Stories and Testimonials


 On the journey together

Dear Dr. Hertz,
Thank you so much for seeing me and taking such good care of me when I saw you last month. I could not have been in better hands and I am truly grateful. You made the stressful experience a pleasant one and I truly enjoyed catching up on all the successes of your wonderful sons!

Thank you again for your time and expertise. It was nice to see you again!

Sincerely,
Regina Conlon, March 2014


Dear Dr. Elliott,

When I think back over this year, I count you and your precious staff as a great blessing in my life. You all made a trying time easier because of your care and compassion. You are like a rare diamond & your staff like precious gems that surround & compliment you!

My sister made this gift especially for you.

My prayers & God's fullest blessings to all.

Sincerely I am,
Kathy Bulka, 12-16-2013

 


True meaning is found in the little acts of kindness that spring from the heart. For all the ways you give and care, and make such a difference, thank you.

Dear Dr. Elliott
Words alone cannot express my gratitude for your compassion and understanding. Your generosity has truly touched my heart. Your act of kindness meant so much to me during that stressful time. It's so rare to find a genuine doctor who truly cares about their patients.

Once again, thank you so much for everything.

All my love,
Denise Cammarata


 


Dear Dr. Elliott,

I'm writing this letter to commend your entire office support staff most especially Millie, from your MRI office. It wasn't until recently when I was speaking to a friend of mine who was in the process of undergoing her own breast MRI with another doctor's office that I realized how fortunate I was to be a patient of Montclair Breast Center. After listening to her frustrating experiences, I knew I had to write you to praise your staff. I have had two MRIs now at your facility and each and every time, your staff, Millie especially, worked so very hard at getting my insurance company to approve the procedures and worked directly with me as well. Her kindness, professionalism and dedication is what puts your breast center above the rest and I just had to write you to thank you and your staff from the bottom of my heart.

Sincerely,

Maria Casale, September 12, 2012



Dear Nancy,

I was so thrilled to see that you will be honored for the Luster for Life Award at the American Cancer Society's Brilliance in Our Community 32nd Annual Diamond Ball on November 19. Moreover, I was so touched by your personal invitation for me to join you on such a wonderful occasion.

I don't remember exactly the year that I first "found" you, but I know that it was very early in your practice, as I often fondly recall how your practice has flourished over the years, obviously due to your compassion and profound expertise in diagnosing and treating your patients.

As you well know, in 2005, I was diagnosed with DCIS, and my husband and I will never forget the unending direction, support, compassion and empathy that you, Moira, and all of your staff extended to us during that tumultuous and overwhelming time in our lives.

You are a treasure, not only as a gifted physician, but also as one who provides your patients with unending and unsurpassed warmth and sincerity.

I would love to join you on November 19 but, as you also know, I am currently residing in Florida, so we will not be able to attend. Rest assured, however, that we will be thinking of you and vigorously applauding you as you receive such as well-deserved recognition.

Despite the fact that we are in Florida, I can't possibly imagine trusting my breast care to another physician (not to mention, friend), so I fully intend to return to NJ for my continuing care.

I can't possibly imagine a more deserving recipient of the upcoming Luster for Life Award at the American Cancer Society's Brilliance in Our Community Diamond Ball, and I have no doubt that it will be a wonderful occasion for you, your family, all of your staff and patients who will be attending.

We so regret that we cannot attend, but, in your honor and in recognition of you, all of your staff at the Montclair Breast Center, and to all who have and will be diagnosed with cancer, we are making a donation today.

It's a wonderful day…every day, when you make such a profound difference in someone's life as you do…

Enjoy, and with love,
Linda Honeycheck, November 14, 2011


 


Dear Dr. Elliott,
I want you to know how very grateful and appreciative I am for the care, guidance, expertise, and compassion you and your staff exemplified during my mammography and breast biopsies. As you are aware, in March 2011 I had a similar biopsy at Morristown Memorial. That experience was dreadful. The staff was inconsiderate, heartless, and incompetent. The procedure was painful - when I flinched from the shooting pain, the physician and nurse were annoyed and not understanding. When the bleeding would not stop, the nurse asked me to put compression on the wound since she was tired of holding it. When I explained it would be difficult to keep my head turned to the side all that time (I have a deterioration in my neck due to multiple car accidents), they told me I had no other option. There were many "when's". I left the hospital with a large hematoma and my neck stiff and in pain. The following day when I removed the ace bandage, I began to hemorrhage and had to return to the hospital. After the steri strips came off a week later, I had an open incision that would not close for over two weeks. I still experience pain at the biopsy sight.

My two biopsies at your facility were exactly the opposite. Since I had had such a horrible previous experience, your nurse prescribed Ativan for me. It helped me sleep the night before and made me calm during the procedure. Kristy was extremely kind and gentle. Both she and Dr. Vitiello explained every step. Nothing was a surprise! Kristy helped me in between procedures to devise a pillow for my neck. And I was amazed at how little pain I experienced during the biopsies. That night I was able to sleep without the ace bandage, and I only bled slightly from one incision. Morristown Memorial told me that I had a bleeding disorder! And, the recovery has been amazing. My breasts are slightly sore, but I have not even needed Tylenol. The bruising is minimal, and my incisions are closed. It has been miraculous - in less than one week post-biopsies, I am more recovered and healed than one month after my Morristown Memorial biopsy!

But, what I am most appreciative of is the compassion and concern your staff showed me in trying to expedite the biopsies. I understand how busy you are. Yet, my brother is a Roman Catholic priest who is leaving for five years to work in the Vatican. This past Sunday was his going away mass - over seven hundred people attended. He is such an integral part of our family, which is making this time very emotional for us! Sandra asked Dr. Vitiello if she could make an exception to schedule the biopsies last week. And, then as we nervously awaited the results, with my cell phone in my pocket at every moment, your nurse Moira Davis would not let me begin my weekend without some news. She called me at 6:30PM Friday night and apologized that when she had arrived home she was not able to access the lab's system. So she called them to get a verbal result that my biopsies were benign. Of course, Moira explained that it was only verbal and that Dr. Vitiello would have to review them on Monday to confirm the results, but it gave me and my family the peace of mind to focus on my brother and his special occasion. In her after work hours, Moira went beyond "the call of duty" to help a patient. And, at the time, she was even unaware that she knows my brother well - Moira had worked with him when she was the president of the parents' association at her daughter's high school where my brother was president!

My family and I will always be indebted to you. One of my friends, Paula Minardi, always tells me that there is no other place like Montclair Breast Center. Now I know how very right she is, and I can only imagine the comfort and confidence you give your patients who have much more urgent, critical conditions than mine!

God bless all of you!

Sincerely,
Lee Anne Sylva Nugent, May 22, 2012


THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART

All: I know you get many thank you notes from patients and I would like to add mine to the pile. I have been coming to MBC for the past 10 years or so and have always been met with a kind, courteous, competent and respectful staff. Having come to the center from a radiology facility that makes its patients wait days before films are read, I was thrilled to find a place that could put my mind at ease within minutes.

Still, I shake all over every time it gets close to the time for my yearly mammogram and ultrasound. I lost two uncles (yes, uncles) to breast cancer when I was a little girl and grew up believing that breast cancer was the ultimate killer. I have been terrified about getting breast cancer for as long as I can remember. This year, as I am about to turn 50, I felt especially nervous about the results of my routine tests. So, when Dr. Lee told me that she saw a white spot on my mammogram that wasn't there last year, I felt sick all over. Dr. Elliott performed an ultrasound and very thorough breast exam and discovered nothing abnormal, but they still wanted me to go for a breast MRI just to be 100% certain that all was clean. While my head knew that this was the right course of action, my body shook all over for the two weeks I had to wait before I could have the MRI (because it needs to be done between days 5 and 15 of one's cycle). Yesterday, was my day to have it done. I truly can't remember a time when I felt more anxious- even though Dr. Elliott assured me that she thought it was nothing and that even if it were cancer, because MBC is SO thorough and conservative, it would likely be a stage 0 or 1 malignancy requiring minimally invasive surgery and little ramifications. Still,...I worried.

I am thrilled to report that everything came back normal. But, what I take from this experience, more than tremendous relief, is how incredibly wonderful the people at MBC are. To Harriet at the front desk, Tara, the MRI scheduler, Clarissa, the amazingly kind MRI tech, Dr. Lee who took my call last week and assured me that I was going to be ok, and Dr. Elliott, who took tons of time with me just because she knew I was so nervous, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Montclair Breast Center is an amazing place and I am so incredibly lucky to have found you. You made me feel safe and secure even at a time when I was the most vulnerable. I am a huge fan.

Mindy Diamond, March 16, 2012


 


Hi Dr. Elliott

Just a little update and Thanks for Being You.

I am doing GREAT....Tolerating Chemo extremely well...It does not seem to be holding me back in any way....but truly the only thing that I do stop for is a Great Piece of Chocolate (look we all have to have our weaknesses).

Your support was amazing...especially with the State Trooper. Your accepting of the Medicare was above and beyond and made life a lot easier. Your chocolate dipped banana chips have become part of my household and a marketing tool for me at work..

I have gotten many compliments on my scars and you actually got a compliment from Dr. Michaelsons' PA. She said, and I quote" when Dr. Elliott does it, it is done RIGHT".

I have accessorized my wigs with several baseball caps (in every color---*(that is the jewish in me). You can fine tune me but not get all the jewish out of me...it still has to match.

Thanks again for your expertise, your expediency in facing the issues and most of all for being YOU. Your directness, your honesty and concern...all show through and have produced an amazing person and a pretty damn good Dr. (and thin too-lets keep our priorities straight.)

Looking forward to more positive visits and you deserve a BIG HUG and whatever makes you feel good today. If I ever can be a good resource for you in any way for the kids or yourself...please always feel free to contact me. I guess that it is the social worker in me. Networking always works............Thanks again  Leslie Greenberg, March 21, 2012


Fortunate to Have Such an Incredible Breast Surgeon

Dear Dr. Elliott,

Thank you so much for your expertise, compassion and sincerity in meeting with me after my diagnosis and in conducting my surgery. I feel so fortunate that I was able to have such an incredible surgeon perform my mastectomy. Your warmth and ability to but me at ease during such a difficult time was truly a gift. I can't thank you enough for everything you did for me.

I applaud the Montclair Breast Center in every way. Each Staff member I encountered was kind, friendly, caring and demonstrated an empathy for the situation. You have created a safe haven for women who are experiencing something that can obviously be very scary. Your center exudes a sense of calmness that is palpable from the moment you enter the waiting room. I experienced that same sense of calmness the day of my surgery and have been doing great ever since. Thank you for "holding my hand" during this process. You embody what every doctor and surgeon should strive to be.

When I walked into the Montclair Breast Center I was in great distress. By the time I left, I had gained a completely different perspective. I knew that I was going to get through the situation and you provided me with the assurance.

I often remember my favorite quotation (as I recovered from surgery and now as I continue with my chemo), "Difficult times have helped me to understand, better than before, how infinitely rich and beautiful life is." Isak Dinesen

Thank you again! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Heather Weaver, November 2010



The little voice told me...

The little voice told me, don't settle for "you have dense breasts, difficult to read your mammo...need more views...then, see you next year". It didn't make sense to me. So, off to Montclair Breast Center I went with films in hand. I saw their ads in NJ monthly mag for a couple of years and it caught my eye. I knew I arrived at the right place instantly. Mammo hard to read they said...let's talk to your insurance and get that MRI you are interested in. I had my army (MBC) ready to fight for me. Well, as it turns out, the MRI detected a DCIS, stage 0 in my left breast. No family history to speak of really. Just had that little voice nudging me along. That was 4 years ago. Lumpectomy and radiation and annual ammo, ultrasound, and MRI. I am an operating room nurse. I know quality and sincere care when I see it. At Montclair, they deliver that everyday. They helped save my life. For that, my family is grateful. I am grateful for their care and education in this field. I am grateful for their ability to have and follow their vision.

Diane, 9/11


Dr Elliott,
From day one as a patient of yours, you took no chances on my care. Your passion for what you do shows and my children will know what it's like to grow up with a mom, thanks to you.

Moira,
You are the most kind, considerate, loving a supportive person I know. Your reassurance and hugs are truly what kept me "on the ledge." Thank you for being the sweetest sounding board I could ask for! XO

To the staff.... Much Thanks, XOXO
Kim T., May 2011



Because you found my cancer so early
Dear Dr. Elliott,

I just returned from Dr. Michaelson's office. Because you found my breast cancer so early, he doesn't think chemo is warranted at this time.

Thank you so very much for taking care of me these past 16-17 years. I will never forget the day you wheeled me into surgery when help could not be found. I always felt so safe in your care even though I was often frightened and emotional over the years. God Bless you and thank you for creating each a very special and absolutely perfect medical practice!

Linda L., 5/25/11


The standard by which all medical care should be measured

Dear Dr. Elliott,

Thank you so much for the terrific "Bikini Bosom Buddies" mug that you sent me home with last week! It was such a thoughtful and generous gesture and I am so touched by your kindness. The surprise totally made my day!

I plan to use the mug often and each time I do, I will be reminded of you and all the wonderful people that make the Montclair Breast Center the standard by which all medical care should be measured.

Debbie M., 5/5/11


 


I was never alone

Dear Montclair Breast Center Team,

I can't express enough how grateful I am to each of you. My recent biopsy and associated visits were a journey met with kindness and compassion. As I reflect upon the entire prospect of a cancer diagnosis I know that I was never alone and that I was in the best hands. The level of care at MBC is unsurpassed.

Lynn, 4/28/2011


Dear Dr. Elliott,

I wanted to tell you how wonderful the staff at the MRI office was to me. Especially Clarisse -- she was so nice to me. She put me right at ease and got me through the test. I asked her to come home with me, but she declined. Also the staff upstairs is always so kind, considerate and helpful from the receptionist to the technicians to the billing department. Maura is wonderfu,l too. I've known her as long as I've knowm you. They have a great teacher. Thank you, Dr. Elliott. Have a happy and healthy New Year.

Jeannie Granato, 1/7/11


From the Bottom of My Heart

Just wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your extreme kindness and compassion last week regarding both my cyst and my financial situation. In addition, I've rarely experienced a doctor with such an exceptional bedside manner as yourself. I consider mystel fortunate to have landed in such great hands...

With much appreciation and gratitude,
Laura Drager, 8/10/10


Three Years Since the Diagnosis

Dear Nancy,
Coming up on three years (5/1) from my CA diagnosis, I continue to have profound respect for you and your team at MBC. You continue to stay "in front" of WRT technology (Dillon 6800) and always offer quality care.

My thanks again, I got to see my grandson Michael born and now he is 8 months old.

Warmly,
Maryann Penza, 2/2010



Mother and Daughter

Dear Dr. Elliott,

Thank you and your wonderful staff for always helping to make a "stressful" experience as calming and caring as possible.

Several years ago I urged my daughter (Susan Tobias) to come to MBC for her mammogram exam. This year we were able to schedule our appointments at the same time (Feb. 8th). She required an ultrasound and I was there to wait it through with her. Fortunately, we both received "OK" reports.

I was sorry to learn of your own need for treatment but so pleased that you are doing well. You look great (we greeting in passing).

Your cheerful office and wonderful staff help so much in caring for us. Best wishes always.
Ruth, 2/10/2010


Very Special Work

Dear Dr. Elliott and Staff,
I cannot tell you enough how grateful I am to have had the fortunate experience to be seen by you and your staff for my first complete breast exam. My visit was nothing but lovely. Your facility is gorgeous and everyone was so warm and made me so at ease. I felt like I was at a spa! You and your team are doing very special work--and you do it so well!

Thank you for everything and I wish you all the best!
Jennifer Chaky


Dr. Hertz Cares

Dr. Hertz has been a physician who cares. Over the years, I have had some problems and she has always calmed me and reassured me. I always feel comfortable with her because she speaks to me as a person, not just as a patient. Having a breast exam is not an easy experience but it is made better by Dr. Hertz's bedside manner.

Frances Hitson; West Paterson, NJ



 The Feeling of Wellbeing

My doctor is kind! She is always complimentary and tells me how great I look, even when I don't!! Dr. Hertz is great at explaining everything to me and is also not an alarmist, which I love! She is knowledgeable and listens to my concerns. I feel she is very empathetic with her patients, at least to me. She is open minded about holistic health. She is sweet. I like her very much. Knowledge is extrememly important, but so is attitude and the feeling of wellbeing.

Maureen Groft; Punta Gorela, FL


Most Appreciative...

Thank you so much for all your kindness during a most stressful time for myself and my family. We are most appreciative of your wonderful care. Fondly,

Betty H., 6/26/09


Caring Professional Team

To know that such a caring professional team is there for me as well as for others is something I will always keep in mind when fear and anxiety suddenly creep in on me.

JB; Bridgewater, CA


I want to thank you for being professionals of the world! From the moment I managed, a nervous wreck, to find my way upstairs the experience was wonderful. Never have I met a more caring and gentle group of individuals starting with the receptionist and ending with the billing department. Thank You.

NC; Clifton , NJ


Your office staff is friendly and truly caring. You took the time to talk to me after my exam and I felt that I had your full attention. We could stay and talk as long as needed.

LA; Springfield , NJ


My visit to your office was made pleasant and relaxing due to all of you. You eased my anxieties and all of my fears. Since I am a nurse, I think you deserve recognition for how well your patients are treated.

ST; Bloomfield , NJ



At the age of 81...

It's never too late to thank you for the wonderful and caring help you gave to me and my worried family during my battle with bilateral breast cancer.

Never did I think when I went to St. Barnabas for my routine mammogram that I at the age of 81 would be a victim of breast cancer. After finding a suspicious lesion in my right breast, the hospital suggested a needle biopsy. That's when I decided to consult a specialist. The Montclair Breast Center was the right place at the right time to see me through my ordeal. The loving care and personal attention that the surgeon and the staff exhibited to me and my family was half the battle. After a very thorough examination they not only found the one lesion to be malignant, but they also found another lesion in my other breast. Together with the plastic surgeon everything was so well explained to us that I was relaxed enough to take a vacation to Hawaii before undergoing surgery.

Today, a year after surgery and breast reconstruction, I feel and look great, thanks to two wonderful surgeons and human beings.

Geedy, 6/09, Verona, NJ


You Did Nothing Less than Save My Life

You did nothing less than save my life... My heartfelt thanks and gratitude for all you have done for me. I have been so impressed by the professionalism of your office--everythng about my experience (except the reason for being there) was positive! Without the support you provided I could never have gotten through this. Please know that you do among the most important work in the world!! I hope that I can assist you in some small way in the future. With love and gratitute,

Janet, 6/26/09




Thank you seems inadequate for my expression of gratitude to you for saving my life, but it is from the bottom of my heart.

LW; Little Falls, NJ


Our Family Was Treated with Such Compassion

Dear Dr. Hertz and Staff, We want to take this opportunity to thank you all for the wonderful experience our mother and father, Bill and Jeanne Booth, had at your center. Our family was treated with such compassion and concern during our Mom's recent procedure. From the moment we walked in, the staff was both friendly and professional to us all. Thank you on behalf of our parents for being so genuinely caring and attentive to each one of us. You're all truly angels on Earth! Fondly,

Jeanne and Bill's daughters, Andrea, Deborah and Caren, 6/10/09


Getting Through the Pain and Anxiety

What can I say--you're the BEST! Thank you for being so kind, caring and patient with me. I know there are patients that are going through surgeries 100 times worse than mine but having you by our side helped us get through the pain and anxiety. All the warmth that you and your entire staff gave to me will never be forgotten. Thank you, again.

Rose Marie G., 2/25/09


Dr. Elliott Empowered Me!

Hello, I just wanted to write a message about my experience at MBC. I first started going to see Dr. Elliott in November of 2007. That was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Dr. Elliott suggested I be screened for the BRACA gene since I am of Ashkenazi descent and my mother had breast cancer. I was initially frightened....what would it mean if I tested positive? Would I have to lose my breasts? But Dr. Elliott said she would just add yearly MRI's to my rotating sonogram and mammogram schedule. Wow! I took the test right then and there! Why NOT find out? Dr. Elliott EMPOWERED me--she made me see that I didn't have to be afraid of the facts--no matter what those facts were---we would just become even MORE PROACTIVE in my care! She was positive and forthright---and strong! That day changed my life and I am grateful to Dr. Elliott for her incredible empowering attitude !

H.M., 12/15/08


Right Here in Our Own Backyard

When my sister asked me what to do (the reading radiologist had seen "something" on her mammogram and suggested she wait 3 months and repeat the test) . . . I knew exactly what she should do.

Thank you so much for seeing her so quickly and for not just treating her but for taking care of her. I know that she was probably the very least problematic of your patients that day, but she told me how much time you spent with her explaining what she needed to know and making her feel confident with your assessment.

I'm so grateful that you're right here in our own backyard. I've always suggested to friends and family that they seek the very best they can find for their medical care. That often means going to New York for serious or complicated situations.

I was so glad I could send my sister to you, knowing that she would receive that same level of expertise.

--LK & PK; Westfield , NJ


 


 A Few Words about Us from Patients Like You...

[Written to a local mammography facility; copied to Dr. Elliott] I am a forty-plus year old female engineer (working outside the home) and mother of three children who, over the last several years, has had issues with my mammograms. Specifically, the radiologist has visualized small concentrations of calcium deposits. Additionally, my breast tissue has been described as being very "dense."

I was originally having my mammograms and all of my breast care done by [your facility]. Over the last 2-3 years I have transitioned my care to the Montclair Breast Center and Dr. Nancy Elliott. There were two reasons for this and I want to bring them to your attention. The first reason was that [your facility's] process required too many steps--too much time on my part to accomplish the annual or semi-annual exam. The second reason was that I feel an ultrasound of my breasts should be done concurrently with the mammogram. This was not consistently being done at [your facility].

But let me address the first issue--as an engineer would--with a summarization of the steps to achieving my annual or semi-annual mammogram at [your facility].

  1. Visit my Ob Gyn and receive a prescription for the mammogram.
  2. Make sure that the prescription allows for a normal screening mammogram and also a diagnostic mammogram for higher magnification views of the calcifications.
  3. Call [your facility] for an appointment. Make sure that the appointment is for a longer time slot so that both the screening mammogram and the high resolution mammogram can be done at the same time.
  4. In the event that I also needed an ultrasound, scheduling the ultrasound and mammogram on the same day was almost impossible as they are scheduled by two different departments. I found it unachievable to schedule both on the same day at [your facility].
  5. Remember to bring the prescription for the mammogram to [your facility].
  6. Complete the mammogram and the diagnostic mammogram.
  7. Wait several days for the radiologist to read the images and send the results to the Ob Gyn.
  8. Receive a call from the Ob Gyn recommending a conference with a breast surgeon on the calcifications.
  9. Call [your facility] to schedule a time to pick up the films for the mammogram.
  10. Pick up the films from [your facility].
  11. Make an appointment with the breast surgeon.
  12. Remember to bring the films to the breast surgeon.
  13. Visit the breast surgeon.
  14. Perform any follow up testing that he requests--or a biopsy at his discretion.
  15. Return the mammography films to [your facility].
  16. Repeat the procedure again in 6 months or 12 months.

The multitude of tasks involved in the process at [your facility] is unacceptable in my opinion. Additionally, there is the added stress of waiting for further testing, test results and the breast surgeon consults.

In contrast, the procedure with the Montclair Breast Center is simple.

  1. Call up MBC office to make an appointment.
  2. Visit the office and in about a 2 to 2 1/2 hour time frame, complete the mammogram and diagnostic mammogram, sit with the radiologist who has already viewed the digital files and discuss his/her analysis of the images, complete a detailed breast exam, perform an ultrasound on the breasts and then leave the office with instructions of whether to return in 6 months or a year.
  3. Perform any follow up testing recommended by the breast surgeon.
  4. Repeat the procedure again in 6 to 12 months.

Of note, in the engineering world it is always better to design any process with fewer steps--because fewer steps present less opportunity for an error, or any errors are detected faster.

There are two downsides to the Montclair Breast Center (MBC), both of which I find palatable. The first downside is the 70 minute drive up to Montclair for the visit. The second down side is the cost and their lack of accepting medical insurance. I do personally complete the insurance forms and receive 70% of my cost after a $500 deductible. I rationalize this because of the added peace of mind of not waiting for results--and MBC's high early detection rates.

The second issue as I said was the inconsistency of the ultrasound at [your facility]. It is my understanding that a large percentage of cancer cells are not found in dense breasts during a mammogram because the mammography is more difficult to read with a denser breast. It is also my understanding that the dense breasts are more prone to develop cancer and therefore an annual ultrasound is warranted. I was not receiving annual ultrasounds at [your facility].

I use [your facility] for almost all of my other care. You are convenient and your patient relations are very good. I hope that you look at the model of care presented by the Montclair Breast Center and try to emulate it. I have no plans on returning to [your facility] for my mammography care. I appreciate your time to read my concerns.

C.J.J., August 23, 2008


It means so much to have a wonderful doctor who will do everything and anything to make you feel that you are first of all loved and truly cared about and secondly going to be just fine.

ND; Cranford , NJ


Not only do you deliver the best medical attention, but you do it with unlimited patience and generosity of spirit.

VS; Upper Montclair , NJ


 


You have been so caring and compassionate which really helped me tremendously. I have been richly blessed in having you as my Doctor.

DS; West Caldwell , NJ


You have always been there. Always with a compassionate hug, definitive comprehensive information, and a staff that I felt treated me as though I was their only patient.

NK; Montvale , NJ


 I chose you for my surgeon because I wanted to be a person with a face and not just a number. I didn't want to go to NYC and with your skills I didn't have to.

JB; Montvale , NJ


You and your staff exuded dependability, thoroughness, and confidence, which in turn, certainly put me at ease and gave me the ability to really "zero in" on my ultimate decision.

NM; Montclair , NJ


Your kindness and compassion was more than a doctor/patient relationship – your heart was truly there- and I felt it. You held my life in your hands and I could not have felt any safer.

MG; Towaco , NJ


A simple thank you is just not enough... the effort you put into helping your patients make the best of a difficult situation. Montclair Breast Center has it all. I feel very fortunate to be one of your grateful patients.

DM; Short Hills , NJ


 


Your wonderful care and compassion, wise advice, and spirit of optimism gave me the confidence to take me through my operation and recovery.

PH; Essex Fells, NJ


Your skill and expertise perfectly blended with tender loving care, personal attention, and consideration in every way make all the difference over the past months.

MV; Wayne , NJ


From Day 1, you all have guided me through the most difficult time in my life. Your kindness and compassion have meant the world to my husband and me. Dr. Elliott, I will never forget the day of my surgery how you came and walked me to the OR and held my hand until I was asleep. Thank You for being the wonderful doctor you are!

KI; Cedar Grove , NJ


I just wanted to send you this short note to thank you for your loving and caring and for making me well. I have such trust in your judgment and abilities and I would not have wanted any other physicians to perform my surgery. I also want to thank you for surrounding yourself with living Angels. Moira and Stephanie were wonderful to me as well as the rest of your staff. Not every doctor would be as wonderful as you are, nor would they bring me "Starbucks"! I am eternally grateful to you for my early detection and surgery.

DB; Glen Ridge , NJ


A simple thank you is just not enough...the effort you put into helping your patients make the best of a difficult situation is applauded. From the expertise of the doctors to the caring, professional support staff down to the attractive cover-ups (I found one to match my jeans) and the diverse selection of reading materials, the MBC has it all. I feel very fortunate to be one of your grateful patients.

MAD; Bloomfield , NJ


 


You really do listen!

During March and April, you and your staff held my hand, once again, during this my second episode of breast cancer. I thank God for leading me to this practice a long time ago, for were it not for the expertise and excellent quality of care you and your staff offer, my cancer outcomes might have been dramatically worse. You have put together an amazing team of professionals whose combined efforts resulted in finding my tumors very early when they were extremely small, and then diagnosing and treating them quickly and with the best results possible.

Your interactions with your patients have this rare combination of professionalism coupled with down to earth compassion that immediately puts one at ease at a time when the diagnosis of breast cancer throws your life and your mind into turmoil. You never talk down to your patients. You always explain in detail, discuss, include us in the decisions, and allow us to feel like we have some control over an otherwise out-of-control situation. And every member of your staff practices these same philosophies.

You really do listen! Everyone on your staff really listens! And then everyone responds and goes into action like a well trained army, setting up appointments for procedures, during which every step is explained, and every effort is made to assure comfort. Pathology reports are never withheld, but rather always reported as soon as they are available. Everything you and your staff do sends the message: "We really care about you." And as the patient, you come away relieved and thinking, "I'm in good hands....don't worry...they have it under control."

I can't say enough good things about the quality of care I've received at Montclair Breast Center and North Fullerton Surgery Center. Words like "dedicated," "excellence," "attentive," "caring," "responsive" just don't seem to be enough. Maybe the tears I shed as we spoke at my last visit were really the best way I can show how much I truly appreciate all you and your wonderful team have done for me in helping me as I stand my ground against this disease.

I pray that God keeps all of you healthy so MBC can continue to care for all the women who walk through its door.

RLH, Caldwell, NJ, July 2010


Compassion, strength, and positive feedback

The words "thank you" seem so insignificant in terms of the gratitude I feel towards you and your wonderful staff. I am in the midst of undergoing one of the most stressful events in recent memory. I think without the compassion, strength and positive feedback that I constantly receive at the Center, I would truly be a basket case! I can not thank you and your amazing staff enough for all that you have done and continue to do for me and my family, to make this tremendously stressful event manageable.

From the initial visit through the surgery and follow up visits, your thoughtful and extremely competent staff, including the fantastic Moira Davis and ever patient Donna, who answered every question in a straightforward yet compassionate manner. It is this unique combination of genuine concern with forthright answers that I found inspiring and comforting. Your staff was extremely knowledgeable, often providing insights and answers to questions I had not even contemplated. I knew before surgery that I was in such capable hands that my anxiety was kept to a minimum.

While I hope NOT to need your services in the future, you would be my top choice and recommendation to anyone facing the same challenges. I believe you are a standout among doctors and truly worthy of all the praise I am sure you receive.

Many, many thanks! And Happy Holidays! Mine will be, thanks to you...
Frances W., November 30, 2009



Absolutely no pain

I am writing this letter to tell you how grateful I am for the outstanding care you and your wonderful staff have given to me.

When I tell people that I had a mastectomy they immediately express pity. Well, before they get too carried away with their pity, I stop them and tell them my story of the fact that I previously had several biopsies on that breast.

I tell them that you had carefully explained everything I needed to know in order to have me come to my own conclusion that I really needed to have a mastectomy.

I must say that I was very concerned about having pain. However, to my amazement and that of every other person I have told about my mastectomy, I had absolutely no pain whatsoever throughout the entire procedure and recovery period. Also, my family told me that after the surgery I looked unbelievably great, as though I had just awakened from a peaceful nap. I have heard of painless dentists; but you, dear Dr. Elliott, as a painless surgeon surpass them all.

The staff at Mountainside was terrific, too. They came to me after the surgery to do aftercare; and each one explained just what they were doing and why.

I entered the hospital about 10:00 a.m., had the surgery at noon, and went home the next morning feeling just fine.

It is now three months later. I have a prosthesis in my bra, which looks very natural and, unless you know of my mastectomy, you would think it's me.

Once again, Dr. Elliott, I thank you and your superb staff, especially Moira, for all the caring and kindness shown to me.

M. Kearney, May 1, 2009


No way was this going to get the best of me

My body betrayed me. It was as simple as that. I took care of it. Exercised. Tried to eat well. Was never overweight and was always health conscious. I was fit and looked much younger than my 40 years. Breast cancer happened to other people, not to me. I was too young and didn't even have an iota of history in my family! As I sat in disbelief at the surgeon's words, "We found cancer," I thought there must be some mistake. I had lots to do that afternoon and having breast cancer wasn't on the list. I didn't want to be a part of the pink ribbon club. Shock gave way to anger in the next week or two. But then something happened. Anger turned to fight. No way was this going to get the best of me. I needed a plan. A plan of attack. I dove head first into my cancer project. I met doctors, found out as much information as possible, asked every conceivable question, became a member of the Young Survival Organization and met other young women like me in the same predicament, talked with friends and family and literally spent the next 2-3 weeks putting my plan together. There were still periods of crying, helplessness, and sleepless nights, but the more information I had, the more in control I felt of my body and my plan to kill cancer. I chose doctors that I felt I could trust and who were clear with the process and expectations of the fight. I chose doctors who let me make decisions with their input. I didn't want to feel like a patient shuffling through the system wondering what was going to happen next, having decisions made for me. The medical world can be scary and overwhelming if you haven't been there before, and to me it was important that I control the process. So the fight ensued and, well, today the score is Cancer 0, Nancy 1. I have won the battle and am one step closer to winning the war. I am back in sync with my body and have learned to love it even more than before, though it is different (I had a double mastectomy with immediate reconstruction). A year and a half after diagnosis I am enjoying life more than ever, still feeling sexy and have a confidence that, well, I must admit, could have only come from fighting cancer and kicking its ass!

Nancy F., May 2009



Yes, 5 millimeters

It's been two years since my breast cancer diagnosis and I can't minimize the terrible frightening feeling I still get when my check-ups come along. I try to recall Dr. Elliott's words upon my first check-up after surgery, "Madeline, you are cancer free."

Now let me get to my story. I went for my check-up at the Montclair Breast Center, as I so faithfully do every year. You go because you feel sure you will avoid a cancer diagnosis. I had my mammo and Dr. Lee reviewed my films. She spoke to me, assuring me all was well. But upon a second look she became doubtful and called me back to speak with her. She said she saw a suspicious spot. I then went to the exam room to meet with Dr. Elliott. She was not sure that she could feel or see anything even with the ultrasound. But Dr. Lee wanted a biopsy. In a few days they biopsied my breast. I met with Dr. Elliott soon after and she broke the bad news: Indeed, it was cancer but, guess what? The tumor was only 5 millimeters. Yes, 5 millimeters. Get out your rulers and see how small that is. But, of course, I only heard the words breast cancer. My reaction was anger, hate, and terrible gloom and doom. I slammed my hand and said firmly, remove my breast! Dr. Elliott remained calm, but firmly said, WHY? Remove your breast for a 5-millimeter tumor? She took her pen and made a dot on the paper, showing me how tiny it was. Who would ever think such a small cancer could ever be found? Of course I never felt it and probably wouldn't have until it was much larger. Fortunately, it was stage one. I had my surgery and was told I was a candidate for a fairly new procedure called mammo-site. During surgery, a balloon was placed at the site of the removed tumor. The following day the balloon was inflated and radiation was directed at the tumor site. This continued for only five days and on the fifth day the balloon was deflated, removed, and my treatment was finished.

Dr. Elliott still wanted me to visit an oncologist. It frightened me but I complied. Upon my visit, this gently natured doctor assured me all was well because of the small size of my tumor. He said my cure rate was quite high. He placed me on the pill called Arimidex, which I will take at home for five years. This pill reduces estrogen and he told me it's been shown to be quite effective. Surprisingtly, my tumor was mostly estrogen and I am post-menopausal. I continue to be monitored through six-month checkups with mammograms, ultrasound, and MRIs right in Dr. Elliott's office. Thanks to the sophisticated equipment and the keen eye of Dr. Elliott's staff here, it's now two years later. I never thought I'd say this, but I guess I'm lucky.

Madeline R., April 14, 2009


My Case is Unique

As I trust you already know, I am very grateful for the excellent care provided by the entire team at the Montclair Breast Center and also to you personally for being such an all-around excellent doctor. Please recognize that this is not a compliment I bestow to many of my physicians.

As I recognize, my case was and continues to be unique, therefore standard protocols are not easily relied on. This is where your sound and well-reasoned judgment has repeatedly come into play. Over and over, you have given and continue to give me good advice that I believe has served me well. Beyond this, your "caring hands" helped me through a difficult time. You are not the "dreaded doctor" who spends 8 hurried minutes with a patient; 4 of those minutes spent with them reading your case history. As a matter of fact, I feel as though I am your only patient. I never feel rushed. Sad to say, this is a rare find among doctors these days.

Also, many doctors (possibly unknowingly) speak in "medicalese" or speak in conclusions. When I ask them why they are recommending something, they usually act as though I have insulted them by questioning their recommendations. And heaven forbid if I seek a second opinion; they are suspicious of my motives forever. Again, I am grateful that you are not this type of doctor as well.

I know I became very anxious when I received my cancer diagnosis in May of 2007. You consistently helped me stay on course, keep my perspective when no additional cancer was found during the lumpectomy, and you gave me very good advice with respect to options for further testing and my second surgery. You and your staff truly helped to take the stress out of the breast cancer diagnosis.

I don't know if I ever told you that I started using your center when digital mammography was initially being talked about in newspapers and medical journals as a "better mammogram." At the time, you were the only facility that had digital mammography in my area (I called 6 major hospitals in NJ). I found that quite amazing. I do not live in a remote part of the world so one would think that the large medical centers would have the latest and best equipment. This was not the case. They were in the process of getting them, but that was at least a year away. As best I know, I believe your center has continued to maintain state of the art equipment and techniques since I have been a patient, and I fully appreciate this.

I have referred you to many women without hesitation. The Montclair Breast Center is an excellent faciity with an excellent staff and everyone is thorough. It is a comforting setting where I feel as though I am being properly evaluated and cared for. I am not just a "medical record number."

For all of this and much more, I say "thank you," or as they say in Italian, "a thousand thank yous (mille grazie)."

M.S.P., Martinsville, NJ, August 8, 2008


A Different Mindset

This year I received a diagnosis of DCIS, stage zero, followiing a routine mammogram secreening and subsequent lumpectomy as an outpatient at a hospital. After the hospital experience I knew I had to find a treatment facility that would offer more personalized, professional and customized care for this bump in life's road.

I was referred to Montclair Breast Center from a friend whose experience spoke volumes. She had a much more serious form of breast cancer than mine and she spoke so very highly of her treatment.

From the first phone call to schedule a consultation I could sense a different mindset as compared to outpatient treatment at a community hospital. I needed a treatment plan that took into consideration my own personal views about health care and surgery, the way I live my life and what I want my future to look like. I met so many caring individuals on my initial consult. Dr. Elliott listened to my wishes and then explained my treatment options, statistical outcomes to each option, and provided me with literature so that I could arrive at a decision for my patth forward. it was clear that this was a partnership. Dr. Elliott even took the time to console and comfort my mother at each visit.

I knew what to expect every step of the way during this treatment--there were no surprises, nothing that was not addressed and followed up on as promised. Even scheduling appointments was done with coordinated consideration so that I could have diagnostics, plastic surgery visits and follow-ups all conveinent to my schedule (under one roof), which is virtually unheard of when navigating through the hospital healthcare system and juggling appointments between oncologists, surgeons and radiologists!

It is now three months post my right mastectomy, reconstruction and sentinel node biopsy. I have my "old" life back and will be forever grateful to the kind, caring, competent professionals who touched my life at the Montclair Breast Center.

P.M., Union Township, NJ

 

 

 

 

"As a breast surgeon my value isn't determined by how many breast cancers I have treated, it's how many I prevented."
- Dr. Nancy Elliott, Founder and Director of Montclair Breast Center
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