Saturday, March 22, 2008

Lucy Laws home from hospital

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By DONNA CHISHOLM - Sunday Star Times | Sunday, 23 March 2008


HOME AT LAST: Lucy Laws at home in Wanganui, wearing her beads of courage - one for every procedure she has gone through since being diagnosed with leukaemia.

It was the only present Michael Laws' family wanted this Easter having their golden girl Lucy back at home in Wanganui after nearly six weeks in Auckland's Starship Children's Hospital being treated for leukaemia.

Lucy, three, spent her first night at home on Friday night a day later than planned after she developed a fever on Thursday and had to be admitted to Wanganui Hospital overnight.

And while Laws and his partner, Leonie Brookhammer, and their youngest daughter, Zoe, are delighted to have Lucy home, the respite is only temporary Lucy must return for more treatment in Auckland on Thursday.

"I had this expectation that when Lucy came home everything would be normal again. But then you realise there is no normal any more," Brookhammer said.

Said Laws: "It just brought home to us that there is no end to this. The worrying part I think every cancer parent goes through it is that so much can go wrong."

Lucy was due to be discharged more than a week ago but spiking fevers from possibly hospital-acquired infections delayed her release.

Brookhammer, who is nearly three months' pregnant, says she and the girls ended up spending most of Lucy's first night home on the sofa.

"Zoe wanted to cuddle mummy, and Lucy wanted to cuddle mummy. And mummy wanted to cuddle daddy. So I spend half the night cuddling Lucy and half cuddling Zoe."

And while most children will be enjoying their Easter eggs today, Brookhammer says the biggest battle is getting Lucy to eat at all. She has lost weight and has a poor appetite since stopping the steroids she was on, but has had a hot cross bun and some chicken.

Lucy has had an almost miraculous recovery since being diagnosed with leukaemia, pneumonia and a fungal infection on her lungs doctors initially gave her only a slim chance of survival.