Five-year-old’s cancer fight

2017-09-26 06:00
PhotoS: suppliedCamdyn Keswell during chemo, now celebrates his two-year cancer-free life.

PhotoS: suppliedCamdyn Keswell during chemo, now celebrates his two-year cancer-free life.

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IT was a Christmas nightmare for Durban mother Tamsyn Keswell as her five-year-old son, Camdyn was diagnosed with stage 3 Wilms tumor, also known as nephroblastoma, cancer of the kidney, on December 24, 2014.

Tamsyn told Fever Camdyn had a swelling in his abdomen.
“His abdomen was large and hard at the top and small on the bottom. He was pale in colour and he had also lost weight and his appetite. Camdyn was also always on antibiotics for recurrent infections. I would not have even suspected cancer.”

She said when Camdyn was diagnosed the family was gutted.
“We do have a family history of adult cancers on both sides of the family, but I never suspected the gene would pass to my little boy.”

Camdyn’s road to recovery was a long and hard struggle.
“He had four weeks of chemotherapy [vincristine] and then major surgery to remove his right kidney as well as the tumour of 395g and because the cancer had travelled to his lymph node he had to have six days of spinal and abdominal radiation and seven months of weekly chemotherapy consisting of Vincristine, Dactinomison, Epidoxirubcin and every week my little­ boy was poked.

“He actually got so used to being poked he didn't cry when it was chemo time. But it did affect him psychologically because he would get ill before even having chemotherapy.
“Camdyn lost his hair and was very ill. At times his bloods was very low and he had to be in isolation to avoid infections.
Sometimes Camdyn couldn't eat because of mouth ulcers and just because he was feeling ill so he lived on smoothies and Futurelife and PediaSure­.

“At the hospital we received support from our neighbours, friends and outsiders. Everyone who had heard about Camdyn’s diagnosis rallied around him trying to help as much as possible.
“Also I came into contact with Debbie Riggien from Rainbows and Smiles via a social worker at Albert Luthuli Hospital. Debbie and Bonita Suckling have been so supportive as well - Camdyn just loves them. He actually looks forward to his check-ups to see ‘Aunty Debbie’,” said Tamsyn.

She said Rainbows and Smiles have been helpful with their journey.
“Debbie visited Camdyn when he was in hospital with little gifts to cheer him up. He actually looked forward to seeing Aunty Debbie on chemotherapy days. 

“Rainbows and Smiles helped me with a new fridge as my one packed up and I was stressing about how I was going to get a new one.
“Rainbows and Smiles came to our rescue. They also sponsored my daughter’s surprise birthday party because siblings also deserve spoils too. 

“Debbie and the team have done so much even assisting with food vouchers because it is very hard when there is nobody working.”

Tamsyn thanks Debbie and the Rainbows team for being there for them. “I appreciate everything they have done for us. Debbie has positively impacted on Camdyn’s healing process and she continues to be there for him every step of the way. Even though he is in remission it's not the end, the fight continues.”

Camdyn is two years cancer-free today, September 19.

Tamsyn’s message for those going through this experience is, “I know it's hard, but you have to be strong in front of the little one. It's hard, but that's the only thing that has helped me.”

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