• Carmen Marie Fabio

To the beat of his own drum


PHOTO BY JOLANTA BARAN

Paul Frederick says he’s making remarkable progress during his treatment and credits a positive attitude and strong support network as much as the treatment he’s been receiving at the Jewish General Hospital.

Crediting the power of positive thinking and the support of both his family and medical team, St. Lazare resident Paul Frederick has every intention of beating the Stage 4 metastatic renal cell carcinoma he was diagnosed with in June – so certain even his business cards bear the title ‘Cancer Killer’ in small letters underneath his name.

“I’m doing great, all things considered,” said Frederick after recently returning home from an ‘Ultimate Drum Camp’ held in Orford. Having worked in the percussion industry for over four decades, Frederick maintains his ties to the drumming community, “…to keep the doors open for what may come down the road.”

While Frederick describes his personal battle plan against his own cancer diagnosis as being right on track, his long-term goal sees him wondering how to repay what he sees as incredible good fortune in securing the medical experts at Montreal’s Jewish General Hospital and current treatment plan with oncologist Dr. Jennifer Friedmann.

Frederick has been involved with both The Rhythmic Arts Project (TRAP) founded by career musician and drummer Eddit Tuduri serving special needs youngsters, and Drums for Cures, an initiative of Scott Swimmer that hosts global drumming events raising awareness and funds in support of cancer education and research.

“I’m also trying to work on my battle-plan to help encourage them,” he said.

While Frederick navigates his way through what he describes as unchartered medical waters for something “untreatable and incurable,” he is far too busy making plans to wallow in any negative thinking. “What the medical profession is telling me and what I’m telling them are two very different things.”

Frederick said despite the flaws in our medical system, the people working within the everyday financial constraints and staffing limitations are still managing to do excellent work. “In general, human nature is to try and do good things and that’s what is driving them.”

Indeed, it was Frederick’s positive outlook that brought him to the offices of Your Local Journal in July, asking for a copy of a photo that had run on the June 18 YLJ West Island cover, depicting two construction excavators attacking the decommissioned overpass at Exit 41 in Ste. Anne de Bellevue. He then had his son Photoshop the names of the medications Nivolumab and Ipilmumab, or Nivo and Ipi, onto each machine to visually and symbolically reinforce his battle.

“This is strictly because I want to reinforce all the positive things that are happening in Oncology departments these days,” he wrote in a follow-up email. “I am convinced that the positive vibe of the people working in the system is having as much of an effect on cancer patients as are the miraculous new drugs and therapies, and want to do what I can to help.”

Still in the experimental stage, Frederick doesn’t know how well the medication treating the cancer that has now spread to his lungs is working but refuses to even entertain any thought otherwise. “People with a positive attitude and strong support group have more success battling cancer than people who don’t. I’m really trying to reinforce anything that I really feel is moving things in the right direction.”

For more info on the two drumming organizations listed above, see http://www.traponline.com/ and http://www.drumstrong.org

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