A Team Approach to Breast Services at Good Sam
As an Amityville resident, Mary Jane was familiar with the reputation of excellence at Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center. She traveled to the hospital emergency department for a fast track evaluation, and was immediately impressed by the commitment and dedication of the doctors and nurses. They recommended that she visit the Women's Imagining Center (WIC) and called ahead to schedule an immediate appointment.
Once there, she had a baseline mammography. Mary Jane, a counselor by profession, says that she can appreciate the compassion of the staff at the WIC who informed her that cancer was suspected. “They told me right then and there they thought it was cancer. But I will tell you that the wonderful staff, beginning with the receptionist, were so supportive.”
A multi-disciplinary team of physicians laid out a plan of action for Mary Jane that began with chemotherapy under the care of John Loscalzo, MD, Chief of Hematology/Oncology, to shrink the cancer prior to having a mastectomy. She says that during the discussion, she was informed of all the side effects that could occur including loss of hair and taste. But she says, she was well-prepared by attending roundtable meetings where she met others going through treatment who were enormously supportive.
“I began with four treatments, once a month to start and my hair started to fall out almost immediately. But I was prepared and had gotten myself a wig beforehand and put myself in a peaceful place by knowing what to expect. That is such an important piece,” she says.That was followed by 12 weeks of chemotherapy that she received every two weeks. During her treatment she joined a Yoga class and a Zumba class to stay active and positive. “I did everything I normally did throughout the treatments. I was fortunate in that many of the side effects they said I might get, I didn’t so I was able to go about my life.”
Mary Jane who had surgery with John Francfort MD, Chair of the Department of Surgery, last August says she healed in about a month with no after effects. However, some lymph nodes tested positive, so she needed radiation treatments with Jonny Kao, MD, Chair of the Radiation Oncology Department and the Cancer Committee at Good Samaritan, and is now on Herceptin every 21 days which will last until October.
She also has had reconstructive surgery with Stephen Harris, Chief, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, and Physical Therapy to assist with her range of motion on the side of her surgery which she says gives her more stability. “I feel wonderful,” says Mary Jane who is in private practice after a career that included Western Suffolk BOCES, Pedersen Krag and Sagamore Children’s Center.
Bonnie Edsall, MS, RN, CBCN, CN-BN, Nurse Manager of the Breast Health Center and Radiation Oncology, says toward the end of her treatment, Mary Jane would like to give something back to the program that is looking to get the word out to the community about early detection and annual wellness visits.
“My cancer team became my family, they were by my side every step of the way," says Mary Jane. "I could never express my gratitude for care I received at Good Sam.”
To make an appointment for a mammography, call (631) 376-4444.