A Setback

February 2, 2010

I spent most of yesterday trying to convince myself that my glass is half full. It is. I know it is. But, there are times when it is harder to remember than others.

Lurking in the recesses of our recent good news about school was a cold Tanner was fighting. Yesterday morning, she woke up with her ear hurting. Rather than drive all the way to the hospital, I ran by the pediatrician’s office. They were awesome. They took us right back so we didn’t have to wait in the germy lobby and, of course, Tanner had an ear infection. They have been a long-standing problem for Tanner.

Our pediatrician called our oncologist, Dr. Mixan, who said he wanted Tanner to have a Rocefin shot in addition to oral antibiotics. Rocefin is a broad-range antibiotic that Tanner typically gets through her port any time we go to the hospital with a fever. “A shot?” I repeated. “What kind of s-h-o-t are we talking about here?” Not pleasant, she said. Tanner has a huge issue with shots, but has no problem getting a big needle put into her port in her chest (go figure) so we decided to go to clinic and get the antibiotic via her port. It took longer, but saved us a lot of trauma, screaming and holding her down.

It was a good thing we went. Her counts had dropped across the board. Her neutraphils dropped to 960 from 3300. Which, of course, means back on the restricted diet and no school until they go back up. Tanner cried. She had wanted a salad for lunch so badly. They did a chest x-ray, which we never heard any results on so I assume it was negative.

It’s hard for good news to be so fleeting. For the celebration to constantly be in so much jeopardy. I found myself wishing we had not made such a big deal about going back to school or about being able to eat whatever she wants. Less disappointment that way.

I think my disappointment must have been very visible. Tanner’s nurse, Cari, said gently, “It’s just an ear infection, Beth. She’ll get over it quickly.” And, she’s right. It could be so much worse. I had a pep talk with myself in the car on the way home. This is a long journey and I had no right to expect it to be smooth at this point. I can’t allow myself to be tired when there is so far to go. If I expect Tanner to keep fighting, I have to keep fighting.

So, it took all day (and I mean ALL day) to get to see the glass half full. It is. She’s alive and that, alone, is everything to be thankful for. But, more than that, we have joy. Even if it is fleeting, it is worth having. Living to avoid disappointment is not living at all and that would be a disservice to the fight that she is fighting.

She is not feeling real great this morning. It’s the last day of steroids (hurray) and that’s never a real great day for her. Add the ear infection and she is pretty miserable. We’ll lay low and, hopefully, wait for another celebration to come.


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