Friday, June 3, 2011

Where to Start

Let's start with Tuesday, May 31.... here's the plan.  Dad has a growth in his neck, probably needs surgery, so he is leaving Saudi and will arrive in Houston at 4:30pm.  I arrive at the airport early with a cart for his luggage because I know he will be tired and he has had trouble breathing.  Around 5:15pm I see him coming through the doors in a wheelchair with luggage on his lap and also wheeling next to him.  He looks relieved to see me and very tired from the trip and tough attempts to catch his breath.

By early the next morning, June 1, we know that our appointment with ENT at 1:30pm won't be soon enough.  Breathing has become more difficult and as much as dad likes to hang out at our house - oxygen is better!  We head to The Methodist Hospital (TMH - in the Texas Medical Center where we know the best physicians for his symptoms practice and operate.  We even had a tentative slot reserved in the OR at Methodist for Friday morning just in case. 

Dad and I arrive at TMH ER and from this point things kind of become a blur.  Dad's ability to catch his breath and move around is extremely difficult and we are able to get him into a room immediately with some much needed oxygen.  Sitting and getting oxygen allows the situation to relax and we can have a discussion with the ER docs and Dr. Donovan (Baylor Department of Otolaryngology Chair) about how to improve Dad's ability to breath....and then figure out what we are dealing with and why it has obstructed his breathing.

From the ER we move to pre-op where we know there will be some sort of intubation.  Dad is moved from pre-op to the OR quickly where the ENT performed a tracheotomy and took biopsies of the tumor.  About 45 minutes later Dr. Donovan visited me in the waiting area to let me know everything went well and fast.  20 minutes later I was allowed to go back to PACU and visit with Dad..... of course he was wondering when he could get a cold Shiner now that the surgery is over.  From PACU dad moves to the Surgical ICU around 2pm and although he is tired he is feeling stronger with the abundance of oxygen filling his lungs. 

Later in the afternoon we get a visit from Dr. Donovan reviewing the surgery from earlier in the day.  He also lets us know that the initial review of the biopsy does show the tumor to be malignant, but we don't know the type until pathology completes their tests.  We also hear Dr. Donovan will consult Dr. Lynch (Oncologist) and he will visit with us in the morning.  We also receive a visit from Infectious Disease physicians who want to make sure there is not risk of infection from his trach.....and that's Wednesday at the hospital for Dad and I.

The physicians and staff at TMH were extremely competent, caring, and patient.  I know from the minute we arrived dad has received excellent care and everyone seems to be attracted to his personality.  I hear in the middle of the first night at the hospital, a nurse arrived in the SICU to say hello to dad and see how he was doing.  We met this nurse for a brief minute as we asked her to point us to the ER.....but she remembered dad and wanted to see how he was doing before she left.  How awesome is that!  Pam and I picked up Mom later that night.  She flew in from Tucson was very anxious to visit with dad, but we would have to wait until the morning.

Thursday, June 2.  Mom and I arrive at the hospital to greet a tired but happy Steve.  Shortly after we arrive, Dr. Lynch arrives to provide his examination and feedback on dad's thyroid cancer.  He let's us know that we don't know what kind of thyroid cancer we are dealing with and we have to wait and see in order to develop our treatment plan.  Dr. Lynch informs us of the remarkable status of dad's health.  He quickly realizes that dad is strong, a fighter, and has already experienced many mini miracles to get where he is at that moment.  It was frustrating this day to not know exactly what we were dealing with and not be able to act.... We all wanted to start fighting this cancer immediately with surgery, radiation, a baseball bat..something!  We do receive a bit of good news that morning though and learn that we will move before lunch off of the ICU floor and a regular surgical bed in a private room with a decent view of the TMC and downtown.  (see below)

Taylor, Gabriel, Rachel, and Pam also visit dad/grandpa in his new room and add some artwork to the wall along with artwork from Bryden.

Friday, June 3.  Mom and I arrive at the hospital in the morning hopeful that dad was able to rest and build his strength.  His color and trach site seem to get better all the time!  When we arrived at the hospital this morning the ENT had already come through and discussed his concerns with the preliminary pathology report and informed him of a PET CT scan to happen mid-day.  Before dad left for the PET CT we did receive a visit from Dr. Lynch and his team to discuss the pathology report and the confirmation of anaplastic thyroid cancer......  I think by this point the whole family has begun to become google experts on thyroid cancers, treatments, prognosis, clinical trials, survival rates, symptoms, complications, expectations, and so on and so forth.  The oncologist explains that dad's good health and young age make them feel comfortable to do an aggressive long as the PET CT does not show that the cancer has spread to any other regions.  Unfortunately, the PET CT showed the cancer has moved to the lungs.  Although this is a let down for a good treatment option, we meet with Dr. Donovan again in the early evening to discuss the next steps in our fight against this cancer.

We agree that we must start radiation and chemotherapy as soon as possible.  We first must stop and eradicate the lung cancer, then we concentrate on surgical removal of the thyroid tumor.  The clinical care team and TMH are the ideal for this battle!  We are in one of the largest medical centers in the world and next door to a world leader in cancer prevention, treatment, and research (MD Anderson).  The MD Anderson physicians have trained at Baylor College of Medicine and the Baylor docs have trained at MD Anderson.....  true think tank of experts working on this for a wonderful father, son, brother, grandpa, friend!

So this is where we are now.  My sisters (Echo and Monica) arrive tomorrow (now today Saturday) and I know they will be a huge help.  We're lucky to have their kids make the trip as well.  I will update this blog with posts and pictures daily (not all this long).  Send your thoughts and prayers for Superman Steve!


  1. Thanx for your detailed report and comments, Ryan. Very well done. Your father is a very special friend to many of us here in Saudi and we are presently consumed in thoughts and prayer for him. Cheers, Jim

  2. This is a great idea, Ryan, and you have done an excellent job. LOVE the photos & the kids' artwork! I know that will truly provide inspiration for Steve, along with everyone being there. We continue to pray for speedy treatment & recovery. Our God is "large and in charge" and thru Him all things are possible! We love you all, & can't wait to see "Superman" back here in Tucson! Hugs to all, Joanie.

  3. This is Pablo, Steve’s office next door neighbor in Al-Khobar.
    Steve’s very strong and positive. He has what it takes to fight this disease. I hope he can read these comments and receive the support from all his friends in Saudi. Last Thursday I was in the compound swimming pool with the kids and I sent him a quick email to check how he was doing. He replied almost immediately attaching a picture he took from himself in bed! This is Steve!
    Best regards, Pablo

  4. Ryan,
    Thanks so much for taking the time to write this blog. Our prayers are with your dad and your whole family.
    Sharon Kohring

  5. Ryan,
    You have written a wonderful account of the start of this journey and I look forward to reading the updates as Steve's big battle is fought. I so admire your parents, Steve & Cindy and I will be praying for your family and Steve's complete recovery. God is able.
    Victoria Holland-Fowler

  6. Ryan,
    this is Taylor Jay, Carol H. granddaughter, Stephanie Jay's daughter.
    We are all praying for your father and your family. This is a wonderful idea, keep us posted on what is happening.

  7. Cindy and Family,
    Our prayers and thoughts are with you in this difficult time. We are here in Houston for the next couple of weeks, so please let us know if there is anything we can do, and if and when Steve might be up for a visit. Don't hesitate to call on us for anything.

    Ryan, thanks for the great work on the blog.

    Ricky and Chichi

  8. Steve, you are in my prayers, I'm surprised as you are and all that comes to mind is "Thank God for the good time on our trip".

    I pray that you will recover soon and quickly, and that you will feel even better then before you discovered the problem.

    love to all, and please try to be a good patient... ok? :-)

    Hannaniah and Jim
    -biblical Resources, LLC

  9. Thanks so much for this Ryan! What a great idea and you have done a great job! Please send all of our love thoughts and prayers to Uncle Steve and all of you as well!! I wish very much we were closer but please know that we are all thinking of you all here in ky!! Uncle steve you can do this you ARE going to beat this!!! You are strong Superman!!! Love you all very much!! Shannon Green

  10. Hansen Family,

    Thank you for posting this blog. My family and I live here in Houston. Call me if I can help in ANY way. I am happy to help with watching children while you all head to the hospital. (936)465-1905cell

    Love you all,

  11. Ryan, life has a way of throwing us curve balls. Thank you for keeping us posted on Steve through your blog that was sent to us by Mike Haas.Steve and your family are in our thoughts and prayers. We are fairly close to the med center if Cindy wants to stay with us. We are in NY and return tomorrow. (Sunday) Love, Kathy and Johnny McClellan

  12. Hey Ryan
    what an incredible account for all so far, you have written here..thank you. The family all together will be so much love n support for Steve and for all of you.
    Y'all are in our thoughts n prayers deeply including Aunt Carol...
    keep us posted..and we are here for you all..
    your family in NC
    much love

  13. Thanks Ryan for sharing about your dad.
    Steve is an amazing guy that really makes a positive better world.
    I guess that is a superman. Steve, I sent you a note to your hansen8 email.
    You are in my prayers. Love you. Martin Bolas

  14. Ryan, This blog is a wonderful way to keep everyone who loves your Dad and family updated on his progress.Thanks for taking the time to write about this difficult situation. Give our love to your Dad & Cindy and they are in our thoughts and prayers.Let us know if we can help.
    We pray for a full and speedy recovery.
    Much Love....Your friends, Tom & Brenda

  15. Thinking of you all!!! Sending much love & prayers your way! Please know that we are a quick car trip away and can be there for whatever you or your family may need. Much love - Kim, Brett & Davin

  16. Ryan and Pam, our thoughts and prayers are with you and all of Steve's family. I hope you can feel all the love and support you have from family and friends. Hugs,
    Suzi & Dale

  17. Ryan...thanks so much for keeping us all so well informed! Wish we could do more from the eastern side of the US, but know we are all sending up prayers nonstop! We love you all!! Wish we were closer! Uncle Steve, you can do this!! I have faith that with all the love, support, and prayers going up that you are gonna beat this!!

    Love, Jenn (Green) Kight

  18. Dear Hansen Family,

    Our prayers and faith are with you. We have so many memories of you. And although in time it was truth very enriching to our lives. Thank you for putting the blog together Ryan. You did a wonderful job of letting us know what is going on. I realize that it is a very hard time for you and your family. We are all upset as well, and everyone who knows the Hansen clan and loves them are doing out best to envelope you and yours with out love and prayers. We will be here for any and everything we can provide to help. We will be in touch and, Steve, I still want to go to the Grand Canyon with you. No body could ever do it better.
    Love, Rick and Patricia Reischman

  19. Steve/Cindy - Hansen family

    Just another note. Please let us know if there is anything that we can do. Patricia and I would like to come up and pay a visit if there is an opening. Sounds like you are already surrounded by family. We have room if anyone needs a place to stay.
    We love you guys and you are continuously in our thoughts and daily prayers.
    Ryan - you are a good son and good person.

    God Bless you all and all the Best.
    Rick Reischman 832-775-2684 if you need anything

  20. Ryan, you are doing a great job keeping us all up to date. Thank you for that. We wish there was more that we could do to help and that we lived closer. We are sending all our love and prayers, and lots of hugs too, to all of you.

    Steve, the Superman title fits you perfectly! You are amazing. Stay strong. You can do this!

    We love you all,
    David, Staci, Lindsay, Trevor and Dylan

  21. Great idea, Ryan and well done!

    Steve - you're the toughest guy I know - you can beat this! With your good health, positive attitude and Jesus Christ through whom ALL things are possible, you'll get through this. You have so many people cheering and praying for you, you're never alone. We love you!!!!!

    Sandy Battock

  22. John and I are thinking about y'all. Please let us know if you and Pam need help with the kids or anything else while you fight this with your dad. You'll have our prayers.

    Kristen, John, and Isabel

  23. Cindy and Steve,

    We are praying for you during this very stressful time. Stay focused on the positives and avail yourselves of the many resources within Methodist Hospital and the Texas Medical Center.

    Neil & Carol West (Tucson)

  24. Dear Steve and Cindy,

    Karen and I are so shocked to hear of this rapid turn of events for you both. We are praying for God's grace and healing power for you Steve, and for His comfort for you and your family though this trial. God bless you and and your family and the doctors.

    Fred and Karen Daniel.

  25. Cindy and Steve,

    Our prayers and the world's positive energies are flowing your way. We are keeping you in our thoughts. The blog is well done.

    Janine and Bill Strickler
    Dubbs and Madeleine, too
    Tucson, Arizona

  26. Ryan, Cindy, Echo, Steve and the rest of the family,

    Please know our thoughts and concerns are with you all. Be strong and take care of yourselves. We know you are doing everything you can for Steve.
    Please consider this note as big hug to you all.

    Bill, Emily, Elizabeth and Zachary

  27. Dear Steve and Cindy,

    We find hope in the excellent care you will receive here in Houston and in the power of prayer and love of family and friends. We join with the many others sending you our love. Please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers.

    Kristi, Jean, Thomas, Audrey, and Julia

  28. Pam and Harry HorneJune 4, 2011 at 7:46 PM

    Dear Steve and Cindy,

    Harry and I are praying for God's healing touch and for His comforting arms for you both and for your entire family. We so enjoyed our trip with you both in Israel. You are in a good place now and we will also be praying for the doctor's and nurses who are caring for you. Let us know if we can do anything to ease your battle. We are available for errands, babysitting, meals, etc. Just call.

    Pam and Harry Horne

  29. Ryan,
    Thank you so much for putting together this blog. Not only is it a blessing of information for all of us, it is a testament of the love that is being poured out for Steve and your family. Please let us know if there is any way we can help. You have our prayers and love. God's blessings and peace to you and the whole family.
    To my big brother, Steve - Although my heart is crying for you right now, my mind knows that with your strength and God's healing grace you can beat this illness. Love you!
    Pam Wiedemer

  30. Marcy + the McKnightsJune 4, 2011 at 9:07 PM


    All of us McKnights are thinking of you all. If anyone can beat this cancer it's Steve! Please tell him that we love him!

    Love to you all,
    Marcy, Dave, Drew, Jacob, Stephenie, Mike, Patrick, Peyton, Tom & Mimi

  31. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. Please let us know if there is anything we can do to help you out with things here in Saudi.

    Rachel and Jim Tucker

  32. Ryan, many thanks for the info through the Blogg. Please pass our best wishes to your Dad and all the family and know that people across the world will be praying for him. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.
    Best regards, Robin & Cindy, Canterbury, DH.

  33. I'm a friend of Stef's - just want to let you know that I am sending great amounts of Zen winging its way across the world to the States for your Dad (Steve) and for all of you as you cope with this all. It's quite daunting when you stop and think about it but I guess you've not had time to do that .
    Love and hugs,

  34. I am sorry to hear about our fellow Canterbury member. Although I do not know Steve well,
    I did notice him sitting in church (he always sat on the choir side)and we shared peace several times. All the best to you Steve. I pray that all this great medical help will do the trick. You're on our prayer list.

    Gretchen Justusson

  35. Ryan,
    Got Pam's text message early Sat morning -- praying for your dad, his doctors and nurses, and of course, for all of you. Let me know if we can help in any way as you all keep 288 busy going to/from TMH.

  36. Steve, Cindy and family,

    Thanks for coming up with this blog and keeping us all posted. Your friends in Vietnam and Malaysia are keeping you in our thoughts and prayers.

    Much love - Edna

  37. Steve,

    Our thought are with you. Never give up! Wish you quick recovery and hope to see you running around Mutlaq as always.

    All the best,
    Daniel & Natasha

  38. Stef let us know how thinga are going for you and your family. We have prayers going through several of our groups. Keep us posted. God Bless

  39. I am here in Houston and would be proud to run errands or whatever. Please do not hesitate to lean on me. I just met Steve/Cindy on our trip to Israel but I feel a kinship with them and am available any time. Ben Burkholder

  40. Steve and Cindy,
    Just returned from a week in Haiti; I'm still trying to process the 2 weeks in Israel with ya'll. I can only imagine the processing going on in your minds! How blessed we were to have shared that trip with you and how blessed you two are to have had that time together! With all the sights we visited, it's good to know that our Lord is living with us right here in the present and my prayer this day is that you feel His presence abundantly. Let us know if we can help;
    Fred can give you 2nd opinions and explain things and I have good, strong shoulders. Hang in there and keep the Faith! In His Love, Karen and Fred

  41. Dear Steve,

    All the best for a speedy and complete recovery. You have many friends here in Kuala Lumpur whose thoughts are with you and your family right now.

    Jurry van Doorn

  42. Cindy and Steve and Family

    We are all thinking of you.

    Debra Sparrold Janet Faust Beyrl Wilson

  43. Debbie Sparrold and Jim MorrisJune 6, 2011 at 11:30 AM

    We are sending you our love and our strongest support and lots of prayers! God is a God of miracles and we are praying a covering of miracles for you and your family. You are the man to beat this Steve! I have not met a man with more drive and determination to succeed! You have the best team of Drs. and your loving and awesome family surrounding you and more loving friends that most people would have!
    Love you lots! Debbie Sparrold and Jim Morris – Tucson, AZ

  44. Ryan, Thanks for posting this to keep us all updated.
    My prayers and thoughts are with you Steve. We know you can put up a good fight and take on any challenge. -Jim Hemingway

  45. This just in: HEALING SEMINAR WITH PASTOR JOHN on Thursday, June 16, from 8am until 12 noon, DPF is sponsoring a healing seminar led by “Pastor John” in the C-House Chapel.
    Well, I thought, that's odd--not the usual activity for the C-house, but then we're talking about DPF and not Canterbury. I don't want to go just out of curiosity and be a spectator, but I do want you to be healed. I hope you are a subject if healings are to be done. I so shocked, Steve. There you were one day on the sofa chair one night at Walley's for a Tuesday night study looking your normal self, and the next...well...things can change quickly. Your in our prayers. Bill and Da

  46. Steve and family,
    Praying for all of you.
    Ryan excellent job.
    Dave Sparrold

  47. Thanks for update.
    My prayers are with you Steve. I know you will put a great fight to this challenge. Wish you well soon. Shahnawaz