Leana Dabney

Leana Dabney
Mexia, Texas

Hi -my name is Leana Boyd Dabney. I was diagnosed with colon cancer in May 2000 and later diagnosed with Lynch Syndrome June of 2004. I'm married to the love of my life since 1982! I have 3 wonderful adult children; Shane, Tera and Dillon. At my diagnosis they were mere children 16, 14, and 8! In February 2015 I was blessed with my first grandchild, Emma. Emma will never have to worry about having Lynch as her dad Shane tested negative for the mutation. All three of my children have been tested and our youngest Dillon is our lucky one. He knows he's Lynch and can stay on top of his screenings at an early age. He is now 23 and has been scoped yearly since he was 20.  I look forward to this journey with him to prevent him from ever getting Cancer. Family is VERY important to me. It's a Family Matter- Lynch- It's in our blood! My dad has had colon cancer twice. His first diagnosis was at age 42 - second diagnosis at 52. So it wasn't surprising that I would be diagnosed at the young age of 36. I have 2 sisters and a brother. My sisters have been tested and are negative. My brother as of yet has not been tested. My dad comes from a family of 12 brothers and one sister. Only one brother was tested for the mutation. He was negative.

I had surgery May 2000 followed by 6 months of chemo. My first round of chemo was in July and I was hospitalized due to toxicity to the chemo drugs. Needless to say the next 6 months and then the following 5 years I was put through the ringer. Initial test were done on my tumor that did NOT reveal a genetic relation. My doctors did not believe that was accurate due to the evidence of cancer in my family. I was encouraged to see a genetic doctor and did so in June of 2004. I saw Dr. Richard Boland with Baylor Medical Center. Family history was taken and a cancer family tree was done. Man- seeing it on paper was an eye opener. There were so many cancers on my Dad side. Five brothers died of colon cancer prior to our diagnosis of Lynch. My granddad and great granddad both also had colon cancer. They then had my tumor pulled and tested alone with my blood. My results were positive for an alteration in the MLH1 gene. I had Lynch Syndrome which is HNPCC hereditary non-polyp colorectal cancer. They were able to detect this mutation called "G198X". My children and other family members were able to be tested with a simple blood test to look for this gene. We had Genetic family counseling set up with my sisters and older children to better understand the implications. This was a test for risk for them and NOT for having cancer. A positive means that a person carries the gene and may pass it on to their children. A negative test means that the person is at ordinary risk for colorectal cancer and that there is no need to test those individuals' children for this mutation.

The joke at the Boyd Family is "Who's your Daddy?" - I know who mine is!

My ongoing treatment was discussed. It was recommended that colonoscopy and upper endoscopy every two years- and developing a relationship with a doctor that understands Lynch Syndrome. I MUST say I DID NOT go two years on a colonoscopy - I had one yearly until March 2014. My Dad followed the guidelines and had a second cancer that could have been caught the prior year. I had already had a complete hysterectomy in 1998 prior to my colon cancer diagnosis, a blessing in disguise.  March of 2014 I had a complete colectomy-entirely removing the risk of another colon cancer by removing my colon.

You have to be in charge of your health. Don't settle for nothing that you aren't comfortable with. Stay on top of the doctors. I'm an open book when it comes to my diagnosis and sharing my journey. If you have questions I can assist with- don't hesitate to ask.