Lung Cancer and Smoking

I know he understood the consequences of smoking. I know he had been told that lung cancer was a possible result of decades of breathing in the toxins in cigarettes. I don’t know if he did not care, or if he refused to mentally acknowledge that it could be reality for him.

Whatever his thinking, a diagnosis of lung cancer was not enough to make him stop smoking. Nope. He smoked through his entire illness, up until about a week before his death when he was too sick to smoke.

I had such mixed emotions when he bought cigarettes on one of our first Walmart trips. Part of me wanted to yell at him for continuing a nasty habit that was going to be the cause of his death. Another part of me wanted to just acquiesce to the fact that his man did not have long to live and deserved to live his last days doing what made him happy.

Well, stuffing the former urges into my heart, I did the latter.  I even bought cigarettes for him once he was too sick to by them for himself. I never thought I would do that.

There are no regrets in what I did or didn’t do here. He needed to be as happy and satisfied as possible, and smoking helped accomplish that. I would do it again.

My Regret

I had no second thoughts about my decision to not treat Ronnie’s cancer. I still believe that was the best choice in the midst of difficult options.

However, if I could do one thing differently, it would be to have allowed the doctors to biopsy the tumors in Ronnie’s lungs.  True, it would not have changed the decision to not do chemo, but it would have given his doctors more information about the type of cancer with which they were dealing. They would have known if it was a cancer that grew rapidly or slowly. They would have been able to better predict which direction it would go and how fast it would get there. Having that information would have assisted the doctors as they strived to keep Ronnie comfortable.

Yes. More information is always better.


The End Begins

The phone call that day from Ronnie’s friend brought with it the realization that the end had probably begun for Ronnie.  He had had a minor wreck that day.  When the police arrived, Ronnie did not know his name or where he lived.  He could not even communicate in a complete sentence. Something serious was wrong.

Ronnie never married and had no children.  As the oldest of his nieces and nephews, I was the one contacted that day.  Immediately I called the hospital where Ronnie had been taken. The hospital personnel was thrilled that I called because they had not been able to contact any of Ronnie’s family.

After transfer to two other hospitals and various tests, it was concluded that Ronnie had metastatic cancer, which began in his lungs and then spread to his lymph nodes and brain. The third hospital to which Ronnie had been transferred was the VA hospital in Albuquerque.

Nest post: My solo trip to Albuquerque.

Update on Rayford: Surgery today on His Cancerous Lung

The doctors are to be commended.  They have wasted no time; let no grass grow.  They have scheduled almost on a daily basis tests and procedures for Rayford.  It seems that for so many patients getting these things done take months.  Not in Rayford’s case.  I think it has been about three weeks since his diagnosis and he had surgery today!

It appears that his lung caner is localized in the lower lobe of his right lung.  The plan was open up Raford’s lung and check to see if the cancer had appeared to spread.  If so, the doctors were going to remove the entire lung.  If not, then they were just going to remove the lower lobe.

I understand that there was also a spot on the upper part of that lung that was of a concern.  During surgery it was decided that the cancer was indeed contained in the lower lobe ,and so that  was removed.  Also when they went to check on the spot located in the upper lung area, they couldn’t find it!!!  Thank you, Lord.

I think there is a possibility that Rayford will not even need chemo or radiation.  Post surgery tests and procedures will indeed confirm that.

Thank you, Father, for your presence today with your servant, Raford.  We praise you for taking care of him and taking away the extra cancerous concern.  You alone are the Great Healer.  Be with Rayford this evening.  Keep him comfortable and give his wife comfort and rest.  In the name of Jesus, amen.

Rayford: A True Servant of Our King

He seems to be one of those ‘ageless’ people.  You know.  He never seems to get older.  He looks and acts exactly the same as he did when I first met him almost 15 years ago, full of life, energy, and optimism  There are many things that can be shared about Rayford, but I choose to sum up this man and his life as being one of service to God.

A few days ago I found out that Rayford has lung cancer.  During a conversation with his wife i learned more details about his illness.  His cancer, named lung adenocarcinoma is in his right lung. There are many tests still to be run and much information they still do not have. At this point no decisions have yet been made regarding treatment.

I have been very impressed with how quickly these tests are being done.  When I commented on that observation to Rayford’s wife, she responded with, “Well, it’s because we’ve been ‘needling’ them.”  Their daughter has come home for a few days and has also done her share of ‘needling’.

When it comes to this type of health care, a few comments like, “Is there any reason why we can’t get that test done this week?” is always a good thing.  Most of the time when cancer is involved, being slow is not helpful for the patient.  That’s my opinion, anyway.  It pays to be proactive, not passive in these situations.

Please pray for Rayford, his wife, and their only daughter.  Their only granddaughter is getting married soon.  Pray that they will be able to attend.  Pray for God’s wisdom, strength, grace and healing.