Cindy M. Cantrell (Wilkens), 63, of Knob Noster, Missouri, passed away at home surrounded by loved ones on Wednesday, March 18th, 2020. She was diagnosed with an extremely rare type of cancer on January 14th, 2020, at KU Medical Center.
Evil stared her right in the face, and its name was Mast Cell Leukemia with a manifestation of Mast Cell Sarcoma. With less than 60 previous cases worldwide, Cindy had no choice but to try an experimental oral chemotherapy medication, and unfortunately her body could not tolerate it. She pushed for a second opinion and went to MU Medical Center and those results confirmed the first diagnosis.
The evil that was staring at her was now a horrible confirmed reality. Cindy started a five day treatment of IV chemo on February 13th at MU and tolerated it well. She then came home to rest and to begin the long process of regaining the strength she had lost. A month later she went back to MU to get another five days of treatment. That plan was not able to be followed through because the cancer proved to be too aggressive, and the previous treatment showed minimal signs of effectiveness. This cancer is so rare and is so unknown, that she had no other choice but to come home on March 12th and continue to live the rest of her life scared and in extreme pain, but this time she had the help of hospice.
Cindy fought fiercely with all that she had, every hour of every day. It would be wrong to say that she lost her battle with cancer because she never stopped fighting. The disease was cruel, and it took her without mercy from her family and friends, from the life she loved, and from the things she still wanted to do.
Cindy’s parents, Earl Jr. and Dolores Wilkens preceded her in death. Cindy leaves behind a husband, USAF Tech Sergeant (ret.), Matthew Cantrell. Her life will live on through her children and grandchildren, who are: three daughters - Shannon Johnson (Gareth), Erin Posey, and Katelynn Cantrell; three grandchildren - Tristyn Posey, Gage and Tanner Johnson; and two great-grandchildren - Matthew and Olive Meelhuysen. Cindy also leaves behind three siblings - Diana Peterson, David Wilkens, and Sharon Hodson (Monty).
Cindy was, and always will be remembered as an incredible wife, mother, grandma, sister, aunt, cousin and friend. She was a woman of all trades, knowing how to do nearly anything and everything- she was our go-to problem solver. For the last 15 years she worked as the head bagger at the WAFB Commissary. It was a place she loved to be and made friends there that she considered family. Cindy loved the simple life and she didn’t ask for much. She enjoyed gardening, hunting, traveling, animals, being outdoors, getting a good deal at a grocery store, and most of all, spending time with her family.
In lieu of flowers, our family is requesting that you take your mother out to dinner, donate to any animal organization in her name, or give someone you love a tight hug and tell them you love them. We have learned in the most horrible way, that time is not promised. Show the ones you love how you feel while there is still time and consider yourself lucky if you can do that. This nightmare started on December 31st, 2019, when she walked into the KU ER for what was thought to be a broken vertebra. She showed no signs or symptoms of any illness, other than back pain. As a family we hope that if anything can be gained from Cindy’s last chapter, aside from a cure, it is that you don’t take time for granted, especially when it comes to the ones you love. A celebration of life will be planned at a later date and it will be posted on social media. Until we hold your hand again, we will be loving you, missing you, and trying to figure out how to live this life without you. We will hold you in our hearts and never let your memory fade.
Love you forever and always,