Tomorrow is a pivotal day. We go to clinic in the morning for counts. The results will likely determine the course of our holidays – joyful and with lots of family, or a little less joyful and by ourselves at home. I feel like this will be the breaking point for Tanner… and possibly for me, too. We want — no we need – a change of scenery and a chance to forget about cancer, even if only for a few days. The thing is, Tanner feels really good these days. It’s hard sometimes for me to remember to give her midday medicine because she seems so normal. But, still, we’re reminded every day by the places we cannot go and things we cannot do, that she is not normal. Being able to spend the holidays among family would be as close to normal as we have had since diagnosis. I don’t know how I will console her if her counts are too low to go.
The stress of everything depending upon this count check has definitely gotten to Tanner. She has begun in the last few weeks to act out and has steadily gotten worse. We haven’t seen this type of behavior from her since her stint of acting out after diagnosis. What seemed to help her then, and I believe will help her now, is our play therapist, Allison. It is so weird, but without ever talking to Tanner about leukemia or her difficulties with it, Allison is able to help Tanner work out her feelings through play. She says Tanner is very transparent in her play. Last week, Tanner forced animals and dolls to drink “toilet water,” telling them they had to do it and if they didn’t, she would have to hold them down and make them drink it. I think toilet water is actually a really good analogy for chemo.
Tanner is also anxious about moving. What started out as a really positive thing has turned into a source of anxiety. She is nervous about leaving her friend, Corinne, and about meeting new kids in the neighborhood when she has no hair. She has also started obsessing about the dog we lost several months ago, Millie. She writes her notes and puts them on her ashes urn and talks about her all the time. She is afraid to leave the room I am in and won’t go upstairs without either Jake or me with her. She is still sleepwalking and having nightmares, although she is sleeping better than she was several weeks ago. It’s heartbreaking to watch her self-destruct this way. She is eaten alive by anxiety and it manifests itself in bad behavior.
So, please pray for us in the morning. We need good counts. We need a break. I don’t want to have to tell her, yet again, that we will miss something important to her.