“If you have what I think you have, you may only have six months to live,”
he said with a serious look on his face.
I was in shock. What was he saying? I felt fine and could not imagine for a moment I could die within six months. The doctor said he was quite certain I had iris melanoma, an extremely rare, highly lethal form of eye cancer that grows around the iris. Once it has grown all the way around the iris, it quickly spreads to the liver and throughout the body. My best chance for survival – if the cancer had not yet spread – was to remove my eye.
This book follows my life during a six-year period and contains some of my journal entries and post-surgery pictures. I recount my experience with eye cancer, which includes testing and diagnosis, eye removal surgery, the recovery period, my prosthetic eye fitting, adjusting to single-eye vision, the complications, a second corrective surgery, and a second recovery period.
Along the way, I reflect on my life prior to my diagnosis, including my teenage pregnancy, my struggle with depression and anxiety, and my mother’s battle with cancer that began two decades before mine.
My close relationship with my fiancé, Gary, is evident throughout my story. I describe how patient and accommodating he was while helping me navigate through a life-altering, life-threatening illness. When I was facing the possibility of a second dangerous cancer scare, we decided to get married and Gary became my son’s legal father.
Cindy Nightingale received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature from St. Thomas University in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada. For over a decade she worked for a financial institution, but due to her debilitating inflammatory polyarthritis and fibromyalgia, she resigned in 2015. Since leaving her position, Cindy has been focusing on her health, finishing her book, and creating her business, Nightingale Creations. Her business was born out of necessity when she lost her eye to cancer and found herself in need of an eyepatch. When she wasn’t able to find anything she liked, she designed a fashionable and comfortable eyepatch that fits on the wearer’s glasses. Cindy has created options for adults, children and those needing a custom size or wanting a unique look. She recently designed an arm sling for those wanting a stylish option, and a line of glass and precious-stone easy-to-wear jewelry for those with arthritis or other mobility issues. Cindy lives in Hanwell, New Brunswick, Canada with her husband, Gary, and two German shepherds named Rio and Riley.
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