Voices of Hope
Listed here are thoughts about hope submitted by people who have been touched by the diagnosis of a brain tumor. Thanks to the patients, families and friends, and health care professionals for graciously sharing these messages.
Tell us what hope means to you.
“Together with the patients and families who choose to come to The Brain Tumor Center at Duke for their care, we share hope for better care than they would have anywhere else, hope that the patient’s medical needs will be addressed in a positive way, hope that the major disruption to the essence of the life of the patient and family will be addressed, and ultimately, hope for survival with quality of life.”
—Henry Friedman, MD, The Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke
"At Duke, we keep trying. We don't just label a patient with a prognosis and accept standard therapy."
—Allan Friedman, MD, The Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke
"Hope means we have a wonderful and professional hospital, Duke Medical Center, where meningioma brain tumors can be surgically removed and new life can be given back. Dr. Allan Friedman is a genius that has dedicated his life to helping so many people that have suffered and may not have been aware they had brain tumors. He is a remarkable surgeon and I highly recommend him."
—Large meningioma brain tumor patient
"Just diagnosed with GBM grade 4 (told I am NOT a "classic" case since I'm in such good health & present with so few symptoms). Hope means possible future life sving treatment for someone else. I understand it is terminal but HOPE is helping future diagnoses NOT using terminal."
—Recently diagnosed patient
"HOPE means so many different things. I never really focused on that word until we arrived at Duke in the fall of 2011. My daughter, Katie, my son in love, Ronald, and I came to the PRTBTC desperate for answers and treatment. Katie’s diagnosis was a rare brain tumor, called an optic pathway glioma. We live 6 hours away, and took the drive to Duke looking for help. At that time she was a full time nursing student, but was out for the semester, recovering from 9 hour brain surgery at our local hospital. Katie had been sent home with no HOPE for the future. I was terrified, anxious, and just afraid of what her future would be. We first met with Dr. Annick Desjardins, and from that moment, I felt the HOPE and assurance that she would do her best to save Katie. Well, I’m happy to report that she gave Katie the HOPE, strength, willpower, and love after our very first appointment. Katie’s doing very well these days. I am happy to report that Katie has graduated from nursing school and is working full time! We can’t thank the PRTBTC for all they have done for Katie and her family."
—mom of a brain tumor patient
"Saying I love you. I am a recovering patient. I had surgery on March 1, 2012. Although my surgery was successful. I still have a little piece tagging along. I am very grateful for Dr. Gavin Britz and his team. After surgery I got the pleasure of meeting one awesome radiation team. Dr. J. Kirkpatrick and Georgie. Also the ladies that help a great bit. I was very nervous in the beginning but they helped calm me down. I am sp grateful a for a sweet blessing. Thank you Duke. There is Hope...Grey Matters"
—Deana Lane – Patient
"For me Duke's BTC first meant hope when I was researching GBM treatment options after my wife's (Patricia L. Saville) diagnosis in August 2010. They have delivered on the promise of hope for us, and I'm filled with a sense of gratitude, hope and well being that I don't feel anywhere else everytime I pull into the clinic parking garage for our every 2 months visits to Dr. Vredenburg and now Dr. Ranjan. Thanks Duke for giving us hope and survivorship."
—husband and caregiver for GBM patient/survivor
"Hope is found at Duke. My father was diagnosed earlier this year. It's been a long and very rough road. There seems to be both ups and downs. But we will not lose hope or faith. My father is a fighter. He's still going through the avastin treatments, but seems to be improving. So please keep him and every other patient in your hearts and prayers. Fight and keep fighting. Cancer is a word, not a sentence!!"
—Son of a GBMIV patient
"Hope for me is knowing there is more to offer than standard care for GBMs. I never lost faith nor the strength to fight it; but I didn't know where to find Hope until I found the incredible staff at Duke. The feeling of hope goes beyond the doctors and nurses, everyone I have interacted with at Duke has offered Hope. In April 2011, after my first surgery to remove the tumor, We were told to expect palliative care and a hospice bed within 9 months. It's now August 2012, I just had a cold PET scan, I've been back to work since October 2011, bringing not only Hope but proof we're beating it!!! Thanks to the protocol developed by Duke I couldn't feel more normal, just like I did before I could spell GBM. Hope means knowing there are even more options should there be recurrence. Hope is knowing I found a medical team willing to continue to provide the best care available and instill a feeling of Hope. Hope to me is – knowing, that at Duke University, THERE IS HOPE that brain cancer and tumors can be beat!"
—BEATING GBM Patient
"Hope to me means believing I will make it. It means trusting that, although the statistics say I don't have much of a chance, I'm going to be alright and live a full and happy life!"
—PRTBTC brain tumor survivor
"That Katie get's well and lives a full and happy life!"
"We are all moving forward into our future. Hope is like headlights. It lights the way during the dark times in life. Hope is the faith, desire, and trust in what the future has in store for us."
—Mother of leukemia patient
"Hope comes in many forms, but to me hoping that God hears the prayers of the many people that are praying for my dear sister, who was recently diagnosed with a GBM. Another ray of hope was delivered to me just this morning when I found out that she will be seeing Dr. Henry Freidman at Duke, who does not consider GBM a death sentence! My sister is a wife, a mother, a grandmother, and for all that know her a ray of sunshine in their often cloudy lives. She's strong, and she wants to live. I have hope that she will be around along while."
—sister of a GBM patient
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"Hope is believing there's a chance, even when you're completely aware of the odds.
Hope is knowing you have the best doctors and nurses in the world.
Hope is leaving clinic 1L and knowing that you've done all you can possibly do in that day to fight the cancer that you hate
Hope is peace of mind."
—daughter of a GBM patient
"Hope to me means the rainbow in the sky still has a DIM OF light shinning through!
A NEW DAY HAS ARRIVED!
AND As long as you have STILL HAVE BREATH in your body; HAVE SOMEONE WHO LOVES YOU DEARLY AND IF EITHER OF YOU CAN STILL ADD 1+1 YOU HAVE HOPE!"
—Katherine J. Chapman
"Hope is the light that keeps burning inside my heart even in the darkest moments. Hope comes as we set out sights on eternity rather than this momentary trouble."
—Wife of a GBM patient
"HOPE means having Faith and Dr. Allan Friedman!!! I was diagnosed with a very rare brain tumor in December 2010 called a Hemangiopericytoma. I had the tumor removed in March 2011, which was a perfect surgery and I had recovered very well. Now I am currently going through 6 weeks of radiation. I appreciate and was impressed with Dr. Allan Friedman's dedication. I truly believe he was the only one that could have saved my life and could have done such a successful surgery. I was very fortunate to have found such an amazing neurosurgeon!"
—Brain Tumor Patient of Dr. Allan Friedman
"Hope means so many different things. I hope I can see my uncle grow old. I hope I can visit him for years to come and laugh at his fantastic jokes and larger than life personality. I hope he will know my children one day.Most of all, I hope he is comfortable, happy and at peace. Duke is hope. When my uncle was diagnosed with a glioblastoma in 2006, he was given a 19 months to live. 5 years later he has beaten all odds. He has seen many of his neices and nephews get married and met new babies in the family as we are graced with their presence. We have shared so many fantastic memories and I wouldn't trade them for anything. My dearest and sincere appreciation to Duke for all of the hope they have given us over the years. I hope for a cure one day so no other families have to feel this hurt."
—Niece of a brain tumor patient
"Hope for us was coming to Duke and being told that we were accepted to Dukes Zap-It Trial. Canada has no vaccine trials as of yet so we Thank God for the Hope he has given us by sending us to the Duke Team . 3 years in and doing great with wonderful caring people who soon become your extended family .At Duke there is extended life!!"
—wife of GBM patient
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"Hope in God for Joshua's Life. Hope in my family to live right. And Hope in love keep us together. For me, just by seeing the light in one's eyes; this is were the hope comes from, and I see that light in my son, Joshua Pace's, eyes every time I look into them. My son, Joshua Pace, was found to have Brain Cancer called Glioblastoma Mulitforme (GBM) Grade IV when he was only 8 years old back in 1999. Josh is now 19 years old, and we live in Morehead City, NC. We go to Duke, thats in Durham, NC. To tell you the true that road has not always been a easy one to take. But I have learned to have an open mind for Duke, because we must always fight for our children no matter what, or who. For we are the ones who have to stand up for them, take care of them when all is said and done. So with that said, I do thank God for the Dr's at Duke, for with God, his Dr's and the love of his family today, Joshua is going on about his business doing only the things Josh can do."
"It means life, happiness, everything."
—a patient's aunt
"At Duke there is hope for GBM. Praise the Lord! My husband David has been cancer free for 28 months and counting. The staff at Duke Cancer Center are great. Our prayers have been answered."
"Never give up hope. My husband was dx with an astrocytoma in 1989. Surgery removed the tumor and had Radiation. Grade 2. No problems until 2009. Yes, 20 years!!! He was having problems saying the words he wanted to speak. A lot of stuttering, which was not normal. Found out he had another brain tumor, which was removed successfully. He was on chemo for a year and now we are 22 months cancer free. Thanks to Duke and our local drs. Keep the Faith."
—Wife of anaplastic astrocytoma
"Hope means seeing my 44yr old brother-in-law, Jerry Stevie Heatherly, who has an inoperable state 3 astrocytoma brain tumor, watch his kids grow up."
"Hope to me is holding strong to my faith, and praying for Dr. Allan Friedman and his neurosurgery team for a successful surgery. I prayed that the Lord guide my surgeons hands. My first words coming out of surgery were "I Love You Dr. Friedman" You do develop a strong bond with your surgeon, my life was in his hands. What could of been the end of my life ended up being a beginning to a new and improved self.
On the day i was diagnosed with a glomus jugulare tumor on my left side. I under went a successful operation to remove the tumor.I would not be here if it was not for my surgeon, Dr. Allan Friedman and the neurosurgery staff at Duke. They were impeccable throughout my stay at Duke and extremely supportive during my recovery.
I had a previous emergency brain surgery in 2003 for a large tumor onleft side of my brain, a meningioma.Another Life Changing day came on September 2, 2010. Dr. Allan Friedman would lead the team of surgeons, David Kaylie and Takanori Fukushima, in removing left glomus jugulare tumor( left craniotomy for resection).
I wish to honor Dr. Allan Friedman for his loving care. He spared me pain and returned me to a normal healthy woman. He will always hear from me, " thank you, thank you, thank you," God Bless You. I have regular check ups at the hospital, and i'm still working on my balance. There's a scar on my head and neck from surgery, but i look great. I have slight memory lapses in conversation, but that doesn't keep me from talking—just ask my family.
Be Hopeful.......Nursing staff was amazing so comforting."
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"Hope is my husband living to play with our daughters after having his treatments at Duke for his GBM Brain Tumor. My husband is a Children's Hospital pediatrician in a small town in North Georgia. Not only is he important to my daughters but to thousands of children who come to him for medical care. Dr. Samson, Dr. Vrendenberg, Dr. Volas-Redd have given me, our daughters, thousands of children in North Georgia, and my pediatrician husband hope.
Duke's vaccine study abstract publication should give hope for GBM patients around the world.
I am a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner sho serves by my pediatrician husband's side for our pediatric patients, for our daughters, and to help my husband survive.
Thank you Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center, and Dr. Sampson, and Dr. Vrendenberg and Dr. Gina Volas-Redd."
—Stephanie H. Anderson, DNP, RN, PNP
"It has been one year since we lost a husband and father to a GBM. The Drs here told us there was nothing else and we found Duke. To hear the words "Yes" there are treatment options gave me hope. Even when the tumor grew and he decided he had enough. The Drs were still willing to try another treatment. They also had the most respect and compassion at his decision to stop treatment. I think we had Jim/Dad for an additional 6 months thanks to the BTC at Duke. My son felt so strongly about Duke that he made a Quilt, donated to the BTC, for his senior project. You have to have hope."
—Wife of GBM Patient
"HOPE is Dr. Allan Friedman. I was misdiagnosed in Orlando, FL four years ago with what the ER deemed a calcification on my right tentorium measuring 7mm. Thankfully I completed an online referral, sent my report and films to Duke. Dr. Friedman contacted me the day after Christmas recommending removal of my meningioma (NOT a calcification as Orlando "diagnosed") now measuring 1.7 cm. My suboccipital craniotomy was an absolute success. I literally owe my life to Dr. Allan Friedman. I'll never be able to truly express my gratitude to Dr. Allan Friedman."
—Brain tumor patient
"Hope is Duke. When my husband, Chuck, was diagnosed 12 years ago with a glioblastoma, the doctors in our hometown told us to get things in order he may have six months to live. We didn't accept that diagnosis. We found Duke and they gave us hope. On our first visit we saw Dr. Henry Friedman. He offered us encouragement, and not the death sentence. My husband was started on Carboplatin, which stopped the growth of the tumor. That wasn't the end of the battle with his tumor. He's had to undergo several other chemo drugs, radiation and surgery. He's currently on Avastin and Temodar. He's been through a lot over the last 12 years, but Duke did not give up on him and my husband, Chuck, is still alive. They worked with him one on one. They haven't treated him as a number. They have treated him as a person. We now see Dr. Reardon. I have never known a doctor who truly cares for his patient like he does. The definition of hope to me is Duke. If we had not placed our hope in Duke 12 years ago, my husband would not be here today. We know that God placed us in the hands of the wonderful doctors and staff at Duke. Don't give up. Fight the battle."
—Carmen Bedwell, wife of brain tumor patient
"My life’s work has been based on participating in non-invasive language research with bonobos and chimpanzees, who share nearly 99% of their DNA with humans. In the photo is Panbanisha, a 25 year old female bonobo, who uses an electronic keyboard with ‘words’ in a language called Yerkish on it to communicate with me. Panbanisha is altering our relationship with the gift of language, taking it to a truly higher level.
"Since the discovery of my brain tumor (gliosarcoma grade 4), in August 2008, and subsequent surgeries, all of the bonobos that I work with at the Iowa Primate Learning Sanctuary have shown tender compassion and attentive care to my scars. Their concern, along with the incredible support from family, friends and the wonderful medical support I have received, have led me down a path of tranquility. Hope is alive at Duke and the research done there is pioneering work in understanding the extraordinary mysteries of the miracle of the brain."
"I am a recent patient of BTC. HOPE means many things to me.If you will click on the following link I appear towards the end of the clip. http://hurricanes.nhl.tv/team/console.jsp?catid=684&id=45804 HOPE is a wounderful thing."
—Patient of BTC
"Hope is Dr.Henry Friedman telling us Yes, is there is something that can be done for your mother's brain tumor. We had been told to just wait until it got worse. Dr. Friedman said DON'T WAIT! And that was about 8 months ago, and my mothers treatments are working! Dr. Friedman, Dr. Desjardins, and all the staff at Duke Medical are wonderful! They have given my mother HOPE!"
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"HOPE is the belief, not dream, that a cure will be discovered for this dreaded disease that took my sister's life. At the young age of 26, after only being married 2 years and 2 months with a 15 month old son, the GBM decided it was going to take over my sister's brain; thankfully it didn't take over her heart and spirit. HOPE is the feeling EVERY patient should have as they walk through the doors to the clinic at Duke. The staff NEVER gave up on my sister. HOPE is the wish that others do not suffer from this disease that they conquer and win. My sister may not be physically alive but she is alive in the spirit of those who knew and loved her. She did win the fight. There is HOPE if you choose Duke."
—sister of deceased GBM patient
"Hope is never giving up the fight. As a GBM patient, I have been seeking out long term survivors who have overcome what was considered a "gloom and doom" situation. They have shown me that a tumor isn't a "death sentence," and with the newest treatments and clinicals, there is hope for the long run. While it is a shocking experience and the road is long (I had 3 surgeries in 6 weeks, the doctors at Duke and elsewhere have helped us with the fight. Drugs like avastin/cpt-11 and temodar are life savers to many. Hope is taking control of your own health, praying to God and having a never-say-die approach."
—Larry Collins, Philadelphia, PA
"Hope, for me, means having the faith that brain cancer will one day be a curable disease. My sister fought her cancer for over 10 years. Hope, for me, means that even though she lost her battle against brain cancer, one day, young lives will no longer be lost to this horrible diagnosis... that children won't have to be hooked up to IVs for days/weeks at a time, will no longer bear terrible scars on their little bald heads, nor suffer the side effects of debilitating strokes. But most importantly, HOPE means that I will one day see my sweet sister once again."
—Deirdre Wesley, sister of Gina Reichenbach, former brain tumor patient
"Hope is called a Dr. Friedman. He treated my husband "Bill Brighton" in 2001. Billy is alive today due to his dedication to GBM Grade 4. I only wish more people could hear our story and know there is hope. He was dx 5/10/01 and is still cancer free. Bill is a miracle. Thanks to all of you at the tumor center. We will never forget all of you."
—Allison Brighton "WIFE" of Bill Brighton
"Sitting here in the Brain Tumor Center with my husband who is still free of cancer in his brain. He was diagnoised with Glioblastoma Multiforme in 2005. The doctors in our home town gave him 6 to 9 months to live. we found Henry Freidman on line which led us here to a place of hope, love and incredible Doctors, nurse and staff. Today we were told his MRI looked fantastic. We are both elated. Thank you to all who have supported us through this very scary diagnois!"
—wife of GBM patient
"After my surgery to remove a GBM IV, I was told that I had 12-18 mos. to live. THEN, I went to Duke!! HOPE was everywhere!! Especially in my Team! And today, almost 9 years later....we Kicked that Tumor's Butt!!! Partially because having a tumor means exactly that! I had IT! It did NOT have ME!!!"
—Lauri Holland f/k/a Tondryk
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"Hope is still having my daughter 4+ years after dx. and tx. for stage 4 glio. The journey has been wonderful because of Gods' using all of the wonderful gifted compassionate people to heal my daughter. He has gifted each one with special gifts and I know everytime we come back for check ups I can feel the love and care from each one of the staff. We tell everyone about you all from Dr. Allan Friedman, Dr. Henry Friedman,Sprague,and all the others whose names I cannot remember. Thank you all for using your God-given gifts to heal so many."
—Mother of Kim Ritchie
"Our son, Alan Metcalf, survived his Astrocytoma (Glioblastoma) brain tumor from March 20, 2005, until February 10, 2009. The team of doctors and nurses at Duke were awesome. They always made us feel as though we were talking with our own family. They continued to give us hope and that helped us through some very tough times. We will continue to miss our son until the day we see him again in Heaven. We thank all who prayed for him and for us during these last 3 yrs and 10 months and will never forget the Duke team. God bless each of you."
—Mother and Dad of Alan Metcalf
"I would like to thank Duke Brain Tumor Center for giving my brother the chance for a normal after having a tumor removed at the age of 12. He has led a normal life with very few complaints. He is now 65 years old and probably the longest living patient who underwent that type of surgery in the 1950's. My hope is that others will also have a chance to enjoy their lives after surgery at your clinic."
—Sister of former patient of Duke Tumor Center
"Hope means not letting go, having faith that there is nothing that can defeat the human spirit."
—friend of a patient's mother
"Hope to me means the ability to just get up and keep moving for another day. It does not sound like much, but after what I have seen, it is a lot. I have been dealing with an oligodendroglioma since 1997, and it is draining. I had two surgeries, one locally in Springfield, MA and the other in New York City. I also had a biopsy in New York at NYU in 2004 after which I had Temodar. My husband and I went to the same local oncologist. My husband died of colon cancer in 2006, and my daughter has Crohns' disease. My father-in-law and brother-in-law died in a horrific fire and my other brother-in-law died of cancer. The other day, I put my dog, Gypsy, to sleep. My heart is broken because now my tumor seems to be back. I may go to MA General and have a biopsy and therapy, but I love the fact that "At Duke there is Hope." I have spoken with Dr. Henry Freidman, and I am hoping that he will see me if he deems it is appropriate. I still have my sense of humor and a few good friends, but most of all I have Jesus and if it were not for His supportive love, I don't know what I would do. I truely believe the Holy Spirit has led me down this path and there is more for me to do on this earth."
—brain tumor patient
"A chance to share more time with a friend."
—Sandra Marcondes, friend of a brain tumor patient just diagnosed
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"Hope to me is a voice on the phone that says 'Hi, I'm Dr. Henry Friedman. I'm in an airport, but if you will call my office tomorrow, I will see you next week and I WILL HELP YOU!!!!' This was after I had sent him an email saying that I was a 53 year old white female just diagnosed with a brain stem glioma and I'm scared to death. Those 4 words 'I WILL HELP YOU' mean more than I can explain, but anyone having been diagnosed understand how much that means. That was on August 31, 2006, and here I am on August 19, 2008, and I'm doing GREAT! Praise God for Dr. Henry Friedman and all of his team and the Preston Robert Tish Brain Tumor Center at Duke. I will always hold all of them close to my heart and keep them in my prayers. I've always said that God puts you in the right place at the right time, and he certainly guided me on that day."
—Nell Beacham, Brain Tumor Survivor
"Hope is everything.
I had terminal brain cancer surgery in October, 2002. On the hospital departure day, I was told by the surgeon to expect to 'be around' for one day, one week, one month or six months. I'm not sure why but my attitude was simple—whatever. I'm ready to go home.
My doctor recommended that I sell my CPA practice, spend more time with my 3 sons and wife, and do a lot of travelling (my wife works for A/A). We did. After the first year of traveling, we could go to just so many places. Second third and forth year, I wound up rebuilding our home. It then became quite obvious that I would probably be around longer than predicted. Back to my CPA practice even though my brain had been changed. I had lost some eye site in one eye, no longer had a short term memory, my teeth rotted, but my priorities had changed. God, family, and friends were now my priorities instead of completing form 1040, contact this client, and mowing the yard on Tuesdays.
Every day is a Wonderful day. Not because I'm still around but because it took terminal cancer to show me what is truly important in life. At 52, I try to thank God every day for changing me and letting me know what is wonderful in life. I also point out that He could have given me a bad case of hemorrhoids and still got my attention."
—Terminal Brain Tumor Patient
"While my Dad was trying to win his battle with GBM hope meant so much to my mom, dad, and myself. We always had the hope that my dad would beat GBM and we never gave up hope. The doctors at Duke gave us hope and they never tried to take our hope away from us. They gave us the comfort of knowing that they would never give up on my dad or stop treatment unless my dad wanted to stop treatment. That meant so much to us, since other doctors gave up on Dad. They took the time to listen to our concerns and answer all of our questions. Duke really is hope!" www.caringbridge.org/visit/charliemccune
—Carrie McCune-daughter of former GBM patient
"HOPE, the word that gets you through the day when your sister, who just had her first child, finds out that her brain tumor is back but advanced to a GBM seven years after her first resection. I know that she will not see him grow up, maybe not even watch him take his first steps. I will not be able to grow old with my sister, but Duke gives us HOPE that one day, one bright and shiny day, this dreaded disease called cancer will be rid of. Then no one will suffer any longer. I truly believe this is Dr. Allan Friedman's and Dr. Henry Friedman's missions and they are our HOPE."
—sister of a GBM patient
"I can't believe I let this March 31st get by without putting a word on this inspiring website. We continue to be blest by the life of our daughter, Mother, wife, and sister. Kim is a survivor 3 yrs. 2 months this month, May 2008. She was in Relay for Life Friday, May 30 and the only Glio survivor out of over 100 people. Boy, was I proud, but sorry that their weren't at least 100 more. When we heard about Senator Kennedy, I e-mailed him to tell him about you all and Dr. Allan Friedman. I knew if it was possible to remove his tumor, he could. This AM on the news I heard he was having surgery at Duke by Dr. Friedman, and Kim and I praised the Lord."
—Toby Mackie, mother of Kim Ritchie, survivor!!!!!
"To me, hope is seeing my very best friend of 56 years survive brain surgery for GBM, and having her so independent following surgery."
—Sara Eckert, friend of GBM patient
"Hope is believing in the goodness of every situation. When given gloom news, hope allows one to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Hope is seen through a lense of trust in tomorrow. Hope is a strong emotion of believing in the unseen. I hope that the staff at Duke University will help my brother Joe live a healthy and good life."
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