So, today started out okay.  We had our second clinic visit, which went pretty well.  Tanner had blood drawn our of her port and chemo put into it, and we got a prescription for some extra stomach medicine that, hopefully, might help with the abdominal cramps caused by the steroids and exacerbated by the crazy cocktail of drugs she is taking.

On the way home in the car, her stomach is killing her.  We stop at CVS to see if they will rush the prescription for prevacid (she also takes prilosec and zofran) so maybe it will help her.  They are kind and take mercy on a sick little girl and we give her the prevacid, along with oxycontin (painkiller) and neurontin (to help with nerve pain) as soon as we get home.  She feels better within 15 minutes and is laughing and talking while laying on the sofa. 

Her blood counts were down this week, which they expected, but it makes her so weak and tired.  By noon, she is almost asleep on the couch after gorging herself on a buffet of food items.  I carry her upstairs where she naps for 3 hours and I have to wake her up so she won’t be awake all night.

I shouldn’t have worried…  the chemo has gotten her.  She is, effectively, waylaid.

I take Jake out for a scooter ride around the neighborhood and when we return, she is as sick as I have seen her.  Limp… lying on her back with her arms over her head in surrender, her beautiful face swollen from the steroids, the palms of her hands covered in a rash that will eventually cause her hands to peel the way her feet did last week, face pale, lips cracked… waylaid.  The only sign of life is a frantic pulse point at the base of her throat that looks as if it’s trying to say, “I’m still here… working hard, but still here.”

My eyes well up and I have to turn to gather myself in case she wakes up and sees me standing over her crying at the horror of this.  I want to hate this chemo… I want to curse it and beat it with my fists, but I can’t.  The irony is that these drugs that look like they’re killing my child are actually saving her.

While I take Jake up to bed, John scoops Tanner up and puts her in her bed.  I leave Jake’s room and stop to check on Tanner.  She is awake.  I creep in and feel her head.  She seems warm and I check her temperature to be sure (a temperature over 100.4 sends us back to the hospital).  It is normal.  I put chapstick on her cracked lips and ask if there is anything I can do for her.  She asks me to pat her and I do.  Then, I temporarily lose my composure and say, “I hate leukemia… I really, really hate it.”  She nods slightly.  Remembering to try to be positive, I add, “But we’re gonna get it, you can do this.”  Unbelievably, she nods again.  Humbled, I kiss her on the forehead.

She’s still under there.


6 thoughts on “waylaid

  1. Hello, I was directed to your blog through a Twitter follower of mine, JessicaNturner. I have added your blog to my favorites, as I would like to add your family to my regular praying. I have only read this one post, but hope to find time to catch up on past posts soon. My blog is in it’s beginning stages, so it’s nothing special. Reading others encourages me that life is precious, and while we are all worlds apart, one thing can bring you close even without knowing someone. Thank you for sharing your personal life story with others. -Janelle in Iowa

  2. Oh Beth, I cry with you. I can’t even imagine how hard it would be to see your child go through this. Praying that Tanner starts to feel better in the coming days as the chemo works it way through her. Stay strong and one day at a time.


    Jen & Olivia

  3. Beth ~ I ache for all of you. Praying hard for lots of strength and courage … and praying you will be enveloped in God’s peace … that you will see glimpses of His presence in every single day. Love you all very much, Denise

  4. Yet again I know you do not know me, ( I work with Denise Hensley) but this scripture was sent to me via email right after i read this update. You all are in my prayers! May the Word of the fall fresh and full of strength for you and yours today!

    Much Love,

    From Psalm 9:9-10 – The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you.

  5. These days that loom so large in the present will seem sooooo small in the future. Hang in there, have faith. The world is praying for you …

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