For Immediate Release: March 1, 2018

The Pink Surprise is on Cyndi!
AtlantiCare Surgery Center team celebrates colleague marking 5 years since breast cancer surgery

Cyndi Weiveris, RN, wanted to surprise her AtlantiCare Surgery Center colleagues with cupcakes. The surprise was on her when her colleagues greeted her with a pink celebration marking five years since her breast cancer surgery at the age of 56. Her team, wearing pink scrubs and breast-cancer-awareness surgical caps, greeted her with flowers, food, and a pink-theme-party. Patients and their loved also joined in the celebration. Staff had confidentially told patients about the surprise the previous day. Staff gave patients and their families breast cancer awareness bracelets and information. Patients wore breast cancer awareness surgical caps.AtlantiCare Team Group Shot Cyndi and Jim Weiveris

Weiveris had shared her excitement with her colleagues about her impending checkup with her oncologist for weeks. Laura Applegate, RN, administrator of the center, began planning the pink surprise for Cyndi, with the help of her team. Cyndi’s oncologist told her February 28, that after following her for five years, he only needs to see her for annual checkups.

Cyndi Weiveris RN Laura Applegate RN locker room embrace

“Today is about celebrating Cyndi,” says Laura Applegate, RN, administrator of the center, who planned the celebration along with her team. “It’s never about Cyndi. It’s always about everyone else around her. It’s how she can help, who she can help, whose life she can change, and who can she can motivate. “Every day, Cyndi shares her heart and her spirit with her patients, with all of us, and with everyone. She is an inspiration to all of us.”

Cyndi’s journey
Cyndi has long focused on others. She cared for her late husband for 13 years after he had a stroke. During her second career as a nurse, she helped heal patients’ hearts at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center’s (ARMC) Progressive Cardiac Care unit. She helped ease patients’ pains at ARMC’s Emergency Department and previously as an emergency nurse at hospitals in Florida and Pennsylvania. Since 2015, she has cared for patients and families at the AtlantiCare Surgery centers in Little Egg Harbor and in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey.

“After becoming a widow, I went on Facebook,” Cyndi explains. “Jim (Weiveris) was the first person to whom I sent a friend request. We met while I was working at a Dunkin Donuts in Kenilworth, New Jersey when I was 16 and he was 18. We never dated. I wanted to have children and that wasn’t part of his plan. I got married and didn’t see him for 25 years. After two-and-a-half months, we knew we were going to get married. He proposed on Valentine’s Day, 2011. In April of that year, we went to Exuma in the Bahamas to do missionary work and came back married!”

In sickness and in health
“I hadn’t taken care of myself for a long time,” says Cyndi. “I was overdue for a mammogram, but I hadn’t gotten one because caring for my late husband was my priority. Jim made sure I scheduled all the appointments, checkups, and screenings I needed.”

Those screenings included a routine mammogram, which Cyndi had done at Atlantic Medical Imaging in Galloway, New Jersey. “By the grace of God, Dr. Anjeanette Brown happened to be there that day,” says Cyndi. Anjeanette Brown, M.D., a breast surgeon on ARMC’s Medical Staff, recommended doing a fine needle aspiration of Cyndi’s breast based on results of the mammogram. “That biopsy didn’t show anything, however, Dr. Brown said as a precaution she wanted to do a core needle biopsy.” Brown did the biopsy at ARMC Atlantic City Campus January 2, 2013.

“Dr. Brown called me personally when she had the results,” says Cyndi. “She said it was cancer. I handed Jim the phone and told him, ‘I can’t talk.’”

“I was so worried about Jim,” says Cyndi. “When Jim and I reconnected, he was grieving the loss of his wife, who had died from neuroendocrine cancer. Now I had cancer, too.”

Cyndi’s cancer care plan
We talked and prayed through it. Our mantra was, ‘We can’t change it, so let’s make a plan and move forward.’”

“Jim encouraged me,” says Cyndi. “He said, ‘You are at a vulnerable point in your life. You trust the doctors. Tell them what you want. Don’t settle.’”

Cyndi says Linnea Brown, RN, then AtlantiCare’s breast health coordinator, gave Cyndi her personal cell number and helped her before, during, and after her diagnosis and surgery. “She helped me navigate my care and encouraged me, as Jim did, to communicate frankly with my care team.”

“Dr. Brown suggested that we do a lumpectomy but I felt I needed to be more aggressive,” says Cyndi. Cyndi says she asked Dr. Brown to do a double mastectomy. “I told her, ‘My breasts are not what define me.’” After the February 18 surgery, Cyndi learned cancer had been in both breasts. “I’m so glad Dr. Brown cared about what I wanted,” says Cyndi. She gave me information and options. She was truly a partner in my care. She said afterward, ‘Having the double mastectomy was the best decision you ever made.’”

Cyndi and Jim decided after talking with Adam Saad, M.D., plastic surgeon, ARMC Medical Staff, that Cyndi would have breast reconstruction with TRAM flap surgery, rather than with implants. Saad, Matthew Kauffman, M.D., and Brown used tissue from Cyndi’s abdomen to create new breast mounds. “The reconstruction was unbelievable,” she says. “They did a great job.”

It’ll feel like a little bee sting
Cyndi says she needed a sentinel lymph node biopsy to ensure her breast cancer had not spread to her lymph nodes. This was done just prior to the surgery at ARMC Atlantic City Campus. “As a nurse, I was expecting a 20-gauge needle,” says Cyndi. “Two nurses held my hands and they said ‘We’re going to be with you. The radiologist, said, ‘It’s going to feel like a little bee sting, we use insulin-size needles.’”

“I realized that day that as a patient, I had assumptions about the biopsy that made me fearful,” says Cyndi. “It also reinforced to me how important it is that as a nurse, I fully explain procedures to ease patients’ fears and address their concerns. Results showed no node involvement and no metastasis.

We are a Work Family
Cyndi says she’s grateful for the support of her surgery center colleagues. “Laura Applegate said, ‘If you’re going through it, I’ll be there to hold your hand.’ I had gained weight from the oral cancer medications. We both started clean eating and as a result, I’ve lost nearly 18 pounds and gone down a dress size.”

“I had the best doctors and nurses. Every year at Christmas, Jim and I make cookie deliveries to those involved with my cancer care. Every February, I bring Dr. Brown and Dr. Saad cupcakes. This year there will be lots of pink cupcakes!”

From surgical dressings to cap and gown
Cyndi’s surgery took place during her last semester at Stockton University, where she was pursuing her Bachelor of Science degree in nursing. “I was determined I was going to graduate at the end of the semester. My husband drove my friend, Natalie Alteros, and me to school. She carried my books because I could not lift more than five pounds. My husband made us both lunches and I went to school with my mastectomy drains still in.” Cyndi completed her degree and walked with fellow graduates May 12, 2013 with Program Distinction.


We were meant to be
“Jim and I were meant to be together and meant to take care of others,” says Cyndi. “My late husband and Jim’s late wife had the best quality of life anyone in their situation could have.”

Let’s move forward
Cyndi is promoting breast cancer awareness. She and her colleagues, led by Laura Applegate, participate in the Shirley Mae Run & Michael J. Walk, which benefits the Shirley Mae Breast Cancer Assistance Fund, the Michael J. Neustadter Pancreatic Cancer Fund and Gilda's Club South Jersey. “The walk and celebration of cancer survivors are so overwhelming,” says Cyndi. “The first time I did it after my surgery, I couldn’t stop crying. It is definitely a walk of honor!”

Jim Weiveris Cyndi Weiveris

Jim and Cyndi Weiveris embrace at Cyndi's Pink Surprise Celebration
at the AtlantiCare Surgery Center in Little Egg Harbor

“I’m lucky to be alive and to have the tatas that I do,” says Cyndi. “I’m grateful for my faith in God, my loving, devoted husband and for my caring, skilled medical team and colleagues!” Without them, I would not be in the place I am today!”

For more information about AtlantiCare, call the AtlantiCare Access Center at 1-888-569-1000 or find https://www.facebook.com/AtlantiCare/

Media Contact:
Jennifer Tornetta, (O) 609-569-7010, (C) 609-335-3446, jennifer.tornetta@atlanticare.org


AtlantiCare, a member of Geisinger, is an integrated system of services designed to help people achieve optimal health. It includes AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, AtlantiCare Health Engagement, the AtlantiCare Foundation, and AtlantiCare Health Services. Its more than 5,900 employees and more than 900 physicians serve the community in nearly 90 locations. A 2009 Malcolm Baldrige Award winner, AtlantiCare was also included in Modern Healthcare’s Best Places to Work in Healthcare in 2010. ARMC became the 105th hospital in the nation to attain status as a Magnet™ designated hospital in March of 2004 and was redesignated a Magnet™ hospital in 2008 and 2013.

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