Back in October 2015, life was busy and hectic for Cindy Lantz of Shawnee.

Back in October 2015, life was busy and hectic for Cindy Lantz of Shawnee.

She always had regular mammograms every October because of a family history. And each time, everything was fine. So when her scheduled mammogram appointment approached, she contemplated skipping it for a year.

“Life was busy, my work schedule was extremely busy and I just didn't want to take the time,” she said. “I justified it all in my head and told myself, 'oh I would know if something was wrong, I always have good results so going every other year will be okay.'”

But at the same time, she had been extremely tired, attributing that to her busy life. Her daughter, Melissa, kept encouraging her to go for the appointment.

“Thank goodness I did,” Lantz said. “I know how lucky I am that my cancer was caught early.”

She had her mammogram on a Friday. Her doctor called her Monday telling her to come in for a biopsy on Wednesday.

“I was diagnosed with Stage 1 Infiltrating Ductal Carcinoma, Grade 2,” she said. “My doctor told me this was just a bump in the road of life. It was not the end of the road, just a detour.”

Since her tumor was caught early, she had no lymph node involvement and needed radiation treatments. Lantz had a lumpectomy in December 2015.

During treatment, she had a Savi Catheter. And while it was awkward for 10 days, she just kept telling herself she could get through it. She had treatments twice a day, once in the morning and late afternoon, for five days.

“My husband named the catheter Charlotte because it looked like a spider with its head buried and its legs sticking out (the leads for radiation seeds),” she said. “We had to find some humor I guess. My doctors and treatment team got a good laugh out of that.”

At first, Lantz said she was scared about the diagnosis, even though she felt she would be cured. She said her mother and two aunts are breast cancer survivors — her mother is now 86 and one of her aunts just celebrated her 102nd birthday.

“When I would find myself getting antsy, I would calm myself, especially during treatments by remembering my favorite Bible verse, “Be still and know that I am God,'” she said. “So that is what I did. I knew that this was beyond my control and I had faith that God would orchestrate it all.”

Her husband, Alan, was by her side at every appointment, she said. She knew she had an amazing family and her friends and co-workers also were supportive, but she also had other signs of encouragement.

“I do believe our loved ones that have gone before us send us signs sometimes. My dad would always tell me when I was worried about something, 'it will be okay.' He passed in 2010 and I believe I received a sign that I would be okay,” she said. “When I was checking in for my first radiation treatment, I was pretty nervous and I looked down on the floor right by my foot and there was a penny. I like to think it was my penny from heaven letting me know he was thinking about me and 'it would be okay.' I still have the penny. Whether it was or not, it gave me peace and courage when I needed it.”

Because her cancer was estrogen fed — or sensitive — she is on a hormone blocker for probably five or six years. Some of the medication side effects have been rough, she said, mainly the joint pain, but it is starting to adjust somewhat.

She now has a mammogram every six months and will probably do so for another year or so, then hopefully she will be able to go to once a year screenings again. 

Now that she's experienced the detour in life called cancer, Lantz said tries not to take life for granted and enjoy and love the people God has placed in her life.

“I want to reach out and be supportive of other people who may be going through their own battle. It meant so much when someone that has been there took the time to reach out to me,” she said.

Lantz also encourages women to get their mammograms.

“Get your mammogram done every year. Take the hour or so that you need to get it done, everything else can wait,” she said. “If I would have put mine off my story could be very different.”