For nearly 40 days, a southwest Louisiana television meteorologist kept working from afar during his ongoing battle against colon cancer. Now, he’s headed home to continue the fight. He’ll be back in-studio, but the road to recovery is still a long one.
While each dose of radiation took only minutes at Houston Methodist Radiation Oncology, he had to show up each weekday for the treatment. The two-and-a-half hour one-way trip from home wasn’t feasible, so he did his daily broadcasts for southwest Louisiana remotely.
On Thursday, Terry took his last dose, but it wasn’t the end of his fight.
“After you’ve been through 28 treatments, your body starts to notice it,” Terry said. “It’s more of an internal type pain and fatigue. Today, I got an added boost of energy because it was the last one.”
Terry became emotional as he rang the survivors bell situated just outside the treatment room.
“We’re going to ring it out,” he said as he held back tears. “Ring this bell three times. It’s run its course, and I’m on my way.”
Terry’s doctor revealed a bit of promising news just before that moment. His latest scans showed the tumor inside his body had already shrunk by 60%. The goal is to reduce its size so surgeons can remove it soon.
“The radiation has to be done five days a week and it has to be done here in Houston,” Terry said last month. “I live in Lake Charles. I can’t physically drive back and forth. If you’ve ever been to Lake Charles from Houston, it’s not a fun trip to do once a week, let alone once a day.”
The cancer diagnosis came late last year, which was already a grave challenge for Terry and the entire southwest Louisiana region.
His home was destroyed by Hurricane Laura while he was evacuated to Baton Rouge along with most of his television station colleagues. The remote weather forecasting he did while in Baton Rouge may have been a drastic, yet necessary measure, but it became a good practice run for his Houston hotel room setup.
“You think you’re just going in for a routine procedure and you end up finding out you have cancer,” Terry said last month. “That was not expected after what we’d just been through with the hurricane season and now this.”
While the technology and effects are readily available to conceal a simple hotel room background, Terry and his team opted to keep it real. As he appeared on-camera explaining the forecast models and the region’s high and low temperatures, his coffee pot had prominent placement on the kitchenette counter behind him.
After our story aired on ABC13 in Houston, other media outlets began to take notice, including NBC’s Today Show.
“You know that’s a comfort, and he’s just going to pull back the curtain and let people into his life,” KPLC Vice President and General Manager John Ware said. “Obviously, here at the station, all of his colleagues are incredibly supportive as well as the community at large.”
Terry kept working regardless of his location, whether it was in-person or via a robust internet connection and camera.
Thanks to good camera framing, he was even able to remain comfortable while on the job. A crisp white dress shirt and tie contrasted the shorts and tennis shoes he wore while appearing on-air.
“I could even do it in short-pants at work if the camera’s set just right,” he chuckled.
Despite fatigue and the side effects of chemo, he plans to keep working until his surgery is scheduled.
He’ll just be doing it from Lake Charles again.