Keeping A Positive Attitude

By January 8, 2016Life with cancer

Cindy Frey McCurdy was 36 years old, living in Glen Rock and working three jobs when she started feeling bad. She was stressed and fatigued, felt bloated, had abdominal pain and her menstrual cycle had changed.  She went to several doctors and ended up in the emergency room. “The doctors couldn’t find anything wrong with me. One doctor even laughed at me when I told her I thought I was having early menopause. It was frustrating and scary,” she says.

Cindy finally found a doctor who recognized the seriousness of these vague symptoms and ran some initial tests. “The blood work was bad. The ultrasound wasn’t good. I needed to go to Memorial Hospital for an abdominal scope but I knew I had cancer.” Her friends surrounded her with love and support but at this point she knew she needed family.  “I called my mom who lives in Reno and my dad even though we weren’t close at the time.” My mom came to be with me.

It was her first ever trip to the hospital. Cindy remembers waking up from the procedure, “Everybody was so nice. I had a wonderful doctor and wonderful nurses but my doctor was crying. I was still drugged and wasn’t upset when she told me I had Stage IV ovarian cancer and needed emergency surgery.” They transported Cindy to Denver immediately for a hysterectomy to remove the cancer.  But these results were not good either. The surgeon described her cancer as “so small and so spread out that it was like handfuls of salt.” She would need to wait six weeks to recover before starting chemotherapy.

“I had adult things to think about. I had three jobs and a cat but I knew I needed my mother and stepfather to get through this. I decided to go live with them in Reno for my chemotherapy.”  Cindy’s medical oncologist had a good reputation but didn’t give her the sense that he cared. He used medical terms she didn’t understand and didn’t take time to explain them. He also didn’t take time to listen to her and answer questions. The nurses in the infusion room were rushed. Cindy believed she was getting the medical treatment that she needed but not the attention and care she needed.

After a year of chemotherapy treatments, Cindy was in remission and made plans to move back to Casper with her boyfriend. Her oncologist told her that she could get her diagnostic and lab work done in Casper but that she would need to come back to Reno for more treatments.

When Cindy went to Rocky Mountain Oncology for follow up and blood tests, she was convinced her otherwise. “I liked Dr. Rosen. He explained things so I could understand, spent time with me, and I knew he cared. I immediately fell in love with the nurses and knew I would stay here in Casper.”

Cindy has not had a break from chemotherapy for over a year. She calls going to “oncology” (as she fondly refers to Rocky Mountain Oncology) her full-time job and says having cancer has taught her a lot about life, “I don’t take little things for granted – simple things in life like having the strength the vacuum or driving to the store. I’ve become very close with my dad again. I’ve experienced things on my bucket list – a trip to Hawaii and getting to swim with the dolphins in the Bahamas.”

Every day this beautiful woman gets up and fights for her own life, but she also fights for the lives of all women – daughters, mothers, sisters, and wives. She’s passionate about educating others about ovarian cancer in hopes of recognizing the symptoms and getting an early diagnosis. “Women know their bodies. I wish I had kept a journal so I encourage women to keep track of their symptoms if something isn’t right,” says Cindy.

Her voice is being heard in the news and in videos for Wyoming Medical Center, the annual Angels Program Gala dinner, the Sawyer Brown concert and Rodeo Rick. She’s created pamphlets and even has billboards around town.

In the beginning, Cindy was given four to six months to live. She’s approaching four years. However, her legacy of making a difference through inspiring and educating us will last forever.

Diagnosis:
Stage IV Ovarian Cancer

Therapies:
Surgery, Chemotherapy, Physical Therapy, Yoga, Massage                                         

Advice:

  • Keep a positive attitude
  • Surround yourself with positive people and stay away from negative people
  • Stay active
  • Do the things you enjoy
  • Always have something planned to look forward to
  • Communicate with family and friends using the “spoon theory
  • Be grateful for the simple things in life
  • Keep a journal to document changes if you are having symptoms
  • Reach out to the Angels Program for help and support

Signs & Symptoms:  

  • Fatigue
  • Feeling bloated
  • Feeling full quickly when eating
  • Pelvic or abdominal pain
  • Changes in menstrual cycle
  • Urinary symptoms

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