Couple faces wife’s cancer together
May 18, 2007
The symptoms first appeared a month ago, leading Dale and Gail Rasmusson to believe they both had the flu.
Dale, 47, recovered, but 48-year-old Gail’s condition worsened.
After several doctors’ visits and tests, Gail Rasmusson was diagnosed with aggressive cancer in her colon, lungs and liver.
“I hardly ever get sick,” she said. “It was a big shock to discover I have stage 4 colon cancer.”
She underwent surgery Friday at Barton Memorial Hospital to remove as much of the cancer from her colon as possible.
She is to undergo chemotherapy and radiation for the cancer in her lung and liver.
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“The doctor flat-out said he can’t cure it and can’t get rid of it,” her husband said. “What we’re facing now is her quality of life and for how long.”
A long-time Douglas County school transportation department employee, Rasmusson is covered by district health insurance, but the Rasmussons are appealing to the community for financial help to cover other expenses.
“We have been here 20 years and Gail knows an awful lot of people,” Dale Rasmusson said.
“This whole experience is just nailing us,” he said. “It’s a big shock to our family.”
In addition to dealing with the disease, Rasmusson said he and his wife are trying to come to terms with the medical expenses.
“We’ve never asked for help before,” he said. “I don’t like the feeling that I am begging, but I am afraid we are going to lose our house.”
Orphaned at a young age and bounced from foster home to foster home, Dale Rasmusson said, “I allowed myself to be attached to her at age 17.”
They have been married for 30 years.
“This woman means everything in my life,” he said.
Gail Rasmusson’s co-workers at the school transportation department are supportive.
“We’re kind of like a big family here,” said Sharon Inman, district transportation department supervisor. “What happens to one of us happens to all of us.”
Inman believes Rasmusson’s positive attitude will help her fight the illness.
“She’s got a great spirit. She’s a very positive person. Her son’s getting married in August and she told him she would be at the wedding. If anybody can beat this, Gail can,” Inman said.
In addition to training drivers, Rasmusson drives a school bus which transports special education students.
“She’s very involved in the safety of the kids,” Inman said. “She’s just a wonderful person.”
The Rasmussons have three sons and five grandchildren.
“Right after my colonoscopy, I told them ‘we have cancer,’ and they said, ‘What can we do?'” Gail Rasmusson said.
The Rasmussons said they are hoping for a miracle.
“I am leaving it in the Lord’s hands. It’s not that I am going to give up, but I am going to look to Him to ask what I have to do next,” she said. “I have faith and I am a fighter.”
The Rasmussons have set up an account at the Greater Nevada Credit Union to cover expenses not paid for by health insurance.
Donations may be made to Dale Rasmusson, Account No. 873933.