LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — This is not a story about cancer… it’s about a larger than life figure getting some unexpected news — but who is ready to fight like hell to make sure his family and the hundreds of thousands of people who watch and engage with him every day, get their dose of serotonin… and maybe discover a hidden gem where they can have their next lunch.
“What’s good baby!? How y’all doing?!” is his usual greeting, normally to someone bracing themselves for his patented solid handshake and bear hug. As one of Acadiana’s biggest personalities you can recognize his New Orleans accent and spot his huge smile from the parking lot.
In July of this year, Gerald Gruenig was diagnosed with stage 2 Hodgkin’s lymphoma — a type of cancer that affects the lymphatic system. Late in 2022, he noticed some swelling in his neck, which didn’t trigger any alarms because his daughters had just gotten over an illness. Fast forward to Father’s Day 2023.
“I was sitting in the kitchen with my wife, we were fussing with some friends about, honestly, crawfish fettuccini and if the crawfish tails were too old. My wife said, ‘Gerald you need to calm down your neck is bulging.’ I said, ‘I have some bumps in my neck I need to go get checked out.'”
After about a week after seeing his doctor, the results were in.
“I was preparing myself for what they thought would be the diagnoses, but when you hear it man, it’s at the knees bruh.” said Gruenig.
Gerald says hearing the diagnoses reminded him of being blindsided on the football field. But in true Gerald fashion, the silver lining is never far removed from the situation.
“From there, I was looking forward to just getting good news,” he said.
And you might say he did get a positive update — even after almost seven months since he first felt swelling.
“I went and saw my ENT, got my CT results back,” he said. “Everything was just on the left-hand side of my neck. I went to sleep Monday night thinking I could have cancer all over my body, I woke up on Tuesday morning and found out, hey bruh, what’s happening, it’s just in your neck!”
Gerald’s doctors describe his cancer as indolent and slow moving. So, as he begins his road to recovery with chemotherapy, he’s staring down eight sessions of about 3 hour treatments, every other Tuesday.
“And the good news is it’s 90 to 95% curable,” Gerald said. “At that point I’m like, let’s go baby!”
While making only minor adjustments to his daily schedule, he still plans on being an active team member on Passé Partout, and showcasing a local restaurants every Tuesday and Thursday for Acadiana Eats, to making sure the people of Acadiana get that spark of energy they look forward to whenever he’s on air and out on assignment.
“I wake up every day and choose my attitude,” Gerald said. “Everyday! And that’s one of those things where it’s like ‘man I’ll shut it down.’ No man, I got chemo on Tuesday afternoon, Passé Partout Wednesday, Acadiana Eats Thursday. Bruh, the train keeps rolling my brotha! We’re gonna do it!”
He’s also looking forward to the Acadiana Eats Festival Oct. 28— as his last round of chemo is set for Oct. 31.