Critical Care for Colon Cancer

Cyndy smiles for a photo in front of some trees.

“The lump just didn’t feel right.”

In September 2018, Cyndy McLean from Guelph was an inpatient at the hospital in Kitchener, where she was recovering from surgery for a pressure ulcer. This condition is relatively common amongst people who require the use of a wheelchair, which is the situation with Cyndy because of a spinal cord injury she suffered due to a fall in 2003.

One day, she discovered a strange lump in her lower abdomen, which she brought to the attention of her care team.

“They suspected it might be a hernia, so I underwent a CT scan,” Cyndy recalls. “That’s when they found an unusual thickening in part of my large intestine.”

A colonoscopy revealed the presence of a tumour in her colon, and further scans showed additional tumours in her liver. Cyndy was transferred to Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre for her next steps in care.

Treatment for tumours

“I was diagnosed with colon cancer, which had metastasized to my liver,” she explains. “It was tough dealing with the diagnosis, but I was lucky to have supportive family, friends, and health care workers at the Hospital to help me through such an emotional time.”

“I’m grateful to the amazing physicians and staff.”

In December, Cyndy had surgery to remove the tumours. When she returned to Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Center in February for a follow-up scan, the results were discouraging. More tumours had developed on her liver, making additional treatment necessary.

“I began chemotherapy on my birthday in March,” says Cyndy. “I lost a lot of my hair, which wasn’t the easiest thing in the world, and I lost a lot of weight because of an extremely upset stomach. But it was all worth it for the chance to overcome cancer.”

Back to active living

Cyndy has had a break from chemotherapy since the end of January 2020. To everyone’s relief, most of the tumours have disappeared and the remaining ones have stabilized. Her condition is being monitored regularly by the team at Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre.

Cyndy playing tennis. She is about to hit the tennis ball with her racquet.

Cyndy playing tennis

“I’m grateful to the amazing physicians and staff,” says Cyndy. “I’m feeling the best I’ve felt in three years! I’m back to an active life full of hand-cycling, kayaking and wheeling around the community. Thanks to the care I received, I can do all the things in life that I love to do.”