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By Tracy Frank, Published September 03 2013

Her Voice: Breast-cancer battle prompts Fargo woman to write book

If you go

What: Book-signing of Cynthia Eggl’s “Boundless Blessings and God’s Grace – My Journey through Breast Cancer.”

When: 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Sept. 12.

Where: Dr. James Carlson Public Library, 2801 32nd Ave. S., Fargo.

Info: Eggl will sell her book at the event. It can also be purchased in Fargo at Sanford Southpointe Pharmacy, Sanford Health Gift Shop downtown, Zandbroz Variety, Hurley’s Religious Goods, Barnes & Noble and Family Christian bookstore; and in Moorhead at Melberg Christian Book & Gift and the Cobber Bookstore at Concordia College.

She will also talk about her book and cancer battle at 4 p.m. today on 107.9 the Fox FM radio.

FARGO – Cynthia Eggl had been doing regular monthly breast exams and getting annual mammograms for 12 years when she started having excruciating pain radiating under her left arm.

“It felt like somebody was stabbing me,” she said.

Breast cancer didn’t run in her family, but Eggl was meticulous about taking preventative measures, the 55-year-old said.

“Many people abhor mammograms, but they’re a very necessary evil,” said Eggl, who never misses an annual physical.

When Eggl first started experiencing the pain under her arm, she wasn’t really worried because she’d been so proactive, she said.

But a series of tests, including an ultrasound and biopsies, in April 2011 showed Eggl had breast cancer.

She’d never had an abnormal mammogram, so the cancer diagnosis left her numb, Eggl said.

“I come from a place called ‘can do,’ ” said the Cando native. “I looked at all of the people who have done this, and I thought, ‘God won’t give more than I can handle.’ ”

Further testing revealed the breast cancer had been growing for two to four years, she said. She was diagnosed as having Stage 2 cancer because it had moved into her lymphatic system, she said.

“I was incredulous,” she said.

The problem is, the type of cancer she had was difficult to detect, and Eggl has dense breast tissue, making cancer even harder to find, she said.

Dense breast tissue is made up of more connective tissue and less fat, so it appears white on a mammogram. Since cancer also appears white on a mammogram, tumors are often hidden behind the dense tissue, according to Are You Dense, an organization dedicated to informing the public about dense breast tissue.

Two-thirds of pre-menopausal women and one-fourth of post-menopausal women have dense breast tissue, according to the organization.

Eggl has been through surgery, 16 chemotherapy sessions and 33 radiation treatments. And so far she is cancer-free.

But she also knows breast cancer is something that could plague her for the rest of her life, she said.

“It can recur a number of times at any time anywhere in your body,” she said.

Eggl, who has been in nonprofit work nearly 35 years, found herself needing to continually update people on her condition. Her sister suggested she start a Caring Bridge site, a social network that allows patients and their families to post health updates.

She wrote from a basis of faith and offered her journey up to God, she said.

After friends and family read her Caring Bridge posts, they started encouraging her to write a book about her journey.

While she never had aspirations of becoming an author, she decided to write and self-publish the book, “Boundless Blessings and God’s Grace – My Journey through Breast Cancer,” as a way to help others.

“People went above and beyond to make me feel comfortable,” Eggl said. “I felt I was going to succeed and win this battle.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Tracy Frank at (701) 241-5526

Her Voice is a weekly article about women in or from our area and how they make an impact on the world around them. If you know someone SheSays should feature in HerVoice, email Tracy Frank at tfrank@forumcomm.com.