Easing Carmen and Joe’s Pain

Lifesaving! That is what MJHS is to me and my family. I am a palliative care patient with breast cancer that has spread to my lungs. My husband Joseph was a hospice patient with esophagus cancer.

We first learned of MJHS after my husband had a stroke. Through adult day health care program activities, he received voice therapy and holistic care for his complete well-being. When his cancer progressed, so did the physical pain. It took some convincing, but he agreed to meet with people from the palliative care team – who adjusted his medication and controlled his pain. When I saw he was finally sleeping through the night, I picked up the phone and became a palliative care patient.

Now a team of people care for my physical and emotional health. Their expertise, compassion and are more than emotional lifesavers, they are gifts that I carry with me always.

Dignity is very important, especially when you get to a certain age. Every single day I give thanks for my MJHS doctors, nurses and social worker, as well as for the chaplain who ministered to my husband and me, and the music therapist who played my husband’s favorite songs from the 1940s. When I close my eyes, I can see my husband moving his feet and wiggling his fingers to the music that soothed his body and soul and still eases my mind.

—Carmen Abruzzo, Brooklyn, NY

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