MALONE — A positive attitude, support from loved ones and lots of walking transformed Cindy Wemette from a breast-cancer victim to an inspirational survivor.
She will be the guest speaker Saturday when Scott Smith’s Towing hosts a breast-cancer fundraising walk through downtown Malone.
It was Thanksgiving night 2012 that Wemette discovered a mass in her left breast that initially tested as benign.
“I knew it wasn’t benign,” she said, and she insisted her doctor redo the test.
This time, he went deeper into the tissue for a sample to biopsy.
“The mass was so hard, it bent the surgical scissors,” Wemette said.
She had Stage 3 cancer, which spread under her arm and into her lymph nodes.
Wemette had a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery of her breast at the same time, “but it didn’t take,” she said.
“I had the most beautiful breast for one day. But they had to take it all back off.”
Other complications followed the surgery “that were no fault of the doctor’s,” and she was left with golf-ball-size holes across her stomach where sutures were used.
Healing was slow, and her physician encouraged her to eat more protein-rich foods and to walk to reduce the chance of developing blood clots.
Once she began to move, Wemette said, she transformed.
“I went from a size 18 to a size 4-6, I lost 57 pounds the healthy way, and I walk 5 to 10 miles a day.”
One of her late-night therapeutic walks made her husband, Jim, uneasy when it brought her a little too close to a bear.
“I told him, ‘God didn’t go to all the trouble of having me beat cancer so a bear could eat me,’” she said.
Wemette, who is a teaching assistant at Davis Elementary School in Malone, underwent a course of chemotherapy and was determined to stay positive despite the discomfort and the loss of her hair.