Tracy Penticton, BC

World traveller and adventurer faces one of her toughest battles

Tracy-photo.jpgTracy had lived an adventurous life, and was shocked to receive a serious diagnosis that turned her world upside down. She had been married and had lived and travelled abroad, and then in 2008 she was a single mom living in British Columbia and was told she had cancer that had spread and had developed several severe complications. Tracy credits Hope Air with helping her return to health.

When she was younger, Tracy lived in Australia, Europe, Asia, and Vancouver, but after years of family struggles, she returned to her hometown of Penticton, B.C. The profound stress had taken a toll though. Tracy felt increasingly exhausted and weak. When she felt a lump in her breast and was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008, it was the oncologist treating her who also identified a parathyroid condition. This explained a lot, especially her unrelenting fatigue. Following surgery to treat the parathyroid, Tracy’s energy level improved. However, she still had breast cancer, and it had spread.

Tracy was undergoing chemotherapy and radiation when her doctor recommended a mastectomy. It should have been a straightforward operation, however, one of the effects of the parathyroid condition was extreme osteoporosis, and partially as result, Tracy received four broken ribs during the mastectomy. She suffered infections and required multiple reconstructive surgeries. To date, Tracy has undergone 10 separate surgeries to repair the effects of the initial mastectomy.

I could barely walk, and I couldn’t move my right arm at all. Hope Air saved my life. They saved my life many times.

This period was a very tough time for Tracy. “I was a single mom, broke and so sick,” she recalls. She had to travel to Vancouver and then Winnipeg for specialized operations. She didn’t know how she could manage.

Thankfully, a social worker at the cancer clinic told Tracy about Hope Air. “I could barely walk, and I couldn’t move my right arm at all. Hope Air saved my life. They saved my life many times,” she says. 

“Hope Air took away so much stress. For instance, I was in Vancouver for an appointment, and the doctor told me I could go home. I wouldn’t have to stay overnight as I thought. I called Hope Air and they took care of everything. I got a flight home the same day. It was so awesome.”

Tracy is now cancer-free. Her son Nicholas lives not too far away in Kamloops. She has some good friends close by and she walks and swims laps as often as she can.

 “I just don’t want anything else to happen,” says Tracy, thinking back over her life, stricken with so many difficulties. “Right now, I just want to chill out and take it one day at a time.”