Although none of us ever expect to hear those dreaded words “you have breast cancer” women are faced with it every day. Though tears come quickly when someone is diagnosed with this dreaded disease, cancer research is progressing rapidly and we are looking forward to the day when a cure is found for this six-letter word and it is no longer a threat to our lives.
Cindy Hewitt, of Red Boiling Springs, didn’t have breast cancer in her family, and like a lot of us she didn’t have regular checkups; but life as she knew it came to a grinding halt 17 years ago when she found a lump in her breast after taking a shower. Then 43-years-old, Cindy says she didn’t sleep at all that night during October of 1995, and at 6:00 a.m. the next morning she made an appointment at UMC, as she began her journey into the uncertain world of cancer.
“The test showed a small mass but after Dr. Warren, of Lebanon, examined me,” said Cindy, “he said he didn’t think it was anything to worry about, although it did need to come out.”
Cindy says she didn’t have a good feeling and decided to wait and have a biopsy. On Monday, October 31st, Halloween, Dr. Warren called Mrs. Hewitt personally and told her she had breast cancer.
Looking back, Cindy remembers how scared she was and she asked Dr. Warren if she was going to die. “He told me unless I had a car wreck or jumped off a building,” Cindy smiled, “he was going to do everything he could to prevent this from happening.
The doctor told Mrs. Hewitt it would be a long process and take a good two years out of her life. “He said it was a hard road, but it was one that could be traveled,” Cindy recalled him saying.
Placing her life in God’s hands, Mrs. Hewitt said she had a lumpectomy two weeks later and they also took out six lymph nodes. After healing for a short time, she had three aggressive chemo treatments and then after another short rest, she had 37 radiation treatments, every day but Saturday and Sundays.
“Many elements played a part in my road to recovery,” Cindy said, “my loving husband, Phil, my daughter Heather, and many good friends. They were all a wonderful support system and they were there for me through all the emotions and fears.”
“I have been cancer free for many years,” continued Cindy, “but I have had a few scares. I have a mammogram and blood work every year. I am one of the lucky ones and I realize the key is early detection.”
Cindy told me that she knew she would do something to be a part of helping other women going through the same journey. She said breast cancer gave her a second chance in life and today when she finds out someone has been diagnosed with cancer she calls them and explains that she been where they are. “I tell other women that I have been there myself and I answer any questions they might have. I also tell them that it is okay to be scared, because fear is not a weakness.”
“Cancer has made me a better person,” Cindy said as tears pooled in her eyes, “and I have taken something bad and turned it into something good. My spirituality and belief in God has enabled me to become a survivor and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I believe that every day is a gift and I want to try and give back.”
Cindy says that we should never forget the important of faith and prayer. “I enjoy telling my story and there is life after breast cancer.”