On Saturday, October 11, 2014, Gale was admitted to Wesley Hospital with severe stomach pain. A CT scan showed that there was a mass in his intestines. Exploratory surgery was planned for the following morning, and it was discovered that he had a mass right where the small intestine connects to the large intestine. Three (3) inches of small intestine, the appendix and the right half of his colon were removed. His incision was from the sternum down to the belly button.
During this time, Gale had to have a stomach tube. It never did work correctly and was very painful. He kept begging for it to be removed, but until his digestive system started up again it had to stay in. After five (5) days, the doctors removed the tube, and Gale started begging the nurses for something to drink. He was only supposed to be on ice chips, but he was bound and determined to have Sprite. As you can imagine, he finally wore the nurses down, and they gave him Sprite with the caution that he should take it very slowly. Did he listen? No. And he paid for it. Two days of vomiting were next as he kept trying to drink Sprite, and it kept coming right back up. The doctors pressed him to have the stomach tube re-inserted, but he would have nothing to do with it.
We received the pathology results on October 17. Colon cancer. Stage IV. Seventy (70) lymph nodes had been removed and 49 of them contained cancer. The surgeon and and the pathologist were both very somber when they delivered the news. This cancer was called adenosarcoma and it was very aggressive. Rarely did a patient ever go in remission or was cured. Only 50% of patients make it to the 2 year mark. Only 11% make it to 5 years. Pretty scary stuff.
As soon as our friends found out what was going on, they began to pray for us, and we could feel the power of their prayers. We could see evidence of the Lord at work in the specific nurses that were assigned to Gale; the compassionate surgeon with an unhurried, caring bedside manner who was a believer; the stamina I was able to have during the 11 day hospital stay. Friends provided us with dog care, lawn mowing, sleepovers for the kids, rides, meals, hand-holding and hugs. We were overwhelmed with the outpouring of love and concern.
After nine (9) days, Gale finally turned a corner and was able to get off the ice chip diet and have some strawberry jello. Seriously, he wept. Slowly, he moved from clear liquids to cloudy liquids, then pudding and yogurt. He then progressed to soft foods and so on. Little by little, he gained ground. After 11 days, he was released from the hospital -- just in time for our daughter, Aleah's, Volleyball Senior Night!