It is now August of 2008; I am here to update the story on Lorraine Fimmano and to show the importance of going to the best for treatment and not listening to the rest who claim to do the same as Dr. Lederman in Cabrini hospital in NYC.
In late 2005, Mom although being in remission with her lung cancer thanks to Dr. Lederman's treatment, became ill again. This time it was cervical cancer. She was diagnosed with stage 1 and if her lungs had been well enough she could have had surgery to remove it. However, she was not a candidate to go under the anesthesia once again. We were told that the radiation was her only option once again.
I, of course, contacted Dr Lederman and we went in to see him. I discussed it with mom but she was so tired, she was in so much pain, and wanted to do the treatments close to home. She wanted to do it with a Dr that CLAIMED to be just as good as Dr. Lederman. I had spoke long and hard with Mom, and because treatment was going to be more extensive for cervical then the lung, Mom would need treatment everyday for 28 days. She didn't want me traveling into the city every single day with her. I begged her to please put herself first and reminded her that people come from all over the world for Dr Lederman, and said "please let's not go anywhere else to others that claim to do the same". But she wouldn't hear of it... She loved Dr. Lederman but she was always thinking of others before herself, and once again did what was easier for me, not what was best for her. No amount of begging could change her mind.
I had to do what Mom wanted against my better judgment and after talking long and on a daily basis with Dr Lederman the best chance of a good outcome would be with Mom feeling comfortable wherever she wanted to do this treatment. That is just the kind of man Dr. Lederman is. He did not take offense that she didn't want to travel for his treatment, but yet kept in touch with me weekly sometimes more just to advise and help in any way he could for us.
We went on to the doctors close to home that are claiming to do the same treatment. I am leaving his name out on purpose because I do not want to bad mouth any Dr who is trying to do his best, yet falling short of it. He still tried to help Mom as any Dr would but we will never know if it would have been different in Dr. Lederman's hands, however, from past experience and now knowing Dr. Lederman on a friendship level, my heart tells me it could have been.
I took Mom in and we got her R.T. plan. Then before starting treatment, I brought the plan treatment to Dr. Lederman. He said that although it is not as fancy as what he does, it would be ok, reassuring me once again saying she had to be comfortable in her surroundings for the best outcome.
Her new Dr stated that when Mom weighted in at 160 lbs that it was very important that she maintain that weight throughout treatments.
Mom was very ill at this time. She started her treatment and was doing ok for a bit, and then started to decline. Her body was not maintaining the weight for the treatments and unlike Dr Lederman I couldn't speak to this Dr that was doing the procedure. Why? Because of many reasons; one being that he had an ego that was as big as the hospital, and two because he was never on hand as Dr Lederman is for questions and when he was, didn't take suggestions or other options other than his own as seriously.
Mom started to get side effects that were so painful, she was in agony. She was in the hospital for the last two years of her life more then she was home. One thing after another started to go wrong.
Her body was now taking a beating and the more I tried to ask the Dr questions the more unavailable he made himself to me. I would take Mom into the city via ambulance for checkups with Dr Lederman and he would say get her in her own home, let her eat her own food whatever she wanted to eat but get some weight on her.
She tried so hard to eat, but the more pain she was in the more morphine she was given, the more weight she lost. When I took her home she would bleed out and need transfusions and back to the hospital she would go. Now treating the side effects not only the cancer. She became one big medical mystery. Mom's CAT scan reports showed burning of Moms insides. She was basically given radiation for a 160 lb woman even when she was down to 140-130-120-100 pounds and then ultimately under a hundred lbs. The radiation basically burned her insides. I was told she needed to stay at the weight she was at first for treatmentÖ but my questions were why not adjust the amount as she lost more weight? When I tried to express my concerns they fell upon deaf ears. The damage was done, and once again my reason for telling you, to make sure you are with the Drs. you can express your concerns with, that will listen, and that will take your concerns into consideration, who will answer your questions no matter how silly they may sound, to reassure you when you are questioning anything.... All of which Dr. Lederman does.
No amount of morphine was taking her pain away and ultimately she was living in a nursing home. It was a horrifying experience and I couldn't bear to watch her in this pain, yet as long as Mom was of sound mind, I couldn't do a thing about it but try and make her comfortable, but no amount of drugs were helping for her under the guidelines. When Mom started to lose her drive, her desire to fight, all her weight, she then told me that she was tired and wanted to put her guns down for me to stop feeding her the ammunition that I promised to keep on giving her while she was still fighting.
After many blood transfusions, after morphine patches, shots, and pills, after many prayers, and many well wishes from everyone Momís fight and bright light to live went out. She was no longer the driving force of sound mind that we knew her as. We were then allowed to call in hospice and Mom went into a coma within the first week. Mom passed away on November 3 2007.
I will not let her last two years of unimaginable amount of pain define who she was. Her life was so much more than that and if I have to spend the rest of my life helping others and expressing my thoughts on how important it is to not only do what the patient wants but what is best from the best Dr in his field that is what I am going to do.
Mom was and still is my inspiration, my best friend, my hero. She is still forever living on in my heart, and through her I will be a better person in helping others and trying to get the word out to anyone in need that I think could benefit from Dr Lederman's treatments.
Lorraine Fimmano was survived by her children: Peter, Denise, Paul, Laurie, and Frank. Her son in law Joey, whom she loved her back massages from, thank you Joey! and daughter in law Diane whom she never had the chance to meet, and her new granddaughter in law Nicole. Her grandchildren: Joseph, Peter, Jennifer, Louis, John and her great granddaughter Mia, whom she never had the blessing to meet. Her brother Philip and sister in law Anne.
Richie, thank you for bringing Mom scratch offs and push up pops daily, you had a way of making her laugh daily even when we were all crying inside. She loved you so much.
Rest in peace Mom you are sorely missed but never will be forgotten. We all love you.
My sincere heartfelt thanks and love to Dr. Lederman because had it not been for you DR LEDERMAN, she would have been gone over ten years ago with the lung cancer, when other Drs. said she wouldn't live past six months. You gave her ten plus years!! Another special heartfelt thanks goes to the team that work alongside Dr. Lederman for your bedside manner, your willingness to always make Mom feel normal and never once treated her like a dying patient but rather a patient LIVING with cancer. You are all very special. Thank you Fran, for being there every day for lunch and being not just Mom's friend, but like a sister to her. It will never be forgotten.
Thank you Pastor Eric from hospice and thanks to the whole hospice team; you will always remain in my heart and pastor Eric a true lifelong friend to me; God bless you and thank your whole team for making Momís passing an easier one when the time came.
For others in the world that need any info from me, any guidance, any questions answered; please always feel free to contact me anytime. I will always do my very best to help and direct in any way I can in Momís memory.
Most importantly, if you're reading this, you are probably doing research on Drs. for treatment, and I am here to tell you, you will need to look no further, you found the best in his field. God bless and best wishes always
Laurie Lo Cicero
daughter of the late but never forgotten Lorraine Fimmano