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Patient Story: Stephen Hooker

Patient Story: Stephen Hooker

The following comments were posted in an online forum by Ochsner patient Stephen Hooker. This forum serves as an online support group for individuals suffering from carcinoid cancer. Mr. Hooker was responding to the question, "Seeking Specialist Treatment - Where do I begin?"

Don't beat around the bush on this thing, go to the best in the world, The Neuroendocrine Program at Ochsner Medical Center, Kenner, LA. They have a full blown program with a number of specialists who tailor their approach and treatment for each location of a carcinoid.

Here in Columbia, SC, I had a surgeon tell me he could give me 5 more years after he chopped out some intestines, halved my liver and replaced my pancreas and part of my stomach with a Whipple procedure. I flew straight to Kenner where they basically laughed off that approach. Yes, I lost a few inches of intestine, but a different approach left my liver intact as well as my pancreas -- no Whipple. That was over a year ago. My life is great. Yes, I take Creon and have a monthly Sandostatin Depot LAR 30mg shot (a competent nurse gives the shot; it's smooth and easy, no pain, no side effects). I miss French fries and a rich candy bar, but that's partly to do with giving up my gall bladder. I see Dr. Woltering every 6 months and have a good time in New Orleans afterwards.

Keep your life. You don't have to travel halfway around the world to get excellent treatment. Don't put up with local guessing and experimentation. My Kenner surgical team was lead by Dr. Boudreaux who is an LSU professor of surgery and a pancreatic transplant surgeon as well as a specialist in hunting down and removing carcinoids. He easily peeled off the carcinoid from my pancreas, leaving it intact, and then plucked the others from deep in my liver with a small probe without the wholesale liver resection the Columbia surgeon advocated. Thanks to their great work during my 11 hour surgery, I was out of the hospital in less than four days.

Today over a year later, all my blood stats are perfect. My weight is better than before the Zebras tried to take over, thanks to Leigh Ann Burns, the team's dietitian. The Kenner team is flat-out the best. I have a great oncologist here in Columbia, but he defers to Dr. Woltering & Co. Take care of yourself and go straight to the best. They are a team of experts, not just one specialist.

-Stephen Hooker

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