Cindy A. Nightingale
Categories: Female Authors - Authors of Non-Fiction - Saint John River Valley
Source: Author / auteure
Cindy Nightingale (nee MacIntyre) has lived in New Brunswick since she was 14 years old. Her parents were both from Prince Edward Island and moved to Ontario seeking employment in the 1960's where Cindy was born. Missing the Maritimes, Cindy's parents moved the family first to PEI then, a few years later, they settled in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Cindy graduated from Fredericton High School in 1985, had a wonderful baby boy in 1986, and received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from St. Thomas University in 1994. After graduation, Cindy eventually found a stable position at a financial institution in Fredericton. In 2004, Cindy's life was upended when she lost her eye to cancer. She was determined to document her experience to share with others, however, she had difficulty finishing her book due to the anxiety and depression she felt while recounting her experience. In 2015, Cindy was forced to resign due to her ongoing health issues with inflammatory poly arthritis and fibromyalgia. With the encouragement of her husband, Cindy finally decided to finish her memoir and develop her business, Nightingale Creations, a creative outlet for Cindy to make eye patches, arm slings, and jewelry.
How has New Brunswick influenced your work?
New Brunswick is such a beautiful, peaceful place to live. It encourages me to focus less on my inward anxiety and depression and more on the calmness and beauty of the world around me. I spend time everyday in nature doing yoga or taking long walks with my dogs and it grounds me. I love gardening in the summer and enjoy the calm and quiet of the winter months. Being able to centre myself has helped me complete my memoir and given me time to recount my experience and learn to accept and embrace my life.
What do you consider to be the highlight of your career so far?
The highlight for me is hearing from those who have read my book and expressed to me how connected they felt to me and my story. For those who lost an eye to cancer, having them tell me they could relate and felt heard when they read my story was extremely rewarding.
The View from My Window: A Personal Account from an Eye Cancer Survivor
“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.