May 2, 2011

We’re home. Which is a wonderful thing and more than we had hoped for when we left here yesterday morning. The psych team believes that she is suffering from traumatic stress and that the past few weeks have been a little too much for her. In addition, they thought the aftereffects of the steroids could have played a role as well.

They didn’t think her antidepressant was to blame, in fact, they raised her dosage. She was on such a low dose and had gotten such good results initially that they felt they were helping.

It was reassuring to know they didn’t see any signs of mental illness; just too much stress for our little girl to take. The doctor said she believes that Tanner’s age group has the hardest time dealing emotionally with cancer treatment. Older kids are able to express themselves better and relieve some stress by venting and using coping strategies. Younger kids don’t really understand the seriousness of their treatment and are spared some of the fear of dying or of relapse. Tanner’s age group is old enough to understand, but not really old enough to express themselves and use coping strategies. Tanner, in particular, does not really talk about having leukemia or what stresses her. She just doesn’t.

Doing her best Transformer impersonation while getting an EKG

The next couple of days may still be a little bumpy, but I think we’re better prepared to deal with it until the increased dosage of antidepressant might help relieve some of the tension for her.

Thank you so much for all the love and support you sent our way; it truly buoyed us when we were drowning. And huge thanks to Beth, Kim and Ann, who went above and beyond, as always.


All Aglow

November 12, 2010

I’m aglow… with radiation! I’m sitting on a plastic tablecloth on my BFF Kim’s couch watching the Today show. It’s like a vacation as long as I forget why I’m here. I don’t feel really bad, but I don’t feel good either. I feel like I’ve been poisoned… go figure.

I’m still on the low iodine diet through Sunday to ensure the radioactive iodine absorbs into any remaining thyroid tissue as well as possible. So, Beth is coming over to make us hamburgers with homemade French fries and homemade ketchup. Yum! How does a girl thank friends like these? The thing is, I knew that they would take care of me… it’s just what we do for each other.

John and the kids dropped by last night and rang the doorbell and drove off before I could answer (This is affectionately referred to as the “Ding Dong Ditch” in the South). They left funny gifts the kids had picked out… a reindeer antler headband and a “Do Not Disturb” eye mask! Too funny!

Yesterday was surreal, but a little anticlimactic. No hazmat suit for the lady who gave me my RAI pills (I feel ripped off), just gloves. But, the pills themselves came in a space age looking metal canister. When she opened it, the metal was 2 inches thick and there was a very small indentation inside with a small plastic vial in it. The pills were in that vial and I had to take them without touching them (apparently it’s okay to touch them with the inside of your body, but not the outside!). Then, after I took them, a guy came and measured me from one foot and three feet away with a radiation detector to determine how radioactive I was. Apparently, everyone is different depending upon body mass (this is the one time it would have paid to have been more overweight than I am). Then, they write your contact precautions based on those measurements.

So, no closer than three feet from someone for me and six feet for kids or pregnant women for at least three days, but our doctor suggested we go seven days for that precaution. Even after that, I’m not allowed to have direct contact with the kids for more than 30 minutes a day for the next 16 days. Bummer. I’m going to miss cuddling with my babies so bad. But, I can get out more than I thought. No reason I can’t run to the video store or grocery during off hours when there aren’t a lot of people.

I feel like I’ve hijacked this blog… it is called Tanner Time, after all. So, here’s how Tanner’s doing. She’s having a somewhat hard time handling this extra chemo load. I think we had gotten spoiled being on 50% chemo for so long and now she’s on 100%. She missed school Monday and Wednesday. She just didn’t feel good. And, she’s fighting some kind of cold. Jake had a mild case of croup this week and missed school, so it’s been a little nuts this week.

Tanner auditioned for an orphan role in Annie last weekend and did so well. She has a callback this Monday and is so excited. It was a leap of faith for John and I to even let her try out because the rehearsal schedule will probably be a little tiring, but we just felt like it was something she wanted so badly that it was worth it. I was so proud of her for doing so well at the audition; she had just had that big dose of chemo and was on steroids, but she still got up there and gave it her best. Hope her cold clears up by then.

I think if nothing else, I am gaining a new respect for Tanner’s resilience. She has pointed out to me several times over the last few weeks that I am just like her – I can’t eat what I want, I have to stay away from people and I have a yucky taste in my mouth that changes the way food tastes. And, now I feel bad like she must have so often over the last year-and-a-half. I’m having a mini-dose of her life. Wow. I respect her even more. She doesn’t complain often and now I realize she really could. I have to say if I woke up one morning and felt like this, I would call in sick to work, but I think she goes to school like this some days. Strong kid, that girl of mine.

Thanks for all the well wishes; I’m doing just fine.



June 4, 2010

Tanner’s just not feeling very well. It’s like this most recent round of chemo is affecting her more than it usually does. Through all the first 6 months of horrible chemo she received, she threw up only twice, now she has thrown up twice in one week and has needed anti-nausea meds every day. Weird.

She’s also been really hot, which I assume is caused by the steroids. She will complain about not being able to cool off and will actually feel really hot to the touch, but has no fever. Like hot flashes, I guess.

I did a little research on the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society discussion boards. I go there especially when I have a side effect I want to know more about. Doctors are only so helpful about side effects. They’re more concerned (as they should be) with the effectiveness of all these drugs and whether they’re actually killing the leukemia. Mommas are the ones who worry about side effects and the LLS discussion boards are where they talk about them. Turns out it’s not uncommon for kids to begin having more side effects as maintenance goes along. The theory is that the toxicity of the chemo over the long-term just builds up in their little bodies and they become too tired to fight them off. Many mothers of boys (who do an extra year of chemo) talked about how sick and fatigued their boys were the third year of chemo. So sad.

All this feeling bad hasn’t really stopped us from having some fun, though. Yesterday, after waking up sick, Tanner rebounded and, within an hour, we went to the pool. Kids are amazing. We haven’t played outside as much as usual; the heat was too much for her. But, the steroids are wearing off and we’ll be back to scootering and biking in no time, I’m sure.

Wednesday, we went to see our favorite singer, Roger Day, at the Spring Hill library. It was, as always, lots of fun. Tanner and Jake got a seat up front and Roger worked Tanner’s name into a couple of songs, which tickled her. They got signed t-shirts and we went home with a new copy of a CD we misplaced during the move. We’ve been singing, “As a matter of fact, Jack, I like Yaks! We like YAKS!” in the car ever since.

When we were in line waiting to get into the room where Roger was going to perform, Tanner started talking to a Mom in front of us. She said, “I have cancer, well leukemia, and Roger Day came to our house and had a concert with my friends.” The look on that’s Mom’s face was priceless. Tanner was so matter-of-fact about it the woman never said a thing to her about having cancer, she just looked startled for a moment and kept talking. Lol

Today, more pool time and then we need to go sing Happy Birthday to Aunt Kim. Happy birthday Kimmie! Next week, Tanner has theater camp all week. I’m hoping it will be the perfect outlet for my little drama queen.