Lindy Thackston’s scheduled colonoscopies were postponed three times amid COVID-19
Lindy Thackston’s symptoms set in around Jan. 2020, with severe stomach cramps, lower back pressure and later, blood in her stool. As an early morning news anchor and mother of a toddler, the fatigue was less noticeable.
Thackston was just shy of 40 and overall healthy. CT scans showed signs of inflammation and doctors suspected colitis or a disease-causing inflammation in the digestive tract.
A family doctor urged a colonoscopy just to be sure, but scheduled appointments were postponed three times due to the pandemic.
Thackston finally had a colonoscopy in early May 2020.
“I remember being wheeled into the room and then all of the sudden I woke up and I heard my surgeon say the word ‘biopsy,’ and then someone covered my ears and said ‘she’s awake,’ so I knew right then something was up,” Thackston told Fox News.
“As they’re wheeling me out, I hear a nurse say the word ‘tumor’ to [my husband] and I turned to [the nurse] and said ‘So I have a tumor?’ and she said ‘Yes.’ And I said ‘So, I have cancer?’
It was just a shock like I can’t even describe.”
Thackston said she has no family history of colorectal cancer, no risk factors and nothing odd came back in genetic testing. It was around Mother’s Day in 2020 as Thackston anxiously awaited to hear a prognosis and the stage of cancer. Her son, Lachlan, was just 4 at the time.
“When you hear you have cancer, I think it’s just natural to wonder if you’re going to die from it,” she said, reflecting on her motherhood. “It was just really hard to look at him.”
About a week later, she was met with a stage 3 colorectal cancer diagnosis. Cancer became a “full-time job,” she said, with day-long scans, bloodwork and phone calls to pharmacies, nurses, doctors and insurance.
According to Dr. Christopher Leagre, radiation oncologist at Ascension Hospital in Indianapolis, who oversaw Thackston’s treatment, the five-year survival rate is about 70%, with most recurrences happening within five years.
He said signs and symptoms to look out for include blood in the stool, but also a persistent change in bowel habits.
Fox Anchor Is Diagnosed with Colon Cancer After Her Screening Was Canceled 3 Times Due to Pandemic https://t.co/SKfIxU6Xh4— People (@people) May 21, 2021
“I will admit I was irritated,” Thackston said, reflecting back on her postponed appointments. “I do remember the office finally called me to schedule the appointment and I told them ‘I have cancer,’ and the receptionist apologized over and over again.”
“They don’t know how long I’ve had [cancer], but I am thankful I got the colonoscopy when I did, who knows when I would’ve been in stage 4 because it had already spread to lymph nodes.”