Thursday, February 19, 2009

For the love of Hunter: Sumner County youngster now enters last stage of serious chemo in hopes of normal life that all lovable, rascally boys deserve

Hunter doesn't like his weekly trips to Vanderbilt for chemo treatment of his leukemia.

Neither did I. Because of God, my trips are once a month now, except when circumstances demand more.

But the griping of this 6-year-old is a good sign. He is well enough to complain. His body has recovered enough for him to play outside. But he is not out of the woods ... yet.

For the past several weeks, his white cell count has not been high enough to enter his last stage of extra-ordinary chemo treatment. And mom and dad have fretted. Then, last week, after a sample of bone marrow was taken to make sure he was still in remission, his blood count quadrupled.

So yesterday morning, he was ready to enter the last, three-week stage of extensive chemo. And I was glad to be there with a few toys to cheer on this very brave youngster.

The goal, after the three weeks, is for Hunter to be on regular maintenance chemo. That will allow him to go back to school at Bethpage Elementary and pursue boyhood fully on the family farm.

Hunter hates spinal taps that get chemo to the brain, but children are put under for this treatment. Not adults.

But Hunter loves grilled shrimp, which he consumed with adult-like bites following the spinal tap yesterday.

For the next few weeks, Hunter will spending more of his time during the day on the couch, weakened from the chemo. But he knows it is an investment in feeling better for good.

And that would be a dream for his mom and dad. They've waited a long time to reach these three weeks of hope for the future.

So keep Hunter in your hopes and prayers during his last steps toward a return to full boyhood and the joys it brings.

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