June 20, 2012
Dr. Eric Friedman and Staff
4120 West Memorial Road, Suite 300
Oklahoma City, OK 73120
Dear Dr. Friedman,
I don’t think you know me, but I know that sending this letter is the least I can do. The need to write you and tell you all of this has been weighing on my heart for quite some time and (shame on me) I tried my best to ignore the feeling of needing to write because I wanted to be lazy and not write such a long letter, but here it is. I apologize for the delay in sending this – I mean it’s only a few years late!
Let’s take a walk down memory lane… back in the year 2000 when you met and operated on my dad. I was only fourteen at the time and didn’t have a clue about anything that had to do with cancer, let alone brain cancer. He had been having headaches, blurry vision, difficulty moving in a coordinated manner and nausea. He had been to our small town’s family physician several times for this and was misdiagnosed with anxiety attacks, among other things, and was started on anti-anxiety medication. In addition to all the symptoms listed above he started having projectile vomiting which caused my mom to bring him to Baptist ER as she suspected these were not anxiety attacks. We were told that there was a brain tumor and my dad was referred to you for surgical intervention. It’s a miracle that the tumor was caught when it was and that it was anaplastic astrocytoma. Did you know (I’m sure you did) that World Health Organization says that “Individuals with grade 3 astrocytoma have a median survival time of 18 months with treatment.”? 18 months!!! My dad is alive and well nearly 144 months later!!!! Did I mention the word miraculous?!
Every day I thank God for directing us to you and that you were my dad’s neurosurgeon. I thank Him for giving you good assessment and surgical skills, the discernment and knowledge to do your job to the best of your ability, and a good bedside manner and I pray that he continues to bless you in your practice. Please know that you have made a difference in MANY lives (even if you never hear it from other patients or their families – a lot of the time our jobs are thankless and that’s ok because that’s not why we do what we do), but this time you were part of a fantastic miracle and I wanted you to know that.
So I guess what I’m trying to say is, I’m writing you today because it’s been nearly twelve years since you operated on my dad. Little girls dream about their wedding days for a very long time and we want our actual wedding to be as close to that dream as possible (of course, sans riding in on unicorns and whatnot). On 02June2012 my dad walked me down the aisle for my wedding and was able to share the father-daughter dance with me. You are the main reason he was able to help me fulfill my dream wedding. Thank you for that! As I’m sure you know, he’s been cancer free and has had minimal long term side effects from treatments. He is still able to do everything he did before his diagnosis – – even pass on his lack of dancing skills to me, which I will, no doubt, pass on to my children who will pass it on to their children! Ha!
I know that working in the medical field can sometimes be draining and feel like you’re not making a difference, but I want you to save this letter and whenever you feel like you’re not making a difference or you’ve had a rough day at work I want you to read this letter and know that every single thing you do can make a difference and has the potential to save a life and also want you to remember that GOD IS GOOD and will always provide a way.
First Lieutenant (p) Jade S.
Stem Cell Transplant/Hematology/Oncology/Hospice RN, BSN
Walter Reed National Military Medical Center
Matt Allen is a husband and father of two from Oklahoma City. His life was changed forever in 2009 when he was diagnosed with a very large brain tumor. Our own Doctor Eric Friedman was the surgeon who removed the tumor from his brain, and helped him return to his family. Linked below is an article written by The Daily Oklahoman that tells Matt’s tale of faith and survival.
Chance Leonard is an Oklahoma native who has experienced his share of adversity. At age 15 he suffered a severe spinal cord injury while wrestling for his high school team. Several years later, Dr. Robert Remondino performed Mr. Leonard’s first of four spinal surgeries. Chance has since competed in multiple triathlons including the grueling Ironman triathlon. To read about how Chance has persevered through four surgeries without losing sight of his athletic goals click on the link below.