Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Taking Care of Business

I know I just posted yesterday... It's like all or nothing with me when it comes to the blog...

Tanner woke up this morning with his left foot swollen and red.  I've called the doctor's office and left a message and sent an email.  I'm hoping it's just a reaction from the dye used in the bone scan yesterday but the swelling and redness is all centralized in the left foot, so I just don't know.  I told him to take some Benadryl and keep the foot propped up...

He's with his Granny Jane for a few days and she's helping him "take care of business".  She's good at that sort of thing and from the number of calls and texts I've gotten from Tanner today, I think they are getting things taken care of!

They are supposed to go and visit some schools and check into some grants - so here we go, getting ready for him to move on to the next phase of his life.

Our friend, Shirley, (another patient from Little Rock) gave me the Facebook information for a man in his fifties here in Fort Worth who is another MM survivor (who has a blog).  He works at Fort Worth Harley Davidson and I sent him a "Friend Request" a couple of weeks ago and he accepted.  Tanner wanted me to email his information to granny's house so that he can reach out to him and possibly meet him... Maybe he can mentor Tanner to some degree and help him get focused on the positive side of life with MM...

We went to church again this past Sunday and, this time, Tanner attended the "Journeys" service with the other college age kids.  When the regular service let out, I went out in the vestibule and Tanner was already waiting for me (the college service is a couple of blocks down the road from McKinney Church) and he said he walked down to the church with some of the other kids after their classes ended.  He also said that he wants to go back and continue with the Jouneys classes on a regular basis so that he can get to know some of the other young people.

I, myself, have looked into some volunteer opportunities here in Fort Worth and Tanner saw the paperwork on the kitchen table and said that he wants to do some volunteering with me - so maybe we are ready to move on to whatever life has next in store for us.

We're moving on with our lives... Wish us luck!

When I stand before thee at the day's end, thou shalt see my scars and know that I had my wounds and also my healing...  Rabindranith Tagore

Monday, June 27, 2011

Bone Scan

I'm sitting in the waiting room at Baylor Dallas while Tanner is having a full body bone scan.

He came home from Montana full of wonderful stories of activities, new friends, dreams - and a sore left tibia. This is the area where the cancer was first discovered in June 2009 when the bone snapped in two and has been so slow to heal.

He did so many things... zip lining, hiking, climbing ropes, basketball in the pool... I think he over exerted the leg (though the right leg that just had the rod inserted has done great) and a knot came up and has been causing him some discomfort.

We went to the Orthopedic Surgeon's office on Friday and when they pressed on the area of swelling, he cried out in pain.  They did x-rays and the nurse practitioner said there is a definite crack through the bone and she doesn't know if it's new damage or just the initial crack that still hasn't healed all the way.

She said the best thing to do would be to have a bone scan performed so they can check it out - and when we went to the schedulers office, we were surprised to see that they scheduled a full body scan instead of just the leg.

Tanner had a little bit of an emotional break down at the doctor's office and ended up in tears.  It's been a while since he's broken down and I'm thinking maybe it had something to do with the fact that he was exhausted from surgery on the right femur followed by the trip to Montana.

He handles his health issues so well.. I'm surprised he doesn't have these emotional melt downs more often.  I told him that I can hardly imagine how hard all of this is for him to handle and that all I could tell him is that I too, as his mom, have difficulties comprehending why this happened and that if I ever lose him, I will want to follow him.  That's just how a mother's love works...  Anyway... we ended up having a heart to heart in the doctor's office on Friday and today here we are, once again, at the hospital.

We are supposed to get the results on Thursday, but I've since remembered that he has chemo scheduled on Thursday so I'm going to have to do some rearranging..  He is actually hoping they will just go ahead and put in a rod in this bone too.  He said it's been two years and he's tired of worrying about it breaking - and that when we go to Hawaii for his Make A Wish trip in August, he doesn't want to end up in the hospital...

I think it's because he has his mind set on para-sailing....

Monday, June 20, 2011

Camp Make A Dream

I'm sorry I haven't been updating the blog.  I've been in "withdrawn" mode lately...

Tanner is doing well and has been at Camp Make A Dream outside of Missoula Montana since last Wednesday.  He's been texting and sending photos every day and it sounds like he's having the time of his life.

I know that he's feeling the sadness of his time at camp drawing to a close (they come back home this Wednesday) but he says that he's made lifelong friends.  Everyone attending camp are all near his age and - each and every one of them has cancer.

I can't wait to get all the details when he gets home but I can tell you he hasn't let the cancer, the weak broken left tibia, or the recently placed rod in his right femur slow him down.  He's been hiking, horseback riding, zip lining, and walking the tightropes 40 feet off the ground.  They've had cookie bake offs, put on skits, and had some long discussions about issues that they all have to face when dealing with the impact cancer has on their lives.

He said they all wrote a message to someone who means a lot to them and hung the messages in the air.  At the end of the week they will burn the messages so that they become "final".  He told me he wrote a message to his cousin Kelson - who passed away with cancer shortly before Tanner was diagnosed.

He was able to meet his cousin Beth and her mother, Barbara, in Missoula this past Saturday and they spent some time together shopping and just hanging out.  Tanner said they had a great time and I am so very grateful they were able to work their schedule out to spend some time with him while he was up there.

He texted me Sunday night and told me it was so beautiful up there and he wished I was there to experience it with him.  I texted him back that he might be ready to move up there now.  He replied that it would be a big change, but that we needed some big changes in our lives.

I hope with all my heart this trip was a life changing event for him.  He has so much potential and I love him so very very much. 

Life can turn in an instant.  You could walk into an appointment one day and life as you know it can change in a heartbeat...

It's time to let go of the baggage and live this life with all the happiness, love, and hope we can grasp...

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Successful Surgery

Surgery was done Thursday morning and the doctor said that the rod was placed without difficulties and that there was no sign of active cancer in the large lesion in his femur!! 

Just hearing the words made me realize how much I was worried that the lesion might still be active - and Tanner's granny and dad (who went back to see him first after surgery) said that he started crying when they told him that the biopsy showed no active cancer... so he too must have also been more worried than I realized... than he let anyone see.

He was hurting quite a bit so he and I both were concerned about how much it was going to hurt the first time he got out of bed, but it went much better than either one of us expected.  In fact, he tells me that it helps with the pain when he moves around fairly regularly. 

We got to the hospital Thursday morning about 6:45 a.m. and then arrived back home Friday around 4:30 in the evening and I have to admit, I can't remember the last time I felt that tired.  There's something about sitting in the hospital that's just exhausting - and those pull out chairs aren't the most comfortable beds in the world (much less the fact that someone was in the room at least every two hours).

I think Tanner and I both slept the sleep of exhaustion last night.

Baylor Dallas was a new environment for Tanner and I both.  They haven't had the last year and a half history of treating his Multiple Myeloma and I watched them all when they would ask him what was wrong...  The looks that would cross their faces...  The questions and concern that appeared in the resident's eyes after he asked if Tanner had been checked to see if he had lesions in the skull and was told that yes he does have some there - and all over his body; that in fact he had innumerable lesions throughout his whole body.

I know there are so many people, so may children, dealing with cancer (and other horrendous diseases) throughout the world - but this is my child and I absolutely abhor that this has happened to him.  On the other hand, I've come to admire him so much over the last two years.  I've watched him deal with the shock, sickness, and worry and I've watched him push it all aside and go on with his life.  I've watched him learn how to laugh, love and live with cancer ever present in his world every single day...

Sitting alone, again, in a hospital room with my son lead to some more soul searching on my part.   I need to find the joy in my days... that joy that I've lost...  I need to do it now because, really, none of us know what tomorrow's going to bring.

Many of us spend our whole lives running from feeling with the mistaken belief that you cannot bear the pain. But you have already borne the pain. What you have not done is feel all you are beyond the pain.