breast cancer survivor shares her storyCyndi Dwyer is a practical woman. When she undertakes home improvement projects, she’s not afraid to hang dry wall and rewire the electricity and – in the case of her ongoing kitchen renovation – do dishes in the bathtub if need be.

So when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2013, she cried once, when she told her husband, and that was the end of that. “I had cancer. It just needed to be taken care of. I didn’t see it as any different than when I had a torn rotator cuff. I just needed to get it fixed and move on with my life,” said Cyndi, 60, who administers the special education program at her high school.

It helped that she has been a devotee of annual mammograms and her previous one had been clean. And because the cancer was found in its early stages, she did not have to have radiation or chemotherapy and was able to start her reconstruction in the same surgery as her bilateral mastectomy.

Dwyer said the care at TMC helped her get through a trying time. Her family appreciated the ability to track her as she moved from pre-op, to surgery, to recovery, without having to wonder where she as in the process. She appreciated her surgeons, as well as the attentive, friendly staff, including the nurses who answered her call button promptly. She loved the fact that TMC features all private rooms. “There are some things your doctor will talk to you about that are personal. A curtain really doesn’t do the job.”

There was plenty of space for her family to visit, and the rooms themselves were relaxing and comfortable, she said. “I felt really well taken care of and I also felt kind of at home,” Dwyer said. “I wasn’t just another patient. They really acted like they cared.”

“No one wants a diagnosis of cancer, but at least the whole experience was positive. It was as good as it could get if you have to have cancer.”

Back at work and back at the gym, she’s hoping her kitchen is back soon, so she’ll be back to whipping up some of the creamy desserts she’s famous for.

But she’s also finding far more patience and is letting more things go that might have irritated or worried her previously. “Life’s too short. When you find out you have cancer, it is a clear reminder of that. Fortunately, my reminder was relatively easy to come through, but it is still a reminder that anything can happen at any minute, so you have to be grateful for what you have.”


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