Sunday, November 20, 2011

Big Boy Pants

I went with Tanner to his doctor's appointment on Thursday and when Anita (Dr. Albritten's nurse) came in the room she was asking him her regular questions, one of which was how he was doing taking all of his medications.  He glanced over at me and then told her, "Well, I take them when I think about it". 

Her answer was, "Tanner, I already know" and she went on and explained to him that Caremark told them when Dr. Albritten attempted to call in his next round of Revlimid that Tanner had admitted to them that he has a bottle of medications that he still hasn't taken.  She said that Dr. Albritten wasn't there in the office and she was going to talk to one of the other doctors but that she thought it just best that he doesn't try to take any more at this point and they would consider this his week of "rest" and then he could start a fresh new round next week.

She went out of the room and a minute later, Lisa, the "counselor" over the teenagers at Cook's Oncology came into the room and she was just generally talking with him as she always does and then she asked the same question about his medicines.  When he gave her the same answer, she told him she was going to "come down hard on him" and she went on to explain to him about how hard it was going to make things if he relapses, how "tired of his medical stuff" he was going to get if he had to go through the aggressive chemotherapy all over again.  She told him it would be much worse than the first time.

She asked him if he realized what happens if a person gets sick and the doctor prescribes an antibiotic and the patient only takes them every once in a while? She explained that the "illness" learns how to overcome the medication, to become resistant to the medication, and the patient becomes sick all over again.  Sometimes even more ill than they were originally.  She explained to him that the same thing can happen with cancer.  She told him that she realized that he wants to be "normal" and "just like all the other teenagers" but that if he relapses things would be much, much harder on him. 

They told him that they have a program through Cook's where the teenager can get a daily text that reminds them to take their medicines and when he goes to his appointment this next Wednesday morning they are going to set him up to receive the texts - and while we were sitting there, he sat a daily alarm on his phone to also give him another reminder.

He told Lisa and Anita that he was going to do better, that he was going to "put on his big boy pants" and commit to them that he would start taking his medications like they are prescribed and would show up for his weekly appointments.

We are going to get him another one of the weekly pill containers (the one we had broke) and I'm going to help him get organized and we'll leave it on the kitchen counter so that he sees it every time he goes to the refrigerator.

Their dad took Tanner, Cearra, and Trevor down to Clyde on Friday and they all visited with their grandfather.  They fished, shot rifles, and had a great time.  While they were gone, I took the opportunity to paint Tanner's room on Friday night and then Saturday I went down to the lakehouse in Palo Pinto and spent some time with my cousins.  I think Tanner and I both just needed a short break this weekend and this next week we'll regroup and get back to working on getting him back on track with his treatment.

I can't begin to describe how hard it is on me as his mom to handle all of this... I really can only imagine how hard it is on Tanner to live with this disease. 

I wish it had been me, instead of Tanner, who was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma... but it wasn't... instead it struck my 17 year old son so now he's going to have to "put on his big boy pants" and deal with treatment for the rest of his life.  Hopefully, with treatment, that life can be a long, long time.


  1. Angie: I do hope the clinicians "got through to him".....and made him realize how important this is.

    We're heading for your area of the country tomorrow to spend Thanksgiving, in Arlington, with our daughter and her family. I hope you have a wonderful holiday. Try to push MM out of your mind, for a few days.


  2. Thank you Sarah! I've read your blog also (still won't let me comment) and I'm glad to see that it's not just us mom's who are worried to let their "patient" go and try to return to their "normal" life...

    I guess all caretakers must have this worry! I'm so glad that your husband felt like working with his wood! What progress from when he was in the hospital just a short while ago!

    Enjoy your trip to Arlington for Thanksgiving! Maybe one day we can actually meet while you are here in town!

  3. I don't know if Tanner likes to read, but "Sacred Contracts" by Caroline Myss might be useful at this point in his life. It's not a religious book, but a powerful program in book format for discovering one' s purpose in life. Myss is an award-winning author and writes in an easy-to-read style. Perhaps he is at a point where he might see how he can turn this situation into his greatest potential...??? Just sayin'

  4. Thank you Sandy. I will look into the book and see what Tanner thinks.