Independence Day

July 5, 2009 If you told John and I a week ago that we could have had the kind of holiday weekend we have had, we never would have believed you. Our daughter is back! Instead of having to convince her to get off the couch, we have to convince her to take a nap.

What did we do this weekend? A better question would be what didn’t we do? Saturday morning we went swimming at the Whitler’s. If you didn’t see Tanner fall on the way to the pool or labor down the stairs, you would have never know there was anything wrong. In the water, she is her old swimming self. Flips under water, swimming to the bottom for torpedoes Jake kept throwing into the pool, paddling across the deep end. She looked like any other kid. It was a moment of pure joy for John and I to watch her in an arena where she could match up to other kids.

Having said that, she was exhausted afterwards. I had to wake her 3 hours into a nap so we could go to a 4th of July cookout at the Adkins’ across the street. The original plan was to go over at 5:30 or so, then come home for a little while for a rest and then go back for fireworks. Apparently, that was not Tanner’s plan. We stayed straight through until almost 9 pm. They ate, played inside and outside, caught fireflies, ate freezer pops and did everything a kid should do at a cookout. Tanner was right there with the other kids. Sure she couldn’t jump or run to catch a firefly and she fell several times, but she hung in there and had a great time. Again, though, when she got tired, it was instant. She suddenly said, “Mom, can we go home now? Right now?” Kendall carried her across the street to the house. John and Jake had gone home earlier when Jake discovered that he did NOT like fireworks. “I not like that BOOM!” he said, with his little hands over his ears.

Sunday was the best day of all. We hung around and took it easy all morning… because… Roger Day was coming to our house for a private concert!!! If you don’t know who Roger Day is and you have kids (or grandkids), you should. He’s awesome. He’s a singer/songwriter that the kids love and the parents can actually enjoy as well. His lyrics are funny and clever, but the music is solid and his concerts are tons of fun. We’ve seen him a number of times and own all his Cds and his video. He plays all over the country, but lives right here in Franklin. You can check him out at A million thanks to him for taking time out of his Sunday to help a little girl who can’t go to his concert this Thursday at Brentwood library (shameless plug). We always go to see him when he plays in town, but can’t anymore because of Tanner’s immune system. After he left, he actually drove all the way home and came back with a signed T-shirt for Tanner that he had forgotten to bring. Nice guy or what?

We invited a few friends over to sing and dance with us and had the best time. All the kids were dancing and doing all the special moves to “Mosquito Burrito” and “Roly Poly.” A physical therapist couldn’t have worked Tanner out any better. Roger played for nearly an hour and serenaded Tanner with his cool Happy Birthday song. She was thrilled. We’ll try to post some video to the site, if we can, to show what fun the kids had. The funniest part was when Roger came through the door and Tanner saw him. She walked to him, intending to throw her arms around his waist in a hug, but fell right before she got to him. Miraculously, she played it off as if she had meant to do it and threw her arms around his calves instead, saying, “You’re Awesome!” She never missed a beat.

After Roger left, Tanner went to Corinne’s house for Ms. Ashley’s famous homemade pizza. Ashley called at 6:30 to say that Tanner was going to fall asleep in her plate if I didn’t come get her. While she was there a tooth fell out, too. When I went to get her, she asked if I would carry her home and when I picked her up, she whispered in my ear, “Can we go straight to bed?” Which is exactly what we did. Exhausted, but happy.

In short, this weekend was better than we could have ever hoped for. I’m not so naïve as to think that there aren’t hard times ahead, but I’m just trying to live in this moment and not worry about what next week will be like. We’ll hang on to the memory of this weekend for a long time and bring it out when we need it to remind us of what is at the end of this long journey. It was the first time that I felt like we ruled the leukemia instead of it ruling us. We got the best of it and declared our independence from it, even if temporarily.

Happy Independence Day! Hope yours was even half what ours was.


Hospital Update

Tanner’s fever is down this morning after 2 IV antibiotics. Her leg pain has also lessened, thank God. Her blood cell counts still look good today, so I think we’re going to get to go home. We just have to find an attending who can make that official. The hospital is packed and it’s a holiday, so we may not even see the attending until this afternoon.

She’s on contact precautions right now. It’s so funny, because here I sit with my cold that has brought all this on, but every medical person that comes in here gowns up and wears gloves. So strange. Definitely don’t plan on coming by to see us unannounced; we can’t have visitors at the moment.

Good grief! When else does a 100.7 degree fever send you to the hospital overnight? Will keep you posted.


In the Hospital… again

Well, it was shaping up to be such a good week, but Tanner came down with a low fever this morning that crept up to the dreaded 100.4. Once it hits 100.4, we have to come to the hospital to be checked out. We thought we were going to make it into the clinic, but with traffic, didn’t make it in time and had to come in the the ER. They did some bloodwork and her counts look good, and normally they would have done some IV antibiotics and let us go home provided we come back to the clinic tomorrow for a follow-up. Since it’s a holiday tomorrow and the clinic is closed, we are having to stay overnight so they can do bloodwork tomorrow and just keep and eye on her. Unfortunately, the hospital is full, so it looks like we’re stuck in the ER for the night. It’s noisy in the ER and no one sleeps very well here. It’s 10:30 and Tanner has still not been able to go to sleep due to all the interruptions and some pain. No nap today, either. I’ll be “sleeping” sitting up in a rocking chair. Lovely.

I’m a little glad we’re staying, though. She’s having more leg pain than normal and odd hot and cold flashes even though her fever is down. Better here than at home where all of this would be freaking me out.

The reality of this disease never ceases to amaze me. We were planning an afternoon swim at the Whitlers today and Tanner was so much more vibrant today. Even while she had a fever, we sat at the kitchen table and painted suncatchers, a project from VBS, which we missed, but a friend was nice enough to bring the crafts by. Just makes you feel like everything could go wrong at any moment. I’ve never been a worrier, but by the end of this I may be.

Did I mention that Jake and I have had colds and that’s probably why she has this fever? Imagine feeling like the smallest sniffle you have could be deadly for your child. I’ve hand sanitized myself to death, gone to the minute clinic and begged antibiotics out of them so I would get better quicker and even worn a mask around her at my worst. But, I’m learning that even when her counts are good, she still doesn’t have even close to the immune system you or I would have.

Thank God my Mom was in town so I could leave the house quickly without worrying about Jake. I keep thinking I can do this by myself, but I can’t.

Anyway, I’m rambling now and Tanner’s pain is increasing. I’ve had them call her oncology team because something weird is going on… my Mommy radar is going off. I’m going to see if they can get her some stronger pain meds.

Will update in the morning.