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No Place like Home for Efficient, Coordinated Care

By: Jonathan Carothers

Friday August 26, 2011

Sherry Fontenot is pictured with her daughter, Nikki Lynn Clement, and grandson Gage Michael Pujol

Life changed when Thibodaux resident Sherry Fontenot visited Dr. Greg Chiasson, internal medicine physician at Thibodaux Regional Medical Center, in 2006.  She went in for chest pain, and thought it may have been heart related since she was not coughing or having any other symptoms. Her physician referred her to a cardiologist and ordered a chest x-ray for further review. After getting back her results, Fontenot received news that would change her life forever.

Fontenot said “It definitely caught me off guard” when being diagnosed with lung cancer only four years after her father died of the disease. Determined to beat the disease, she and her physicians began treatments immediately.

“It was a very quick, efficient process. All the doctors worked very well together, they were all in the same loop,” said Fontenot.

Fontenot was originally referred to see a physician at MD Anderson. “Although I had great physicians at MD Anderson, the personal treatment along with the great physicians here made it an easy decision for me to seek treatment at Thibodaux Regional.”

Dr. Tommy Fudge, cardiac and thoracic surgeon at Thibodaux Regional, performed a lobectomy to remove the cancerous lobe in her lung in May of 2006. She followed up with Thibodaux Regional Medical Oncologist Dr. James Ellis for chemotherapy in July.

According to Fontenot, her treatments went well.  “With God on my side and the wonderful support of my family, friends and physicians, I continued to work and live as much of a normal life as possible.”

“The staff at the hospital was exceptional.  I went to ICU and then to step down. I was eating by the third day and sitting up in a chair, everyone was wonderful,” said Fontenot. 

Returning to her normal life, Fontenot was cancer free four years, until a reoccurrence in late 2010. Again, choosing to have treatment in Thibodaux, she began chemotherapy treatments with Dr. Ellis and completed radiation therapy with Dr. William Dunn, radiation oncologist at Thibodaux Regional in April 2011, the same day as Relay for Life in Thibodaux.

Now, Fontenot is an excited grandmother of a 2 ½-year-old grandson, and a 4 ½  year old granddaughter . “My grandson, Gage Michael, and granddaughter, Selina Navarro, are quite the inspiration. Those little angels have given me more life than you can ever imagine,” said Fontenot.  “I will fight tooth and nail, because I will be here a long time to play with those children. They love their  grandmother very much.”  She routinely follows up with imaging exams to track any possible new occurrences of the disease and is determined to continue to be a part of her family’s life.

Fontenot said she is grateful for those that helped in her care, and highly recommends the physicians and staff at Thibodaux Regional Medical Center.

“I met wonderful people, including patients, physicians and staff,” said Fontenot. “I had the best physicians.  I would never change any decision I made in physicians, treatment or anything else.”

About Thibodaux Regional Medical Center

Thibodaux Regional Medical Center, a 185-bed acute care facility, provides inpatient and outpatient care for the people of Lafourche and seven surrounding parishes.  Highly specialized services offered include Heart Surgery, Medical and Radiation Oncology, Neurology, Neurosurgery, Orthopedic Surgery, Sports Medicine, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, General, Laparoscopic, and Bariatric Surgery, Pulmonology, Rheumatology, Women’s Services, Sleep Disorders, Behavioral Health, and Inpatient and Outpatient Physical Rehabilitation Services.

Nationally recognized for quality care and service, Thibodaux Regional has been named a Distinguished Hospital by J.D. Power and Associates and has been honored with the Press Ganey Summit Award for high levels of patient satisfaction. In 2009, Thibodaux Regional received the Outstanding Achievement Award from the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer for the second time and is the only hospital in Louisiana to do so.

For more information about treatments at the Cancer Center of Thibodaux Regional, visit
www.thibodaux.com/cancer or call (985) 493-4700.