When Ronald Frede, a retired band director, came to his first appointment at the David C. Pratt Cancer Center at St. John’s Mercy Hospital, he teased the staff about the music that was playing in the background in the treatment room.
“I gave them trouble because they were playing some sort of rap,” said Frede, of Union. He was expecting something softer, more soothing. The playful banter immediately led to conversation and ease. Frede said, “The staff was very friendly. I felt comfortable with the staff after the first day.”
Frede was treated for prostate cancer. This spring, he went through 45 sessions of targeted radiation therapy, Monday to Friday until it was over. “The hardest part is lying still. I was lucky, though, the only side effect I had was fatigue that I don’t usually have,” he said.
As the sessions came to an end, he bought a new van to celebrate and also spent a little time drafting a thank you note to the co-workers at the Pratt Cancer Center who made his cancer treatment a little less stressful. “As a former teacher, I know what it’s like to do your job day after day and not be recognized for it. I wanted to tell them they did a good job. A note seemed like the best way to do that,” Frede said.
I know what it's like to do your job day after day and not be recognized for it. I wanted to tell them they did a good job.
Patient, St. John's Mercy Hospital
The note, written before his final session, expressed his gratitude. It read:
“Just want to let you know you are appreciated. When I came to St. John’s for my first cancer treatment, I felt like a freshman starting high school on the first day, unsure of what to expect and what was expected. I was questioning if I had made the right choice of doctor and of where to get treatments. By day three, I no longer questioned my decision to be treated at St. John’s. I had come to the right place, had the right doctor and the right people taking care of me. I feel you are well trained in doing what you do and had my best interest at heart. Forty-four trips went quickly and smoothly. Thank you for your kindness and patience. I will always remember the wonderful people who took care of me. Musically yours, Ron Frede.”
The note was addressed to the four co-workers he saw in the Pratt Cancer Center, including Melissa Heidbrink, a radiation oncology nurse. Heidbrink began working in the Pratt Cancer Center about the same time her father was being treated for a serious form of skin cancer.