As registered nurse for 30-plus years, Cynthia McLaughlin understands the meaning of caring for others. But the tables turned when she was diagnosed with breast cancer and became the one who needed care.
Cynthia began chemotherapy and the treatment fought her cancer, but took its toll on her. She was weak, had difficulty walking and struggled to handle her daily activities. Worse still, it impacted her lungs and she was put on supplemental oxygen. As her condition intensified, she was admitted to Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Marble Falls.
Cynthia received multiple CT scans, breathing treatments and respiratory therapy. Once stabilized, she was referred to Baylor Scott & White Institute for Rehabilitation – Lakeway to advance her recovery.
The specialized rehabilitation team evaluated Cynthia, assessed her needs and developed a comprehensive care plan. Her main goal was to regain the endurance and strength to be able to return home and live independently. She began by working with her team on basic skills, learning how to safely transfer in and out of bed, use a wheelchair, perform bathroom needs and get dressed. Her occupational therapists showed Cynthia how to modify activities to fit her ability level. They also provided a range of exercises, endurance training and energy conservation strategies to build her strength.
In physical therapy, Cynthia also worked hard, pushing her limits to sit, stand and transfer, and regaining the ability to walk using a walker. She knew she only needed to move about 20 to 30 feet at a time in her home, but soon found out she was able to do much more. As Cynthia progressed, she realized just how strong she could be. Every day she would strive to take a few extra steps, but the day she surpassed 100 feet without taking a rest was the true turning point. Cynthia discovered a competitive spirit within her one she never knew existed. That drive kept her mentally focused, confident that she would continue to improve as long as she kept her mind to it.
Cynthia recalls, "I have built strength and I’m walking well. The team has supported me, demanded I go further than I thought I could. They’ve kept it light and fun with a consistent schedule. The team has been incredibly kind."
Cynthia was excited to return home, determined to resume living her life to the fullest.