Personalized Cancer

“Your name should be the Angel Hospital.”

-Ilene Drohan

Despite initially feeling hopeless when she got a diagnosis of breast cancer, one local woman received multidisciplinary care, support and a new lease on life when she turned to  HackensackUMC Mountainside.


“It was like getting hit by a Mack truck.”

I knew something was terribly wrong when Dr. Alli called to schedule an appointment to discuss the results of my biopsy just two days after I had a lump removed from my breast at HackensackUMC Mountainside. When I first heard the words, “You have breast cancer,” my mind was racing with stories I’d heard and many questions:  How debilitating will the chemo be?  Will I need surgery? Will I lose my hair? Will I be able to work to support myself? Is it too late?

“I chose the smaller, more patient-focused hospital.”

Lucky, I chose HackensackUMC Mountainside to help save my life. It was the hospital right in my community, and I thought I’d have a better chance in a smaller, patient-focused setting rather than one of those big, uncaring facilities where you get treated like a number.  It was the best decision of my life. I had a terrific group of doctors that included Dr. Alli, Dr. DiPaolo and Dr. Barba, all of whom watched over me.

“I was treated like family.”

From the day of my diagnosis through every chemo treatment and appointment, everyone treated me with the utmost compassion and respect - from the receptionist at the front desk who offered to drive me home after a treatment, to the nurses, technicians and doctors with whom I was on a first-name basis.  Some of the treatments were tough to get through, and I did wind up losing my hair, but my team at HackensackUMC Mountainside never let me lose hope. I even threw a party for the staff after my last chemo treatment! They truly became my family. I can’t imagine how I could have gotten through it all without them.

“The hospital staff has earned their wings.”

Today, I am cancer-free and live every day to the fullest. I think HackensackUMC Mountainside should change its name to the Angel Hospital, because everyone there has certainly earned their wings in my eyes.


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