Cynthia Highfield moved from Ohio to Chicago to accept a promotion. She was here just a few months when her company laid her off. She found another job but wondered why she ended up here, away from family and lifelong friends.
That question was answered for her a few years later, she says, when she was diagnosed with cancer and discovered Waterford Place Cancer Resource Center.
“Waterford Place was so welcoming,” she recalls. “Everyone learned my name. I’ve made wonderful friendships that have been so helpful in my journey. Why I ended up here was answered.”
Friends in Ohio and Maryland — where she had lived most of her life — said they were unaware of any program in their area like Waterford Place.
“Not a lot of communities have programs like this,” she says, “and I feel so bad if you don’t have one. It’s a blessing, a lifeline.”
Positive, uplifting friends
Through Waterford Place, Cynthia has met new friends, some with the same type of cancer. Having people to talk to and hearing what they have gone through has been extremely helpful to her. They share what has helped them. And she says they’ve been positive and uplifting, unlike some other groups.
“At Waterford Place, I hear positive stories,” she says. “Some people here have been cancer-free for a few years. They’ve been nothing but positive and encouraging.”
Diagnosed with breast cancer more than a year ago, her journey has been longer than she anticipated. She has had surgery and chemotherapy and still has radiation and reconstruction ahead of her.
She believes Waterford Place has “absolutely” been a factor in her survivorship. Told by her nurse navigator that exercise would help her through treatment, she says the Waterford programs give her incentive to participate. Without them, it would be easy to fall into a routine of just sitting at home.
“I am so thankful for this facility and the people who run it,” she says.
Programs that help you feel better
Cynthia has taken advantage of many Waterford Place programs — from exercise classes to massage to facials, including some therapies she had never heard of, like reflexology. She says each program has been wonderful, helping her feel better as she goes through treatment.
She also notes how helpful the providers at Waterford Place are, modifying exercises for each person depending on how they feel that day. Massage therapists even made modifications to allow her to have a massage while she could not lie on her stomach.
Her advice to others with cancer is to take advantage of all the different programs that Waterford Place offers.
“I am so grateful and appreciative of this program that seems to be a rarity,” she says. “What a goldmine! It’s a gift.”