A York woman with late-stage bowel cancer has spoken out in praise of ‘lovely’ NHS staff for the cancer care she continued to receive throughout lockdown.
As news headlines highlight long waiting lists and cancelled treatments because of Covid, Lynne Kinder, 57, from Fossway, says the NHS ‘deserves a positive story’.
Lynne was having chemotherapy for stage 4 bowel cancer when lockdown struck. Her treatment was transferred from The Magnolia Centre at York Hospital to the Nuffield Hospital – but continued uninterrupted. “The same staff were there and they are all lovely people,” said Lynne. “We wore masks and your temperature got taken at the door, so it was safe as it could be.”
Lynne also needed surgery to remove blood clots from her right leg. This was done by NHS staff at York District Hospital. “One morning in May I woke up and my foot was ice cold,” she said. “I rang the Nuffield and was sent straight to York Hospital where they couldn’t find a pulse in my foot. A scan showed that my arteries were narrowed. I had to take a Covid test then I was admitted and had an operation to remove blood clots from my leg later that night.”
It was frightening, Lynne admits. Visitors weren’t allowed because of Covid, and she’d been warned she could lose the leg. “But the speedy way I was treated and the fact I woke up with both legs intact was a huge relief!”
Lynne was sent home the next day because of the Covid risk. “I have since had three follow-up phone calls from the neurology team,” she said. “I would prefer it if I could go in to be examined, but my leg has healed well and I do understand that they are trying to keep me safe as I am vulnerable.”
Lynne was first diagnosed with stage 3 bowel cancer in 2017. The former Tesco worker and Press Camera Club member had an operation to remove a tumour, followed by six months of chemotherapy.”I went back to work thinking I was cancer free,” she said.
But a follow up scan in November 2019 revealed a tumour in Lynne’s bowel and one on the peritoneum wall. She started chemotherapy again in January, first at The Magnolia Centre at York Hospital, then at the Nuffield and now back at The Magnolia.
Sadly, a scan revealed that her original chemotherapy was not working. Her oncologist told her she probably had less than a year to live. She is now on a different chemotherapy regime. “It includes Avastin, which has to be paid for,” she said. “But hopefully it will give me a few months longer.”
One of the worst things about the pandemic has been the need to shield because she’s a cancer patient, she said. “My husband Dave was shielding too, so I had some company. But I missed my mother.”
Now that she no longer has to shield, she’s able to get out and about more. “I have resumed visiting my mother (and) have socially distanced meet-ups with friends and family,” she said. “I have grown up step-children and quite a few grand-children who visit and sit in the garden. And I am back to wandering along The Foss with my camera.
“Despite my prognosis I am happy. I take it one day at a time and just deal with each problem as it arises – with the help of the chemo team of course. They really are all good people.”