The Cindy Fowler Story

When Colorado-native Cindy Fowler found out she had breast cancer, she was able to keep a remarkable attitude. “I learned how strong I am, and the busier you can keep yourself, the better,” she said, “I learned I could still have fun.”

Attitude is half the battle when facing cancer. The other half? Education.

“I know I am in the best hands possible. I totally trust my doctors, and I am confident they are doing everything they can.” Still, though, upon diagnosis, Cindy and her husband threw themselves into research to find out everything they could about breast cancer.

As she arrived home from visiting her daughter, who was studying abroad, Cindy felt a lump in her breast. The mammograms were normal. However, “I was lucky enough to have a primary care physician who said, ‘I am not an expert in breast cancer, and I want you to see someone who is.’” Further diagnostic tools showed that Cindy had multifocal cancer of the left breast.

One of her doctors, Chris Martlett, M.D. and Medical Director of the Memorial Breast Care Center and diagnostic mammography services, explained that “The Breast Center concept has dramatically changed how breast cancer is treated.” They move through the system of treatment as quickly as they can.

A nurse navigator was even available, at no extra charge, to help Cindy through treatment, care coordination, appointment scheduling and referrals, questions, and offering outside resources (like the Memorial’s library, complementary care, rehabilitation, and support groups).

Cindy chose a double mastectomy as her first course of action because of her family history. After that, she moved onto chemotherapy treatment, radiation treatment, and endocrine therapy.

Dr. Kurbegov explained that “one of the differences between chemo now and 10 years ago is that we can manage side effects well.” Another important reason to understand your disease and stay well informed. Cindy knew she had a history of peptic ulcer which could be irritated during her chemo, so she was prescribed stomach pain and cramping medicine.

Her experience with chemo was not at all what she expected. She admitted to be tired, and sometimes dizzy, but she was OK. She thought it was going to be a lot worse than it was.

In fact, while going through treatment, Cindy was able to step up and put together an incredibly successful fundraiser called Cowgirls and Cocktails. The first event raised $8,000 for three local organizations, two of which are breast cancer charities. Now, three years later, the event raised $23,000.

Cindy wants women, and everyone, really, to learn from her experience. Keeping an actively happy attitude can make all the difference in your lifestyle.

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