This is a long story, probably not exactly what our blog readers are used to seeing. Raymond went to the hospital on Tuesday night, the 22nd, by helicopter. The ER doctor/surgeon told us that when he arrived, he was on death’s door. The doctor did emergency surgery but the tumor was too large and well supplied with blood to be removed, so they took biopsies and did a tracheotomy to allow Raymond to breathe in case his throat closed off entirely. Local pathologists couldn’t determine what the mass was and they sent tissue samples to Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale. When we arrived in Las Cruces on Thursday, Raymond was on his way to surgery to have a feeding tube put in his stomach since anything he swallows, liquid or solid, was making its way to his lungs. At that point he was making his wishes known by writing. A cousin suggested a small whiteboard and he made good use of it. (During the few days we were there, they were able to fit a speaking valve on the trach, so now he can speak.)
Since the doctor thought it might be more than a week before pathology reports were back, we headed back to get Liberty. It took a couple of days to finish things up at the Landing and we’ve been back in Las Cruces since Thursday. Reluctantly, we called the camp in Colorado where we have been volunteering and told them it was unlikely we will be able to be there.
The medical community, along with insurance companies, I’m sure, want patients out of the hospital as soon as possible. Raymond was no longer a candidate to go “home” since he was living in an assisted living community. No local nursing home or short term hospital would take him when he was going to be in cancer treatment and the hospital at first said that he couldn’t stay there. We had been praying about that and on our way back to New Mexico in Liberty, a nurse called to give us the “bad news” that Raymond had developed a superficial blood clot in his arm, which they were treating with blood thinners. “Unfortunately”, she said, he would have to remain in the hospital while that was happening! God answers prayer in remarkable ways!
We have a wonderful network of friends who have been praying with and for us. Silver Eagle friends Dave and Lois St. John from near Belen, NM pulled up stakes for the weekend and met us at Sunny Acres RV Park for the weekend. It isn’t often outside of a rally when we share an RV park with another Silver Eagle.
They cooked for us and generally just served as a restful place away from the hospital. Thanks, guys!
Pathology reports came back a couple of days ago and the cancer is squamous cell. We should have a planning meeting with the oncologist tomorrow, but she told us probably 7 weeks of radiation 5 days a week. Tomorrow we will find out what the probable next steps will be. Now we are wondering how long we really are needed here.