Sam is 33, married, with 2 daughters (4.5yrs + 2.5 years) and a 1-year-old son. She was hit with the most devastating news in April 2020. She has Stage 4 metastatic bowel cancer.
Sam and her family live in Nabiac and enjoy a simple farm/ coastal life. Her husband Phill works away from home and she used to run fitness classes and a wedding/ event business. Unfortunately, due to the current COVID climate, their businesses and her husband’s work came to a halt in 2020. Her husband returned to work a fortnight ago, but Sam is still to unwell to work. We understand that this situation is the reality for many families at this time.
Sam has always lived a healthy life, looked after her body and had no family history of cancer whatsoever. When they took the leap to have their third child, they had no idea the arrival of their little man would be overshadowed by devastating news.
After a shocking end to 2019, beginning of 2020, with drought, fires, floods and then COVID 19, Sam and Phill found themselves on many occasions sitting back reminiscing and being grateful for what they had and how lucky they were. They appreciate this even more now with this latest blow.
After a few dodgy liver blood tests during late pregnancy, Sam was sent for a liver ultrasound. A small lesion was found but rendered no cause for concern considering age, lack of symptoms and health. For further investigations to occur, the experts induced her labour early and their perfectly healthy son Tommy was born - their family now complete.
It was a textbook labour and euphoric birth. One which Sam and Phill will remember forever. Not long after birth, Sam was suddenly struck with excruciating pain and shortness of breath. She stood up to find two large, hard lumps under her rib cage.
The following day a CT scan of her liver confirmed that she had a 20cm (football size) tumour, likely malignant and taking over her liver. Those words hit her hard. How do you process them? So many questions. So many thoughts. “I want to go home” were the first words she spoke.
After several tests, it was revealed that she had a small bowel cancer which had moved to her liver. Likely to have grown rapidly due to pregnancy hormones. Fast forward 4 weeks and she was being treated. Sam initially had intensive chemotherapy for 9 months in hope that the tumour would shrink in order to be removed. Unfortunately, the chemotherapy stopped working and the cancer, due to its mutant gene, was able to begin to grow.
Sam then started an Immunotherapy regiment in February 2021, which is extremely costly. Her treatment is in pill form and costs approximately $10,000/ month. A cost that is unfathomable considering no income last year whilst trying to support a family of five. The purpose of these pills is to target her specific mutant gene in her cancer and to shrink it in hope of surgery.
Sam believes she can beat this disease if the tumours are removed. This current treatment is believed to be the best chance at shrinking the tumours to get that surgery.