Miss Cindy Hickman prefers the title, “Fixer of small things” to her professional title of front-of-house manager of Sodexho campus services.
“I can fix anything small,” Miss Cindy said. “If you have a headache, I can fix it. If you need a place to stay, I can fix it. If you need a ride to the airport, I can fix it. If you’re sad, I can fix it. If you need a Band-Aid, I can fix it.”
But Miss Cindy couldn’t find a Band-Aid big enough to fix herself when she was diagnosed with stage 4 Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma last month.
Miss Cindy first sought medical attention in August when severe pain in her left arm wouldn’t go away despite frequent ice and ibuprofen treatments. After an x-ray detected a large bone lesion on her arm, Miss Cindy still remained optimistic.
“I’ve always been very healthy,” she said. “I mean, I don’t miss work ever. I was sure it was just a bone infection.”
Yet, Miss Cindy’s optimism was severely shaken when the scans detected between 20 to 30 spots in her knees, arms, and pelvis where the bone marrow had been completely eaten away by the cancer.
The moments and procedures that followed her diagnosis could only be described as “shocking” and “scary.” After her first round of six chemotherapy treatments in Rochester, Miss Cindy faced the hardest struggle of her life. “That’s when I said, ‘That’s it! I’m gonna quit. I’m not going to do this anymore.”
Miss Cindy’s immeasurable strength and fighting personality only let her become discouraged for a brief moment before she answered back, “That’s stupid. It’ll be ok.”
Despite the painful chemotherapy treatments, tears shed with family and friends and constant temptation to become discouraged and give up, Miss Cindy’s strength and spunk have been upheld by a power greater than her own.
“Without God, nothing would be possible. He has been so gracious and loving,” she said. “He has been by my side every step.”
Miss Cindy is proud to share that she has also been greatly blessed by many people during this experience.
“We have gotten a lot closer as a family through this,” she said. “It’s also been humbling because I’ve always taken my health for granted.”
The Northwestern community has also been a huge blessing to her since the very beginning. From her coworkers in the kitchen, to the students, to her church to even her hairdresser, Miss Cindy has received an amazing amount of support from the community.
“People have just been lovely to me,” she said. “Everybody has been shockingly awesome.”
With a wonderful support system and an 80 percent cure rate, Miss Cindy has the utmost confidence that she will be the victor in this fight. Having undergone three rounds of chemo so far, almost all of the spots on her bones have disappeared.
Miss Cindy, the “Fixer of small things,” is expiencing some big fixing of her own.