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By Maria Weaver

 

Hamilton’s Judy Calhoun has cared for others all her life, but now she finds herself on the receiving end of care after being diagnosed with lung cancer.

A benefit is planned for Saturday at Nita and Glen’s BBQ, 1107 S. Rice in Hamilton, to help Judy with her medical bills. She has no insurance.

Sign-in for the benefit horseshoe tournament will be 11 a.m., and entry is $20 per team. Prizes will be awarded.

A crawfish boil will start at 5 p.m. at $20 per plate, and a silent auction also will be held.

For more information about the benefit, contact Judy’s brother, Glen Cavett, at 784-0967.

In addition, a fund has been set up for the benefit of Judy Calhoun at First State Bank Central Texas, and a youcaring page has been started on Facebook.

Judy said she had no idea she had cancer and is still processing the news that there is nothing else that can be done to treat her. Her type of cancer, adenocarcinoma, has a 25 percent chance of survival, with or without chemotherapy.

“It is slow growing, and apparently I’ve had it for some time,” she said. “The symptoms didn’t start ’til early fall, and I just thought it was allergies.

“I’m still not processing it, it happened so fast,” she said. “Cancer is just hard to process.”

Judy was diagnosed with pneumonia last November, and doctors also found “suspicious spots” on her left lung.

“They sent me to a lung doctor in December, and he said, ‘It could just be suspicious’ and told me to wait ’til March and we’d do more tests.’

“In January, it got worse, and I ended up in Providence (hospital in Waco) and they were draining fluid off my lung.”

Doctors there sent her for more tests, and the results indicated cancer.

“It snowballed from there,” she said.

In February she started chemo and continued treatment until two weeks ago, when her oncologist told her she had lost too much weight and there was “nothing else to do.”

Judy weighed 116 in January, and two weeks ago she weighed 86.

“There’s no telling how much I weigh now,” she said.

Judy used to bake cookies and cakes every week for her family, but now she has lost her sweet tooth and really doesn’t want to eat at all.

“I lost my appetite before chemo, and at one time I went six days without eating. Now I eat soup, Jell-O and a little ice cream.”

Hospice began caring for Judy last week, and they are keeping her “comfortable and happy,” according to her daughter, Sheri Watson.

“I was a smoker for years,” Judy said. “I always had a cough. I quit at the end of December. My advice to young people is don’t smoke!

“I was always going and working ’til after Thanksgiving, then I couldn’t go any more.

“I had planned to retire in December anyway, to crochet and spend time with the grandkids. I’m doing a little crocheting, but not a lot.”

A certified nurses aide, Judy worked at Hamilton Healthcare Center for 17 years and Lee HealthCare for 13.

“I’ve gone from taking care of patients to being a patient,” she said.

“It all happened so fast, and there’s no insurance, and bills are coming in,” she said tearfully. “I got one this morning for $30,000.

“I got on Social Security, and now I qualify for disability, and maybe that will pay some, keep them happy a little longer or buy a few more groceries.”

Her husband, Jackie, works in Evant for Ricky Mauney.

“His boss and family are like family, and they treat us like family,” Judy said.

She worries about Jackie. He won’t talk about her cancer but tells her they will do whatever she wants.

“He has family around, and they will look after him,” she said.

Her daughter and daughter-in-law take turns taking care of her, and another daughter in Michigan will come soon.

 “I’m thankful for all the prayers, thoughts and kindness,” she said. “And the donations – everyone is so generous. And for my brother Glen for the benefit Saturday. I’m going to try to make it to that.”

Judy moved to Hamilton in 1968 and attended school here. She has family all over the United States, and many of them have family members stationed around the world. All of them have told her they are praying for her and have added her to prayer chains.

“I have prayer chains all over the world, so there’s somebody praying for me all the time!” she said.

“I hope and pray one of God’s miracles is meant for me.

“If not, we’ll just take what we’ve got.”

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