by Lisa Tome
Cindi Sinclair's black lab Cole, is more than just woman's best friend.
He is also credited with saving his owner's life.
Sinclair, 60, of Elkton, celebrated five years as a breast cancer survivor in July.
She said her initial diagnosis came courtesy of Cole. She explained that the dog nudged her chest repeatedly until she sought medical treatment.
"He was about one-year-old and he would nudge me. He would jump on my chest and nudge my chest. I had a mark there and was blaming the dog," she said.
Although she had had a mammogram just a few months prior, Sinclair decided to go for a check up anyway.
A sonogram revealed a knot in her chest. She then learned she had breast cancer.
"When they told me I had breast cancer, I said "am I gonna die?"
She had a biopsy at Union Hospital's Breast Center. "You're awake for that and it's pretty painful," she said. It was also determined that she had stage four cancer in her liver.
She had a liver biopsy. Sinclair knew her medical history and that there was a history of cancer in the family.
On January 3, 2008, she had her left breast and lymph nodes removed. She endured chemotherapy for five months and remains on some medications today. "I feel pretty good. I'm glad to be alive," she said.
She celebrates her victory over cancer and has joined the Survivor's Circle support group at Union Hospital. "Everybody just gets together. You hear other stories. It's very nice and helpful to be with someone who has gone through something similar," she said.
"The breast cancer center is amazing. They feel more like friends than a hospital. (Former employee) Laurie Fitzgerald was with me every step of the way," said Sinclair.
She also does her best to support cancer causes. And is grateful for the support she has received from her family and friends.
Sinclair and her husband, Keith, have been married for 33 years. They have a son, Michael, daughter, Kristin, and a three-year-old granddaughter, Madison.
"My friends are a great support too. Mary Jo, Connie, and Doree would sit with me during chemo. They are great friends," she said.