Meet Cindy Bennett, a Survivor of Triple Negative High Grade Ductal Carcinoma. Read Cindy's story as she navigated through a life with cancer, her chemotherapy experience, support groups that helped her get through, and so much more! You can follow her on instagram here.
Hi Cindy! Please tell us a little about yourself, what type of cancer were you diagnosed with, and when did you receive your diagnosis?
I was diagnosed with Triple Negative High Grade Ductal Carcinoma - Breast Cancer on March 26, 2020. I remember it like it was yesterday. My doctor initially thought that I had an infection in my lymph nodes, only to find out through a biopsy that it in fact was breast cancer. Since I was diagnosed when COVID started, I was told that I would have to find my own doctor, and that she didn't know who would be able to see me because of Covid restrictions.
I ended up contacting Moffitt Cancer Institute in Tampa and they got me in right away. A month later, I had surgery to remove my tumor, and later was told that they got it all, and that I was cancer free, but needed to go through chemotherapy, and radiation, in order to make sure that the cancer does not return.
Tell us about your life during chemotherapy.
Throughout my chemo, I didn't have any issues, other than a little tiredness, and I loss my hair right away. My hair before chemo, was nice and thick, and very curly. After chemo, it is now very straight and dry, and I do not have a whole head of hair, I am still bald in spots. I hate the way my hair looks. I was given nausea pills to take but I had already told myself that I wasn't going to take them unless it was absolutely necessary. I purchased the nausea bands called sea bands at Walmart. They are used for nausea, but most use when they are on a cruise. I wore them day and night, and of course not in the shower, but they worked and I never had to take any of the nausea medication that was given to me. I am all about doing things naturally if I can, plus God created food to heal us.
Cindy is wearing the High Fashion wig by Raquel Welch in the shade 26SS Chardonnay from our shop. Isn't she absolutely gorgeous!?
Cancer changes us in more ways than one. Do you think cancer affected your life family life and relationships?
Cancer was a topic that no one in my family mentioned, and if I brought it up, they seemed to look or act uncomfortable. I knew that they were wondering if I was going to die. I went through my cancer journey without emotional support, so that made it that much harder for me, but I learned to become my own cheerleader and advocate. I would sit in the waiting rooms alone and wondered how it would feel to have someone there by my side, to support me. I often had a ride there, but my loved ones would just drop me off, and wait elsewhere.
I am sorry to hear that. I can't even imagine how difficult it must have been to go through this alone. Did you join any cancer support groups?
I joined an online cancer support group, that was with Moffitt Cancer Institute, and that really helped, it made me feel stronger, and like I was not alone anymore. The sessions were via zoom.
It definitely takes a village to get through cancer. I am glad to hear you were able to find a support group that helped you through your journey. Do you have any tips or resources that you would like to share with other cancer patients or caregivers?
My tip is to never give up, and allow yourself to feel what ever you are feeling but do not wallow in self pity, because your cells need to recognize that you are in fighting mode, so that they can respond to the treatments in a positive way. I made a conscience decision to give myself one month to mourn, cry in my pillow, or do what ever, to release some of the sadness that I was feeling, and after that I was in beast mode, and I knew I was ready to fight.
I also started growing aloe vera, pineapple, and ginger, because I knew that I needed to prepare my immune system for the chemotherapy. I knew that if my immune system wasn't strong then I would not be able to get chemo. I boiled the ginger and drank that and aloe vera juice, and that did the trick. I also continued to exercise and made sure to stay in the sun for about 30 minutes a day, because that is a natural immune booster, not to mention, exercise is what kept my mind and body strong.
Thank you for such a great advice. We know that the Breast Cancer Battle is filled with many ups and downs. Is there a particular memory that you remember about your cancer journey that you'd like to share with us?
My cancer journey was easy compared to others, but it was still very scary to hear those words, "you have breast cancer." I learned to appreciate life, and to notice the little things, like the color of the trees, they seemed more greener than I remembered. Learn to laugh more too. I would put on funny shows to promote laughter, and I knew my cells were listening.
I used exercise to trick my mind into thinking, I was still healthy. You notice I said trick my mind instead of my body. Well we all know that our bodies follow our minds.
If anyone has any questions for me, please do not hesitate to email me. I did other things too, like eat to survive and not to taste.
My dad use to say this to me, always, he would say "Cintavose (thats my nick name), "Eat to survive and not to taste, if you want to be healthy."
As a child I didn't understand that, but when I had chemo, and I didn't have an appetite, I remembered what he would say to me.