A Minnesota man whose son fled the state because his parents wanted to avoid court-ordered chemotherapy said Wednesday that he has cancer but isn't ruling out chemotherapy.
Anthony Hauser, 55, of Sleepy Eye, told reporters at his farm that he was diagnosed last month with a rare and aggressive form of leukemia. For now, he is treating the disease with blood transfusions and dietary therapies, similar to what he and his wife first wanted for their 14-year-old son, Daniel.
But Hauser said he isn't ruling out later chemotherapy or radiation.
"It's up to God, I guess, what happens, but I'm just going to take it one day at a time, one step at a time," he said.
His wife fled to California with Daniel early last year after a judge ordered the boy to undergo chemotherapy for Hodgkin's lymphoma, which his doctors said was highly curable but would likely be fatal without treatment. His parents wanted to use alternative therapies.
The case made national headlines and triggered a debate over the rights of parents to make medical decisions for their children.
Daniel and his mother returnedhome after a week on the run, and he underwent conventional treatment. He remains in remission and is doing well with no signs of cancer, his parents said.
His parents acknowledged Wednesday that their son benefited from the court-ordered treatment. But they maintain that without the strict diet they put him on - and have kept him on - the chemotherapy and radiation might not have worked.
Anthony Hauser said he began feeling fatigued in February and lost about 35 pounds, but regained some weight on a diet heavy on leafy greens and nuts, with no animal fats or sugars. The diet is similar to his son's.
He and his wife, Colleen Hauser, said they face severe financial hardships because he hasn't been able to work because of his illness, they have minimal insurance and she had their ninth child two months ago.
"It's hard, it's hard," she said. "Words can't describe it. Because first now our son, now Tony himself."