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Indiana Blogs: Cindy's Cancer Journey of Hope

Indiana Blogs: Cindy’s Cancer Journey of Hope

Cindy’s Cancer Journey of Hope is an Indiana blog that is all about survival. If ever there was a blog that served to inspire and  cheer–this would be it!

Rather than gloom and doom, Cindy has kept going and kept a detailed record of her experience with breast cancer. April  7 marks the date when this grandma plans on getting a pink ribbon tattoo on her wrist as a permanent reminder of her one year “Cancerversary.”

In other words: She is awesome. Cindy is learning to appreciate life all over again and in my opinion, it is an exciting and fun journey in which to follow along!

Indiana Blogs: Cindy’s Cancer Journey of Hope

Why did you start Cindy’s Cancer Journey of Hope?
When I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in April 2011, I knew I would keep a journal, as that’s the kind of person I am.  I have always liked writing and knew I wanted to remember the road I was about to go down and be able to look back and see how far I had come.

Having medical problems in years past, I realized how fast you can forget some things and knew a journal would help me document everything to refer back to.  I also knew I would take pictures along the way.  I have family and friends who would want to keep up with my health progress, so I decided to keep the journal online so they could keep up with my treatments and progress.

This way I wouldn’t have to remember what I told to whom and they could read it as they got the chance.  I was familiar with blogging as I also have a Stamp Blog for my Stampin’ Up business.

What about that name? Why Cindy’s Cancer Journey of Hope?
Well, I’m not good at coming up with clever names…lol…although later I thought maybe I should have called my blog “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly”!   I knew from the get-go that I was going to face this life-threatening disease with HOPE.

Many people have told me I was strong, but when I think about it……what other choice is there?  To not be strong would be to give up…and I knew I wouldn’t do that.  I knew God had promised to be by my side and with Him there, I knew there was always HOPE. 

What are three of your most favorite posts?
Oh my….I never thought about that.  Let me go take a look.  LOL!

  • Surgery Went Well and I’m Doing Fantastic — Ok, this was a tough one!  I have selected the post about my bilateral masectomy, as this was the day I got that nasty cancer removed from my body! It is a good reminder of the day and the doctors and nurses who were taking such good care of me and my family and friends who were there with me to support me through this surgery.  Having such compassionate doctors and nurses and my family and friends there made a rough day much better.  I had such a peace and knew all was going to go well.
  • So Much to Be Thankful For— At Thanksgiving I reflected on all that I have to be thankful for.  This is one of my favorite posts as it reminds me of all the blessings I had in spite of having cancer.  I never want to forget to give thanks for all that God has blessed me with.
  • Oh What a Year 2011 Was — This next posting I selected pretty well summed up my year of fighting cancer….in pictures.  I am of so thankful I took so many pictures!  It’s amazing to see how far I’ve come now and brings me special memories of people I met along the way and makes me smile.

What keeps you ready and raring to post? Why do you blog?
At first I began blogging about my cancer journey for myself and to keep my family and friends up to date.  Then after hearing from people across the country….strangers….I realized it was much more than I realized.  I came to realize that God was using my blog to help others.

This has been a driving force to continue to share my journey….and I have prayed for God to use my blog/journey to help others.  Blogging also became very therapeutic for me, as well.  As my treatments were coming to an end, I wasn’t sure if I should continue my blog, but others told me they wish I would, so I continue to blog even though there is less and less blogging about health issues…which is a good thing.

But, now I feel like my blogging can give hope to others that there is “life beyond cancer” and hopefully if someone is just beginning their journey, they will be able to see how I am today and know that they too can make it!

You cover a lot of personal topics and emotional issues when dealing with your cancer experience–was it hard to open up like that?
It really hasn’t been hard to open up….I guess I’m just not a real private person.  I’ve pretty much been an “open book” about my experience….all aspects of it.  I wanted to be open and honest about the journey in the hopes of taking some of the fear out of it for my friends and family and even for strangers who may be reading my blog.

I wanted to give HOPE to others who may find themselves facing cancer someday and show them that they can do it and even find many blessings in the midst of the journey.  I didn’t want to hide the treatments and the loss of hair, etc. as i feel it makes it less scary to be open about it.  A lot of fear comes from the “unknown” and if I could help someone else not be so fearful by sharing my experience, I wanted God to use it.

What has been the most surprising aspect of your journey so far?
I think two things have been the most surprising.  I was surprised by the reaction of some of my friends in the beginning, as I felt like I made them “uncomfortable” when I told them.  I sensed they didn’t want me to talk about it and at first it hurt me….then I came to realize it came from their own fears.

I think personally knowing someone with cancer makes it more “real” that it can happen to anyone.  I wasn’t prepared by the silence at first, but they came around to realizing it was ok to ask questions and talk with me about it.

The other surprising thing was the number of people I would run into that I was so blessed by!  I referred to a lot of incidences as “God moments!”  Complete strangers would gravitate to me and be so kind and caring and I was just truly blessed.  The compassion shown by people was amazing and truly kept me going at times.

My sister (who fought breast cancer the year before me) and I would be blessed by people everywhere we went….waiters, waitresses, sales clerks, just everyone!  You truly have no idea what a small gesture can mean to someone fighting cancer!

Is there anything you want to say to readers who may be dealing with cancer treatments right now?
Be proactive and learn everything you can about your disease! Not all breast cancer is the same!  If you don’t understand something, ask your doctors!   Take notes at the doctor’s office.  If he uses a word you don’t understand, look it up or ask them to explain it to you!  Google became my best friend!

You need to educate yourself about your particular disease and treatments and understand what is going on with you and any treatments, surgery, etc. that is recommended.  Don’t be afraid to ask the doctor anything!  The more you understand about your treatment, the less fearful you will be, plus I believe knowledge about your disease is power.  I also recommend that you get treated at a Breast Center where they specialize in your breast health.

Don’t shut people out!  I know some people are more private about their journey than I am and that is certainly ok.  But, be open to God’s blessings that may come to you on your journey from strangers, as well as family and friends.  The support from others is a tremendous help!

I would also recommend finding a good support group.  Talking with people who have “been there, done that” can help so much!  Surround yourself with positive people and stay away from what I call the “doom and gloomers”.  Cancer is not an instant death sentence like years past.  Never give up hope….be ready to fight it!

Keep a positive attitude.  I truly do believe your attitude will help you through it.  And keep a sense of humor….it can help you a lot!  You don’t realize how strong you can be until you have no other choice!

I also suggest that you keep a journal….even if it’s just notations on your calendar.  You will want to remember certain dates and you will be surprised how hard it is to recall later on.  I also highly suggest that you take pictures!  I tried to get pictures of my sister the year before when she was fighting her cancer, but she didn’t want any.  Later she wished she had that picture when she was bald and looked just like daddy or when she was going into surgery, etc.  You don’t need to show anyone else if you don’t want to…but do the journals and pictures for yourself!

Do you have a life motto or quote that keeps you going when times get touch?
When I was on chemo, my motto of “this too shall pass” helped me through the bad times.  I knew I would feel bad for a certain number of days but I also knew there would be a time I would turn around.  So, I just accepted that I would have a certain number of good days out of the month and when I felt bad I’d remind myself that “this too shall pass”.

Also the promise of God that He will be with me was a great comfort and gave me such a peace.  He never promised that I would not have troubles, but He did promise to be at my side and I leaned on that promise!

My other motto was to tell the doctors before surgery that they could do anything as long as they put me to sleep.  lol!  Now that I’m at the end of my treatments….just finishing up my reconstruction….my motto is to not sweat the small stuff and to enjoy life…to live out loud!

Is there anything else that you would like little Indiana readers to know?
Yes, please get your mammograms.  Never skip them!  The key to less treatments and a better chance of survival is early detection!  Don’t have a false security that you can’t get breast cancer because there is no family history in your family.  The fact is….80% of women diagnosed with breast cancer do not have a family history.

It just so happens that my mom and sister were diagnosed with breast cancer just the year before me…..before that we had no family history….then all of a sudden we have 3 in our family diagnosed within 15 months.   Furthermore, I had the genetic testing done and it was found that I did not have the gene that is known to cause breast cancer.

Before my mom and sister and I were diagnosed, I hate to admit that a really knew very little about breast cancer.  I have since learned that 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed and as we age, our risk gets higher.  Also, any men readers….watch for any lumps on your chest area, as men can also get breast cancer!

So, please remember to do self exams and get your mammograms once a year!  And if anyone out there ever wants to talk with me about it, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

I want to thank Jessica for this opportunity to reach out and help others and if you find yourself facing this battle, I’m here for you.  I would love to hear from you!

Living Out Loud

Cindy is living life to the fullest–and loving every minute. Thanks to this Hoosier blogger for sharing her (recovering) world with little Indiana.

Small Towns: Destinations, not Drive-Thrus! I’m Jessica Nunemaker and THIS is little Indiana!

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