Commonwealth Journal

Local News

May 18, 2013

Former UK basketball star, local cancer patient form special bond

Somerset —

A visit to the local Children’s Clinic for an ear infection led to Kelly Melton’s leukemia diagnosis.
And, it goes without saying, leukemia was the last thing on mother Lisa Melton’s mind when she told nurse practitioner Allison Bastin-Muse that her son, a first-grader at Science Hill Independent School, had been tired lately.
“He looked pale to me and didn’t seem like himself,” said Lisa. “He was falling asleep in class. He’s been in preschool and kindergarten and he’s never done that.”
Muse, who Lisa said is now like a member of the Melton family, listened, and she ordered a blood test. What came back was alarming, and Lisa said they were sent to Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital for a second blood test to ensure Muse’s equipment wasn’t faulty.
It wasn’t. The LCRH tested confirmed the results of the first test: Kelly’s blood count was very wrong. Later that night, after an ambulance ride north to Lexington, doctors at the University of Kentucky Children’s Hospital told the family Kelly’s white blood cell count, a tell-tale sign that something is gravely wrong, was at 160,000. Lisa said a white blood cell count of 50,000 and above may be a sign of leukemia.
The family, which includes Kelly, Harrison, Kelly, and three siblings, dazed, began to learn just what Kelly’s illness would mean. Kelly, who was six years old when he was diagnosed, would likely need to undergo three years of a number of treatments, and the family would bounce back and forth between their home in Science Hill to the hospital in Lexington in between treatments.
And the road thus far hasn’t been easy. Kelly has undergone chemotherapy – both in pill form and through a port through which the drugs can be directly placed into his body – and he’s seen ups and downs as a result of the harsh, but necessary, treatment. Fevers have appeared, resulting in more hospital stays, and Kelly even fought pneumonia and respiratory failure. A medicine has led to serious side effects, such as “absence” seizures that last only a few seconds and are characterized by a vacant stare.

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