Freedman hopeful for full recovery

by Scott Anthony | 9/22/94 5:00am

College President James Freedman recently finished six months of chemotherapy, and said he is very hopeful he will make a full recovery.

Freedman was diagnosed with lymphatic cancer after surgery in early April. During the last six months he has undergone eight rounds of chemotherapy -- roughly one every three weeks. His last treatment was on Sept. 14.

Now Freedman must wait for doctors to examine him to see how well the chemotherapy worked.

"Now I believe it will be about six weeks before they do a CAT-scan ... and figure out if there is any tumor left," Freedman said. "That is the big date."

Freedman said it will be difficult during the next six weeks having the unknown results of his chemotherapy hanging over his head. But he said doctors give him "very, very good odds" of beating the cancer.

After receiving a standing ovation when he took the podium during Convocation yesterday, Freedman, who also celebrated his 69th birthday yesterday, proudly announced he had finished his treatment and felt "more invigorated" than on any prior birthday.

On Jan. 1, Freedman starts a six-month sabbatical where he said he hopes to "have a healthy six months and a real opportunity to do some reading and writing."

"Without question I'll be back" after the sabbatical, Freedman said.

He said he is glad to finally be done with chemotherapy, during which time he lost most of his hair and became easily fatigued.

He said doctors told him most chemotherapy patients near the end of their treatment are not grateful to be almost finished.

But Freedman said this was not the case with him. "I got more and more resentful that this thing drags on and more and more eager" for it to be finished.

Although he did not drastically change his schedule during the treatment, doctors forbade him from extensive traveling and participating in evening events.

But he said he occasionally breaks those rules to speak at evening events; for example there are a handful of dinner parties in the next few weeks he really wants to go to, he said. But his schedule has been cut down.

"I was sad that I didn't go to Moosilauke this year," Freedman said. "Every year I've gone one or two evenings."

He also took a four-week vacation with his wife, something he said is "not our style." Typically, the Freedmans go on short vacations over the summer, but this summer they took it all at once.

"One of the things the chemotherapy does is really tire you out a great deal," he said. "It knocks you for a set the first week or 10 days after the treatment."

Over the past six months, Freedman said he tried to do as much of his job as he possibly could.

"This summer [I] tried to just keep busy," he said. "The best thing really is to keep coming to the desk and reading and writing and doing the things I'm supposed to do."

Freedman is currently working on a book -- he said he did not want to release the title of it because he is "superstitious about it." He does not yet have a publisher and does not know when it will be finished.

"I did quite a bit this last summer, and its been very gratifying," he said. "I have gotten a lot of reading and writing done this summer and that's probably a virtue of being forced" to limit his activities.

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