For Terry Broussard, “throwing a promise at a problem” was his way of staring cancer in the face and showing his determination to fight on.
His promise was that he would overcome stage 4 renal cell cancer — a type of cancer that starts in the kidney — and that through his faith he’d be able to continue life and beat the difficult odds.
Terry’s journey began at an LSU football game in 2018. His hip began hurting but he brushed it off as stubborn pain from standing all day at tailgates. In 2019, he finally decided to get a doctor’s opinion on the lingering hip pain.
A few troubling MRIs later, Terry was given the worst news. Doctors had found stage 4 cancer in his kidney, and they had little confidence in a path forward.
“They told me to get my affairs in order, that I might have six weeks,” Terry remembers.
Finding a Healing Hand
Terry walked around in shock for the next few days. He and his wife, Tracy, were not ready to share the news with others. Then, they went to church that Sunday and Terry privately shared his diagnosis with one of the church elders. They prayed together, and the elder encouraged Terry to repeat a prayer mantra that he would eventually become tumor free.
As Terry says, he was instructed to “walk in faith from here on out thanking Jesus for your body being healed.”
The encouragement lifted his spirits and his mental determination to find a path forward with a new purpose. After church that Sunday, Terry and Tracy called friends for recommendations of a doctor who would offer hope where others had not.
Dr. Brierre has been practicing medicine in Lafayette for more than 25 years and has earned a reputation as one of the most well established and respected physicians in the Acadiana area.
He performed a biopsy, finding tumors in Terry’s lungs, a lump on his kidney bigger than a softball and another on his hip bigger than a baseball. The shock hit Terry again, but he fought through the tears and repeated his mantra.
He remembers thinking his care team must have thought him crazy: Here was a man who clearly was dealing with advanced cancer, reciting a mantra thanking Jesus for being tumor free.
“I continued to throw a promise at that problem and believed that the tumors would go away,” Terry says.
The Help of a Support System
After the biopsy, Dr. Brierre started an aggressive treatment plan. Terry says he appreciated Dr. Brierre’s approach to the situation: never attempting to estimate how much time Terry had left to live or being overly optimistic about the results.
“So many times, a doctor will give us a date and our minds believe it,” Terry says. “He never did that, and blessings to him because that’s a true professional doctor.”
Dr. Brierre was honest that Terry would likely continue treatment for the rest of his life and the most they could do was hope to shrink the tumors.
“The support I had at Lourdes, God used everyone from the lady signing me in at the front desk to all the nurses, the aides, Dr. Brierre. God used all of them,” Terry says.
By the beginning of 2021, scans showed the treatment had removed many of the tumors in his lungs and hip, and the softball-sized tumor on his left kidney had been reduced to the size of a golf ball. The strain on his kidney had unfortunately left it unfunctional, and so Terry and his care team made the decision to remove it.
During surgery, though, Terry’s doctors discovered that the tumor on his kidney wasn’t just smaller, it was dead as well. By removing his kidney, Dr. Brierre concluded there were essentially no tumors left in Terry’s body.
That kind of success amazed everyone in Terry’s life, from his care team to his family. But for Terry, it all made sense. He knew he had been brought to Dr. Brierre and the JD Moncus Cancer Center for a reason.
And he knew where his cancer journey would take him next: sharing his story with others.
Walking and Living in Gratitude
Terry is now a motivational speaker, telling his story of dedicating his life to Jesus, battling cancer and leaning on his faith to pull him through hardship.
“It’s been the greatest blessing in my life,” Terry says. “I would not change it for anything. I’m so much a better guy today for what I went through.”
In his talks, Terry encourages others to never give up even if the journey is long and difficult, and to be thankful for your blessings, including the people in your life who are there to help you and to help heal you.
“I prayed for healing, but it didn’t happen right away,” Terry says. “I worked while I waited. I worshipped while I waited, and I walked in gratitude while I waited. In the end, I believe the Lord delivered the right team of doctors, the right treatment center and the right medicines to allow me to continue on with my journey and my faith.”