Dear Dr. Chen, Andrea and New York Eye and Ear Infirmary
As we approach Thanksgiving, this would be an appropriate time for me to try and express how thankful I am to all of you. In August 2013 I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer and I thought my world had come to an end. I feel Blessed to have been referred to Dr. Chen, and after my first visit to New York in early September I knew that she was the Surgeon I wanted to perform my Reconstruction after my bilateral mastectomy by Dr. Cassell.
Surgery was scheduled for September 16, 2013. My husband and I arrived at the hospital at 6am. The organized registration process immediately impressed us. I was shown to my room on the 7th floor very shortly thereafter. I proceeded to unpack and make myself at "home", the room was very clean and spacious. I appreciated all the Doctor's coming to visit me that morning prior to surgery, and then I walked down to the operating room. Every single person employed at NYEEI was extremely courteous and helpful. At 11 o clock that night I remember waking up and I was wheeled to my room. I met Ms. Ung, and Cathy, my Nurse for my first night. I have worked as a Pharmacist in Hospitals since 1988. I have been in Hospital for minor procedures and to deliver my 2 children. I have never been in the situation where I'm not capable of doing anything for myself. My Nurses were always willing to help, and I felt confident that I was in good hands. DIEP flap surgery requires specialized Nursing and it was evident to me that the Nurses were well trained to take care of me. My first two days post-op were not smooth sailing. I was very stressed because I'm used to being in control and I really feel that my experience would have been very different without these wonderful Nurses. I noticed that the Doctors and Nurses had a mutual respect for one another, which is not commonly seen. In talking with the Nurses, they spoke so highly of the Doctors and explained to me that Dr. Allen had trained them personally and I was amazed at the years of service most of them had at NYEEI. In addition, Dr. Chen spoke highly of them, telling me that without skilled Nurses she cannot be successful. This working relationship is very unique in hospitals today. My last two days in hospital were easier than the first two. I enjoyed talking to the Nurses when they were taking care of me and I realized that they all loved working at the hospital. This is not seen in many hospitals today, there is usually a high turnover of Nurses, resulting in use of Agency Nurses and constant re training. This usually results in medication errors and unhappy patients. Even the man who delivered my food every day seemed genuinely happy to see me finally eating, it made me want to eat more!
I could go on forever talking about the amazing experience I had with Dr. Chen and NYEEI. This 'Team" really has what it takes to make this difficult time so much easier to deal with. I actually felt sad leaving the hospital and saying goodbye to everyone. I feel fortunate that I was able to have surgery at NYEEI, I only wish more people were able to do the same. Being diagnosed with Breast Cancer forces us to embark on a 'Journey', but it's the people we meet along the way who care for us that determine the outcome of this journey, both physically and emotionally. Dr. Chen and the wonderful team at NYEEI made this a positive outcome for me. I hope you all continue to do this for many more women faced with this terrible disease.