Dominic ‘Dom’ Lynch has always been active, with most of his free time consisting of ocean swims, Surf Life Saving, surf boat rowing and rugby.
But in mid-2022, he noticed something different – his chest would tighten during and after exercise.
After reminding himself to “stop being stubborn”, Dom saw his GP.
And even though Dom “didn’t think it would be anything serious”, he was diagnosed with lung cancer only weeks later.
The moments leading up Dom’s diagnosis
Dom had just turned 50 when he first started to experience symptoms, so he got a general health checkup.
Initial tests found nothing of concern, but Dom’s GP said, “you know your body and you know that something isn’t right, so let’s keep looking”.
“Thank goodness she did”, says Dom, as it was the beginning of the difficult process of finding a diagnosis.
From the moment that enlarged lymph nodes revealed the actual presence of cancer, to the misdiagnosis of papillary renal cell carcinoma, a rare type of kidney cancer – Dom was having a tough time.
Fortunately, a final PET scan showed that the source of the cancer was in the lung as opposed to the kidney, which meant that chemotherapy was back as a treatment option.
Dom recalls, “it was a bizarre feeling, I felt like I was back in the fight, and I had a glimmer of hope”.
Learning that it takes strength to be open
Reflecting on his diagnosis, Dom says “I was worried I wouldn’t get to see my twins turn 18, complete their HSC or secure their places at university”.
But thankfully, Dom has been able to celebrate all these milestones with his family.
When he was first diagnosed, Dom says his “mind went into a tailspin”, but “the information provided by the Cancer Council was invaluable in giving me some clarity on what to expect and what support networks were out there for both myself and my family”.
Dom also connected with a Cancer Council Information Service Volunteer at Northern Beaches Hospital, who became a “great support throughout my Thursday treatment sessions”.
Throughout it all, Dom has been open with his family about his diagnosis, as well as what he’s gone through during his extensive chemotherapy and immunotherapy.
Dom says, “my children understood that the reason I was losing my hair, feeling exhausted, and losing weight was not because of the cancer, but because of the toxic nature of chemotherapy”.
“They, along with my amazing wife, have formed a formidable support team for me”, adds Dom.
By being open with the people around him, Dom has been able to find strength.
Sharing the importance of being open
To Dom, the most important thing is to remember not to be naive or to hide what’s really going on behind the scenes.
“Whilst you may feel like you’re exposing your vulnerabilities, there is nothing wrong with that”, says Dom.
“You won’t be judged on how big, brave, and clever you think you are”, he adds.
Dom now understands “you know your body better than anyone else, and if something doesn’t feel right, do something about it.”
Being open about his symptoms with his GP meant that Dom’s lung cancer was able to be diagnosed.
And despite the difficulty of his experience, he’s been given a chance.
Dom wants other men that may be stubborn when it comes to health, to realise “if it can happen to Dom, it could happen to me.”