Sparkle of Hope: Fighting cancer during the pandemic

Eight years after fending off cancer, she was fighting for her life again.
Fighting Cancer During The Pandemic

MADISON, Wis. — Cindy Mikula was doing all she could, fighting to ensure her Endometrial cancer didn’t come back.

“I went all through the years and kept doing all my appointments,” Mikula said. “No problems whatsoever.”

But even with all of that effort…

“This past fall, I ended up with a cough.”

The holidays came and went, and Mikula knew she would need to go to the doctor, where she faced a grim diagnosis.

“Needless to say you could have blown me over with a feather,” Mikula said. “I couldn’t believe what I was reading.”

Eight years after fending off cancer, she was fighting for her life again.

Doctors had found a mass in Mikula’s lung, other smaller tumors, and enlarged lymph nodes.

“I had no idea this cancer would metastasize into my lung,” she said. “I thought I was free and clear.”

Faced with a difficult road ahead, Mikula turned to the OB-GYN specialists at the University of Wisconsin’s Carbone Cancer Center.

Her fight would only get harder, as COVID restrictions placed more hurdles in her path.

“I couldn’t take anybody with me,” Mikula said. “I was going to these appointments by myself scared half to death.”

Carbone Cancer Center doctor Ellen Hartenbach says that this is a struggle many [patients have faced.

“I think that’s been one of the hardest things, ” Dr. Hartenbach said. “When people couldn’t bring people in.”

Despite the challenges put in front of her, Mikula and her healthcare team have persevered. Recent scans even gave her reason for optimism.

“It was my tumor,” Mikula said. “My large tumor had shrunk from a size of a softball, probably to the size of a golf ball.”

“Yeah,” Dr. Hartenbach said. “It’s really been a pretty dramatic drop.

Now, this mother, wife, and grandmother is busy looking forward.