Cindy Schuhmacher Cindy's Care Bridge

First post: Jul 6, 2022 Latest post: Jul 12, 2022
As I sit here contemplating and searching for the right words to convey “Cindy’s Story,” I find myself struggling to accept a reality whose existence I can no longer deny. With every word I attempt put to down, with every diagnostic detail relating to her illness that I try to relay, I’m overwhelmed by memories of those “taken-for-granted” moments that I had assumed were long forgotten. Her embrace when the world seemed terrifying and hurtful, the sound of her voice as she soothed my childish fears of the dark, the joy on her face as she watched my brother and I tear open gifts on Christmas morning. While the story of Cindy is a complex and multilayered narrative, Cindy’s Story is a blunt edged emotional blow to everyone who knows and loves her, yet it is a story that I feel should be heard.
While the pandemic saw my mom being admitted to the ICU with Covid-19, her tenacious spirit and grit helped her meet this challenge with a smile (I wish I could post the picture she sent me from the ER, tubes attached and all, yet still smiling ear-to-ear). Little did my mom know that her own mother would soon be diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer, upending her world and that of her family as well. My grandmother, my mom’s mother was dying, and according to the doctors, there was nothing that could be done. No less than 5 months later, my mom (Cindy) began to notice that her ability to breath was becoming increasingly more difficult day by day. Being tough as nails, and always believing that she could handle whatever her Asthma threw at her, my mom simply battled back, and did not miss a beat. My mom and my grandma even took a trip out to Colorado to visit myself and my fiancé, oblivious to what was truly happening inside her body. She eventually sought the advice of a doctor and was told that she had pneumonia. The doctor supplied her with medications, yet her health did not improve. Further tests and examinations revealed that my mom had a golf-ball sized tumor located in her lungs, and “luckily” for her, this tumor was discovered a couple weeks before her insurance kicked in at her new job. How ironic. How devastating. How disgusting the healthcare system in America truly is. It was now evidently clear that my mother was not battling a case of pneumonia, but she was about to begin a very serious battle with what appeared to be cancer. As my mother (Cindy Lee, Aka Cin-City) continued to update me about her health, and as I began the habit of screaming into my pillow at night (and in the morning) due to realization that both my grandmother and mother had been diagnosed with cancer and were residing only a few floors away from each other within the same hospital, things took an even more terrifying turn. My mother was informed that she not only had stage 4 lung cancer, but that it had also spread to her brain and to her bones. The pain that my mother was/is constantly enduring stems from her multiple broken ribs caused by the cancer having spread into her rib-bones, coupled with the massive tumor that is currently lodged inside of her lungs. There is an old saying that speaks to situations going from bad to worse, and believe me, there are no words in any language that can accurately describe the emotional chaos that invaded my mind the moment my mother delivered this news to me. This is not Cindy’s Story; this is OUR reality. In a world that continually and readily bombards us with reminders of our fragility and destructive ways, nothing quite prepares us for what the universal experience/expectation of loss does to our mind and body.
The purpose of relating this story to the public is not to see how high we can get my mom’s gofundme (although every donation helps), the intent behind me posting this story is based on the factual evidence showing that individuals who receive positive support and motivation from others actually have a better prognosis and survival rate when facing ill health. If you have taken the time to read this story, PLEASE consider sending my mom your love in any way, shape, or form that feels right for you! Any sort of positivity is welcomed and encouraged, as we know that simple acts of kindness and expressions of love are exactly what the world needs right now.

Carlee Schuhmacher

“A thought transfixed me: for the first time in my life, I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth – that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which an individual can aspire.”
~ Viktor Frankl – Man’s Search for Meaning