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Police juror, teacher still smiling after cancer fight

April 13, 2007
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Eddy Shell talks with students in his Speech 110 class at Bossier Parish Community College. Shell, a professor at BPCC and a Bossir Parish police juror, has been battling cancer for the past 10 months. (Jim Hudelson/The Times)
"How do you beat cancer? Faith, attitude and courage."
Eddy Shell

On the Web:
• Bossier Parish Community College
• Bossier Police Jury


By Janelle Rucker

The only sign that Eddy Shell has gone through a battle with any disease is the walker he uses to get around.

From his attitude, sense of humor and overall disposition, very few would guess he'd been through major surgery, chemotherapy, radiation treatments and physical training in the past 10 months.

And through it all, he continued to serve as a Bossier police juror and a speech professor at Bossier Parish Community College.

"I was trying to show my knuckle-headed students that cancer doesn't mean death," Shell said, noting that one of his students has a mother with cancer.

Overall, Shell said, he missed only five or six days of teaching.

The 70-year-old educator was diagnosed with a spiral sarcoma in his buttocks area last year. "I had four tumors wrapped around each other, encapsulated."

A port and tube plugged into an artery that leads to his heart were implanted in his chest so he could receive chemotherapy.

In November, Shell went through a nine-hour surgery to remove the tumors.

"November 15. There are just some dates you don't forget."

The surgery left some nerve damage to his left leg; he can barely lift it. Doctors told Shell it will take 18 to 24 months for the nerves to repair themselves.

Shell praises his wife, Barbara, for taking care of him the past 10 months. "I personally believe cancer affects the caregiver more than the person who has it."

It's been a long road for Shell, full of falls, pain and lack of energy. He handled his diagnoses and recovery his own way.

"How do you beat cancer? Faith, attitude and courage. No. 2 is with a caregiver that will go to the wall for you. The third element is family."

When he's talking about family, Shell makes it clear it's not just his wife and children but also his church and work family.

His fellow police jurors also offered encouragement.

"We keep up with each other above and beyond," Shell said.

"He made a lot of the meetings," said fellow juror Bill Altimus. "He never complained. At any opportunity, he was there. And a lot of time, he would have his radiation treatment and come. He may have been late, but he was there."

Shell's co-workers at the Bossier City college have even joined his team for this year's Relay for Life fundraiser.

May 16, Shell will go through what he hopes is his last surgery to remove the port in his chest and some other minor maintenance work. He considers it a "cakewalk" compared to the first surgery.

"It can come back. If it does, we'll deal with it when it comes back."

Article Comments

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Still Smiling Fri Apr 13, 2007 9:52 pm
Glad to see you're still smilling, Mr. Shell! I hope you keep up your beautiful outlook on life. Good luck and thanks for making SPEECH class so bearable! Smile
Reader Comment Fri Apr 13, 2007 12:04 pm
I just thought it should be added that you also need doctors to beat cancer. Maybe thanking them is a good start. Most people forget to give credit where credit is due. (no slight to Mr. Shell intended, it's just a trend I've noticed in articles on cancer from popular media lately). Congratulations, sir, and here's to a cancer-free future.
Inspiration Fri Apr 13, 2007 9:49 am
Eddy Shell has always been an inspiration to my husband Cliff and me. I am so grateful that he is winning this battle. Way to go, Mr. Shell! Mindy Powell Hudson

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©The Times
April 13, 2007
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