South Tyneside cancer survivor spreads positive message

Lynne Croft was diagnosed with stomach cancer last year and the healthy snacks she created to maintain a balanced diet have turned into a business.
Lynne Croft was diagnosed with stomach cancer last year and the healthy snacks she created to maintain a balanced diet have turned into a business.

A cancer survivor from South Tyneside has a new year message for others facing up to the disease.

Hebburn mum Lynne Croft has adopted the motto “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain” after coming through a difficult time in her life.

The 57-year-old, of Toner Avenue, Hebburn, was given the devastating news that she had cancer on March 28, 2014.

Lynne, who lives with her husband Rob, 61, and son David, 34, said: “I had been poorly for a while but just put it down to stress at work and things like that. I went to the doctors and after a few tests they told me I had a gastric ulcer and hiatus hernia.”

But Lynne, who has since retired from her job as contact centre manager for BT South Tyneside, started to become suspicious that things were more serious when her doctor sent me for a scan.

She said: “I thought something was amiss. That was on a Thursday and on the Friday they told me I had stomach cancer.

“I think everyone is the same when they hear the word ‘cancer’, they just think the worst straight away. It was just such a shock.”

Lynne was told her cancer was in the early stages and that the best course of action was to operate.

But when she went under the knife, doctors discovered the disease had spread.

She had four fifths of her stomach removed, as well as her gall bladder, then went through a course of chemotherapy as an extra precaution.

The intensity of the treatment coupled with having so much of her stomach removed meant that Lynne was left with a tiny appetite and quickly lost 3st.

She said: “They told me it was quite an aggressive regime and that I’d lose my hair and wouldn’t be able to work, and I ended up in hospital three times because my immune system was shot to bits.

“I think I went to every hospital in the North East while I was ill and I couldn’t fault the care I got anywhere. They were all so brilliant with me, and so were my family.

“I really do have a new outlook on life now. I’m really lucky because I have survived. I’ve been going to Cancer Connections in South Shields too and that’s really helped me to appreciate that I’ve got through everything.

“My doctor said he doesn’t like to give anyone the ‘all clear’ because he can’t really guarantee that, but there were no signs of cancer at the last scan I had and that’s good enough for me.”

Lynne has a sign bearing her motto hanging in her garden, to remind her not to let things get her down.

She said: “I saw that sign and thought to myself, ‘yeah, I’m not going to sit back and take it, I’m going to make the best of things’, and that’s what I do now.”