My first Cancer diagnosis…

I’ve been working in the hospital for a little over 2 weeks, and have now unfortunately made my first cancer diagnosis.  There seems to be a lot of cancer here.  Lot’s of traumatic injuries as well.  In particular, the Machete causes many of these injuries.  There is seriously a machete wound of some sort that comes into the hospital almost every day.  It’s like when you are a kid, you learn not to run around with scissors, or fiddle around with knives.  Well, that message has not been circulated down in these parts, and when the knife you are toting is 2 1/2 feet long, and sharpened daily–and you’re carrying it while riding on a motorcycle on an uneven road, with a bag of groceries in your other hand, and another adult riding on the back, and it’s pouring sheets of rain, and then you crash–well, that machete invariably ends up lodged in your belly, or arm, or neck.  But I digress, because I was talking about cancer.

So a sweet man named Jesus came in to see me.  Not THE JESUS, although I did speak with Him as well earlier this morning.  This hombre named Jesus, which is pronounced ‘Hey Zeus!’ lives in a nearby village.

Funny story about the name Jesus, I don’t think Jenny/Mize Trammell would mind me sharing.  And I am likely to slaughter the story, and slightly(lavishly) embellish it:  She was praying one morning when she heard the ping of her phone, signifying a message received.  She closed her bible and flipped the phone over to reveal the text, and Lo and Behold, it said:  ‘Hi Jen, this is Jesus, did you try calling me?’  Jen was floored…  Why yes Jesus, I was just reading your word and offering up my prayers and supplication to You, but I didn’t expect you to respond in such a manner as this!  I expected maybe a gut feeling about some decision I was contemplating, or a Friends gentle encouragement about one of my struggles.  But a text message?  Amazing, Lord, how you sometimes communicate with us!!

Then Jesus responded, ‘Uh, well actually Jen, this Jesus (Hey-zeus) Hernandez, you know, the guy who does Bathroom remodels?  Yeah, I have that estimate for you…”

Anyway, really, I swear, I will tell you about Hey-zeus from the nearby village.  I will stop goofing around, because this is actually sad, yet touching.

Hey-zeus had 2 teeth pulled yesterday.  Unfortunately, the previously occupied sockets decided not to stop bleeding.   They bled all day yesterday, and all night, despite packing them with gauze continuously.  He woke this morning with ongoing bleeding and feeling weak.  And so, he and his 2 daughters made the 7 mile dirt road trek to our hospital this morning to see if we could help him.

I looked back in his chart and he had been seen a few weeks earlier for blood in his urine, and some abdominal and back pain.  It was presumed to have been a kidney stone, and treated as such (we don’t have that shiny expensive machine called a C-A-T  S-C-A-N.)  Well, I had a bad feeling about this and so ordered some typical lab work to assess his liver and blood.   In the meantime, we started some fluids and I called my favorite dentist/cousin in Yakima (Dr. Trammell), for some advice on how to stop the bleeding.

His lab work eventually returned, confirming my suspicions of something being wrong with his blood cells, and hence not working in an appropriate manner to clot/coagulate his blood.  He has Leukemia.  And he has evidence of liver involvement, which is not a great prognostic indicator.

So, I prepared to tell he and his daughters the news.  I recruited the help of Christy, the nursing supervisor who speaks Spanish as well as she speaks English, to help deliver this difficult news and navigate our options.  With her help, I advised him of our diagnosis.  He didn’t flinch, or shudder, or shed a tear.  The first words out of his mouth were, ‘Soy Christiano.’  I’m a Christian.  He went on to tell us of his involvement with the music/worship team of a local church.  He told us how he is not worried, that his life is in God’s hands.

Wow.  That is character.  I hope that there comes a day when I have the faith and confidence in the Lord to not break down and wail when I am told that I will likely die soon.  Although he appears physically feeble, I was humbled by the strength and conviction in his voice as he proclaimed the reason for his confidence.

As my friend Dan Ashe used to quote:  ‘The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.’  Which I have just now discovered is a quotation from Martin Luther King, Jr.  —cool.

Please pray for Hey-zeus as he and his family grapple with his disease, and as we navigate how to get him appropriate care.

And now, some more pics:




First day of school at El Camino, Teacher Katie checks kids in. Owen, middle


O and J, first day of school


This was my lovely 96 yr old lady that I saw today, who graciously consented to let me take her photo. I asked her what her secret to longevity was, and she said:  Papayas…           naw, I just made that up.  I couldn’t understand what she said. Guess I’m gonna die young.



This tower is near the center of the hospital complex.


courtyard in the middle of the hospital complex. nice place to sit and drink some cawfee…


There is art hanging all around the hospital, much of it painted by various members of the family that founded the hospital, the McKenney’s. However, some of it was done by some of the local young people as well.


Mother and baby


more art by Nate McKenney



Passenger rules are a smidge different down here.


Annie and the Stockton girls


Theres those pesky lil’ ants again. always hanging out in the hospital ward.


our neighbors, the Stocktons, brought us home a very stylish and practical gift: Gringo cowboy hats… We will wear them always, Katie and Peter. honest. love em’!

More monkeys…








10 thoughts on “My first Cancer diagnosis…

  1. Gunnar says:

    Thank you so much for these poignant (and very humorous) posts. I read this to my family during dinner. Wow! That was an awesome testimony of a man, “Hey-Zeus”, who knows his life is secure in the Lord’s hands.

    You do realize we are going to have to vet Jen to corroborate this story, right?


    • rmoults says:

      Thanks for following guys! How is family of 9 doing? you guys should probably start a blog about your Missionary field 🙂 you and shannon are discipling a small town, right?!
      Uh oh. i hope Jen can corroborate her story… 😉


  2. Trish Myers says:

    Oh just love all the stories,some with tears and some so hilarious laughing too. Hugs and prayers and for all the family and Jesus too.😊❤️


    • rmoults says:

      Trish and Jack,
      Thanks for checking in on us! Appreciate your hugs and prayers. Hope all is well back home with you guys, we’ll keep posting our experiences.
      Love the Moultrays!


  3. Kimberly D. Iverson Ruck says:

    Greetings neighbors (I still think you you all that way)!! We miss you very much! I just read all your posts and all I can say is “WOW!!” Your stories and pictures are amazing, but it sounds like you all are adapting to your new lifestyle with grace. I’m not so sure that I could live with the scary bugs and snakes, but I do agree that keeping the non-lethal spiders around is a good thing. Please provide an update on the baby who was separated from the conjoined twin. I will keep her and you all in my prayers. Christopher and David say “Hi!!” Sending you all lots of love!! ~~ Kimberly


    • rmoults says:

      Kim, thanks so much for checking in on us, and thinking of us. We really miss everyone in the neighborhood as well. The boys, especially Owen, get a little homesick once in awhile missing their gang of buddies there, playing in the cup-de-sac and vacant lots.
      Hope all is well with your family also! I hope Christopher is having a great year.
      Good news, the conjoined twin did fantastic, surgery went very well and they have seen her back already in post op visit.
      Thanks for your prayers Kim!
      the Moultrays


  4. Cavanaugh Family says:

    We love you guys and can not wait to share in a little bit of your life in Honduras soon. We are looking forward to hugging you and serving alongside you. Most of all laughing together in fellowship. We will be praying for Jesus (Hey Zues).


    • rmoults says:

      Jason just told me you booked tickets! Fantastic, we can’t wait to see you guys! We are sorting out all the things we want to do with y’all. Plenty of work and play to be done…
      Thanks for your prayers.


    • rmoults says:

      Thanks Wendy! We miss you guys as well. I’m sure you are looking forward to your mexico trip, when do you leave? Is it the whole fam, youth group…? Maybe next one should be to Honduras, eh? unfortunately, it’s a little more expensive to get here.
      take care, tell everyone we love and miss you all!


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