Couple with cancer trust care close to home

George and Thelma Friemann, of Bunker Hill, have been through a lot in their 55 years of marriage. Through kids, career changes and retirement, the couple thought they had been through it all.

But in December of 2016, at the age of 74, George discovered he had prostate cancer. His Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) scores had continued to rise and a biopsy revealed the hidden disease. He didn’t want to travel to St. Louis for treatment, so he turned to Dr. James Piephoff, radiation oncologist with the Cancer Center of Excellence at OSF HealthCare Saint Anthony’s Health Center.

“Even doctors in St. Louis recommend people on this side of the river to come here for treatments,” George said. “Dr. Piephoff and the staff are wonderful. You can get treatments at a lot of different places, but the people are what make the difference.”

In April of 2017, after 44 radiation treatments, tests showed that George was cancer free. But cancer wasn’t done with the Friemanns yet.

In October 2017, a routine mammogram revealed a lesion on Thelma’s left breast. She had her biopsy and surgery in Springfield, Illinois, but chose to return to Dr. Piephoff for her radiation treatments.

“My doctor wanted me to have treatments in Springfield, but I told them I was going to Dr. Piephoff,” Thelma said. “Dr. Piephoff explained how each stage was going to go before I had anything done.”

After 31 radiation treatments, Thelma rang the bell to signify the end of her treatments.

Placing it in the Lord’s hands

“It has been a crazy couple of years. But I have a high faith in the Lord, and He has been with both of us,” Thelma said. “We were fortunate to come down here because the service was outstanding.”

“I can’t say enough about the people. They are accommodating and friendly. They will go out of their way to help you,” George said. “It was a lot easier for Thelma because she knew she could come here and be in good hands.”

Last Updated: April 22, 2022

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About Author: David Pruitt

David Pruitt is a writer for the Marketing & Communications division of OSF HealthCare. He has a bachelor’s of journalism from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and worked as a reporter before joining OSF HealthCare in 2014.

An avid golfer and fisherman, David was born and raised Alton, Illinois, which is where he currently resides with his son, James.

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Categories: Cancer, Patient Stories