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Keeping the Faith




Submitted by:
Krista Thomas

Cindy Thomas was diagnosed with Grade 4 Glioblastoma multi-form brain cancer in July 2017. A week before her diagnosis, she had no real symptoms except for being a little off balance and one Sunday in June she thought she was having her first ever migraine with a very pretty orbital light show in her left eye. She went to her primary doctor facility and the nurse practitioner did not like the symptoms and ordered an MRI. On July 7th, her life and the lives of her family, friends and co-workers were changed forever! Brain cancer, wow we didn’t see that coming! She was referred to a local Neurosurgeon. He delivered the horrifying news, gave her the options and let her determine what course of action she wanted to take. Well one option was to do nothing and be gone in 3-4 months well that wasn’t an option for her! The other was to have radiation and chemo without surgery or for greater results to improve her longevity to include brain surgery. This is the option she went with. She did not want to travel during her surgery and recovery time and be away from her family and friends and since there were no current case studies being done in the area she chose to stay locally. The time before surgery she lost her peripheral vision in her left eye. It simply disappeared while working. Very scary. About 2 weeks later she had the surgery and did amazingly well. Her fighting spirit and determination (some refer to it as hard headedness!) kicked in and she was up walking the halls on day 3 and able to leave the hospital on day 4. The drive home from the hospital, was interesting, she thought my dad was driving on the grass and going to run into cars! The double vision only lasted about 24 hours. The first couple days at home were challenging, but started feeling stronger each day. She walked around the house and did chair exercises just to try and build up her strength. By the next week she was feeling so well, she started walking a mile just about every day. The second week she was up to 2 miles most days. She figured if she was strong enough to walk this much there is no reason why she cannot go back to work (internal bank auditor). So week 3 she went back part-time and did very well. Again, that determination and fighting spirit kicked in! About 3 weeks later she was able to be back to work full-time. By then it was time to begin daily radiation treatments which went fine. The first time you are strapped down on that table in the mesh mask was a little scary, but you get used to it. She lost her hair in about week 4 and did ok with it, we found a wig that was so close to her hair color and style that no one could tell it wasn’t hers! Our amazing family had a wrapped gifts for her each day of her treatments. Not big gifts, little things such as socks, lip balm, mints, coloring books, brain games, inspirational items, etc. It gave her something to think about while she was strapped to the radiation table and think about what little gift she got to open today. That truly helped her get through each day. She made it through the treatments, then the double dose of chemo pills and kept on fighting. Most days she did really well staying positive and keeping her faith, but on a few days she had what she called my “whiny baby days” She didn’t have many. She was having the “normal” every 2 month‘s MRI expecting continued good results, but unfortunately she wasn’t done fighting! The tumor grew back bigger and angrier and she was back scheduling a second surgery in 7 months. This surgery she did not bounce back as quickly as the first one and lost the clarity of vision in both eyes. Well there went her driver’s license! That was a very hard pill to swallow and still is to this day. But she says you get used to the new normal. You don’t have to like it, but you have to deal with it. She did go back to work full time after 6 weeks, but could not be an effective auditor with the poor eyesight and cognitive ability slightly diminished she will have to retire. She is in the process of training people so she can retire in about a month. She says she has been so blessed to have an employer that has a heart and truly cares for their employees. They have been a Godsend during this entire ordeal. My dad retired a week before her first surgery and has taken such great care of my step-mom. She always says she does not know what she would do without him. She has an amazing supportive family and a wealth of friends without them during this time would have been so much more challenging. The care she received through the SSM network has truly been amazing. What she has is not good, but if she can help people realize that they cannot give up even at the hardest of times, stay strong, keep your faith and trust in yourself and stay positive. One cannot crawl into a ball and give up, it is not an option! She doesn’t realize the lives she has touched during this time and have helped them re-focus their life, be strong and say, if Cindy can do it, so can I! DONATE NOW