Chemo effects

After several days during which it has been almost possible to forget about the wretched lump in Isita’s stomach, she has had to go back to St Mary’s Paddington. This evening her temperature was nearly 38.5 C. This is above the level that the doctors want us to take her back into hospital to administer antibiotics and to ensure that she has not suffered an infection on her Hickman line (the wiggly). 

It is hard not to be dismayed about all this, particularly at the end of a comparatively easy weekend. My brother Benjamin and his family came to see us yesterday, bringing a late Christmas present for the whole family – a swingball set. This is something else for Isita to look forwards to as soon as she is more active. The past days have also been enlivened by the visit of Marta’s cousins Sole and Belen from Spain.It was only this afternoon that Isita started to look a bit peaky, although she has been complaining again about pains in her stomach and hip. After lunch she was well enough to take a ride in the buggy (lent by Christina) up Portobello Road, where we got her passport photos taken. They do say, that if you look like your passport photo you are not well enough to fly. In Isita’s case this is literally true.

The community nurse who came this afternoon said that the effects of the chemotherapy often start to show after about a week to ten days. This is why Isita’s haemoglobin count has fallen over the past few days. If it goes much lower, the nurse said that a blood transfusion would be necessary. Her low haemoglobin levels mean that she probably also has low neutrophil levels. These are the white blood cells which function as part of the immune system. The nurses have been coming every day to inject Isita with a drug to boost neutrophil production. So in the next few days the numbers should start going up again. If all this means that the chemo is fulfilling its main function, then we should be happy.

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