Lynn Danby was enjoying retirement life with her husband of 40 years and her grandchildren when a chronic runny nose prompted a visit to her doctor.
It was the fall of 2013 when Lynn noticed that her nose had been running a lot, she assumed it was nothing serious but thought it was best to mention it to her doctor and see if there was anything they could recommend for her. Her doctor recognized that this wasn’t just a common cold, and ordered a scan for Lynn. The result that came back shocked Lynn - cancer. A sinus tumour. Lynn’s doctor said that if they had found the tumour any later, she would have likely had a stroke within six months.
“I was in shock. I hadn’t had any symptoms, it was just a runny nose. When I went to the doctor, the idea that it could be cancer didn’t even come to my mind. There is no one in my immediate family who has ever had cancer, so I didn’t even consider it.”
Luckily for Lynn, the biopsy revealed that her cancer - a spindle cell sarcoma in the sinus cavity - was extremely rare and non-aggressive. Treatment for Lynn was swift. She had two separate surgeries at London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) to completely remove the tumour. With her second surgery came the possibility that Lynn could lose her eye. Thankfully, the surgeon was able to carefully navigate around her eye, and Lynn is still able to see through both eyes, though she does experience double vision.
Lynn’s doctor, Dr. Kevin Fung, recommended moving forward with radiation as a precaution. “The radiation definitely left me feeling exhausted. I was getting cankers in my mouth, and it has had an impact on my memory. I still struggle with fatigue and my energy level has changed, but I’m happy I’m alive”
Going through a cancer diagnosis has had a significant impact on Lynn’s life. She believes that her journey has changed her as a person. It has made her a stronger and better person. She says, “I wouldn’t wish it on anybody - but I’m grateful that I had this experience. I don’t take life for granted anymore, and I live in the present. Sometimes, I don’t feel strong, but I am strong.”
Lynn is now a volunteer with Wellspring, a cancer support group, where she helps with events and gets to put her passion for sewing and embroidery to good use.
Lynn hopes that sharing her story will help others know they are not alone. She says, “I remember walking into the cancer centre at first and I cried. It was just a shock to walk in there and know that I belonged there.”
Lynn is so grateful for the wonderful care she had at LHSC that her and her family became donors to support the important work of the Head and Neck team at LHSC.
“I am so grateful to my surgeons, and that is why we donate to them. They gave me my life back. We plan on giving for as long as we can.”