Sick mum fights to protect her family
Nicki Temperton is undertaking chemotherapy for cancer, has a tumour on her cervix and bowel, and needed life-saving surgery after her bowel burst a day before her birthday.
But all she is worried about is taking care of her son, Zander, who came into her life on April 24 last year - a blessing born from another series of challenges.
Mrs Temperton, of Foxton Beach, said that she had spent 13 years trying to make a baby with husband Tony. But various setbacks came up along the way.
"Slowly but surely we became calm with the fact we would not have kids."
That was until Mrs Temperton's 40-year-old sister, Kellyanne Morrison, became pregnant and offered them the child to raise as their own.
Ms Morrison gave birth to a healthy boy who went home with his new parents.
But while sorting adoption papers out, Mrs Temperton began to feel unwell.
On February 19, a day before her birthday, she found herself lying on the floor in pain, with fluid leaking from her burst bowel into her abdomen, and a 10-month-old Zander crawling around her head, wondering what was wrong.
She received life-saving bowel surgery, but has since been diagnosed with cancer after a large tumour was found on her cervix and bowel. She has drains in her to remove the matter and fluid which leaked into her abdomen.
Chemotherapy has now started for the cancer, which is leaving her drained of energy.
"I'm so tired all the time.
"The pain relief makes me tired, but being in pain also makes me tired, so I'm not able to care for Zander as much as I want."
With Mr Temperton having to work to keep the money coming in to pay the bills, friends had been helping to carry the load.
But while they had been invaluable support, they could not be there all the time, and finding money to pay for someone to care for Zander was proving difficult, she said.
"Zander is the reason I'm fighting.
"If I didn't have him and Tony, I just don't know if I could be bothered."
Having someone to take care of Zander when others could not would help in her recovery, she said.
"As long as he is looked after, I know I can fight."
A fundraising page has been set up to help the Tempertons. See givealittle.co.nz/cause/ZandersMum