Local women fighting the fight of her life

By Jolene Perron

Cancer. Six letters and one meaning which Tammy Renaud and her family are no stranger to.

For the second time, Renaud is fighting cancer. It started as a mole that she’d had all of her life and was told by her doctor that there was nothing peculiar about it; that was, until it started to bleed.

Renaud went to see a new doctor during the first Monday in December 2008. She was quickly sent to an emergency surgery appointment on Thursday, surgery on Friday and by Tuesday, December 23 2008, Renaud was told for the first time she had Melanoma cancer. Melanoma is a cancer that develops in melanocytes, the pigment cells present in the skin. This type of cancer is also known to spread very easily.

In January 2009, Renaud was sent to London to have consultation about surgery to get the mole removed. In February, Renaud had the mole removed as well as one lymph node. Lymph nodes exist in different parts of the body and filter fluids, catch viruses, bacteria, and other unknown materials so that white blood cells can dispose of them.

In March, Renaud found out that the cancer had spread to other lymph nodes in her body. She was back in the hospital again at the end of March to have them removed and she started chemotherapy in May 2009. For one year, Renaud went through interferon chemotherapy to remove the cancer. She spent 30 days in the hospital and 3 weeks at home and was announced cancer-free in May 2010.

“What do you say to them at that age?” asks Laura Barton, Renaud’s sister,    “There are no words …  this sucks… I think it’s hard just with the kids, because they’ve got the most to lose – everything.”

Tammy Renaud reflects on her many expensive medications, burdened by the fact that the insurance company will be capping off her insurance.

Doctors told her if it came back, it would come back within one year. With only one more month to go, Renaud thought she was having gallbladder attacks in April of 2011, but was told she once again was battling cancer. This time, the cancer has struck her liver and there is no known cure for liver cancer. The only chance Renaud has is chemotherapy once again to try to shrink the tumors.

Renaud isn’t the only one affected by her illness. Kayla Edwards, Renaud’s daughter, is having a hard time accepting the fact that her mother is going to die.

“It’s stressful knowing that my best friend, my mother, has cancer and knowing that she is going to die,” she said.  “I don’t want to lose my best friend, I don’t want to lose my mom. Knowing that she is going to die kills me and I have a hard time accepting it.”

Chemotherapy, every three weeks, requires Renaud to be taking many different kinds of medications for many different reasons such as three anti-nausea medications, as well as a back-up anti-nausea medication just in case she begins to feel uneasy. Renaud was also taking shots which helped to build her immune system and white blood cells because she has fallen off of chemotherapy twice and as much as chemotherapy is supposed to help and get rid of the cancer, it brings one’s white blood cell count down.

All of this medication Renaud is subjected to is costing a lot of money. She will also be leaving work within the next week and is relying on her husband‘s, Dennis Renaud, insurance. Her husband’s insurance company is capping off their insurance around $5,000 a year for the family, due to Renaud’s first round of chemotherapy and additional treatments which made the company’s premiums go up.

To help pay for Renaud’s medications or any other medications the family may need throughout the year, her, family and friends are holding a pasta benefit dinner at Duffy’s Tavern on July 10 from 1 pm – 6 pm. The tickets cost $20 each and include an all you can eat pasta dinner, as well as a band for entertainment. There will also be door prizes and a 50/50 draw. To purchase tickets or for more information on the benefit, please contact Laura Barton at (519) 736-0613.

2 responses to “Local women fighting the fight of her life”

  1. Tammy says:

    RE: Cancer Benefit for Tammy Renaud, the time of the benefit is wrong, it’s July 10, 2011 from 1pm to 6pm., Thank you

  2. tina moore says:

    my heart sincerely goes out to you and your family. I hope that you tammy are one of the lucky ones that is able to beat this desease as it claims so many lives every year, you and your family are so close and loving, You would all do so much for anyone that is in need of help. I pray for you every night and will continue to be in my prayers. My thought and prayers go out to your children as i understand exactly what they are goin through. again i wish the best for you and your family.