SLEEPY EYE, Minn. - A 13-year-old boy with cancer who fled Minnesota to avoid chemotherapy said Tuesday he is angry a judge has ordered him to continue the treatment because doctors say it has significantly shrunk the of his tumor.
Daniel Hauser was not in court when the judge issued his order, but later told The Associated Press he had hoped he would be able to stop chemotherapy, which he said makes him ill.
"I get really sick when I do it," the teen said during an interview at his family's farm in Sleepy Eye. "You get so dizzy and I get a headache right away."
Daniel said he believes the improvement in his condition is being caused by his alternative treatments, which include vitamin supplements, ionized water and organic foods and other dietary restrictions.
His parents also remain concerned about the risks of chemotherapy, which they initially rejected for religious reasons, saying it harms the body. But they told Brown County Judge John Rodenberg during the Tuesday hearing that they would take their son to a Wednesday chemo appointment.
Colleen Hauser told the AP at her home that doctors said it would take six months to treat her son's Hodgkin's lymphoma when he was first diagnosed, but they've seen improvement in the past few weeks.
"Wow," she said. "Something's working."
But when asked if she credits the chemotherapy, she said, "I'm not going to say it's not, but I just want to make it clear that I would like a better plan, a better treatment plan, for Danny."
The judge earlier assured Colleen and Anthony Hauser they can continue looking for other ways to treat their son.
"If at the end of the day Daniel lives through this, I am not going to care. what cures him," the judge said. "I want Daniel to be well, and I know you do too."
Rodenberg also ruled Daniel is still in need of child protection services, agreeing with Brown County prosecutor James Olson that the case should remain before the court. Olson pointed out the family has resisted chemotherapy in the past, specifically Colleen's decision to flee with Daniel to California last month rather than show up at a court hearing to discuss the matter. They were the subject of a search that extended into Mexico.
"History has shown they're not going to comply unless they have some sort of hammer hanging over their head," he said.
The Hausers' attorney, Barbara Gislason, said the family's promise to take Daniel to his chemo appointment does not mean they believe in the treatment.
"When you're a parent dealing with a life and death situation for your kid, you want everything done perfectly, because if everything isn't done perfectly, your kid can die. And one of the ways your kid can die is toxicity from chemotherapy," Gislason said.
Besides a smaller tumor, doctors said in court documents presented Tuesday that some of Daniel's symptoms have improved following the chemotherapy. He was breathing better and sleeping well, and his cough has improved, they said. But the doctors said the boy has a poor appetite and has been fatigued and nauseated.
"As is tumor is responding and not resistant to chemotherapy, I still believe he has an excellent chance of cure," Dr. Bruce Bostrom, an oncologist at Children's Hospitals and Clinics, said in the court documents.
Daniel's court-appointed attorney, Phil Elbert, said the teen has seen the most recent X-rays of his tumor, which show that the tumor is a white, see-through mass. Previous X-rays had shown a dense, black mass.
In an affidavit, Colleen Hauser said she seeks the court's forgiveness for fleeing with her son and thanks the judge for allowing Daniel to stay with the family after the two returned from California.
"It is so important to Danny that he be surrounded by his family," the affidavit read.
Daniel spoke in short sentences Tuesday but said he wasn't too tired. He said thinks he can beat cancer and that when he does, he might celebrate with some target practice.
"He's got one thing on his mind, and that's tomorrow," his mother said.
Associated Press Writer Nomaan Merchant contributed to this report.
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