Good Riddance 2009

December 3, 2009

I was so happy to write “2010” on a check I wrote yesterday. 2009, for lack of a more literate description, sucked. I don’t want to say this year couldn’t be any worse than last (my realm of possibility has seriously changed), because it, of course, could be. But, I’m hoping things are on the upswing as they seem to be.

Tanner is doing a little better this month on the steroids. We’ve seen some emotional behavior, but they haven’t wiped her out completely like they sometimes do… yet. She’s still taking them through Wednesday morning, so we’ll see. Overall, she is feeling good and we are much encouraged that the doctors felt comfortable with her not returning to clinic for a whole month. That indicates they believe her counts to be pretty stable, something that can usually take many months to achieve. We’ve taken that as a sign that we can comfortably have a little more freedom, which is nice.

We had a very busy weekend focusing on trying to get all the decisions made for the renovations on the new house. It’s fun to have something else to think about, but still, in the back of my mind, I feel like I have to rush, rush, rush because you never know when a hospital trip might pop up. It’s an awful thing to have in the back of your mind, but it’s just the way it is.

Still, it feels for the first time in a long time like our lives are not being held completely hostage by cancer. We’re moving forward, which is the way it should be.

Jake moved forward tonight. He slept in a bed for the first time instead of his crib. We bought him a racecar bed (he LOVES racecars) and he was so excited. It’s easy to forget about the “other child” in this situation. In fact, I forgot to take him to a birthday party on Saturday. I feel terrible. But tonight… he had his moment and he did great.

Have I mentioned that Tanner’s hair is growing back? It started out as this little white peach fuzz, but has since darkened and grown to where she has a soft down covering her entire head. It’s amazing how fast it is coming in. I can’t keep my hands off of her head – she feels like a little downy duckling. She is really hoping it will be brown and curly! It does actually look darker, but there’s no word yet on the curls. See, even her hair is moving forward.

So far, 2010 feels different. It’s not that the dance with cancer is over by any means; I know it will go on for another year and a half and it will be very difficult, but I feel a little lighter on my feet now. I used to wake every morning and my first thought would be, my daughter has leukemia. Now, I sometimes wake up thinking something else – the new house, renovations, getting a new dog – good things.

Here’s to more good things for all of us this year.


Clinic Day # 26

December 31, 2009

Standing room only in the infusion room at Vanderbilt Children’s today. A run on chemo. I’ve never seen it so crowded. Tanner, Jake and I actually sat on the floor. There were people standing around everywhere. Some parents were actually rude enough to remain sitting while kids needing chemo were left to stand waiting. Crazy.

Tanner’s counts were perfect – in leukemia world, that is. Her neutraphils were at 1,700 (the doctors want them between 1,000 and 2,000 during long-term maintenance). They were at 16,000 on Monday when she went to the ER with a fever. The body is an amazing thing. The good news is that, for now, they’re not raising her chemo levels… AND we don’t have to go into clinic for FOUR WEEKS! Good grief… we won’t know what to do with ourselves.

Everyone seems to be feeling better today. Of course, the steroids should fix that for Tanner. In addition, she got a dose of Vincristine today and will get an oral methotrexate pill tonight. The methotrexate seems to wipe her out the next day and make her feel bad for a little while. So, it probably won’t be the best week, but maybe we’ll be able to play a little tomorrow.

While the nurse was pushing Tanner’s Vincristine into her port, Jake said, “What are you doing to Tanner?” Cari replied, “I’m giving her medicine that will make her feel better.” Tanner said, very deadpan, “It doesn’t make me feel better, it makes me feel crappy.” Well said.