After recovering from COVID-19, Langdon man now faces lung cancer diagnosis

A Langdon, North Dakota, man has been called "the miracle patient" for leaving a COVID-19 unit in Fargo. But now, 61-year-old Tim Samuelson has yet another battle to fight as he recovers from the impacts of the illness.

Cindy and Tim Samuelson. WDAY photo

LANGDON, N.D. — Cindy and Tim Samuelson laugh about their refrigerator door. It is covered with pictures of their nine grandkids. These two have been together for 22 years, but there's a dispute about their anniversary date.

"We keep arguing about that date," Cindy Samuelson said. "Either the 25th or the 26th, so we have to go back to the marriage license and look.

The past four months have been a whirlwind for the loving couple. It all started when Tim Samuelson was having trouble swallowing.

"I couldn't swallow very good; it didn't hurt, I just couldn't swallow," he said.


As part of his job, he spent a lot of time out in the oil fields in western North Dakota, so when he couldn't swallow or get air, friends got him to a Dickinson hospital. It was the height of the pandemic in the state, so there was no room for him.

"So I sat in the hospital in Dickinson in a chair for ten hours, in a wheelchair because I couldn't lay down," Tim Samuelson said.

He was finally airlifted to Fargo and put on a breathing tube.

"They had him intubated and directly to the vent, and he was on that 14 days straight," Cindy Samuelson said.

For a while, it looked bleak for the Samuelson family.

"I guess I am lucky to be here all in all, because they said I was in pretty rough shape," Tim Samuelson said.

Now back at home, another fight has started for Tim.


"My hometown doctor in Cavalier did a CT scan a few months ago, and my lungs were clear then," Tim Samuelson said.

While the scan was clear just months ago, during his battle with COVID-19, it was discovered he had lung cancer. There is no research to indicate a connection, but there is evidence that those with lung cancer get COVID-19 quicker and don't recover well.

"They call him the success story on that COVID unit in Fargo," Cindy Samuelson said.

"They tell me most people who have it as bad as me, they don't survive or (are) in the nursing home on oxygen," Tim Samuelson said.

He now faces radiation, surgery and likely chemotherapy.

"The way I look at it, just go on and see what happens. I have great family and friends. I will get through this one, too," he said.

Friends and family got together to organize a GoFundMe for Tim Samuelson to cover his medical expenses. Donations can also be sent to: Tim Samuelson, 1023 8th St., Langdon, ND 58249.


Kevin Wallevand has been a Reporter at WDAY-TV since 1983. He is a native of Vining, Minnesota in Otter Tail County. His series and documentary work have brought him to Africa, Vietnam, Haiti, Kosovo, South America, Mongolia, Juarez,Mexico and the Middle East. He is an multiple Emmy and national Edward R. Murrow award recipient.

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