When you're a cancer patient there are different degrees of freedom.
Freedom from the line that you're hooked up to for chemotherapy.
Freedom from the room when you're not sick and on isolation.
Freedom from the ward if you get a day pass. And finally, freedom from the hospital when you're discharged.
This week we're on stage two, which is a great break considering he was on isolation for a few weeks surrounding the previous round of chemotherapy.
It means that when he sees the nurses on the other side of the door and smiles, we can now open the door. He's starting to walk so trips down the hallways are an exciting adventure, complete with new friends, sights and sounds.
The last week has been a typical roller coaster. We went up on the news that he's in remission for the second cycle in a row, then down on the decision to do a bone marrow transplant. Up on a visit from a trio of Calgary Flames players, down when he stopped eating following the third round of chemotherapy.
The lack of interest in food was expected, given that nausea is a side effect from the chemo which he's experienced before. But it's never easy seeing his weight drop (from 10.5 to 9.5 kilograms in just a few days), and certainly not simple cleaning up after multiple rounds of Exorcist-themed vomiting.
What makes it easier is knowing that his appetite will return, and it has started to in spurts. We had to add gravol to his list of medicines and his weight has leveled off.
It's the waiting game again, as the chemotherapy does its job and his blood counts fall back to zero. There's still an unspoken chance that they could then rise back in time to be discharged for Christmas, but we're not counting on that at all. Besides, Santa will be here for a visit next week anyhow.
Aside from being good for him, getting into the hallways has brought with it a happy second side effect. With his unsatiable love of, well, everything, Dominic is turning out to be therapy for some of the other families here.
As he passes rooms and looks in, fellow young cancer patients look out and smile. Some open their doors and come to play. And the ones who don't feel up to it can hopefully take something positive as well.
Trish sent me two text messages relating to that. One was about a social worker who told her "she is really impressed with our attitudes. And thinks we r rubbing off on other parents." The other was a conversation she had with a fellow parent who "used Dominic's attitude to show her daughter that u can choose everyday how u want to behave.
"Apparently they r having a better day now."
Consequently, so did we.
On a side note, the Medicine Hat News did another story on us. You can read it here: http://medicinehatnews.com/news/local-news/2013/12/family-pushes-forward-despite-recent-setback-with-sons-health/