Wichita man survives battle with H1N1 flu

WICHITA, Kansas – Lance Minor knows what it means to fight for his life. He did it for his country as a Marine deployed to Afghanistan. Not once did he think he would have to do it again, this time from a hospital bed.

“I thought there would be much more danger there than sitting on my own front porch, but I was surprised to find that was not the case,” he said.

What he originally thought was a cold in late January was much worse. It was the H1N1 flu virus, and doctors did not think he would survive.

“I leaned back and felt the little darkness over me and thought, ‘You know, I’ve lived a good life, my house is in order, and if I don’t wake up from this, it’s going to be alright,” he said.

Minor spent seven weeks on a ventilator at Wesley Medical Center, and an additional ten days at an in-patient rehabilitation facility. Although doctors were guarded about his prognosis for weeks, he made a turn for the better. Nurses dubbed him “the miracle patient”, and he had lots of support in his corner, especially from his family.

“After the doctors would come talk to us, [my daughter] would say, ‘But he’s not dead,” Minor said. “There was always this positive energy.”

“Somehow, I knew that he was going to be okay,” Mary Minor, Lance’s wife, said. “I had a feeling in the end that everything was going to be fine, so I just kind of held on to that.”

Lance also credited his 21 years in the Marine Corps as vital to his survival.

“Being conditioned for so long as a Marine, you just kind of keep going,” he said. “I think I’m also a very stubborn person, and it takes more than that to kill me.”

By the time he was well enough to leave the hospital, he had lost 40 pounds and had to learn to walk again.

“I was a shadow of the man I was before, but part of me looked at myself and I just thought, I can recover from this,” he said.

Now a month out of the hospital, he’s getting his life back on track. He’s able to walk under his own power, and takes daily walks with his wife and dog Marshall.

“Having come through all of that now gives me a greater appreciation just for life and for the effects we have on one another,” he said.

“A lot of people give up in the recovery, and think that they can’t achieve this and that, but if you push yourself, you can make it happen,” Mary said.

Lance’s dream is to launch a microbrewery called Aeroplains Brewing and base it in the Wichita area, and says he wants to give more back to the community, now that he’s been given a second chance.

“I’ve got more to give, and if there is a higher power and if there’s a plan for me, I’m open for it, let’s do it, let’s get it on,” Lance said.

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