KENNER, LA (WVUE) - A veteran Kenner lawmaker who gave up a run for state treasurer to fight cancer is now speaking out about her ordeal.
Julie Stokes' prognosis is good, but there are still challenges ahead. She is known as a fighter for women's causes and fiscal responsibility. Now Stokes is wrapping up an even bigger battle.
"The chemo is promising, which was once every week," said Stokes.
Stokes, a CPA, was considered a strong contender for state treasurer, but that changed five months ago when doctors diagnosed her with breast cancer.
"Having to leave the treasurer's race was a difficult thing," she said.
Stokes now knows there was no way she could have stayed in.
"When you're confronted with what you're told is an aggressive cancer, it feels wrong spending time running for office when you should be with your family," said Stokes.
At first, things didn't go so well. Her tumor grew after the first round of treatments, and she ended up going to MD Anderson in Houston to make sure her course of therapy, was the correct one.
"They confirmed it, we came back and started on the second round, and it knocked it out...it melted away," said Stokes.
During the holidays this year, she has treasured her family more than ever
"Just made it more precious...you just want to be close to family," she said.
And now, as her chemotherapy has come to an end, she says she has found solace talking with former Gov. Kathleen Blanco, who is in her own cancer fight.
"I think her words, her actions and her character are very inspirational," said Stokes.
Though Stokes' prognosis is good, she faces another surgery Jan. 3 to make sure early indications are correct.
"Hopefully when I wake up January 3rd after surgery, I will be told that the cancer is gone. It does look like that will be a distinct possibility...and as long as I'm told that after the surgery, I will be done, which will be really good," Stokes said.
If all goes well, Stokes believes she will sometime in the future run for statewide office again if the timing is right.
"I definitely think I will,' she said.
Through her treatments, Rep. Stokes has been keeping up with state government. She expects to play a role as the state deals with major fiscal issues in the year ahead.