We made it! Tanner took her last dose of steroids last night and we finished our last day of Induction today! Tanner and I high-fived today as she, John, Jake and I goofed around in the playroom. She and Jake were taking turns riding the SmartCycle (how can she ride that so fast and still have so much trouble walking?) and rolling around on the floor. Tanner asked to go for an airplane ride on my legs (no easy task with her recent weight gain!) and wanted to do dance, dance revolution on the Wii. She is coming back to us slowly, in little stutter steps, interrupted by moments of pain and fatigue, but back nonetheless. I’ve missed her and can’t wait to see more my funny, lively daughter.
We had such a smooth visit at the Clinic today. It is scary how normal taking our daughter into surgery is becoming. You know when the Dr. says, “you know the drill,” instead of telling you all things that could possibly go wrong, that you’re becoming a regular. Tanner was a champ today. She chatted casually (about food, of course) with the nurse while she put the IV into her port — no crying, no screaming, not even any wincing. And, when we came to recovery, she had the doctor and nurses cracking up talking about tacos and Sonic. Unbelievable how far she has come in a month.
We’ll have the results of the bone marrow biopsy on Thursday (7/2/09). They use a more sensitive test this time to determine whether there is any cancer left in her bone marrow. Fingers crossed, but I know it will be good — Tanner’s fighting too hard for it to be any other way.
Even though it was a day of celebration, we definitely had a disappointment as well. We were under the impression that Tanner had a week off between the Induction and Consolidation phases of her treatment. We thought that today she was having a spinal tap with a chemo injection into her spinal fluid, the bone marrow biopsy and a dose of vincristine, then we thought we didn’t have to come in next week. Uh-uh. We had the bone marrow and spinal today, but no vincristine. Next Thursday (7/9/09), we go in for another spinal, a dose of vincristine and we start daily oral chemo. Does anyone see a break here? Chemo this week, chemo next week. Surgery this week, surgery next week. Hmmmm. I just keep reminding myself that there are no steroids involved in any of this. Maybe that’s the break.
We also talked in more detail with Dr. Mixan about Tanner’s leg weakness and pain. He said there could be three possible culprits: 1) Since Tanner had a such a high infiltration of leukemia cells in her marrow — 95% — it put great stress on her bones and she could still be having pain from that. 2) the steroids cause muscle weakness and she might get better as the effect of the steroids fade. 3) The vincristine causes nerve pain and weakness. So, we’re going to wait a couple of weeks and see if that gets better and continue to encourage her to move more. If we don’t see a significant improvement, we’ll start doing therapy.
All in all, a pretty good day. Having a visit from friends tomorrow morning and my Mom is coming for a few days to help. Jake and I have big plans for the pool and, hopefully, we might get Tanner to the Whitler’s pool in the next few days once her bone marrow site heals. Good stuff.
One more thing. Without sounding preachy, let me give you some unsolicited advice. Appreciate the things you are able to do with your kids, even the mundane ones. I used to wish I didn’t have to take the kids with me to the grocery store, and now that I can’t, I miss just doing that little regular stuff with them. Being able to just trot out the door on errands and stop off at the playground or McDonald’s playland without thinking about blood counts, germs or immune systems. I never thought something like this could happen to us, but it did. So, appreciate the little things that you have; they really are precious.