Battle to live leaves little life left - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Battle to live leaves little life left

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Jackie Pollard (right) playing with David (left) to help him learn communication. Jackie Pollard (right) playing with David (left) to help him learn communication.
David (center) with his grandmother Diana Spencer (left) and mother Leslie Fancher (right) David (center) with his grandmother Diana Spencer (left) and mother Leslie Fancher (right)
David throws a ball in the air while playing in his hospital room. David throws a ball in the air while playing in his hospital room.
Chaplain Rodney Craggs (left) Pediatric Psychologist Jessica Korhonen (center) Pediatric Oncologist Dr. Ken Lucas (right) Chaplain Rodney Craggs (left) Pediatric Psychologist Jessica Korhonen (center) Pediatric Oncologist Dr. Ken Lucas (right)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Almost all of us live our lives in a home, and then make rare trips to the hospital. One little boy lives most of his life in a hospital, and makes rare trips home.

To tell this story, you have to prepare yourself.

Physically: No germs allowed.

Mentally: No frowns allowed.

That's because there is plenty of pain inside the room at Kosair Children's Hospital, where 2-year-old David Hutchison has literally lived much of his life being injected, transplanted and radiated.

"He cries and he holds us but we're not able to do anything, and watching him suffer, after surgery, watching him be sick with chemo. That's hard, real hard," said his grandmother Diana Spencer.

Not long after his birth, doctors discovered cancer all over his body. He has stage 4 neuroblastoma.

"We try to make him think things are good in life, not bad in life," said his mother Leslie Fancher.

David can't leave the room, but his calendar is booked with dates for stem cell infusion, chemotherapy, radiation and antibody therapy.

"That's the hardest part. You can't take the pain away," said Chaplain Rodney Craggs.

If it all works, he has a 50 percent chance of survival. if he survives, he has a 50 percent chance of relapse, with no cure for that.

All David knows, is throwing the ball in his room can get boring. He can't play with the other cancer kids that come and go on 7-West.

"I've seen one kid pass away, it was very sad," said his mother.

Living long term, shut off in a hospital room, has developmental consequences too.

"His exposure to the world and language is limited. So we see him to help his communication get better," said speech pathologist Jackie Pollard.

He can't go to a park and communicate with kids.

He doesn't even know what a park is.

"Being in a hospital where you don't feel good, you really don't want to talk that much. You just want to have your needs met," said Pollard.

Playing with a toy on the floor is hard when you're tethered with tubes and the alarms keep going off.

"The rest of the world is whooshing by, and their world is literally standing still," said Pediatric Psychologist Jessica Korhonen.

But David's world starts spinning again on those furloughs, few and far between, when he gets to come home.

"They know they may only be home for few hours, few days, and fever, transfusion need, frequent clinic visit," said Pediatric Oncologist Dr. Ken Lucas.

A brief window this time, to look out the window, at the fall color.

He missed Halloween, but his visitors wear masks.

He can't leave the house, but he doesn't seem to mind.

I asked his mom, if I could wave a wand and make anything happen, what would it be?

"It would be awesome for him to get in a bath and splash like a regular 2-year-old would be, and to go swim like all his cousins got to do this summer," said Fancher.

Your priorities change, when you're sentenced to solitary confinement, and you did nothing wrong.

David is back in the hospital again for radiation, then painful antibody therapy, which raises his survival chances another 10 percent. His doctor says he may be done with this long, grueling treatment process by May.

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