Dr. Berryman referred us to a Back and Spine Orthopedic Surgeon in Dallas (who works specifically with cancer patients) whom I've called several times this past week. I finally got through to someone yesterday, only to learn that they don't accept Medicaid patients. She said the only Oncology Orthopedic surgeon she knows of in Dallas is Dr. Gilbert (and his partner in the practice). I explained to her that Dr. Gilbert is the doctor who performed the surgeries on Tanner's legs, but that Dr. Berryman said he wanted Tanner to see someone who deals specifically with back issues. She just kept apologizing.
I emailed Dr. Berryman and his assistant, Courtney, yesterday to let them know what's going on - and in the meantime I've started searching the web trying to just find someone over here in Fort Worth. I started thinking about Dr. Maymie Richie-Gillespie (who diagnosed Tanner three years ago) and it came to me that she's a Musculoskeletal Specialist who deals with cancer patients all the time - and she works with young people (through Cook Children's Oncology Department). I called her adult practice yesterday and asked if they accept Medicaid patients and the receptionst told me that she did only through her JPS office.
I've called that office and left a message on their answering machine explaining that Dr. Richie-Gillespie is the one who diagnosed Tanner three years ago and that he now has a compression fracture in his back and that we need to see if we could get him an appointment.
Today, I've received a text from Tanner telling me, "My backs hurting quite more today for some reason. It's just a lot spasms".
If you have a child, then I'm sure you realize how that makes me feel. It doesn't matter that he's 20 years old... He's my baby and he's hurting and I can't "fix" it... So, I called the JPS office again and left another message. I told her "You know how us mothers are. My son is hurting and I need to find someone who can help him." Now I just wait for someone to answer me.
Three years ago, when he first broke his leg (and the tumor was discovered in his tibia), it took three weeks to get into Dr. Richie-Gillespie's office. I can only imagine how long it will take to get him into their JPS office.
I know that Tanner has cancer. I know that he's going to have to deal with that fact - and the pain - for the rest of his life. I just want this addressed. I want them to do everything they can to give him as much relief as is possible.
I love Dr. Berryman. When we are in his office, you can tell he really cares. He will sit and talk with us and he takes Tanner seriously and he wants to give him the care he needs. When we were there over a month ago and talked about Tanner's pain problems, he told us he's going to look for a Pain Management Specialist - and was going to try and find someone who works with young people. Then after Tanner had the MRI and we went to find out the results (and learned of the compression fracture), I asked him if he had looked for a pain specialist for Tanner and he looked sheepish and said "no".
I know these doctors are busy. You sit in the waiting room and see dozens upon dozens of cancer patients sitting all around you and you realize that Tanner is just one of many... but he's my son... and I see his pain... and I don't want him ignored.
I texted one of my cousins yesterday and told him I was fighting depression, and I didn't know why. I asked how can I be fine one day and fight despair the next? There's no reason for me to be feeling depressed... everything is fine in my own personal life... I guess it was just a bad day.
It's ok... this is our life... I just want my son to be as comfortable as possible. I'm sure we'll get an appointment with someone and they'll be able to help Tanner, and it will all be okay. I'm just a mother.
The greatest happiness of life is the conviciton that we are loved; loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves... Victor Hugo