Monday, June 14, 2010

The Sturdiness of Lynda Boyd

Lynda Boyd, from Dundee, United Kingdom (Scotland), tells me she is "a very scared woman." I have no doubt that is true. But, I also know that she wears very sturdy shoes as she travels through some scary places in this world. Lynda, who will be 41 this year, was diagnosed in 2008 with breast cancer. She has endured a mastectomy, chemotherapy, radiation, and continues treatment with herceptin, which will be completed in September of 2010.

As I considered Lynda's story, I was compelled to wonder what that means. What is it like, exactly, to be treated with herceptin? For breast cancer patients, herceptin is a treatment that is administered in tandem with or subsequent to chemotherapy. BreastCancer.Org explains that currently, treatment of breast cancer usually involves one of three "targeted therapies." As one of these preferred therapies, herceptin works on certain cancers by arresting growth of the cells. "Cancer cells grow in an uncontrolled fashion. Herceptin works on the surface of the cancer cell by blocking the chemical signals that can stimulate this uncontrolled growth." (Click here for a full discussion of herceptin and other treatment options.)

Herceptin is administered only intravenously. So, at intervals ranging from once a week to once every three weeks, a patient must spend somewhere between thirty to ninety minutes at the doctor's office, watching the medication drip from a little plastic bag, into a tube, and through a needle inserted in a vein. And, as with other cancer treatments, the more immediate result of the process may be undesirable side effects, such as fever, chills, muscle aches and nausea.

What would you do during those minutes, if it was your life connected to a tube, above which dangled little droplets of hope? Would you read? Work crossword puzzles? Pray that the cancer "stays away"? This is Lynda's life, after a mastectomy and radiation. This, after a long day's work, or in the middle of one, or perhaps before the work day starts, because Lynda, despite her suffering, stood resolutely in her shoes and returned to her job in November of 2009. After all, she remarks, "money plays a part in life," and, there are bills to pay.

It is because of this astounding sturdiness that Lynda’s influence has become trans-continental. Along the journey, she befriended a young woman from the United States. Heidi W., a mother of two young children, has been influenced profoundly by Lynda’s resilience. “Even though she’s been through so much,” Heidi observes, “she still gets up and goes to work every day."

For Lynda Boyd, whose shoes bear her up across a rocky trail: tomorrow morning, I'd like to borrow them for a little while. I know I cannot wear them, as they are too full of courage to accommodate my feet. But, I will take them with me as I run. Just for the morning, we will conquer all fear and pain, and think only of your sturdiness and resilience. All we have to do is to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Here's to the next mile!

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For readers who are Facebook users, click here to write Lynda an encouraging message. She'd love to hear from you!


  1. that is the most thoughtfull thing ive ever read brought tear to my eyes thank u very much for the most careing words anyone has ever said xxxxx

  2. You are very welcome, Lynda. It was my privilege. People DO care, but sometimes, it's difficult to feel it. Stay in touch, OK?


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