February 23, 2011
Just finished completely revamping Tanner’s medication spread sheet. It’s a week- long sheet that keeps John and I straight on morning, noon and night meds as well as her as-needed medications. It’s absolutely necessary. You can’t believe how complex it actually is.
But, today, they raised Tanner’s chemo quite a bit. Her counts were high at 2,200, but we’ve all been battling a cold virus for the past week so I didn’t think much of it. But, she’s also grown quite a bit lately and the chemo is calculated by body volume.
It pained me to give her so much medicine tonight… 19 pills and two liquid meds. I felt sneaky while I was getting it all together… like I was trying to put something over on her. But, what good would it do to tell her that they raised both her chemo and her steroids? It would only scare her. I’m terrified about what this will do to her counts. We go back in two weeks to check them. The middle of cold/flu/strep season is not the time to be neutrapenic.
We also got an additional med today – one we hoped to never have to ask for. Tanner was put on an anti-depressant today to attempt to control the anxiety that seems to be eating her up. She has been so agitated lately, has been having troubled going to sleep at night, doesn’t want to go to school in the morning and just seems really frantic. Together with Tanner’s therapist, Allison, we decided to ask Dr. Mixan, her oncologist, for some help for her. The medicine they put her on will take about 4-6 weeks to reach it’s full potential and they gave us some other meds to use, if necessary, in the meantime.
I have mixed feelings about giving her the anti-depressant. On the one hand, I’m relieved that she is getting something that should help her stop spinning – it’s painful to watch her be so angry and agitated. I think it is damaged her self-esteem to have her behavior so constantly corrected. And, frankly, either she needed to be medicated or someone was going to have to medicate me so I could be more patient. It has been a real struggle the past several months dealing with her. She did go to sleep tonight easily for the first time in weeks, so the drowsiness side effect of the medicine might be a real blessing for Tanner.
On the other hand, this is so far removed from anything you would ever hope for your child… a seven-year-old on antidepressants. It’s scary and disheartening, to say the least.
So, having given all this sobering news, let me just say that clinic turned out to be fun today. We had to wait for long time for meds from the pharmacy so we went downstairs to kill some time and they had medical play in the lobby. The kids got to choose from decorating a little doll in a hospital gown or getting a stuffed animal and playing doctor with some real medical equipment. It’s such a therapeutic activity for both Tanner and Jake, both of whom know way more about medical procedures than any child should. Tanner got really into it and played even more when we got home, which is a healthy way for her to express some of her feelings about receiving so much medical treatment.
After playing doctor for a while, we ate some lunch and had some ice cream, picked up our meds and then came home. It made for a kind of long day at clinic, but I think it’s worth it for the kids to have some good experiences at the hospital to offset the not so good ones.
Please keep Tanner in your thoughts this week. Anytime her meds are increased, it takes a while to adjust and she feels pretty bad for a while. This is the most chemo she has ever taken and the highest dose of steroids, too, so I’m sure she’s not going to feel very well over the next week.
We’ve had some really good moments in the past few weeks, too, but I’ll save those for another night when I feel a little lighter and am not so tired.