Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Return to "Normal"

Beth came in for a half marathon in Dallas this weekend and surprised me at my birthday dinner last week. I was in such shock!I knew she was coming for the marathon, but had no idea she would be here in time to surprise me for my birthday! It's been a wonderful weekend spent with her and the family!

We took the kids to the Zoo on Saturday (the first time I've truly felt 50), had pasta at her dad's place Saturday night - and then Sunday I cooked dinner and Tanner had a chance to come spend some time with her.  All in all it was a truly wonderful time!

Tanner said that the pain in his back is continuing to get worse and the pain patches don't seem to be helping very much at all. He's called Dr. Berryman's office in Dallas several times and no one has called him back. I'm going to call today and see what I can do. We need to find out if they can adjust his pain medications - and I also need to see if they found out if Tanner and Trevor are stem cell matches.

I have to admit, I'm a little disappointed in Texas Oncology so far. Their care just doesn't seem to be on par to MIRT in Little Rock.  Tanner and I discussed that maybe we SHOULD have moved to Arkansas, or maybe we're both just a little frustrated right now...

My ultrasound came back normal so all's good on that front. I head to the doctor this afternoon and we'll continue to work some of my issues out, but at least we know there's nothing major going on as far as my health right now. I need to make my fifties be all they can be!

Thursday, March 22, 2012


Well, yesterday was my 50th Birthday... The age my mother was when she passed. She was never older than the age I am now... I was afraid it would be an emotional day (like my 40th was) but it turned out to be a great day.

They decorated at work and had gifts and goodies for me when I arrived, took me to lunch, and then I went out to dinner for steak last night - where I received the best surprise of all.  It was a wonderful birthday.

I went to the doctor last week and they ran some labwork and called and asked me to go for an ultrasound on my ovaries. No results yet, but I'm sure it will be all good.

The boys and I are going to Granny Jane's house tonight for a birthday dinner, so the celebrating continues!

Where Do I Go From Here

If I knew the way I'd go back home
The countryside has changed so much, I'd surely end up lost
Half-remembered names and faces so far in the past
On the other side of the bridges
That were burned once they were crossed

Tell me where, where does a fool go
When there's no one left to listen
To a story without meaning that nobody wants to hear
Tell me where, where does a fool go
When he knows there's something missing
Tell me where, where will I go from here
Where will I go from here

Get back home where my childhood dreams and wishes
Still are none of my regrets
Go back to a place where I can figure all the odds
Have a fighting chance to lose the blues
And win my share of bets

Tell me where, where does a fool go
When there's no one left to listen
To a story without meaning that nobody wants to hear
Tell me where, where does a fool go
When he knows there's something missing

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Well, I went with Tanner on Friday to his appointment in Fort Worth with Dr. Asad at Texas Oncology.  The nurse always comes in and takes the history before the doctor enters the room and Tanner told her that Dr. Berryman in Dallas had prescribed a pain patch to see if he receives more consistent relief from his bone aches.  She made a comment that they didn't have any notes in his records about being on pain medication (though I would have sworn I remembered talking to Dr. Asad about Tanner's pain at our first and only appointment actually seeing him).

When next the door opened, it was the PA instead of Dr. Asad and he asked Tanner a lot of questions about his pain and what kind of medications he has been taking.  Tanner told him he's been on Hydrocodone for years now but that he seems to be building a tolerance to it so Dr. Berryman had prescribed the patch.  The PA started bringing up the concerns of becoming dependent on pain medications and I told him that Tanner and I had discussed that issue in depth with Dr. Berryman and that Dr. B had told me that, while he understood the concern of dependency, we also had to make sure that Tanner is given enough releief for the bone aches to have quality of life.

The PA said that his concern was that he wasn't sure if the pain was MM related or not.  He said that the muscle spasms Tanner is having in his back might be treatment related and could be the results of the velcade that Tanner has been on for three years now and that he might benefit from a muscle relaxer.  I told him that I could see that a muscle relaxer might be a good idea at bedtime, but that I didn't think Tanner could function daily while taking them.

The PA explained that what caused him to be concerned that the pain might not be Multiple Myeloma related was because, if it was caused from the cancer, Tanner would be able to point to exactly where the pain was.  We explained to him that Tanner could do that and, in fact, when we were in Dr. Berryman's office the week before, Tanner was able to point to very specific places where the ache is always present.  His lower left leg, his knee, his hip, and his lower back.  The PA said "but Tanner doesn't have cancer in his lower extremities".  I know that I must have given him a look like he was completely crazy - and I told him that yes, Tanner does have lesions in his legs and in fact the left tibia snapping completely in two was how the first MM lesion was found and that he spent a year in a full leg cast and another in a full leg brace.  I told him that according to all the tests that were ran, Tan has hundreds, "innumerable" lesions throughout his body and there is hardly any bone in his body that wasn't effected.

He said that information concerned him because the full body survey that was just performed doesn't mention any areas in the legs - not even old damage where the break occured.

I think what I'm going to do is ask for a copy of the report from the survey that was just performed and the report from the survey that was ran when he was first diagnsed (I have copies of all the reports from the scans done in Arkansas) - and just sit down and read everything myself.

These doctors are busy and neither Dr. Berryman or the PA had actually sat and read the report until Tanner and I were in the room and mentioned them.  I know they are all very busy professionals with many patients.  I'm the mother of a son with Multiple Myeloma.  I have plenty of time to read all the reports in depth and compare everything side by side.

Tanner and Cearra come to my home on Sunday nights to watch the Walking Dead with me - and they are doing so well!  Still completely in love with each other...  The series ends this next Sunday night and I have to admit, I will miss those couple of hours spent with them each week.

My 50th birthday is next Wednesday... 50....  It's causing a lot of introspection about how I want to live this next phase of my life. 

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare? –

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows:

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass:

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night:

No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance:

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began?

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

...W.H. Davies

Friday, March 2, 2012

Confirmation of CR

Tanner and I went to Dallas today for his three month follow up appointment with his main Oncologist at the Sammons Cancer Center.  Dr. Berryman told us that the PET Scan and the full body bone survey both confirm that there is no active cancer in Tanner's body!! We couldn't have asked for better news!

I'm sure if anything was happening as far as Tanner's MM, the weekly labwork would reflect such changes, but it's always reassuring to hear the news from the doctor himself.

Tanner told Dr. Berryman that he's having lots of deep bone aches in his legs and back and that, while it's not a sharp pain, it's an ever present ache in his body.  They talked about the fact that Tanner has to take several hydrocodone at a time to receive any relief whatsoever - and they discussed some of the alternative medicines.

When I mentioned my worries about Tanner having to take so many pain pills, Dr. Berryman told me he knew there was always the worry about addiction to hydrocodone, but that he doesn't want Tanner living in pain.  He wants to try and make him comfortable enough that he can get up and out to participate in life because these bone aches are something Tanner is going to have to deal with for the rest of his life.

They decided to try a pain patch and Dr. Berryman told him to be sure and follow up with Dr. Asad here in Fort Worth in a week or two because the dosage of the patches might have to be adjusted. He told Tan to apply the patch on a flat part of the body, like the chest or back, and change them out every three days. I hope they give Tanner some relief!

He also told us that they had received the results of Trevor's labwork back from where they sent it off to see if he was a stem cell match for Tanner - and then found out they don't have Tanner's type in their system! So, they ran labwork for Tanner today and should be able to compare it to Trevor's report and see if they are a match. He assures me that they will call me as soon as they find out and if the boys are a match, they hope that I can bring Trevor over to have his cells collected and frozen in case they are ever needed in the future.

Dr. Berryman was looking in the computer and said, "Man, you are about to have a big birthday!"  I asked him how he knew I was about to be fifty and he looked shocked and said, "I was talking about Tanner turning 20"...  He went on to say, "I did say man" and I told him whenever I think about turning 50, I usually think "oh man" myself.... LOL! He wished us both a happy birthday and said we don't have to come back to Dallas for three months.

I received an email from one of the men we met while we were in Little Rock and he said he found my Facebook page and had seen Tanner's Hawaii pictures and had read some of the blog posts and wanted to reach out to us.  He is close to my age and his young daughter was with him in Little Rock as his caretaker.  Often we would share treatment rooms on 7C and his daughter and Tanner would visit since there weren't too many people their age in the Infusion Clinic. He, too, has remained in full remission since his tratment in Arkansas and said since returning home he has found freedom from the stress and worry of MM on his Harley. Wouldn't that be fun? To jump on a Harley and find freedom for even a while? It sounds like heaven to me...  I did stop this afternoon and picked up some new tubes for my bicycle... Maybe I can find some solace and freedom on my mountain bike... LOL!

Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple... Dr. Seuss