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Travis Edmonson's Last Illness




Travis Edmonson's last medical battle was fought with the same extreme inspirational courage and example he showed after the stroke in 1982 which left him paralysed on his left side for the rest of his life.

The Last Illness

From the health bulletins issued by the website from December 2008 - May 2009


December 27, 2008

Christmas has brought news which will be of great concern to all those who care about Travis Edmonson.

In December 2008  a scan revealed a cancerous lesion on his' right lung.  Doctors nevertheless felt very optimistic despite the diagnosis, and Travis received the news with his usual positive outlook and determination.

Radiation treatment was recommended, to be preceded by a biopsy. When that was performed just before Christmas, however, the reaction of his system was extreme and alarming, giving everyone cause for great anxiety.

The exceptionally experienced team of doctors and nurses treating Travis at Mesa's Banner Baywood Medical Center Intensive Care Unit had never come across the extent of severe bloating from head to toe that he experienced due to air escaping from his lungs into the rest of his body.  Travis was out of communication, but received the best possible care and every medical procedure available to alleviate the acute situation.

Unfortunately, the biopsy report issued on December 30 showed that cancer has been positively identified, but it appears to be a form which is not aggressive.  Due to his current dire circumstances, no treatment will be attempted  until doctors have managed to overcome the post-biopsy attack.

We ask all friends and admirers to please direct intense prayers/Good Thoughts towards Travis' recovery from this setback, and especially for a successful fight against the cancer.

Your spiritual efforts on Travis' behalf have again and again brought him back from the brink, and whatever faith one follows or doesn't, there can be no doubt of the direct and powerful connection between Travis and yourselves, and the potent effect you can have on his well being.

Update January 10, 2009

During the past week doctors removed Travis temporarily from the ventilator, and also performed a tracheotomy. The overall swelling subsided somewhat, but remained a serious problem.  Best news of all on this front is that Travis' eyes opened, and he began communicating with the medical staff, something he attempted as soon as the ventilator was gone.  Transfusions helped to improve his flagging blood count, and sedation was used to lessen the awfulness of the ordeal.

Your prayers and Good Thoughts will help to  make this an improving story, so please keep the connection going!

Update January 15

If you ever doubted that your prayers/Good Thoughts really made a difference, then we must share the news that from an extremely precarious situation in his condition when the call for spiritual support went out to all of you, Travis' medical state has improved enough to have him moved to a less acute facility, Trillium Specialty Hospital, and even to attempt his permanent removal from a ventilator. Thanks to everyone, and please keep up the prayers/Good Thoughts for his triumph over the cancer.

Update January 18

The most heartening news to date comes from Travis' daughter Ellen Murphy who visited him to sing him a few songs. Not only was her Dad able to take sustenance from the experience, he even mouthed the words as she sang!

As you have always known, Travis Edmonson is an embodiment of all the power of the human spirit.  Not just the years of inspiring us all with his music, but nearly three decades taking on the burden of paralysis as a minor blip, and surmounting each medical crisis thrown at him.  Since the inception of his website and our ability to email you when the need arises, he's doing that now with your support.

Whether it's a prayer, just a thought or playing and humming his music, you help Travis with every challenge he faces.  We've experienced this again and again when doctors fear the worst, and that safety net formed from your spiritual support opens.  It is uncanny, but we're all a part of it, and the difficulty of banishing that little bit of cancer is the next test.

Update January 25

Travis is back on the ventilator, has been afflicted by a new and very serious condition this week, so we ask that you please intensify prayers/Good Thoughts to get him through this.

Update January 29

Travis had made tremendous progress with the aid of your spiritual support, but he has now contracted a very bad case of shingles, leaving him in intense pain which can only be alleviated by morphine at present.

Knowing all the support that is out there for him (he's received all the messages you've sent in to the website) this extraordinary man is giving his all in fighting everything that is thrown at him. We thought he was inspiring all these years?  He's double anything we could have estimated!  Please also remember his gallant Rose Marie who is doing so much to keep his spirits up.

Update February 1

Travis warmly received a visit from the Treasurer of the Travis Edmonson CD Collection, Prof. Charles Thomas, who came all the way from Wisconsin.  Charlie shared wishes from fans expressing prayers and good thoughts, and told nurses how influential an entertainer  Travis is.  So he's not only getting best medical treatment now, but star treatment as well. (Read Charlie's report on his visit with Travis in the FEATURES section.

Update February 5

Daughters Ellen and Erin report that medical staff are doing everything possible to alleviate the shingles pain Travis is experiencing.  They also advise that their father seemed in better spirits on their most rrecent visit, and of course, he thoroughly enjoyed the impromptu concert they offered of Latin songs like Rayito de Luna as well as blues numbers and other old favorites.  He's still not able to speak, but expresses himself in every other possible way.

Update February 9

Your renewed prayers/Good Thoughts for Travis have been received with sincere thanks by his family, not to mention our hero, who has been greatly inspired by all your messages of support

There has been some improvement in the shingles, but Travis still remains in great pain - for which morphine remains the principal solution along with similar drugs and tranquilizers.  Anyone who's had the disease or known someone with it will understand what a torment shingles is, but Travis' spiritual strength is beyond peer.

Since he is still on the ventilator, Travis cannot speak, and while that restricts his ability to communicate, he is attempting to do so in every other way he can, and nursing staff will testify to how effectively he manages to convey his appreciation to them and to all those sending their good wishes.

Update February 14

Duncan Kunz has kindly delivered your most recent messages to Travis who was extremely grateful, and mouthed a heartfelt thank you to each.  He and his dear Rose Marie have been thrilled with your well wishes.

While he's still unable to speak due to the tracheotomy, and quite exhausted by the challenges of this prolonged hospital stay, his spirits remain bright, and Duncan can report, Travis' handshake was firm.

On an earlier visit, Travis was asleep, but Duncan had the chance to sit quietly by his bedside, and despite the situation, just being in Travis' inspirational presence, he had to admit leaving the hospital with a spring in his step.  We can certainly all relate to that!

Update February 19

Travis is at last on the road to recovery from the shingles.  Up to this week, visitors have had to wear a special gown and mask to go into his room, and that is no longer required now.

Update February 24

Travis' wife Rose Marie wants to thank everyone who has written in during the past week with their words of encouragement and inspiration.  She reports that although Travis is unable to speak, his eyes and smile go along way in communicating his feelings. Also a big OW when the pain gets to great. So please keep those prayers/Good Thoughts coming for a release from the miserable shingles pain.

Update March 2

A heartening note of progress is that Travis is now able to sit up in a chair.  The medications remain strong to keep the shingles discomfort manageable, so this can be only for a short period each day.  While he is still unable to speak, Travis constantly expresses his thanks for the warm messages that mean so much to him.

Update March 9

Bob Eaton was kind enough to deliver the latest round of messages of encouragement to Travis, and found our hero resting comfortably.  Please don't let up on the prayers and Good Thoughts.  He needs them very much.

Update March 19

Judy Drake was the good soul who delivered your most recent messages of support to Travis this week. He was looking well, and genuinely pleased with Judy's visit and the greetings.  We're all hoping that Travis will be able to leave the hospital soon, so please keep that thought in your prayers!

Update March 25

The good news is that Travis no longer requires the enormous sedation of past weeks, and is consequently both brighter and more alert.

Rose Marie and all the rest of Travis' family join his fans in expressing warmest thanks to everyone on the team who has been giving Travis such super excellent treatment over the last months.

That care mixed together with his own inspirational spirit have brought him to the point where Travis is now able to receive visitors every day. Rose Marie is encouraging these, and dear friend Bonnie Brock is coordinating same, so if you'd be able to stop in and say hello, she's asking that you first go to travis@arizonafolk.net, to make sure that visits can be organized in a way that will enhance and complement Travis' recovery, and not be too exhausting for him.

Update April 3

Travis is receiving so much sustenance from visits since Bonnie began setting them up, so if you're in Arizona, please consider going to see him. (Read note in previous update.)  One who paid him a call was that fabulous entertainer Sue Harris who treated Travis to a number of his favorite tunes.  (You can view them doing a duet of his ôLavinia's Parlour at

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jTsoX7mV1gk.

While he wasn't able to join her in song at the hospital, the great news is that a passy-muir (speaking valve) is finally allowing Travis to talk.  And best news of all for last, doctors have been taking Travis off the ventilator on an experimental basis, a longer period each day, and on Thursday, he was able to breathe on his own for seven hours!

Our hero is putting up a massive fight.  Please join him with intensified prayers and Good Thoughts.

Update April 7

Today's news will give heart to all those who've been sending constant prayers / Good Thoughts in Travis' direction.  Now more comfortable in a private room, he was able to have his first taste of solid food since December 23.  This triumph of Travis' will, aided by Rose Marie's encouragement and the medical team's brilliant care, is something to make our spirits sing like those highest notes he produced in Malagueña Salerosa!

Update April 26

Travis' spirits were greatly invigorated yesterday by the visit of one of his favorite friends, Judge Jonathan Karesh, who flew in from the San Francisco Peninsula to see him.  In addition to bringing music and latest news from the Bay Area, Jon also brought his guitar, and entertained Travis and Rose Marie with a number of songs they all enjoy at annual Kingston Trio Fantasy Camps. (Pictured below a photo Rose Marie snapped of Jon with Travis when he visited their home in 2007)


Update May 1

With your spiritual support, superior medical treatment from the staff, Rose Marie and friends' TLC, and especially his own enormous courage, Travis made some great strides against the illnesses afflicting him, but unfortunately, he is back on the ventilator, and again unable to speak.  Please intensify your prayers / Good Thoughts to stimulate more forward progress!

Update May 4

Travis' medical situation has taken a very grave turn  and our thoughts and prayers go with him, and embrace his dear Rose Marie as well.  His family has gathered to be with him, and Travis is aware of their loving presence.

Update May 8

Travis remains in very grave condition, but is conscious, and at times, able to interact and show his affection to family members gathered to be with him.

For those who have been unsuccessfully trying to contact his wife, Rose Marie, we can advise that she presently has no internet access.  She is deeply grateful for everyone's prayers, and hopes they will continue unabaited.

Update May 9

Travis has officially been transferred to hospice care, but we are all grateful that he remains in the same private hospital room where he has been so brilliantly and lovingly treated these past months.

Though he was asleep almost all of yesterday, his children and grandchildren are singing to him, embracing him and letting him know how much he is treasured.  Even when asleep, he responds to the music, making a strumming gesture when his protégé, Rose Marie's grandson Jacob, played and sang a song he had written himself.

Dear friend Bonnie Brock was able to visit Travis yesterday, and says that he is in a very warm and caring atmosphere.  His room is spacious with large corner windows, and while very frail, he is looking comfortable and serene.

While each and every one of us is with Travis in spirit, we want all those who love him, but aren't able to be at his bedside, to visualize Travis at peace and in comfortable surroundings. He has fought every struggle so valiantly, and is a glowing example of human courage.

But be sure that courage has been kept up by your prayers and Good Thoughts which ALWAYS brought an immediate improvement whenever Travis was on the brink.  Doctors could never understand it, but as you have been inspired by him, so was Travis inspired by your spiritual support in times of need.

In our admiration and affection for this singular man, that same way, we are all together with him and each other now. Extend your hand, and you just might sense another reaching out for yours.




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