Watertown man grateful for quick, compassionate emergency care.

Steve Gravelle woke up before sunrise one morning in February 2016 fighting for every breath. He thought he had a stubborn case of pneumonia that wasn’t responding to medication. His wife Luann wanted to call an ambulance, but Steve insisted they could drive themselves fifteen minutes from their home in Watertown to the Ridgeview Medical Center Emergency Department in Waconia.

When Steve arrived, the emergency team gave him oxygen to ease his breathing and warm blankets to make him comfortable. An x-ray and a CT scan revealed a collapsed lung, but also revealed something unexpected—a tumor, most likely cancerous.

Shock and fear consumed Steve and Luann’s initial thoughts, but the Ridgeview team gave the Gravelles hope as they reviewed possible treatment plans. “I really needed to know what my options were,” Steve explained. “I wanted to live—I wanted to know what it was going to take for me to live.”

Steve and Luann, who have eight children and six grandchildren, appreciated how quickly and compassionately the emergency services team managed Steve’s lung cancer diagnosis. Steve moved directly from the Emergency Department to a hospital room and prepared for surgery to remove his lung.

After surgery, Steve endured several outpatient chemotherapy treatments. Just three months after his emergency visit, Steve received his “all-clear.” He remains cancer free.

“I am healthy, I am back to work, and I am grateful,” Steve said. “I smoked for years, so I was worried if my one remaining lung would be able to support me. I’m impressed by the doctors who have helped me and the body’s ability to recover.”

Luann shares Steve’s gratitude and looks forward to the future with their growing family (grandchild number seven is on the way). “We just keep living life, a grateful life,” Luann explained.