Lynda Langan was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer after a fall. She decided to donate to The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital Charitable Fund after “a wonderful experience of care.” Here is her story.
“My journey started two years ago. It all started when I was riding one day and I fell and landed on my coccyx. It was of course extremely painful and I was told it would take some time to heal. After some time with persistent pain I was referred for an X-ray at Fleetwood Hospital. Something odd showed up, which is when I was referred for an MRI at Preston Hospital where I was diagnosed with a tumour called chordoma. Chordoma is a very rare type of bone cancer, making up only 6% of all bone sarcoma diagnosis.
“This was when I was referred to The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital, a specialist bone cancer centre in Birmingham. I met with Mr Parry, an oncology consultant who had the most wonderful way of putting me at ease. He explained everything in a down to earth manor, which made me feel safe and ready to put my faith in him.
“Not long after my initial consultant, I had a procedure to have the tumour and my coccyx removed. I was in hospital for three weeks, and was cared for exceptionally by everyone – nothing was too much trouble. It was then I was told I could have proton beam treatment at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust (in Manchester) if I would like. We applied and my case was accepted, ready for the centre to open in January. Before this I would have had to travel to Florida to receive the treatment, so I was really lucky.
“I had eight-and-a-half weeks of proton treatment and it was an amazing experience. The technology and engineering were unbelievable, it was like a space station. All of the staff became friends and were so kind and made you very comfortable. We stayed in Manchester at Staycity Aparthotel; it was like a home from home. We had everything we needed whilst we were there. A mini bus picked us up each day to take us to the centre.
“Mr Parry had told me because I was very fit and healthy for my age, he was confident that I would come out well from my experience, which I feel I have done. I was an athlete at school and was in county teams for athletics and netball. Until I had my accident, I was still very sporty, playing golf, hiking, swimming daily, cycling, bowling and Nordic walking.
“It has been a long and difficult journey but I have got through it with the help of all of my family and friends. My husband has been my rock and supported me through it all. We have been very happily married for 51 years and are looking forward to many more years ahead. My son came the other day and said “you’re looking really well, mum.” That made me smile. I thought about it for a few minutes and said to myself “you’re right. I’m getting my mojo back, I’m feeling more like my old self more each day.”
“I have always kept a very positive attitude and been able to accept what has happened to me and get on with it, knowing that I was in the best possible hands.
“I will always be eternally grateful to those involved in my journey and those who helped save my life. Now I’m carrying on, living my life in the fast lane.
“Recently I have recently been involved in a research study for chordoma, supported by nurses at the ROH. It came as a surprise, but I felt very privileged to have been given the opportunity to help those who are diagnosed in the future.
“As I had such a wonderful experience of care at ROH, my husband and I decided to make a donation to further support this research programme, and those diagnosed with chordoma in the future.”