By Norma Dittman
Kraig Magnussen, Fulda, was diagnosed with Gastroesophageal Adenocarcinoma - an incurable Stage 4 Cancer, at the beginning of February. He is being treated with radiation and chemotherapy. He is hospitalized at Avera, Sioux Falls, SD.
Family and friends of the Magnussen family have planned a benefit to help with some of the medical, travel, and other expenses that the family been incurring.
The free will benefit is planned for Saturday, March 23, 2013, 4 to 7 p.m. at the Fulda Legion/Community Hall. There will be great food, a silent auction and a regular auction, as well as entertainment by DJ Cory Paplow.
“Kraig was suffering with back pain already toward the end of October. He had a couple of adjustments with a chiropractor and the chiropractor referred him to Sioux Falls to have an epidural shot,” Kraig’s wife, Michelle, explained. On Christmas Eve, Kraig’s 49th birthday, he left his mother’s house to start a vehicle for the family’s trip back to their home in Fulda. “Kraig slipped and fell. He has not been able to work since Christmas because he was in so much pain in his back.”
Kraig’s chiropractor referred him for another epidural shot which was done on January 29th. The doctor in Sioux Falls contacted the chiropractor as he noted significant bone loss in Kraig from the first shot to the second one.
Kraig had also lost thirty pounds between Christmas and January 29th.
Both Kraig’s doctor in Sioux Falls and the chiropractor called Magnussen’s and told them that Kraig needed an immediate visit with his primary care physician.
“One morning, Kraig woke up with a large lump on the right side of his neck. He was in such pain all of the time and had been sleeping with his head hanging off of the bed. He and I talked about the lump and thought that it might just be that he had strained a muscle there. We soon found out that that wasn’t so,” Michelle said.
On Thursday, January 31st, Kraig went to Dr. Mary Olson, Windom, MN.
Kraig’s doctor ordered a chest x-ray which came back abnormal. Two CT scans (one without contrast and one with contrast) were then ordered and they confirmed what had been learned via x-ray.
“I was at work on Friday when Dr. Olson called and told me that she was sending Kraig to Sioux Falls and I had to get him there immediately. I went into my boss and told him what they had said and then called Kraig and told him to please get in the shower and be ready to go by the time I got home to Fulda. When we arrived at Avera Hospital, they admitted Kraig right away,” Michelle said.
An MRI revealed a mass in Kraig’s chest, abnormal Lymph nodes, a blood clot in his right lung and a compression fracture of the L4 to L1 vertebraes in his back as a result of a tumor growing there.
It was learned that Kraig also had Superior Vena Cava Syndrome (SVC) which is a set of symptoms that result when blood flow through the superior vena cava (the large blood vessel that returns blood from the upper body back to the heart) is blocked. This syndrome is a complication that occurs in 2% to 4% of people living with lung cancer.
Biopsies were taken of the masses in Kraig’s lungs through a scoping process, but the tissue samples were inadequate due to the fact that he had been given medication to help dissolve the blood clot in his lung.
Another biopsy was taken on Monday, February 4th. Kraig’s doctor’s also inserted a port-a-cath into his chest to be used for IVs and blood draws. A biopsy of the lump on the side of Kraig’s neck proved to be a cancerous lymph node.
“The results of the biopsies are all considered lung cancer,” Michelle explained.
Kraig was given a pain pump on Saturday, February 23rd, so that he could self administer Dilaudid every ten minutes. His doctors also ordered Fentanyl patches and injections and medications to help with nausea.
On Monday, February 25th, Kraig’s doctors called Michelle and asked her to come to Sioux Falls as they needed to have a discussion with her regarding Kraig. They had learned that Kraig’s upper spine area and liver were clear of cancer and they felt that a feeding tube for Kraig’s nutritional health was necessary. On Monday evening, nutritional IVs were started.
On Wednesday, February 27th, Kraig received a feeding tube as he had been unable to eat for about three weeks. When attempting to eat he found it difficult to swallow foods of any kind. Many of them did not stay in his stomach following consumption.
Kraig has had some very difficult days since March began. His right lung has had to have several litres of fluid removed from them and he is now on a ventilator. On Sunday, Michelle was called to Sioux Falls as Kraig had quit breathing and medical staff performed life saving measures.
Kraig and Michelle are the parents of Kenny, Kody and Karter. Kenny is a junior this year and Kody is in the ninth grade at Fulda High School. Karter is a sixth grade student at Fulda Elementary School.
“Each time that I come back from Sioux Falls the boys and I have a discussion about Kraig and what is happening with his health care. I am not hiding anything from them because they have a right to know. For our family and friends, there is a Caring Bridge site for Kraig. The entry name for that is KraigMag,” Michelle stated. “I just want people to know how much our family appreciates all of the support that has been given. I actually had to stop answering the telephone because I kept losing my voice. But, I do want people to know that their concern is very much appreciated.”
Cards may be sent to Kraig at:
800 East 21st Street
Sioux Falls, SD 57117-5045
A Kraig Magnussen Trust Fund has been started at Wells Fargo Bank to help organize donations. Donations can be accepted at any Wells Fargo Bank.
Anyone desiring more information about the March 23rd benefit can call or email