Terra Sigillata

Apologies for being such a homer with the last few posts (and a couple upcoming) but there have been interesting local happenings of broad interest, especially while I was away earlier this week.

Turns out that the good Senator Edward Kennedy took a foray to the Town-That-Tobacco-Built to have his glioblastoma excised by Dr Dr Allan Friedman. The local fishwrapper covered this while I was away and noted that while Duke is big on tooting their own horns, they kept an unusually low profile with their high-profile patient.

i-d66206adc79a81cf6ad9b3e1f6168545-davidmbailey.jpgBut I actually didn’t learn this news until I received an e-mail from a Virginia-based folk singer whose work I enjoy, david m bailey. david is a glioblastoma survivor thanks to the Friedman collaboration, a musician and social activist who, by his own account, should have died 12 years and 14 albums ago:

hello friends – with all the buzz in the news regarding Ted Kennedy’s surgery at Duke yesterday I’ve been getting a flood of email so I thought I”d post a note to all to let you know that yes, Dr. Allan Friedman, the surgeon who operated on Kennedy is the same guy who did my second craniotomy and two biopsies. Not only is he an amazing and gifted surgeon, he’s also a wonderful man – during my awake biopsy years ago he took the initiative to put a boombox in the operating room and played one of my CDs during the procedure which kinda cracked me up but was sweet and much appreciated. As some of you may recall, my first operation was an emergency done in northern Virginia. Allan did my second one and prior to my craniotomy I sat in his office and asked him ‘doc, is this, um, going to be hard? He smiled and calmly said “david, I do this everyday.” That made me smile as I imagined him asking me if playing guitar was hard. Bottom line, Mr. Kennedy was in good hands and I’m not at all surprised that all went well. And he would be the first to tell you that there are no superstars at Duke; it is a total team effort – and indeed it is. so bravo to him and to Henry and to all for putting hope into practice. I

on a side note, yes, I did send a few cd’s to Kennedy’s office – not sure if they will make it into his hands,m but it’s cool to think so and I hope he is encouraged.

On another side note, I was contacted by CNN regarding a possible follow up story interview. I kinda doubt it will happen, but you never know. well, actually, I guess you probably will know if it happens 🙂

keep on folks.

music – www.cdbaby.com/dbailey
info – www.davidmbailey.com

Here’s a bio from David’s blog:

The son of Presbyterian missionaries, david spent his childhood in Beirut, Lebanon. He learned his first chords in 7th grade, went on to study classical guitar then soon after began writing his own songs, a passion he would nourish for years to come. The Lebanese civil war forced him to complete high school at a boarding school in Germany where he spent weekends as a street musician and also formed a small ensemble that toured throughout Central Europe.

In college, he played extensively in an original acoustic duo, but then put his guitar away and entered corporate America. Ten years later, doctors told david he had a malignant brain tumor and would be dead in a few months. david left his corporate job and returned to his first love of songwriting and performing. Over a lifetime, he has shared his hope and music with thousands of listeners: Now a 12 year survivor with 17 albums to his name performances in 21 countries and & 44 states, david and his music continue to challenge us all to live passionately and treasure the beauty of each new day

While his songs are reminiscent of folk legends like JIm Croce and Cat Stevens, his sound has also been influenced by the exotic tunings of David Wilcox and Joni Mitchell. Strong melodies and intricate finger picking help deliver keen, witty and insightful lyrics about time, faith, hope, love, and dreams. a “prophet with a guitar, ” david’s voice is one that resonates with surprising depth and clarity among audiences of all ages, keeping his music both universal and timeless. His story has been featured on CBS News/48 Hours, 60 Minutes, Fox/Health, Family Health channel, NPR, and dozens of newspapers and magazines across the country. While spending most of his time in his own niche of church and medical venues, he does step out into more traditional music venues: In May 2003, he won the prestigious Kerrville NewFolk songwriting competition and has since shared the stage with many others. From Beirut to Budapest, from Pittsburgh to Portland, and on hundreds of stages in between, he has inspired and entertained thousands of listeners and maintains a relentless tour schedule year round.
When not on the road, david spends his time at home in Charlottesville VA with his greatest joys: his amazing wife, Leslie and and 2 terrific teenage children, Kelcey & Cameron

One last point: I’ve gotta tell you how highly I admire and respect the good folks at the now-Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center, established originally in 1937 at a university that only existed formally in 1924. This admiration is not just for their medicine and research but for their role in the community.

Another Dr Friedman is also well-known there: together with Dr Henry Friedman (no relation), a neuro-oncologist with unmistakable New York City roots who is everywhere at once (including my local supermarket). Together with Allan, they are also fervent supporters of the Duke student community and work together on a program (CAPE) to cultivate female athletes into careers in medicine.

Henry also treated one of my childhood heroes, pitcher Tug McGraw, known better for his run with the Philadelphia Phillies but whom I knew as a New York Mets reliever. The estate of Tug McGraw endowed Duke’s Tug McGraw Foundation to provide supportive care for brain tumor patients and test agents that show promise in improving cognition and in lessening side effects of treatment.

One final note of humor in the midst of this serious post – the main story reports that during Kennedy’s surgery:

. . .Kennedy was probably shown pictures of objects, such as footballs and other ordinary things, or asked to count throughout the surgery. The senator’s inability to respond to such simple cues would indicate to the surgeon he was close to crucial brain tissue.

A local illustrator whose link I cannot find wrote a cartoon noting that this may have been the first time in decades that a football was recognized by anyone on the Duke campus.


  1. #1 Zeno
    June 8, 2008

    What’s a football?

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