Danny's Story - told by Lynsey.

Danny and wife Ann

Name: Danny Reynolds

Age: 65

Lives: Bannockburn, Scotland

Diagnosis: Oesophageal cancer

On the 8th November 2020 my Mum and Dad went to Tenerife and my mum noticed that Dad had developed an awful cough. She bought umpteen cough mixtures but nothing shifted it. When they arrived home my Dad was finding it hard to swallow.  Over the next few days it worsened to the point he struggled with water.

Danny and his granchildren

Christmas day he put on a brave face for the grandchildren and struggled through although we could all see he was having trouble swallowing. He suffered horrific heartburn and pain in one side along the ribs, possibly his lung. The Doctor was contacted and he arranged a chest X-ray and an endoscopy. The endoscopy showed inflammation of the oesophagus and he was diagnosed with Barrett’s oesophagus and a suspected ulcer. They advised him to double up on his omeprazole until they had results back. They took biopsy’s and the next day he was called in to see the consultant where he was sadly given the news that he had a tumour in his oesophagus. The plan at this point was that if the tumour was contained and hadn't spread anywhere else, there was a possibility of surgery and intense treatment.  We were encouraged by this and thought it was a bit of good news and maybe he could beat this.

A few days passed and he still hadn’t eaten or drunk anything.  The hospital got him back in where they performed a procedure for a feeding tube through the nose to try and build him up for any treatment. Unfortunately, five days later the cough returned to the point he couldn’t sleep and struggled to breathe. We assumed maybe the feeding tube had moved which was causing him to aspirate. We called the doctor who prescribed him antibiotics for a chest infection.  The antibiotics didn't make any difference and he was then prescribed steroids.

Danny and Gillian

He went back to the hospital to have the feeding tube checked and they decided to try another feeding tube that went further into the stomach and bypassed the tumour. It was then they discovered his stats were too low and they wouldn’t be able to perform any procedure due to lack of oxygen. He was admitted to hospital on 3rd February with pneumonia. 

On Monday the 8th February he had 2 litres of fluid drained from his lungs and he felt slightly better. It was then we got the dreaded news that we hoped we wouldn’t ever have to hear.  The fluid they had drained was sent to the lab and confirmed the cancer had spread to his lungs and it was terminal. However, we still thought with aggressive treatment, although not curable they had said it may be manageable.

On Sunday 14th February he was absolutely exhausted, the fluid was coming back quicker than they could drain it and his health declined so quickly from there.


On Saturday 20th February my Mum received a phone call telling her he had deteriorated rapidly that day and she had to make her way to the hospital. Sadly, at 05:20 on 21st February my Dad passed away at the age of 65.

Anyone who has suffered any of these symptoms i.e heartburn or a cough that is concerning you please, please, go and have it checked out. Most people don’t know they have oesophageal cancer until the symptoms present themselves once it’s spread elsewhere.

 

Association with HCUK: 

Danny's daughters, Lynsey and Gillian got in touch with Heartburn Cancer UK. Lynsey to share Danny's story to try and raise important awareness to others and Gillian, to set up a Much Loved tribute page for Danny.  The tributes and donations flooded in, raising well over £6000.  Danny was clearly much loved by friends and family and will be missed by many.  HCUK would like to express our gratitude to the friends and family of Danny who have raised these vital funds for the charity.  If you have been touched by their story and would like to make a donation, please visit their Much Loved page