Hi my name is Camilla Chaplin, I'm a Natural Medicine Practitioner and I'm raising funds for one of my clients Karyn who was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer the day she gave birth to her baby girl Billi.
Billi is Karyn's long awaited first child, a baby she thought she may never have. At 37, eagerly anticipating Billi's arrival Karyn's life was turned upside down when a visit to the hospital at 29 weeks with back pain revealed Karyn was very unwell. She was told she needed an emergency caesarian immediately otherwise she and her baby may not make it. An hour after Billi was born Karyn was diagnosed with Stage 4 Breast Cancer that had spread to her liver, bones and optic nerve.
Her prognosis was poor and the doctors told her she would not leave hospital. But being Karyn she defied the odds and with courage and determination she left hospital less than two weeks later. She started hormone blockers, daily chemotherapy, a long list of complementary medicines, holistic treatments, meditation and an organic, alkaline diet.
With incredible determination Karyn weaned herself off fentanyl and morphine so she could be fully present with Billi who would spend the next two months in hospital. She sat for endless hours in NICU giving Billi healing skin-on-skin time. She couldn't wait to bring her home and mother her the way she had always dreamed.
When Karyn went for her follow up with the oncologist her doctor was impressed by her results. Many of her tumours had shrunk. Her liver was returning to its normal size and appearance. She is not in the clear yet but her doctor told her to "go and live your life."
Finally the day came when Karyn could take Billi home.
Karyn was over the moon.
I was very concerned. As a mother of two young children I knew exactly how exhausting the early years can be. I knew very well the complete lack of decent sleep that comes hand-in-hand with little babies. As a complementary medicine practitioner I worried about what this exhaustion would mean for Karyn's immune system, for her ability to care for herself fully and do all the things she had been doing that were keeping her well.
Being a tiny, premi baby Billi fed round the clock and as the days rolled on I saw Karyn fall into utter exhaustion as she cared for her daughter alone 24 hours a day while undertaking daily chemotherapy tablets and monthly in-hospital chemo injections. Karyn is one of the most positive, upbeat, capable woman to ever walk into my clinic and to the outside world she puts on a brave face. But in my mind it is totally unacceptable for a new Mother to battle such a serious illness, undertake chemo and look after a new born baby alone.
I set out to find support for her. Surely there was government funding to assist sick Mums look after their babies? Surely large cancer fundraising organisations have enough funding to support individual circumstances like this? What about NDIS? Sadly no .................... sick Mums fall through the cracks. While there is some support it's absolutely not enough to make a real impact.
Karyn has friends and a few incredible volunteers who help for a few hours where they can, she has people cooking occasional meals for her, she has used up the tiny amount of carers respite offered by the government and is applying for all other assistance she is eligible for but the most critical thing Karyn needs moving forward is consistent, reliable help with Billi so she can get the rest she so desperately needs.
I am raising funds to cover the cost of a Night Nanny for a few nights per week for at least the first year. Karyn also needs financial assistance to access the best treatments available, both holistic and cutting edge conventional medicine treatments, in order to give her the best chance at beating this. She needs financial assistance to live well as there is NOT ENOUGH HELP FOR SICK MOTHERS IN AUSTRALIA! If we can alleviate some of the financial stress a single parent battling cancer faces this would help in so many ways. Karyn would also like to set up a Trust for Billi to secure her future and give Karyn peace of mind.
All mothers needs a village to raise their children, a sick mother needs more than a village. Can you help Karyn and Billi stay together? Any contribution is received with immense gratitude.
BHSc (TCM), Cert Advanced Clinical Studies
Acupuncture, Functional Nutrition, Fertility Support, Woman's Health, Mental Health, Oncology Support
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