62 THE QUEENS COURIER • HEALTH • NOVEMBER 2, 2017 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM
Queens Medical Associates hosts
breast cancer information session
Queens Medical Associates, a leading
oncology and hematology practice and
infusion center, hosted an informal presentation
TAKING LEAVE AND AGING
• Th e look on the face of the fi ve year old
as he boards a school bus for the fi rst
time and the look of apprehension on
the face of his mother.
• Th e last lingering touches of two lovers
who cannot bear to let each other go.
• Th e moment when one must board
that jet and fl y off to a new life elsewhere.
• Th e apprehension that this could be the
last time they shall see each other and
that chill of fi nal separation.
Th e following is an excerpt of a discussion
I had several years ago with the
daughter of a man (her father) who had
recently passed away.
“Th e last time I saw my father I guess I
knew it might be the last time. We talked
a little about this and that…nothing
important. It was as if we both had
agreed to keep it that way because we
both knew, and we knew that we knew.
“As I started to go, I proceeded to rearrange
his pillow and blanket…I don’t
know why. I found myself saying ‘good
night, sleep tight’ just the way he used to
say that to me when I was a little girl and
he would be tucking me in. I don’t know
what made me do that and I was afraid I
had done something wrong or said the
“But daddy just looked at me with the
nicest expression on his face, a private little
smile there and fi nished it… ‘Don’t let
the bed bugs bite.’ Th at was my daddy.
And that’s a moment I won’t ever forget.”
How does the loss of one person aff ect
another? In the current research much
has been learned about grief and bereavement.
It has been found that even young
children can have deep reactions to loss
and may show the eff ects decades later.
Attention is most oft en given to the
eff ects of bereavement when both the
deceased and the survivor were relatively
young. But the death of an old person
makes an impact as well. Th e death of a
mother is still the death of a mother, even
though she may have been 90 and her
daughter nearly 70.
Th e power of basic human relationships
is not necessarily diminished by
the passage of years. If we assume that all
old people are ready to die then we sometimes
also assume that their loss will not
count for much with the survivors.
Accordingly there is little in the way of
social support during the psychological
aft ermath of the loss.
Th e wife becomes a widow. Wives
tend to outlive their husbands. For many
women there is the diffi cult period of
anticipating her husband’s death, followed
by the impact of his loss and then
the challenge of trying to carry on alone.
Th is is oft en complicated by fi nancial
worries, unanticipated health problems
and social patterns which tend to exclude
the un-coupled old woman.
Finally, many of us, including health
care providers, assume that we know
what old people who are ill and dying
want. Th is assumption is oft en a projection
of our own thoughts and feelings
upon the other person. “When I get to be
that age, I’ll be ready to go,” a young person
may think. “She would rather be out
of her suff ering” is another variation on
that theme. Whatever the source of our
assumption, the terminally ill individual
needs to communicate her wishes as to
her advanced directives.
Th e idea that a dying elderly person
needs protection from the knowledge of
his condition oft en only serves to protect
others from the uncomfortable prospect
of conversation between the elderly, family,
and their wishes.
My years working with nursing home
residents and family members leads me
to believe (1) in the value of good sense
and emotional honesty, and (2) wh at a
helping individual can bring to a situation
that benefi ts a grieving person.
Quotable Quote: “To have faith is complete.”
Sheldon Ornstein Ed.D, RN, LNHA
Dr. Sheldon Ornstein is a
registered professional nurse
with a doctoral degree in
nursing organization. He
has specialized in the care
of older adults and has
published many articles on
the subject. He has done
post-graduate work in gerontology
and has taught
at several universities. In
2013, he was inducted into
the Nursing Hall of Fame at
Teachers College, Columbia
on breast cancer education and
support on Th ursday, Oct. 26. Th e complimentary
event, led by veteran oncology
nurse Heather Bain, RN, BSN, OCN,
was implemented to coincide with Breast
Cancer Awareness Month.
Th e well-attended session provided a
platform for patients, their families and
the public to learn more about issues
aff ecting breast cancer patients, as well
exchange critical information on living
and coping with the disease.
“It’s critical that patients are not only
armed with information, but have an
ongoing dialogue with their healthcare
provider about ever-changing resources
and new treatment options,” explained
Bain. “With the right treatment plan in
place, and lots of support, a patient’s quality
of life can be greatly increased.”
Queens Medical Associates is known
for providing accessibility for its patients
to participate in clinical trials, allowing
faster access to new treatments, which
is especially important for those dealing
with breast cancer.
Topics discussed during the session
included the following:
• Lymphedema in breast cancer patients
• Dealing with fatigue
• Proper nutrition for recovery
• Sexuality aft er diagnosis
• Family caregiving
Heather Bain has more than 25 years
of progressive oncology experience in
the tri-state area. As the nurse navigator
at Queens Medical Associates, she
guides patients throughout their journey
from diagnosis through survivorship.
Additional speakers at the forum
included Physician Assistants Betsy Cruz,
RPA-C and Raisa Matayev, RPA-C, as
well as Patient Navigator Ariella Aharon,
At this time there are more than 3.1 million
breast cancer survivors in the United
States, including women who are currently
in or who have completed treatment.
A current patient of Queens Medical
Associates, Tasha Goode, received an
enthusiastic ovation aft er discussing her
journey from diagnosis at Stage lll and
recurrence this year to Stage IV.
“We are all here. We are survivors.
Every day, wake up and be thankful and
go do something good with your life …
because you can,” said Goode.
For more information about Queens
Medical Associates, visit http://www.
Photo provided by Queens Medical Associates
Photo caption: Malvina Fulman, MD, FACP, Queens Medical Associates; Heather Bain, RN, BSN, OCN,
nurse navigator, Queens Medical Associates; Betsy Cruz, PA-C, physician assistant, Queens Medical
Associates; Tasha Goode, current breast cancer patient, Queens Medical Associates.