We have been moved to the biggest room on the ward – referred to by the nurses as ‘the executive suite’. This is a lovely change for Isita who had occupied the previous room for four months without a break. It is also great for Marta and myself. There is a proper bath that I can actually lie down in.
We are still working on the plan to get Isita home. It will surely not be long, but no one can say how many more weeks it may be. We need to see several days with no bleeding in her gut. The amount has already reduced a lot but progress is uneven. For instance, it increased slightly over this weekend.
But only slightly. In fact, Isita hasn’t suffered a bout of major acute bleeding for more than a week. She has no major infections and is no longer on any of the ‘anti-’ medicines. For the past few days, the doctors have been reducing the quantity of electrolytes (potassium, sodium, phosphate etc…) in her intravenous nutrition. So far, her blood counts have held steady. This indicates that her full kidney function has at least partially and probably fully recovered. This is an essential precondition both for going home and for the surgery which must happen eventually. We have also been slowly weaning her off the morphine and ketamine, but there is a way to go yet.
When Isita’s consultant Giuseppe visited on the grand ward round on Friday he was very pleased with her progress. We spent more time talking about how things will progress when she is back at home than the current situation. It is going to take a very long time – measured in months – to fully reintroduce food. Alongside kidney function, gut function is the other essential precondition for the cancer treatment to restart. This is because the next stage is almost certain to be surgery, which must come before radiotherapy.
The fact that we had a two and half month gap between the end of the induction chemotherapy and the beginning of high dose with no ill effect is a positive indication that we can wait quite a long time before we resume. Inevitably, any delay makes us uneasy but the plus side is we can look forwards to a lengthy stint of home time. Boy, do we need it.