As a nurse, Stephanie was always caring for others. But the tables were turned when she was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer (mBC).
Catching up with Cynthia—a story of inner strength
LIVING WITH CANCER SINCE 2015
When we caught up with Cynthia, she was up in the Pocono Mountains with her rescue pup. Her positivity and creative spirit were unmistakable. It’s hard to believe it’s been almost seven years since her diagnosis of stage 2 breast cancer. While she’s now in remission, Cynthia’s experiences living with and fighting cancer have shaped her outlook on life and helped her discover who she really is.
Cynthia has always been able to express herself through creative outlets, which has helped with healing throughout her journey. These days, she’s composing and producing music for TV and film. Being a professional DJ (@DJCherishTheLuv) continuously brings her joy and composing allows her to express her emotions. Some days when she feels tense or stressed, writing or listening to music helps her relax.
"Music is more than just a job for me. It’s really kind of medicine. It’s therapy for me as well.”
She started writing daily "cancer diaries" online when she was first diagnosed, sharing her experiences and emotions with friends, family—and even strangers. She’s been praised for thinking differently and is now working on turning her day-to-day experiences into a book for anyone who’s living with cancer.
When Cynthia was first diagnosed, she experienced many different emotions—shock, then fear, and then hope. Looking back, she now knows cancer can be survivable and wants to inspire others with her experience so they can feel the same way.
“If you have inner strength and support—from this program, from people at the hospital, from friends and family—along with good nutrition and a good mindset, you come out of it different, stronger.”
As one of the original faces of the This Is Living With Cancer™ program, Cynthia took the opportunity to share her voice and her story with the world. Reflecting on the experience of filming her video and appearing on a billboard in Times Square, she believes that being a part of the program helped her see her strengths and not her weaknesses. She said, “It was the period at the end of the sentence to my diagnosis. I got to walk away from my diagnosis feeling strong.”
Cynthia has channeled that inner strength when facing other struggles in her life, such as learning how to find self-love and self-worth after having a mastectomy.
“Do we ever move past the challenges? They just become part of the profile of you.”
In her cancer journey and beyond, Cynthia has always looked toward a positive outcome instead of letting the doom and fear drag her down. She reminds herself that she still has a lot of life left to live and hopes that she can still do all the things that she dreams of doing. Quotes on her bathroom mirror, like “Keep creating positive experiences for yourself,” help keep her focused. She also wakes up each day with the mindset that she can make the next 24 hours anything she wants it to be.
Having gone through this difficult experience, Cynthia strives to help as many people who are living with cancer as she can. When others reach out after hearing her story, she’s always there to offer advice and share her experiences.
Her first piece of advice after receiving a diagnosis is to always get a second opinion. Cynthia also stresses the importance of rest and finding what works for you.
“Whenever you can find rest, take rest. The healing doesn’t come from the outside. Tap into your core. So many things I learned by discovering them for myself. There are things that work for you and only you. Discover those and become really intimate with those things.”
If you can, she encourages you to rest before appointments rather than after them. And when it comes to self-care, Cynthia is a strong believer in the importance of getting tests such as yearly mammograms and cancer screenings. “Don’t ignore yourself because you’re taking care of other people.”
As Cynthia looks ahead to the future and her goals as an author and music professional, she’s working on finding the right balance between rest and productivity. In the meantime, you can find her at the beach, listening to nature sounds and taking long drives with her pup.
“By the time I am in my 80s, I will say it [cancer] was just another bump in the road.”