Lynda Dobinson was diagnosed with bowel cancer in August 2018 after completing her routine bowel screening test, and has made a full recovery after undergoing surgery and chemotherapy.
Her partner Gary Page, 60, has shared what her cancer survival has meant to him, to encourage people to act if they have a potential symptom or are invited for screening.
Speaking about that time, Gary said:
“From the day the letter dropped through the door saying Lynda would need a consultation and colonoscopy I started worrying.
“I went to the hospital the day she got her colonoscopy and waited outside but then I got a call saying she wanted me with her when she spoke to the doctor.
“Emotionally it hit her straight away and from then on it became a case of worrying about how serious the cancer was.”
Lynda, 56, had surgery to remove the tumour along with around 15cm of her bowel. Following recovery from surgery, Lynda then underwent four cycles of chemotherapy over three months.
“I was most worried about her spending so much time at home on her own while I was at work, and having too much time to think about everything. Of course she had ups and downs during her chemo but the worry about how she was coping never really went away.
“Even though you know the doctors have done all of these things time and time again and are more than capable, you just worry things will go wrong because it’s all new to you.
“Luckily my work were really flexible in terms of Lynda’s appointments and I’d take annual leave on the days she was getting her chemo to make sure I was always there for her during her treatment.
“I’m a person who doesn’t really talk about how they’re feeling and Lynda knows this so she made a point of being open about everything with me.
“We just talked things through and supported each other throughout it all. In six years of being together I wouldn’t say we’ve had a single argument and we’re as good now as we ever were, if not better.”
“Being diagnosed and then told I needed chemo initially made me extremely upset, but once I got my head round it, I thought let’s just get on with it and get it done. Gary was an amazing support, especially during chemo when I didn’t always react to it very well.
“At one point I was having daily injections that had to be administered at home to tackle my low blood count and he was there for me every step of the way.
“Since turning 50 I’ve carried out every routine screening test and I’m living proof that it’s not always someone else. The same goes for noticing any unusual or worrying changes you notice with your body in between screenings.
“I had a couple of symptoms that I put down to other things. If you have concerns, don’t ignore them as it could make all the difference.”