In 2015, 27-year-old Sam was on top of the world.
The Queenslander had opened a private dental practice in Gympie with her husband Adam, and had just found out she was pregnant. Sadly, their joy was short-lived.
Soon after the exciting news, Sam was told the pregnancy was a molar pregnancy and not viable, and she would have to have the embryo surgically removed.
During the surgery doctors found her placenta had turned into a choriocarcinoma – a malignant form of gestational trophoblastic disease.
The cells that should have formed Sam’s placenta instead had turned into a cancerous tumour. This is an extremely rare gynaecological cancer.
Further scans revealed the cancer had spread to her lungs and that her blood count was half of what it should be.
“Adam and I were devastated – first to lose a baby, and then to be diagnosed with cancer. We went from the most incredible news of finding out we’d be parents, to something as far from that as possible,” Sam said.
“It was something I never thought I would have to go through, let alone at 27.
“I am the first to admit Adam and I shed many tears, but, I am a big believer that life only throws at you what you can handle.”
‘Challenging’ is the world Sam uses to describe what came next.
“Treatment involved five months of weekly chemotherapy to kill the cancer cells that were rapidly multiplying in my body,” she said.
“I was told this type of cancer responds well to treatment, but I was still so scared.
“I was so lucky to have an amazing support group around me. My mum was at every appointment and I’ll appreciate that for the rest of my life.
“Then there was my friends and family, the doctors and nurses, right through to patients at the dental practice bringing in meals, flowers and well-wishes. I was so supported and looked after, which made the journey more bearable.