I was terrified to have the bone marrow biopsy procedure, but thanks to the special needle that Dr. Goldenberg invented, and his incredibly experienced nurse Priscilla, it was less painful than going to the dentist!
You are not just a medical chart to Dr. Goldenberg; you are a real person with real concerns. And now, 18 months later, I am celebrating One Year Cancer Free!
What I realized by having the good fortune to find Dr. Goldenberg, is that the scary things on the internet about having a bone marrow biopsy are not true.
My time with Dr. Goldenberg has made me realize how strong a person I am. I put my life in his talented care, and in order to survive I learned to overcome my fear and look for the positive. Now that I am healthy, I share with my own patients the encouragement that he gave to me to get up and walk, and to make movement one of the keys to reclaiming health.
If not for Dr. Karen Haglof, I may not be doing so well right now. I am a very lucky person.
It is New York and there are plenty of good doctors. The trick is to find one who is an excellent doctor and a good person, and Dr. Goldenberg was that fit for me.
One of the best calls I made this year was to Dr. Goldenberg, on the one year anniversary of the date of my diagnosis. Out of the woods medically, thanks to an unrelated donor in Germany, I've now in a new role as a cancer patient advocate to increase awareness for the need of participation in the bone marrow registry. Thanks to Dr. Goldenberg's uniquely compassionate care, I am able to experience this past year as a gift in disguise.
Dr. Haglof is one of my favorite people on the planet and I would tell everyone about her. I am back to work and in remission. I can’t possibly repay her, but if I could find a way to repay Dr. Haglof, well..I’d never do anything else with my life!
Dr. Goldenberg and his first-rate staff at Manhattan Hematology Oncology Associates have brilliantly and compassionately helped me navigate the trail to recovery.
I often think of how lucky I was to have chosen a physician that I was able to trust 100% as my advocate.
The Cancer had me and Dr. Goldenberg to contend with. I never felt like a cancer patient, Dr. Goldenberg’s office felt like another home to me.
My time with Dr. Goldenberg has made me realize how strong a person I am. I put my life in his talented care, and in order to survive I learned to overcome my fear and look for the positive. Now that I am healthy, I share with my own patients the encouragement that he gave to me to get up and walk, and to make movement one of the keys to reclaiming health. I would never go anywhere else!
Dr. Haglof made the frightening process of surviving cancer easier by providing a sense of positivity throughout the course of my care.
Dr. Goldenberg’s dedication extends to both his patients and to their families. When my husband Gregg was sick, Dr. Goldenberg took the time to encourage and endorse a book that our daughter Ali wrote to help other AML family members. Our family believes this kind of patient support from an oncologist is rare.
Dr. Goldenberg’s love for his work is unmatched and his medical expertise and overall core values related to patient management shine through every time.
“Dr. Goldenberg’s love for his work is unmatched and his medical expertise and overall core values related to patient management shine through every time.”
The cancer journey takes many winding roads – some roads are smooth, while others require all terrain vehicles to get through. I’ve been a patient of Dr. Goldenberg since 2001 when I had been diagnosed with Stage-1 breast cancer at the age of 40.
Throughout my journey, I was often scared and often developed unrelated issues which further complicated my situation. Time after time, Dr. Goldenberg made it his mission to develop a true partnership and connection with my condition from both a clinical and humane perspective. To this day, he remembers details from previous visits, is very thorough in his medical evaluations, takes time to address my worries (and there are many!) and is on-call at a moment’s notice. His genuine love for his work is unmatched and his medical expertise and overall core values related to patient management SHINE THROUGH each and every time. The members of his team are equally respectful, responsive and yes, humorous! – He wouldn’t have it any other way. Patients are always greeted with a smile and his team’s interactions with all patients make them feel as though they are part of a ‘family’, not just a part of his ‘practice’ – from the phlebotomists to the receptionists to the admins – they’re all unbelievably awesome! Bottom line: the personal service and medical attention paid to each and every patient can not be replicated in a bigger institution – not even close!
Dr. Goldenberg, this is my personal message to you: I’m truly the lucky one. I feel extremely blessed to have met you and to be continually treated by the best oncologist in NYC (bar none). You ALWAYS make me feel like a person, you ALWAYS return my calls, you ALWAYS recommend other doctors when I need them, you ALWAYS take the initiative to move my issues along and you ALWAYS stay on top of any medical-statistics or advancements which have kept me cancer free for well over 10 years. This is indeed a heartfelt “Thank you thank you thank you”- Carla Santini
Affectionately known as “Dr. G”, my dear and darling sister Carla has been a patient of Dr. Alec Goldenberg since being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001. Over the years, Dr. G. has helped Carla navigate through some very difficult medical challenges. Grounded, methodical, compassionate, indefatigable are only a few words that best describe Dr. G’s commitment to patient care. My sister considers Dr. G. her medical hero. And although I’ve never met Dr. G., I too consider him my hero! Thank You Dr. G. I will be forever indebted- Domenic Santini
“I would never go anywhere else!”
Nine years ago, when my son was getting married, I felt some pain that concerned me because I wanted to walk my son down the aisle. I thought my doctor would diagnose me with rheumatoid arthritis. I was shocked when I was informed that I had Follicular lymphoma. “Don’t look it up” said my doctor.
Dr. Goldenberg was so well recommended that I traveled from Florida to NY to receive my treatments. By the time I arrived, his office had made all my hotel arrangements, and had arranged all my appointments. I don’t think you receive that level of careful attention and thoughtfulness in many places. And I can’t say enough about Dr. Goldenberg. He is a positive person with a very funny sense of humor. I can’t believe how dedicated he is and how much he genuinely cares. From the first visit, he has been clear about both cancer and cancer care. I also met his nurse Priscilla during my first eight treatments, and I appreciated how well his staff worked together. They, and the newer members of his team, treat all the patients with such loving care. I always felt so well taken care of! He and his staff are always there for me, and the comfort that I feel from the way they all care so much about my well-being and for me as a person is a very unique experience.
As a result of his excellent care, and the skilled treatments of every specialist that Dr. Goldenberg recommended, I was cancer free for almost five years. Recently, I was doing some work in the bathroom and I broke my arm. The cancer was back and once again my husband and I traveled from Florida to receive my treatments from Dr. Goldenberg because of the professional and compassionate care he delivers. I really feel that Dr. Goldenberg has kept me alive and going for the last nine years, and I may not have been so fortunate with someone else. I continue to recommend him to my dear friends and I would never go anywhere else!
“I always feel great when I go to MHOA; it was designed to evoke a sense of comfort.”
From my first visit to MHOA I knew this was a special place. From the first appointment and interaction with the front desk, they start a personalized program for each patient that is done with such respect and dignity. You can immediately feel the care and attention in every aspect of the place. The office is very calming with the soothing colors and beautiful fish tanks. It was designed to evoke a sense of comfort.
When I first met Dr. Goldenberg I was impressed with his thorough evaluation and his excellent communication skills. It was immediately reassuring that he took the time to explain the terminology and treatment options to me and to my wife Ingrid. We were both reassured by his focused and compassionate personality. He is very informative and he takes into account the needs of the family. His staff of skilled and attentive nurses work closely with him to deliver treatments in the serene environment of MHOA. It can be scary to go to an oncology office, but MHOA is very humanistic, and I think it helps people be less afraid than if Dr. Goldenberg didn’t make such an effort to make it a really gorgeous space.
Stage III Breast Cancer
“The Cancer had me and Dr. Goldenberg to contend with. I never felt like a cancer patient, Dr. Goldenberg’s office felt like another home to me.”
I guess you could say that I am a ‘Tackle Everything Head On” kind of person. This was certainly tested six months after a perfectly normal mammogram in 2002, when I started to feel that something was not quite right and had some medical tests done.
On the way home from the hospital I was on pins and needles, but I remember asking myself “Is there anything I can do right now other than enjoy tonight and a really nice meal with my husband?” It was almost midnight when we returned home to get the message from the radiologist.
Hearing that you have metastatic cancer, in my case Stage III Inflammatory Breast Cancer, is not easy. I asked my doctor, the person I credit with helping my husband and I conceive my son, to recommend the doctor that was going to get me through this. I met Dr. Goldenberg the same day. He was very thorough and clear, and I liked him immediately. I felt like I was in such good hands. He advised me to take some time to consider his recommended treatment plan. I think I surprised him by saying “I’m ready to go right now!” He ordered my treatment that day.
Throughout my treatments, I never doubted that I had chosen the right place. After absorbing the shock of my diagnosis, I decided that I wanted to stay active. Dr. Goldenberg and his nurse Priscilla helped me do that, and I was able to work the entire time I was undergoing treatment. I also decided to find as much joy as possible in the process. They would laugh when I came to the office and lounge around in my big sunglasses while taking my treatments, calling me “Ms. Hollywood.” There was only one period of time, when I was near the end of treatment, that I almost lost this attitude. I had developed a bad side effect that was similar to restless leg syndrome. I couldn’t sleep and it was bothering me so much that I asked Dr. Goldenberg to do anything to fix it, including stopping the treatment. He could tell I was frightened, and we talked for a long time. He reminded me that we were winning this battle and he convinced me to continue the course we were on. Believe it or not, this ended up being one of the best experiences of my life. Since I couldn’t sleep anyway, my husband and I decided to go dancing. We would go to the Copacabana and we would dance all night, and then go have breakfast before seeing the sunrise.
And now, thanks to my doctor who helped me both conceive my son and find Dr. Goldenberg, who saved my life, I am ready to celebrate ten years in remission on a cruise to Barcelona. I only wish Dr. Goldenberg could come with us. He works harder than anyone I know. Early, late, and weekend hours at the office. When I think of him I think of the word love. He is so dedicated to his patients! Because of his hard work and dedication, I will continue to stay active and enjoy my life.
“ I often think of how lucky I was to have chosen a physician that I was able to trust 100% as my advocate.”
My cancer story began when I was diagnosed in 2003 with “terminal” liver cancer. This is very hard news to hear and I was very disheartened before I met Dr. Goldenberg. I knew from the moment I met him that he was absolutely the right doctor for me. He was very kind, intelligent, and thorough. From the first day on, he just never gave up. And because he never gave up, neither did I.
From Day One he started me on exactly the treatments that would eventually cure me. I will always hear his words “we have a lot of work ahead of us!” I knew in that moment that I was in the right place. What can I say other than Dr. Goldenberg did everything right, and he did it in such a caring way! He was instrumental in pursuing a liver transplant, and the determination in always following up with the transplant teams on my behalf was simply amazing. Dr Goldenberg also gave me the strength and confidence it took for me to face everything that we had to do for me to qualify for a liver transplant.The uncertainty was very hard, but he made me feel like it was going to be okay. For five years I was told I didn’t meet the criteria but Dr Goldenberg never gave up and neither did I! When he informed me that I was getting a transplant I almost could not believe the news. And when I needed reassurance before the transplant he was always there for me.
During my procedure and my hospital stay, Dr. Goldenberg was there every day, always cheering me up and making me laugh. My follow up care at Manhattan Hematology Associates were always cheerful, clean, and efficient. Priscilla, one of his talented nurses, is absolutely fabulous. She always knew what was going on with me and really made me feel that she cared in a beautifully personal way. I am also very grateful for Jackie, as she made all of my office visits and phone calls a priority. I grew to feel like I was part of their little family.
Six months afterward my liver transplant, Dr. Goldenberg told me that I was cured, words that I never thought I would hear when I was first diagnosed. My husband and family are so grateful for his dedication, and I often think of how lucky I was to have chosen a physician that I was able to trust 100% as my advocate.
Acute Myeloid Leukemia
“Dr. Goldenberg and his first-rate staff at Manhattan Hematology Oncology Associates have brilliantly and compassionately helped me navigate the trail to recovery.”
Dr. Alec Goldenberg saved my life in the spring of 2011. I was incredibly lucky to meet him on the day after my 47th birthday when I was rushed to the hospital with acute myeloid leukemia and a shocking prognosis that seemed to guarantee that my young sons would soon be motherless. While I could discern the direness of my situation in many people’s faces, the only thing I ever saw in Dr. Goldenberg’s eyes was hope. It isn’t that he shielded me from the facts.
I am a journalist, and he expertly answered every question in as much detail as I desired. But he also helped harness my fears––and my family’s––always reminding us that statistics are softened by margins of error and encouraging us not to gallop too far into the future because the course of treatment that he prescribed would be an intricate step-by-step process. As we dealt with the inevitable setbacks and incremental progress before and after my bone marrow transplant, Dr. Goldenberg offered invaluable perspective and reassurance. In the years since he faithfully appeared at my hospital bedside every morning ready to address any concerns, Dr. Goldenberg has not only become a trusted resource, he and his first-rate team at Manhattan Hematology and Oncology Associates have brilliantly and compassionately helped me navigate the trail to recovery
Primary mediastinal B-cell lymphoma
“Dr. Goldenberg and his first-rate staff at Manhattan Hematology Oncology Associates have brilliantly and compassionately helped me navigate the trail to recovery.”
It started with a feeling of pressure in my chest. I saw my general practitioner for an endoscopy and blood tests. I was told that “I’d feel better in two weeks.” But by last Spring I felt terrible. Instead of running and going to boxing classes, I could barely get up the stairs of my office or make it to the subway.
Then one night, just before 4 AM, shooting pains woke me up. My wife turned on the light and insisted that we go immediately to the hospital. A chest X- ray revealed a blood clot in my neck, and a follow up CT scan revealed the cause: a tumor in my chest. I was scheduled for surgery the next morning to determine what kind of cancer I had.
We met Dr. Haglof that afternoon. She was the only bright light in that day. Dr. Haglof explained what was likely and explained the next steps of the process. My wife and I both gravitated to her quickly. It was a very difficult time, digesting the news, taking a medical leave from work, recovering from chest surgery. Dr. Haglof walked me through everything step by step. It was obvious that she was the person that I wanted to go through war with.
One of the things I most appreciate is Dr. Haglof’s ability to make my treatment decisions a two way conversation. Different patients want different things from their oncologist. I was like a child who needed everything explained, and I needed to be involved in the process. As a journalist, I was used to doing research, and she was open to the research studies that I found as we worked through the best course of treatment. For instance, the usual treatment for primary mediastinal B-cell lymphoma is a chemotherapy cocktail called R-CHOP followed by radiation. This course of treatment results in an 80% cure rate. I was surprised when Dr. Hagloff suggested a different course called R-EPOCH. This would mean an increase in chemotherapy but without the radiation that could cause problems for me later down the road. I trusted Dr. Haglof and started the first round of R-EPOCH, even though there was no published research at that time. A month later, a study was published in a medical journal that showed survival rates of 90% with the treatment path that Dr. Haglof charted.
What followed was months of treatment at MHOA. I didn’t look at other hospitals in NYC. Once we found Dr. Haglof, there was no need to go anywhere else. She is a wonderful doctor, and a caring individual, and the staff at MHOA made everything as good as it could have possibly been. Priscilla and Tracy make sure that everyone is taken care of and have a calming influence. And at certain times where I could have been embarrassed by the physicality of cancer treatment, I appreciated their sense of humor.
Dr. Haglof continued to show her skill and dedication. There were many challenging times, like when I developed a gram positive bacteria infection. She quickly brought together a coalition of experts to find a curative treatment. Another time, my chemo pump broke. Dr. Haglof came over to replace the pump at 8:30 at night, which is just a reflection of who she is as a person and as a physician.
After a PET scan in late July, Dr. Haglof and I had a new conversation, a “you have no cancer in your body” conversation. I am back to work and in remission. I can’t possibly repay her, but if I could find a way to repay Dr. Haglof, well..I’d never do anything else with my life!
Acute Meyeloid Leukemia
“Everything you ever wish a doctor to be-that’s what Dr. Goldenberg is.”
It all started when my husband Gregg was forty four years old and found a small bump under his chin. We weren’t too worried because Gregg was always one of those people who had never been sick a day in his life. We were absolutely shocked to learn that a blood test confirmed that Gregg had Leukemia, one that may require years of treatment. We were in Dr. Goldenberg’s office the next day.
From that day on, well, there are not enough ways to express how amazing Dr. Goldenberg has been. There is no one more thorough or knowledgeable. He is that combination that is everything you want your physician to be, a brilliant doctor and an incredible human being.
After months of treatment at MHOA, and an extensive search for a bone marrow donor, we traveled to Seattle, Washington to receive a transplant with blood stem cells from umbilical cord blood. Throughout the entire process, Dr. Goldenberg advised and supported us. He stayed in constant involvement with Gregg’s doctors in Seattle and he continues to be involved in Gregg’s health every step of the way now that we are back in New York. Last summer, for instance, Dr. Goldenberg successfully treated Gregg when he developed meningitis.
Dr. Goldenberg’s dedication extends to both his patients and to their families. When Gregg was sick and my daughter Ali was in her junior year of high school, Dr. Goldenberg took the time to encourage and endorse a book that Ali wrote to help other ALM family members learn from her experience through her father’s cancer journey. Now, just over a year later as she leaves for college, this effort has raised over 40,000 dollars for cord blood research. Our family believes this kind of patient support from an oncologist is both genuine and rare.
Gregg and our family feel so lucky to have found Dr. Goldenberg. He is truly unbelievable-the best… I don’t know why anyone would ever go to anyone else!
Putney- Acute Myeloid Leukemia
I was at home on July 4th, 2013 when I spiked a fever that brought me to the hospital. I had always been a healthy person, so I was very surprised when I was informed that I needed to see a hematologist. On July 17th, I had my first appointment with Dr. Goldenberg. Walking into the building was surreal- I just couldn’t believe that I was at a hematology/oncology office! I’d had a healthy physical just six months before.
When I met Dr. Goldenberg, he was the calming force in the scariest scenario I could imagine. He was immediately caring and compassionate, qualities that I think are unique for a doctor delivering the type of news that I received. He is truly remarkable, making a catastrophic situation not seem as terrible as it was. Despite the seriousness, his charming personality actually brought some laughter to a very challenging set of facts. As we discussed my situation, he was cautiously optimistic, while at the same time being realistic about what I had in front of me. When he informed me and my husband of the diagnosis-I had my moment of hysteria-but Dr. Goldenberg remained focused and that helped me to regain my focus too. Being a mom of two young boys, naturally, my foremost concern was for my children. I knew I had no other option than to stay calm. I had to beat this cancer. Sadly, cancer was not unknown to me, twenty years ago my adopted father had needed a bone marrow treatment for multiple myeloma. I just couldn’t imagine my family going through this all over again. I took a deep breath and made myself focus on one thought, “This is the first day of my recovery.”
Dr. Goldenberg worked late into the night to ascertain my next treatment steps, examining my slides and consulting other specialists. We had an answer the next morning, which was important because timing in acute myeloid leukemia is really of the essence. I’ve heard so many stories from others with the same symptoms and malignancy that had to wait around for weeks, delaying critically important treatment.
I started my AML induction therapy right away with Dr. Goldenberg. His reassuring nature got me through those roller coaster days of treatment. I’m happy to say that during most of my treatment I never felt sick. The treatments nowadays are so advanced, especially compared to what my father went through, that the physicality wasn’t as bad as just the fear of the unknown. Part of my treatment did include hospital isolation, and that was very difficult. Just knowing that I would see Dr. Goldenberg’s face every single morning at six AM lifted my spirits though. He taught me to approach my disease with a day-by-day philosophy, instead of always worrying about what was to come far off in the future.
I soon appreciated that he understood exactly what was needed in every situation that arose as the days progressed. At one point there was a major complication, a lung infection, and everything was addressed immediately, with his characteristic skill. I always felt that Dr. Goldenberg was the captain of my collaborative NYU team. And the whole time, Dr. Goldenberg kept in constant contact with both my family members and me. Although I knew how busy he was, he often made me feel like I was his only patient.
Dr. Goldenberg appreciated that my goal became getting out of the hospital in time for my son’s preschool graduation. I was literally released that day, just after a platelet transfusion. I was there-I saw my son’s graduation. My son didn’t know I was coming. Honestly, I can’t put it into words…
Soon after I was released from my hospital treatment, Dr. Goldenberg’s extensive research on my disease led me to the decision that my best chance of survival was a stem cell transplant. The odds were stacked against me because of my ethnic background because it’s a lot more challenging for Asian Americans and for other minorities to find donor matches for potentially life-saving bone marrow transplants. And as difficult as it was to leave MHOA, I needed to return to Boston to be with my family for support while I underwent the next part of my treatment. Based on the level of excellent care that I had received, it didn’t surprise me that Dr. Goldenberg and his staff facilitated my transition, and stayed involved even long distance to answer my questions and concerns.
One of the best calls I made this year was to Dr. Goldenberg on the one year anniversary of the date of my diagnosis. Out of the woods medically, thanks to an unrelated donor in Germany, and suddenly finding myself in a new role as a cancer patient advocate, I joked with Dr. Goldenberg that it has been a blessing and a curse to meet him. The last year has been one of trying to save my life, and at the same time being given a platform in the world press to increase awareness for the need of participation in the bone marrow registry. I could not have made that celebratory call if not for Dr. Goldenberg. Thanks to him and his uniquely compassionate care, I am able to continue to experience this past year as a gift in disguise.
In January 2009 I was 30 years old, had a ten-month old son, and was three months pregnant with my second child when I felt a lump in my neck that didn’t feel quite right. It was the unthinkable – cancer.
The first oncologist I saw told me, very matter-of-factly, that the pregnancy would have to be terminated in order for the cancer to be staged, much less treated. We sought another opinion. Another oncologist at a world renowned cancer hospital in Manhattan recommended continuing with the pregnancy while treating me with only two of the standard four chemo drugs and adopting a “wait and see” approach until the baby was born. She was cautious and pretty indifferent to my concerns about not strongly fighting the cancer. I know now that, in all likelihood, that approach would have been terminal.
Dr. Goldenberg was different. Right from the start he was caring, empathetic, and positive. His plan was to treat the cancer aggressively and maintain a healthy pregnancy and he explained that the chemo drugs would not pass through the placenta to the baby. We liked him and trusted him right from the start. Dr. Goldenberg and his staff were like a whirlwind. Within a week they had my slides looked at by a top pathologist to confirm the type of lymphoma (Hodgkin’s), MRIs done to stage the cancer (stage IIa), and a bone marrow biopsy done. By the next week I started chemo.
I always feel special at Dr. Goldenberg’s office. The office is small so you get to know the receptionists, phlebotomists, nurses, and billing personnel. The staff (especially Jackie at the front desk) was amazing at getting me appointments to get PET scans and they always got the radiologist to give me the results within a few hours.
The billing office helped me figure out insurance payments and were patient and understanding. It was a big event when my daughter was born, happy and healthy. They still consider her to be “their baby.”
I wish my story ended there but the PET scan that I was finally able to get after my daughter was born showed extremely high standard-uptake values for someone who had already undergone five months of aggressive chemo. Dr. Goldenberg remained positive, reassuring, and confident. We went to “plan B” – even more aggressive chemo, a stem cell transplant, and radiation. Dr. Goldenberg always says that I went “through hell and back” and I did, but that’s okay because I’m still here. My daughter is five years old and is a spit-fire; she just started kindergarten. I am a couple of months away from being five years in remission.
Dr. Goldenberg saved my life. He saved my daughter’s life. I bring my daughter to his office every summer and boy, does he fuss over her! This summer he even took a picture of us – what doctor does that? The receptionist keeps a picture of my kids at the front desk. It is truly a special office and Dr. Goldenberg is a truly gifted doctor.
Stage 4 Hodgkin Lymphoma
“Dr. Haglof made the frightening process of surviving cancer easier by providing a sense of positivity throughout the course of my care.”
Six years ago, I was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer with an unknown primary. Dr. Haglof was recommended to help determine just what type of cancer it was. I was very ill, unsure, and scared. When I met Dr. Haglof, she really listened to me. She proceeded to calm my fear by communicating that I would be okay, and that no matter what I would not be alone. She correctly diagnosed me with Hodgkin Lymphoma and I started treatment that same week.
From that first treatment, I realized that I had found a group of individuals who would guide me through the whole process, who would walk with me every step of the way. Dr. Haglof had a sense of positivity and hope that I began to share. When I left her office that first week, I walked away with the confidence that I had found the right doctor and the right treatment facility.
We saw immediate results from the treatment course, and I felt better almost immediately. With so much uncertainty before Dr. Haglof, I especially appreciated how she made everything clear. I understood the next steps, and could anticipate what would occur. She also empowered me to manage my own care by explaining ways to minimize side effects of chemo with acupuncture, diet, and massage therapy. I found myself receiving not just medical care, but the genuine care of someone who treats you as a person, not just a patient.
Dr. Haglof is a true hero. Her work is not just a job, it is a commitment to her patients that is seen through the scope of her knowledge that is evident in her practice. She has this amazing ability to see through the darkness and provide a sense of direction when things get overwhelming. Her energy and strength grounds the office with her easy going personality, and my bi-weekly treatments became a sense of comfort in a nurturing environment. I traveled often for work, and the staff at MHOA worked to accommodate my schedule to make is as easy as possible to get well while continuing to work.
After eight months, I went into remission. It has been quite an unexpectedly positive experience. It was almost bittersweet to hear the good news of surviving cancer, because Dr. Haglof and everyone at MHOA had become such an integral part of my life. I am very thankful that I found true companionship throughout my care. Every time I see them now, it is like visiting old friends.
“I tend to see more of the hole in the doughnut, while Dr. Haglof sees the whole thing. It’s comforting that she is positive and optimistic, and I like her a lot.”
My story is a relatively straight forward one. I met Dr. Haglof after she was recommended by my primary care doctor at NYU. I wasn’t feeling well last summer, and Dr. Haglof correctly diagnosed me with leukemia. I’ve been seeing her every two weeks since late July. I travel from the Lincoln Center area for treatments in her office.
I appreciate that she has gotten my CLL under control. I tend to be very cautious-in fact, I tend to see more of the “hole in the doughnut” while Dr. Haglof sees the whole thing. It’s comforting that she is optimistic and positive, and I like her a lot.
I feel good again, and things are going in the right direction. So far so good..and I am in very competent hands!
Dr. Marc Kantrowitz
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
“It is New York and there are plenty of good doctors. The trick is to find one who is an excellent doctor and a good person, and Dr. Goldenberg was that fit for me.”
In February of 2009, I was admitted to the hospital for acute pancreatitis. After an ultrasound discovered blood clots in both my legs, I met with Dr. Goldenberg. Two things were evident right away- that Dr. Goldenberg is very patient oriented and that he is very thorough. After many diagnostic tests, he was able to rule out malignancies and also to correct my INR counts.
Some challenges followed in the next few months, which included two visits to the hospital for a spinal issue and for pneumonia. Dr. Goldenberg visited me every morning and stayed in very close contact with my surgeon. I was impressed with his dedication, and with how he remained involved in all the details of my care.
He has very good judgment, and I knew I could trust him when big decisions were to be made. I remember wanting to be discharged from the hospital early. Some of the doctors had signed off on it. Dr. Goldenberg came in to discuss the decision with me and my wife. It was clear that Dr. Goldenberg understood why I would want to be home, but he kept his eye on the bigger picture of me getting-and staying-well. He told me that I was his concern, and convinced me to stay a few more days until Sunday to ensure that I wouldn’t just end up back in the ER. He reminded me that he was here for me and that he would work with the other doctors and with the insurance. Indeed he was, and indeed he did. It was the right call, and that was my last hospital visit.
Now I see Dr. Goldenberg just a few times a year to check blood work. Each visit I am reminded how phenomenal Tracy, Priscilla, Arlene, and the rest of his staff are, and how they provide such a positive environment. My experience with Dr. Goldenberg and MHOA has been very good. They all go the extra mile for their patients, which is a rare (and great!) thing. I describe Dr. Goldenberg as a “take charge” kind of individual. He grabs hold and won’t let go until he has done everything that he can do for his patients, which is what you want when you are facing a medical hurdle. It is New York, and there are plenty of good doctors. The trick is to find one that is an excellent doctor and a good person, and Dr. Goldenberg was that for me.
“If not for Dr. Haglof, I may not be doing so well right now. I am a very lucky person.”
Seven years ago my primary care doctor noticed that my white blood cell count was high. What should have registered in the 4-10,000 range was 14,000. A hematologist was recommended, but I attributed the high count to a cold and I was not particularly concerned. The next year’s physical showed that my count was elevated again. This time I knew something wasn’t normal.
When I met Dr. Haglof, I immediately felt very comfortable. She is very friendly and approachable, and she put me at ease. After completing some diagnostic tests, I was informed that I had something called Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia . She told me that the good word was “chronic” and thoroughly explained my condition.
I went to Dr. Haglof every few months, and each time we consulted on the blood counts. I appreciated her steadfastness and her patience. When the summer came, my numbers jumped steeply, and we began IV treatments in three day sessions to destroy any unnecessary white blood cells.
Dr. Haglof directed the process, monitored my counts and when it was needed, she was immediately ready with the right treatments. If not for Dr. Haglof, I might not be so well right now. I’m a very lucky person. I never felt sick or anything.
She and her staff took excellent care of me. My treatments were streamlined and efficient; Dr. Haglof was always prompt and I was not sitting or waiting a long time for the doctor. The office staff has their schedule running professionally, and they really value your time. The staff is made up of very nice people who are friendly and caring during treatments and in-between treatments. Every time I called, they got right back to me to answer questions and concerns. They are all so focused and dedicated! I really cannot speak more highly of Dr. Haglof and everyone at MHOA. I’ve had a great experience.
“I was terrified to have the bone marrow biopsy procedure, but thanks to the special needle that Dr. Goldenberg invented, and his incredibly experienced nurse Priscilla, it was less painful than going to the dentist!”
My endocrinologist recommended Manhattan Hematology Oncology Associates when excess protein was found in my blood a few months ago. I was very nervous and couldn’t sleep. I was relieved when I was able to see Dr. Goldenberg that week, even though he was booked for the next two months. I think Jacquie, the receptionist, heard the panic in my voice and managed to accommodate me right away. I told her that I wanted to bring my family and a friend for support. She must have thought I was crazy! But she was so nice, and soon enough, I brought my whole posse into the exam room to meet Dr. Goldenberg.
From the first visit I saw how incredible Dr. Goldenberg was as a person and as a doctor. He answered all our questions (and there were many!) with a thoroughness that was reassuring, and I knew that he would get to the bottom of my problem.
He ran some tests and when the excess protein showed up again, he recommended CT scans and a bone marrow biopsy. Well I was terrified, because I had read all sorts of horror stories on the internet about the bone marrow biopsy procedure and they all involved accounts of severe pain from scalpels and sutures. I told Dr. Goldenberg what I had read, and that I was scared that I would be screaming out loud like the patients on the websites. I remember him saying, “I guarantee that you did not hear that from anyone who had this procedure here.” I was skeptical. I wondered if he had to say that just to allay my fear of both the procedure and what they might find as a result.
But Dr. Goldenberg was absolutely telling the truth! I showed up for the procedure all worked up, and it turned out that it was better than going to the dentist! Really, I would rather get a bone marrow biopsy at Dr. Goldenberg’s than a root canal. A root canal is way worse! I think the bone marrow biopsy procedure is better at MHOA than other centers for two reasons. The first is that Dr. Goldenberg actually devised a special needle years ago that helps make the procedure easier on patients. The second reason is that his nurse Priscilla is absolutely amazing. She talked me through the whole process and calmed me down with her efficient and reassuring manner. Similar to Dr. Goldenberg, Priscilla has a great sense of humor, and she also distracted me with funny stories during the procedure. Because they can do the procedure in the office, she was able to really take her time and not rush at all. It was so unexpected, after all my anxiety, it was actually a nice experience. With every step of the diagnosis, Dr. Goldenberg went over and beyond my expectations. I guess that’s why he was so well recommended, and why so many doctors and their loved ones go to him. He is able to correctly diagnose, and then gets you on the right path to resolving the problem. I am so lucky that I found him, and want everyone to know how much I appreciate him and his whole staff.
Stage IV Colon Cancer
“You are not just a medical chart to Dr. Goldenberg; you are a real person with real concerns. And now, 18 months later, I am celebrating One Year Cancer Free!”-Kara A, Stage IV Colon Cancer that had spread to the Liver
In the June of 2012, I had almost recovered from a serious leg fracture that required surgery and several months of physical therapy. I was literally just getting back on my feet, when blood work during a check up revealed I was anemic. My internist recommended that I see a gastroenterologist. Foolishly, I had thought the blood in my stool was just a hemorrhoid.
After my exam, the specialist matter-of-factly told me, “I felt a mass.” The gastroenterologist then informed me that I would need an immediate colonoscopy to confirm a cancer diagnosis. I was numb. I prayed it was a mistake. Three days later, I heard those terrible words “you have cancer” with a side of ” You can live, but you will need a colostomy.” What a terrible bedside manner!” He referred me to a general surgeon and sent me on my way, completely devastated. I’ll never forget that cab ride home-I was 46 years old and already on disability for 9/11 health issues. What more could I take? But thankfully, my bad luck was about to change.
I went home, and looked up surgeons for colorectal cancer. I ordered a book on the subject, which advised having the surgery with a surgical oncologist who specialized in colorectal surgery, not a general surgeon. At the same time, my friend shared that she had just had a positive experience with the network affiliated with NYU Hospital. I did some more research, and that’s when I had the great fortune to meet Dr. Goldenberg.
From our first meeting at the beginning of July, Dr. Goldenberg’s warmth, kindness and optimism made me feel so much better. He outlined what my aggressive course of treatment would be, and why it would be my best chance for survival. He was both reassuring and realistic. He never seemed rushed, but took his time in a very thorough manner. He also referred me to my amazing colon surgeon Brian Harlin, who saved me from a permanent colostomy.
My treatment plan was implemented right away. The chemo would be done right downstairs in his office, which made it feel a lot easier. Six weeks of chemo and simultaneous radiation began. I would come from NYU to see Dr. Goldenberg’s nurses Priscilla and Tracy. Believe it or not, you will make buddies, and even laugh at chemo sometimes. When things got challenging, Dr. Goldenberg and his staff helped to manage my pain during radiation by adjusting the meds until I was comfortable.
Because of his thoroughness, a follow up PET scan was done prior to surgery to check tumor shrinkage. At this time, a secondary tumor was found in my liver. What a blow! I was so frightened. Once again, Dr. Goldenberg helped facilitate a treatment plan that began after his further consultation with my two surgeons. His concern was genuine, you’re not just a chart to him. You are a person, with real concerns and feelings. Just one example of this was when he saw that I was getting depressed by having to live (for a few months) with a colostomy bag after one of the surgeries. He was empathetic to what a tough adjustment that was for me, and although I had great family support and home health care to help, it was affecting my quality of life. He agreed to let me have the surgery to reverse the colostomy before starting the last round of chemo, and it helped my spirits tremendously.
Altogether, I went through radiation, three rounds of chemo, three surgeries in eight months, and lived with a temporary colostomy for nine months.
My last six month round of chemo finished in February of 2014, and last month I celebrated one year cancer free!!
To say that I was happy is such an understatement! Surprisingly though, other emotions began to surface as well. To get through the change and the challenges that happened so fast in my life, I think I had to turn off some of the emotional aspects just to get through. My big black Labrador dog Roxy must have felt the emotions for us both at the time, because she would come over and put her face in my lap during the worst of it. I would joke to Priscilla and Tracy that she was my “other nurse!” About six months after the treatment ended, I joined Gilda’s Club to work through some of the feelings associated with a cancer diagnosis, and I have found that to be very helpful.
Of all these things that have helped me to become cancer free, and emotionally healthy, I am most grateful for Dr. Goldenberg. He was a guiding light during the hardest 18 months of my life. His early morning visits in the hospital, waves, smiles and quick chats in the chemo lounge all helped me feel better even before I was physically better.
Thanks to his top-notch care, I will be celebrating my 50th birthday this summer. If you have come to his office, you are in great hands that will do the very best for you.
“What I realized by having the good fortune to find Dr. Goldenberg, is that the scary things on the internet about having a bone marrow biopsy are not true.”-Peri I. -Essential Thombocythemia
I met Dr. Goldenberg after seeing three other hematologist oncologists. Before Dr. Goldenberg, no one could correctly diagnose what was causing my elevated platelet count. One of the previous doctors even said to me, “If your speech begins to slur, get yourself to the ER because that may mean you are having a stroke!” Well, I wasn’t going to just wait around for that to happen, so I got the best recommendation possible and found Manhattan Hematology Oncology Associates.
Dr. Goldenberg took the time to be incredibly thorough. I remember him reading all my past medical information and saying, “We have a jigsaw puzzle here, and we need to figure it out one piece at a time.” He ordered blood tests that others had missed, and that I had not even known existed. I really respected how carefully he explained everything he was doing, and why. As a result of his diligence, we found that I had a specific gene mutation. Then I learned that I would need a bone marrow biopsy to confirm the treatment course, and that I would need to do this right away.
Honestly, I am not the sort of person who gets overly scared of procedures, but when I looked on the internet I read such horrible things about bone marrow biopsies I wanted to cancel my appointment. “Awful!” “The worst experience of my life!” “Screaming in pain!” were just some of what I read from others’ experiences at other centers.
Dr. Goldenberg reassured me that it wouldn’t be that bad, and explained that his practice uses a special needle to reduce the pain. Even though I trusted him, I still expected it to be bad. I took some comfort in knowing that the procedure would be done in his office, not a cold hospital. But I was still nervous! I cannot tell you how happily surprised I was on the day of the bone marrow biopsy. If I had not been told the procedure was over, I would never even I have guessed that it was done. I was still expecting what I had read on the web, but it was actually similar to giving blood. A little discomfort, but not the horror stories that are out there!
What I realized by having the good fortune to have found Dr. Goldenberg, is that it’s not fair to patients what’s on the internet because it scares people unnecessarily. It’s really no big deal when you have the right people and the right device. If I could tell everyone looking at the internet and becoming frightened like was just one thing, it’s that it doesn’t have to be like that. Find Dr. Goldenberg, because he will be looking out for you like he has been for me!
“One of the most important things that I learned from Dr. Goldenberg was to walk as much as possible to help get and stay well.” Veronica Miller, Multiple Myeloma
I had been an active and healthy person all my life, until a few year ago when I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma. By the time I first met Dr. Goldenberg I was very sick, nearly dying- that was how bad it was. I remember asking him if he could save my life, and that his honest response was, “I don’t know if I can save your life, but I will do everything I can.” It was in that moment that I decided to trust him 100%, even if it meant putting aside my own medical experience as a nurse, in order to follow his lead.
As I went through the process, I quickly saw that my trust was in the right person. Dr. Goldenberg ordered all the necessary medical tests and organized all the help that was available to me, including the best radiologists and stem cell transplant experts. Things were going the right direction until I had to stay in isolation at the hospital after a treatment. I felt so alone in isolation that I almost gave up. Dr. Goldenberg was the best coach I’d ever had, motivating me in person to get up and walk. Walking may seem like a small thing, but I really believe this is one of the most important parts of my recovery. Dr. Goldenberg would make me laugh by calling my nurses throughout the day to have them tell me direct quotes like “Dr. Goldenberg says to get out of bed right now and move!..and “Remember that you have been fit before and you will be again.” I took a breath and said to myself, “Let me just get out of this bed and walk around this corridor…” After that, there was no stopping me. Soon after leaving the hospital, I was even walking from Dr. Goldenberg’s office on 32nd Street to my work on 92nd Street.
As I felt better and better I was able to return to traveling, one of my life’s passions. Even the 20 hour flight didn’t bother me. I felt great as I visited South Africa, Tokyo, Fiji Island, and New Zealand. It was on this trip that I found myself in Sidney, Australia, at the base of The Narrows Bridge. The only problem was that I have always been terrified of heights, and this bridge was 439 feet high, and 3,769 feet long! With my fear of heights, and the fact that, at 71 years of age, I would be the oldest climber by far, I had every reason to turn back. But I thought to myself, “If I faced death and had been scared, I can also overcome my greatest fear of heights.” At the top of the bridge, I looked down at the water, and I was okay. The fear was gone.
The next time I saw Dr. Goldenberg and told him about the bridge he asked, “If you were scared of heights, why did you climb that bridge?!” I replied, “Because I was scared of heights!!” And we both laughed.
My time with Dr. Goldenberg has made me realize how strong a person I am. I put my life in his talented care, and in order to survive I learned to overcome my fear and look for the positive. Now that I am healthy, I share with my own patients the encouragement that he gave to me to get up and walk, and to make movement one of the keys to reclaiming health. They tell me that they have more hope and inspiration, and I see that they are incorporating the advice to walk as much as possible. I thank Dr. Goldenberg for teaching me that every time I walk to his office!