Saturday, February 23, 2008

'Lucy's fighting back' - Michael Laws

Sunday Star Times | Sunday, 24 February 2008

"It may not be a miracle yet but it's certainly headed in that direction." That's the word today from Wanganui mayor, broadcaster and Sunday Star-Times columnist Michael Laws after specialists radically revised the odds of survival for his three-year-old daughter, Lucy.

Lucy is fighting a rare combination of illnesses leukemia, pneumonia and a fungal infection on her lungs and doctors said 10 days ago they thought she would die. But Laws said that on Friday, the two specialists responsible for Lucy's care Mark Winstanley and Ruellyn Cockcroft said that tests had shown the toddler's outlook was improving.

Said Laws: "To quote Mark Winstanley: `We have results that we did not expect to see' and `the fungus is not behaving as it is meant to be'."

He said the aspergillus fungus did not appear as invasive or immediately fatal as it had looked a week ago. "The difference between last Wednesday's CT scan and this week's is dramatic," Laws said. "It appears to be in retreat and the great fear that it would honeycomb and permanently damage the lungs and create abcesses is retreating with it. She is not out of danger, but she is out of immediate danger. This is fantastic news."

The pneumonia, while still there, looked less harsh than last week and blood tests for the leukaemia suggested Lucy was heading towards remission. "All this means that our initial prognosis has been radically revised. Her odds of survival have gone from 10-20% to 50%-plus. In addition, she looks well and the steroids have ensured she eats well. We are not out of the woods and she is still fighting two life-threatening diseases but ... the odds are now Lucy's and not some statistical freak. Although, we ask ourselves, is Lucy already a statistical freak? Has she already evaded chance and an immediate fate? I think so. And given all the above, who is to say that both Starship's specialists and the power of prayer is not working? "Certainly, not me."

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