Wednesday Warrior – Sam

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Sam - #106 - WarriorMy name is Sam Lynch and this is my Sarcoma story.

On January 12, 2014, I saw – not felt – SAW a lump on the left side of my neck. I immediately felt my neck and wondered how I did not notice such a large lump sooner! How could this be? I was a 12 year Hodgkin’s Lymphoma survivor and thought cancer was behind me. On January 13, 2014, I saw my Oncologist, he referred me to my ENT doctor who did a needle biopsy on my neck and left tonsil. Results were undiagnostic so I had a surgical biopsy and my left tonsil removed on January 16,2014. The surgeon was able to tell me right away it was a malignant tumor but we would have to wait for the Pathology report to see exactly what we were dealing with. On January 22, 2014, I was diagnosed with a large grade Monophasic Synovial Sarcoma, a rare soft tissue cancer.

I was 23 when I was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma – I was young and it was difficult but nothing compared to my diagnosis at age 35 now that I am a wife and mother. I underwent surgery and 6 1/2 weeks of radiation at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. This facility is three hours away from my home and I was required to stay there due to daily treatments and only came home on weekends. The thought of being away from my family at such a difficult time was terrible, my youngest son was just 5 months old at the time. I was so fortunate to have such a wonderful support system. People stepped up and helped out in any way possible – especially my parents, who came to stay with my kids while I was away having treatments.

Of course it was a trying time and a very rough 6 1/2 weeks but I did it with no hesitation. I finished treatment on May 1, 2014, and had a HUGE group of supporters there to watch me “ring the radiation bell” on that final day. I made a full recovery and had a clear scan in September 2014. However, more bad news followed in January 2015. At a routine follow up, two spots were found on my right lung. From what I understand, a Sarcoma moving to the lung is a typical trend. I had a Thoracotomy to remove the two spots on January 27, 2015. I again made a full recovery and have had one clear scan since surgery.

Sure, cancer has caused a lot of stress and pain in my life. But guess what else it has done? It has brought people into my life (nurses, doctors, other survivors, etc) that are lifelong friends now. It has helped me put things into perspective and, while I am still a work in progress, I am a better person because of cancer. So, I am going to do the unspeakable and THANK CANCER. Thank you for all the good you have brought into my life. I win, not you!!

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If you or a loved one has been impacted by sarcoma cancer, we encourage you to share your story. Sharing your story can be such an inspiration to others who are dealing with sarcoma in their own life and remind us all of the urgency to find better treatments in order to make an impact on the devastation that sarcoma cancer brings. Let your experiences help others become involved with raising awareness!