Norco man fighting cancer one day at a time

Friends and family are helping the couple


April 21 at 8:00 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Norco man fighting cancer one day at a time
It was hard enough for Jimmy Stuard to deal with a diagnosis of colon cancer involving a tumor so large that only chemotherapy and radiation treatments offered any hope that it might be removed.

This was in January.

When the pain from what Stuard thought was a pulled muscle lingered, he finally gave in and saw a doctor.A large tumor was found on his lower right abdomen or colon, said his wife, Diane. They advised he needed a biopsy and by February it confirmed their fears – he had cancer.

“Of course, you feel devastated and then you’re afraid because you don’t know what will happen,” she said. “It has certainly brought some of us even closer together. It’s very stressful.”

When they inquired about the next step, doctors told them that Jimmy needed surgery and then chemotherapy. But when he went to have the procedure done, the surgeon told them it couldn’t be done because it involved the stomach wall.

This is when he got a colostomy bag because the tumor caused blockage, Diane said.

“They said he would have to have chemo and radiation to try to shrink it to try to remove it,” she said. “But there is a chance it will not shrink.”

Only a month after the biopsy confirmed it was cancer, the news got worse when the Norco man was told Medicaid would not cover these treatments because he wasn’t disabled. When Diane later consulted Medicaid about Jimmy’s condition, it did confirm he had a disability but then refused Jimmy help because Diane, a dental assistant, made too much money.

“They told me, ‘You still make too much money’ so that was the end of that,” Diane said.

A heavy equipment operator for 25 years, Jimmy had to quit work.

“He’s in constant pain, some days more than others,” she said. “He has a lot of sleepless nights. He has some fear about what will happen and what the chemo will do to him. He says the radiation is not so bad. The chemo sometimes makes him feel like he’s dying, but he’s just trying to make the best of a bad situation for the most part.”

His illness and treatments drained his strength and made it difficult, if not impossible, to drive.

They used her insurance, AFLAC, to get some money that is helping for treatments he’s getting at Lady Bird Perkins Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center.  She also has applied for assistance with the American Cancer Society.

“He’s in constant pain day and night,” Diane said. “And he can’t work because of the pain and treatments. He lost about 50 pounds from January to March.”

Jimmy requires numerous visits to the doctor, but a friend helping with the trips has been a big help to them. Also, his mother is staying with them and helping to care for her son.

But Diane remains hopeful through strength and prayer, as well as help from their friends, that they can overcome this hardship.

“I try to stay positive about it,” she said. “I think he’s going to be okay. He will pull through. I have a lot of faith in God. We pray about it everyday and burning candles so I think the tumor will shrink. They’ll take it out and he’ll be cancer free.”

A benefit for Jimmy has been scheduled at 1 p.m. April 29 at Club 99 in Norco. It will include a crawfish boil along with white beans and jambalaya, as well as a car show, several raffles and a sweets sale. For more information, call (985) 764-6662.

Also, they are accepting donations on gofundme account at http://www.gofundme.com/fightingwithyou.




View other articles written Anna Thibodeaux

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