Woman with Rare Neuroendocrine Tumor Finds Care and Hope at Ochsner
Six years ago, Jacqueline Shedrick was diagnosed with a cancerous Neuroendocrine Tumor. Although the diagnosis was scary, her physician and his team helped her stay positive. Here is her story:
"About six years ago, I started having pains in my back and I thought it would just go away. I had retired from a job in an office, so I figured it was just from sitting all day and not sitting correctly. But the pain just didn’t go away and it continued to get worse.
My husband brought me to an urgent care clinic, where they treated the pain and it went away for a while. But about seven months later, the pain came back again. Once again, I went to urgent care for treatment of the pain, but this time it didn’t go away. That same night, I went to Ochsner Baptist’s emergency room. They scanned me for kidney stones and then the doctors came in and said, “we found a mass in your belly.” I had several other tests done and then on my 61st birthday, I found out that the mass was cancerous.
After I heard that news, I was determined to get on with the treatment. My next words were, “I’m ready. What’s next?” I was very fortunate to learn that right here in Kenner there was a team at Ochsner that specializes in carcinoid treatment. I view birthdays as a celebration of life and in my mind this day was no different.
As soon as I came into the office for my appointment, I knew I was in the right place. Everyone was so nice, so cordial. At my appointment, I met Dr. Ramirez who explained to me what a carcinoid was and said that most of the time they are found accidentally, as it was in my case. I also met with Dr. Boudreaux, who answered all of my questions without hesitation, and I had a lot of them. After they talked with me I said, “Well, all I want to know now is when can you get started?” Dr. Boudreaux responded by saying, “You know I love killing carcinoids.” Within a couple of weeks, I was having my surgery.
I had a tremendous amount of support from my family and I focused on having the right attitude, which I feel strongly, has a lot to do with healing.
As part of my follow-up treatment, I had to come in monthly and believe it or not, I was looking forward to coming, to seeing the people. It’s like a family here. Whenever I come in to the clinic, it’s love as soon as I walk in the door. I just thank God for the people here, who make such a difference when it comes to you while you’re dealing with something you have no control over. It’s just been wonderful being here.
The progression of the disease in my liver was constantly monitored. I completed three treatments of the liver directed therapy recommended by my physicians. In March of 2019, I started Peptide Receptor Radionuclide Therapy (PRRT), completing 4 treatments every 8 weeks. At first, I was a little nervous, but I was shocked at how smooth all of the treatments went. The staff made me feel so comfortable, I couldn’t have asked for better doctors and nurses. I still visit the Neuroendocrine Tumor clinic periodically for scans and follow-ups.
I love my time at Ochsner. I use MyOchsner to make my appointments online, but I’m claiming Ochsner as MY Ochsner because the doctors, the nurses and the staff have made me feel so much better that often times I even question if I’m sick."
Neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) are very rare and make up 2% of cancers in the United States. These tumors are slow growing and take 10 years, on average, to diagnosis. The Neuroendocrine Program at Ochsner Medical Center – Kenner specializes in the diagnosis and management of all forms of neuroendocrine tumors, of which carcinoid are the most common. The program is an affiliation between Louisiana State University Health Science Center and Ochsner Medical Center.
Visit our clinic, NOLA NETs for more information.