is doing great.

Since they've reduced the steroids (and since Tanner has started getting more rest and taking better care of himself) he hasn't been having any problems with nausea or stomach acid and he looks so much better.

Last week he went out with a group of teenagers from Cooks.  They were supposed to go to Frightfest at Six Flags but since it started raining, they went to downtown Fort Worth and saw a movie and went out for ice cream. 

He said he had a good time but I think the majority of teenagers were younger than him.  He's at this point where he's younger than all the patients going through treatment for Multiple Myeloma in Arkansas but older than most of the kids having treatment at Cooks.

I go back and forth about whether or not we should move him to an adult practice.  They just have his treatment down so well at Cooks, I hate to disrupt the "system".  I guess we'll give it a while longer this year and then it will probably be best to move to a doctor that treats adults.  He's usually always the oldest teenager at his appointments every week and I'm sure the closer he gets to 19, the more he'll be ready to move away from the Pediatric practice.

Dr. Albritton asked him today to consider "designing" a website for their practice targeted at teenagers.  I think it's something he should consider and that we should look further into.  He's always been good at computers and this would give him something productive and helpful to focus on for a while.

I stood in the doorway and watched as they pushed his chemo meds today and I had one of those surreal moments when it hit me again that my baby has cancer.  This flush and tingle spreads throughout my body.  I ask myself how this could have happened and I know that all the other parents sitting in that waiting room must have those moments all the time too.
He's going to spend some time with his grandfather in Abilene and is leaving Thursday.  It will be good for them to spend some time together.

Anyway, I've been awake since 2:00 a.m. and am pretty tired and drained so I think I will wrap it up for this entry.