This letter is to express my sincere gratitude to you and the Department of integrative medicine for the acupuncture program that is part of the treatment services offered at Northern Westchester's Cancer Center.
My mother, Theresa Dengler, has been a patient at the Cancer Center since July 2006, when she was diagnosed with advanced-stage lung cancer. The incredible care and concern offered by Dr. Tinger and his staff, as well as mother's oncologist, Dr. Thomas Lester, have gotten my mom through some very tough times. As she went through six weeks of radiation and chemotherapy, the staff was there to lend their selfless support, even as the radiation wore her down and rendered her unable to eat. Little did we know when her treatment for her lung cancer was over that we would be back at the Cancer Center in January 2008 to begin yet another round of radiation treatment for gallbladder cancer, a second primary cancer that was diagnosed by Dr. Lester in late 2007. Once again, everyone at the Cancer Center, From Dr. Tinger to Jennifer Warmus, Nicole, Mary, Matt and those very special angels Louise and Barbara, was there to lend my mother their car and support as she struggled through her chemo and radiation. Today my mom's lung cancer remains under control and her gallbladder cancer is just a bad memory. How lucky she is for that!
Over the years at the Cancer Center, my mom has been able to take advantage of some of the various alternative and complementary therapies offered, including nutrition counseling. None, however, has been as important and life-enhancing as the acupuncture treatments she has been receiving since August 2009.
In May 2009, my mom was suffering from debilitating pain in her neck. CAT scans and MRIs were inconclusive; was the pain being caused by metastasis, necessitating additional radiation, or something else? Drs. Tinger and Lester referred my mother to neurosurgeon, Dr. Thamos Lansen, for a second opinion. The inclination was "no" to metastasis, but the pain was excruciating nonetheless. Dr. Lansen referred my mom to a pain management specialist but also suggested acupuncture might be something to consider since data showed some success in treating cervical spine pain. A subsequent occipital nerve block and direct injection of cortisone into the affected joint both failed to alleviate my mother's pain.
In constant discomfort, unable to sleep properly, and reduced to wearing a neck brace to obtain some minimal relief, she finally decided to give acupuncture a try. After all, what did she have to lose at this point? Well, incredibly enough, her first acupuncture treatment with Anne E. West in August brought her immediate and significant relief, so much so that she has not used the neck brace since that first treatment. Annie recognized from the start my mother's condition was a severe wound and would need ongoing, concentrated treatment. So, once again we began regular trips to Mount Kisco to deal with this medical situation. Week after week, Annie and Lisa Marisico have used their special skills to successfully treat my mother's pain. She finally is at the point where a maintenance regimen seems appropriate.
Dr. Tinger and Dr. Lester have done the heavy work over the past four years, getting my mom as well as medically possible and enabling her to dance at the weddings of two of her grandsons, welcome her first great-grandchild into the world, celebrate her sixtieth wedding anniversary, and mark her eightieth birthday just last month. The acupuncture treatments of the past several months, however, have given my mom the pain relief needed to live an acceptable quality of life on a day-to-day basis. For this, she and my entire family are most grateful.
What my mother, my Dad, and I want you to know is how much we appreciate the full-spectrum medical and alternative treatment options - in particular, the acupuncture program - provided at the Cancer Center. When my mom was initially diagnosed with her lung cancer, it was her firm decision to seek treatment with Dr. Lester at Northern Westchester Hospital rather than with another doctor at Memorial Sloan-Kettering or some other hospital. We have never looked back at that choice. And, we are not shy in letting people know how well my mom was bee taken care of.
Many thanks to you and to everyone who has made the Cancer Center such a special place.