Area Woman Beats Back Cancer: Knox County Survivor Story
By David Sharp
After marching in a “parade she didn’t really want to be in,” Belinda (Baker) Hunter and her husband Billy of Edina shared a frightening and emotional cancer survival story with the Edina Sentinel. Belinda was recently diagnosed with Lymphoma, a cancer that attacks the lymph nodes.
“The way I first knew that I had cancer was that I had a really rapid heartbeat,” Belinda Hunter said. “I was anemic. Dr. John Sparks (of Kirksville) was the one that did the tests and figured it out.”
A Columbia, Missouri medical facility tested Mrs. Hunter over a weekend and found the cancer which had spread over much of her upper torso. She started taking chemo therapy Wednesday of the same week.
Word of Mrs. Hunter’s illness spread quickly through the community. “The MRI looked like she had a black shirt on,” said Knox County businessman Billy Hunter.
“I was too scared to look at it,” Belinda Hunter said when asked of her reaction to the news. “Billy and (Daughter) Lyndsey looked at it. I didn’t look until last week when they did a second scan and it (the cancer) was completely gone.”
Billy and Lyndsey Hunter held the ACS Relay For Life Banner during the June 4, 2010 caregivers lap. Son Brett Hunter and his wife Billie (Mitchell) Hunter participated in the Relay. “My first reaction was that I had to go outside and get myself straightened out,” Billy Hunter said when asked what went through his mind when told his wife had Lymphoma.
“The first thing I thought of was that I might not have her the rest of my life,” said Billy Hunter. “That’s the first thing you think of when there is cancer. They told us there was treatment. This renewed my whole life.”
“I lost a lot of interest in a lot of things and found my interest in Belinda.”
“Your perspective changes on everything,” Belinda Hunter said. “You take every day as a gift. Things that seemed important before are not important now.”
An offshoot of the family fight against cancer was an overall stress reduction. “You just don’t sweat the small stuff,” Belinda Hunter told the Edina Sentinel.
“When your wife gets cancer, forget about what’s wrong with you and worry about how to get her better and make her life better,” Billy Hunter related.
Faith in God and community support was cited as huge recovery factors. “Everybody started praying. We feel like that is what saved us,” said the 47 year old Belinda Hunter. “God intervened big time. I was very fortunate. God had a shield over me because I never got sick,” Belinda Hunter said of her cancer treatments.
Modern cancer drugs along with technology brought to the market in the last few years reduce infamous side effects from cancer treatments. Mrs. Hunter reported feeling better after beginning cancer treatments than before.
Belinda has had eight rounds of chemotherapy and has four more remaining. “We feel like God has healed me,” said the Knox County R-I graduate and Hurdland area native. “We were just lifted up in prayer constantly. The doctor looked at the scan and
his first words were ‘that is remarkable’. He said it doesn’t get any better than that,” when cancer physicians found the cancer was gone.
“I was the world’s worst about putting things off,” said the currently cancer free Belinda Hunter. “I was scared of the C word. The Missouri Cancer Associates is not a scary place. It is not a depressing place. There are people there of all ages. They are wonderful.”
“We want to thank everybody for their prayers,” Billy Hunter said. “God is an awesome God.”