Wednesday, January 26, 2011
She met with us both in the exam room together and then asked me to step out and spent a substantial amount of time with him alone. Then she came out to the waiting room and talked to me and told me that she was more concerned about Tanner today than she has been in a long time. She said that she felt he was very much "on edge". I had to explain to her about a family situation we've had recently and that Tanner is really burdened with anger, guilt, and hurt.
We discussed the fact that some teenagers confronted with a potentially terminal illness deal with the situation by treasuring most every moment of each day - and some teenagers begin to think "what's the use"... She's worried about where Tanner is emotionally and mentally at this point in his treatment - and which direction he's apt to go at any given moment.
At 17 Tanner was told that he had cancer, and not just any old cancer, but something called Multiple Myeloma - which is rare in itself - but almost unheard of in someone of his age. We were told that at the stage he was at, he might only have two years to live. He was forced to pack up and basically move to Little Rock where he started the fight of (and for) his life.
He dealt so well with the whole situation. He was told over and over how strong he was and what a good attitude he had. For most of six months he went through daily aggressive chemotherapy and two stem cell transplants - and watched some of the other patients, who had become friends, lose their battle with the same disease. He came back to Fort Worth and has undergone a year of weekly maintenance chemo during which, some of the time, he maintained that "positive attitude" and some of the time he sank into a dark place.
Thankfully, he has had Dr. Albritton there helping him these last several months. She was there for him when he was doing good and she was there for him when things were bad. It was she that advised him that when things got bad again (and that they would), he had to pull himself back up and get right back on track - and that he couldn't give up.
After talking with us both yesterday, the next thing I knew, there was a social worker there and they took Tanner off to a room and visited with him for over 45 minutes while Dr. Albritton came out and talked to me at length. We talked about Tanner, my other son Trevor, and some of my other family members. I explained to her at length about several things going on in our personal life and she started doing everything in her power to see if she could find us some of the help that she thinks we might need at this point in our lives.
I've never seen a doctor who exhibits as much caring and concern as she does. We were blessed the day that she became Tanner's Oncologist here in Fort Worth.
Sometimes you have to decide when to battle and when to surrender. Sometimes it takes great courage to fight - and other times it requires even more courage to walk away... Sometimes, when you come to a point where the hurt outweighs the advantage, you have to face the fact that it's ultimately less painful, and more healthy, to let go...