Frank Tadlock suffered from cancer similar to Kennedy’s
By Jessie Burchette
LANDIS ó Sue Tadlock never met Sen. Edward Kennedy or his family, but she knows intimately what he and his family have been through.
Her husband, former county commissioner Frank Tadlock, died Jan. 7, 2007, at the age of 70 ó 13 months after being diagnosed with glioblastoma, the most aggressive type of brain tumor.
Kennedy, who died late Tuesday night, survived for 15 months after being diagnosed with a malignant glioma.
“I know what they’ve been through,” Sue Tadlock said Wednesday. “It brought it all back.”
She recalled that when she first heard about Kennedy’s brain tumor, she knew he wouldn’t make it long.
Until December 2005, she had never heard of a glioblastoma.
She knew that her husband was acting a bit strange. Normally a gregarious man who loved his work running Corriher Beef & Sausage and as a county commissioner, Frank all but stopped talking.
She insisted he go to the doctor. He was quickly referred to Carolinas Medical Center, where doctors diagnosed the glioblastoma.
“I never heard the word until then, but I’ve heard it a lot since,” she said. “I know the people who have it do not live very long.”
Like the Kennedy family, the Tadlocks sought the best medical treatment available. They considered treatment by the Duke University doctor who treated Kennedy. But they opted to go to the National Institutes of Health at Bethesda, Md.
“There were people from all over the world, a lot of younger people, older people, we had time to sit around and talk … it was kind of weird how the tumors came up.”
She credits the clinic with giving her husband many additional months of life. “They are hunting and trying to find a cure, a treatment to stop the growth.”
She believes the clinic and her husband’s will allowed him to finish his term as a commissioner in December 2006.
Commissioners renamed the South Rowan Regional Library in honor of Tadlock, who had led the push for a library in the south end of the county.
And for the most part, Frank’s final months went well, time spent with this family. On his final Christmas Eve, he insisted on an outing to fast food restaurants to get gift cards for his grandchildren.
A staunch conservative Republican, Frank Tadlock, never had much in common with the liberal Democratic senator from Massachusetts.
But the fight against a deadly tumor connected them and thousands of other families.
“I know what they’ve been through. They have my sympathy,” Sue said.