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Never thought I would be doing this... My name is Jamie Penzie (Shortts) and for 20 years now me and Samantha Peacock have been on all the adventures! She's my rock solid, steady as she goes ride or die best friend. We plan on having more “Spam and Jams Adventures” just as soon as we get over this GIANT speed bump life has so kindly decided to test us with!
It doesn’t matter how many times I say it, or hear it, it doesn’t seem real. For Sam, that’s a whole different story. It’s real, and it’s getting more real by the minute. I am here to try and share her story in hopes to raise funds to help her through this awful hand she has been dealt. All I want my friend to focus on now is her fight. No one should have to worry about money while fighting to live. I will tell her story from my perspective as that is all I know. Bear with me..
Back in mid-July, Sam discovered a lump. It was around the size of an almond. I remember her telling me about it, thinking maybe it could just be a pulled muscle. She went back and forth on if she should see a doctor. Ultimately, she decided that was the smartest and safest route. The initial doctor at the walk-in clinic told her it was probably a cyst which is common for women her age (27). Thankfully, Sam trusted her intuition and her body and pushed for further testing. Exams, ultrasound, mammogram, blood tests, biopsy and then lots of waiting. All the while we hoped and prayed, staying optimistic and trying not to let the dark thoughts creep in. During the wait that damn relentless lump continued to grow.
I was putting my baby to sleep during the time Sam received the call. When I checked my phone and read her text, “It’s Cancer” I called her immediately. We did what friends do, we cried. So many questions, not enough answers. That would not last long. After even more hospital visits, clinics, doctors, specialists, x-rays, tests and more tests our optimism started wearing thin hit after hit. Hoping for a cyst, finding out it’s cancer. Hoping its just a lump that can be removed, finding out she needs chemo. Hoping its “not that bad” finding out it is in fact… that bad.
Her first real visit as a cancer patient after the confirmation was to her cancer surgeon on October 6th. Its breast cancer, OK so surgery and its gone? “No, chemotherapy to shrink it (hopefully) then surgery”. Mastectomy? “Trying to avoid that by hopefully shrinking the tumor first so it won’t be such a drastic change to the breast” What about the other breast? “Well we must wait for more test results to determine that.” Has it spread? “We don’t know the answers to that yet.”
Oncologist the following day. October 7th (More tests) “You have what is called ‘Triple Negative Breast Cancer’” So chemotherapy is needed, what about future children? Will any of this effect that? “Yes. Chemotherapy has been known to cause infertility. You will need to harvest your eggs ASAP so we can begin chemo treatments.” OK, so chemo is delivered how? “You will need a Portacath (a device surgically placed under the skin on the upper chest) treatments will be delivered through this device over the next 6 months, 3hours a session, every 3 weeks, for a total of 8 rounds, as well as weekly injections.”
OK so this is a lot to take in. Still many questions but we are finally getting some answers. Trips have been made to Kelowna Fertility Clinic, (October 10th) to begin the process of egg retrieval (home injections). Dates have been set for portacath surgery (October 15th). Another trip back to Kelowna a day after portacath surgery (October 16th) to be monitored by the fertility clinic for about a week. Once the levels are where they are supposed to be, more travelling, this time to Vancouver. Egg retrieval is to be done there. Travelling yet again back home to Nelson to start chemotherapy treatments. (October 26th ish)
Here is a quick recap as to how well 2020 is going. Sam’s dog Cali needed knee surgery. Then Sam herself needed a second surgery on her wrist from a prior snowboarding accident. Once recovered, she returned to work for 2 weeks just to be laid off due to COVID. Cali’s other knee now requires surgery. A few days before Cali’s surgery, Sam feels a lump in her breast. Cali gets her surgery and Sam finally finds a job after being laid off for months. After working 8 days she receives a call that she has cancer.
Travelling from Nelson, to Kelowna, to Vancouver and Kamloops as well as gas, insurance, rent, groceries, supplements, anti nausea medications (other medications not covered) and the $5,000 IVF egg retrieval injections… bills are adding up. The fundraising goal we have set up is only to help with the next 6 months during chemotherapy treatments. Unfortunately, this journey will continue long after chemo. After chemo, surgery to remove the tumor will be done. Any effected areas such as lymph nodes will also have to be removed resulting in another surgery and possible removal of part of the arm pit. Genetic testing will show the risk level of the cancer coming back which means a double mastectomy will need to be done if the risk is high. And then she will move on to radiation. Once the Cancer is GONE reconstruction can then take place. Which is a lot more complex than people think.
The goal now is $20,000 but will most likely need to be increased as time goes on. Any donation, big or small, will go a long way! If you are unable to donate, PLEASE SHARE! Share on your social media’s, tell a friend, bring it up in church, anything! Please help my friend on this journey. I feel helpless in this situation, as I KNOW her family does as well. Everyone feels helpless. By donating to lessen the financial burden is one way to make a small difference, but a difference, nonetheless. Sam is a strong, independent, proud woman. She did not want to ask for help. That is where her family and I step in and make her check that pride at the door! We’ve got this. She’s got this! And we ARE going to make it through this. Sam has always been a fighter, now it is our turn to fight for Sam.
- Justina Armstrong
- Laura Condon
- Emile Emond
- Elaine Robitaille
Fundraising team (3)