Katrina Spraggon from Queensland Australia has become known worldwide for weaning her very sick 12-year-old daughter Kaitlyn, off a cocktail of pharmaceutical drugs, and replacing them with her own, home grown cannabis oil. After witnessing first-hand the positive impact that cannabis oil made, she has gone on to become an advocate for cannabis based medicines, and even influenced government policy on the issue.
My name is Katrina Spraggon, I am a single mother with four beautiful children. My 12-year-old daughter named Kaitlyn has a complex set of illnesses & disabilities.
I was recently nominated for Thanks a million Pride of Australia awards, I was described as an unsung hero for shining the light on access to medicinal cannabis treatment for children.
I have tirelessly advocated, both on a state & federal level, to change laws to allow doctors to prescribe cannabis medicine to children with severe neurological conditions, I continue to push for greater access, more research & better health outcomes for children Australia wide.
The time, effort & heart I have put into this cause has had a significant impact on government policy, with greater access to this medicine potentially saving & giving a greater quality of life to thousands of children Australia wide.
My daughter Kaitlyn suffers from a complex set of illnesses & disabilities ranging from:
1.Intractable life-threatening Epilepsy
2. Cerebral Palsy
4. Communicating Hydrocephalus
5. Esophageal Dysmotility
6. Hypotonia with central origin
7. Feeding Difficulties
8. Hip Dysplasia
9. Chronic Lung Disease
10. Global Developmental delay
15. Intellectual impairment
16. Obstructive sleep apnea with hypoventilation
17. Auto-Immune Disease
19. Bulbar palsy
Kaitlyn has had to endure so much in her 12 years of life, Kaitlyn suffers from Intractable life-threatening Epilepsy & has for years suffered seizures that are so severe they can cause her to go into respiratory failure & cardiac arrest where her heart stops beating & she stops breathing.
On the best possible pharmaceutical medication- this was our life, several times a week, every fortnight, every month, every year of her life Ambulance sirens getting closer, strangers rushing into my home & me on the floor giving my girl every last breath from my aching chest to keep her alive until help once again would arrive & take her to hospital. I call it a life but it was not – we were existing each day in a state of severe distress, trauma, helplessness & isolation with there being no possible way out of this nightmare.
Kaitlyn growing up, spent most of her life in & out of the hospital, in the Intensive Care Unit, the High Dependency ward and the paediatric ward, she’s spent 18 months in hospital for reoccurring viruses or a collapsed lung.
She’s undergone 6 back operations for her severe Scoliosis & has rods on either side of her spine, she’s undergone 5 hip operations also, her last operation on her hips wasn’t a success and has now left my daughter non-ambulatory, disfigured with a 10cm leg discrepancy & in a world of pain, both surgeons are under investigation by Aphra.
Kaitlyn used to be on a cocktail of seizure pharmaceuticals to try and manage her seizures & a cocktail of opioids to manage her pain for her dislocated hip and severe scoliosis.
My daughter Kaitlyn was prescribed Carbamazepine, Clobazam, Diazepam, Levetiracetam, Midazolam, Phenytoin & Pheynebarbitone for her seizures & on top of all that was prescribed Endone, Fentanyl, Ketamine, Lignocaine, morphine, Oxycodone, OxyContin, Gapentin, Tramadol & Clonidine for her pain.
The pharmaceutical medication that was prescribed to my daughter to try & control these seizures was non-effective and although reduced they did not stop them & the side effects from the combination of powerful drugs & opioids for pain left Kaitlyn in a ‘zombie’ state with no quality of life, sedated in bed on high flow oxygen & her still at risk from constant seizures that would stop her breathing & heart to stop.
Due to Kaitlyn’s condition I had to maintain a constant watch on her and was awake at times three nights in a row monitoring her through the night giving her oxygen, suctioning her, doing chest physio & chest percussions to try and shift her secretions, administering medications and on standby ready to perform CPR to keep her alive, my other children were constantly exposed to the trauma of seeing their sister flatline, alarms sounding & myself desperately applying CPR & calling an Ambulance for help.
We were totally housebound for years with myself and my children in survival mode, not living a normal active life, in constant fear & traumatised trying to keep Kaitlyn alive, we were a family in crisis & the position we were in was not sustainable.
It was back in 2014, after doing my own research into treatments for Epilepsy I read that Cannabis was being used by people who had children with this condition & they were having amazing results, Teachers at her School also spoke about how cannabis oil has helped another child & their seizures.
Although illegal, with my family in crisis and no other known pharmaceutical treatments that could improve Kaitlyn’s condition, I commenced my daughter on THC & THCA Cannabis oil & cannabis tincture & the results were nothing short of a miracle. Once I started noticing the dramatic change in just the first few weeks I took Kaitlyn to doctors so they could also see the change and document it, I then rang child safety to report myself for giving my child an illegal substance, ( the reason behind that is because I was a former child care teacher for 8 years and I know how the system works, I wasn’t going to risk my daughter getting taken off me for giving her an illegal substance when doctors were even stating she has to stay on my homemade cannabis medicine indefinite otherwise it will be potentially fatal). Child safety investigated the matter & closed the case as no harm was being done to Kaitlyn with homemade Cannabis medicine. I rang and told the head of drug control & then I walked into my local police station with a stat dec stating what I was doing and that I take full responsibility for my daughter’s life on homemade Cannabis medicine. Since commencing this medication back in 2014 by 2015 I had weaned my daughter off the cocktail of pharmaceutical drugs including opioids for her spine & hip conditions.
My daughter has gone from a child who was in a wheelchair with no response to her surroundings, no ability to move, unable to take food by mouth, tongue hanging out the side of her mouth until 2014, it was Kaitlyn’s 6th Birthday and I remember it like it was yesterday, once Kaitlyn began taking Cannabis medicine she became alive, she started crawling around the house, pulling herself up to stand & trying to walk, eating independently, standing in a walker, smiling, engaging with her siblings & others, & for the very first time said ‘Hello’.
It has been life-changing and my biggest regret is not starting my daughter on it sooner. These last 7 years seeing my daughter progress & come to life has been absolutely astonishing to see and witness.
I grow the cannabis and make my daughter’s Full Extract Cannabis oil & Cannabis Coconut oil and we get her cannabis tincture supplied by a compassionate healer.
My daughter became alive, her seizures started to reduce, it wasn’t until I weaned Kaitlyn off all the seizure pharmaceuticals and opioids I noticed the dramatic change in her, she was no longer in and out of the hospital, we were accessing the community and having fun for the first time in years.
Yes, I have been in a constant battle with my own state government & Health Department for the last 6 years over giving my child an ‘illegal drug’ as they like to call it, that backfired for government officials when I showed them my daughter’s homemade cannabis oil had been documented in her medical files as we were using it in medical emergencies & hospital admissions since 2014 and it was saving her life.
The way I see it – regardless if it’s legal or illegal if a doctor documents it in a medical file “Mother administered cannabis oil which stopped the seizure & child went to room air” – I classify that as a medicine, don’t you?
Since all of my daughter’s doctors were on board & did supporting letters stating the dramatic changes they have seen in Kaitlyn and also stating she has to stay on homemade cannabis medicine indefinite otherwise it will be potentially fatal, the Federal Government, Police & Child services also support me & have done supporting letters.
Each patient has different requirements, depending on each unique state of their endocannabinoid system & their diagnosis, I always encourage parents to be in partnership with their doctors but sometimes the stigma still around cannabis prevents that doctor-patient relationship & parents are forced to take matters into their own hands to give their child a quality of life.
When I state each patient has different requirements for example in most cases CBD cannabis oil by itself works great for children who have Epilepsy but in my daughter’s case it doesn’t, she needs the THC and THCA with a minute amount of CBD oil.
Cannabis oil has changed my daughter’s life and for any parent who is thinking of considering this medicine for their child, I would say, it is now or never, you only have one life and that life should be quality of life without pain & suffering.
Kaitlyn was prescribed Piroxicam (which is an anti-inflammatory in the year 2020) by palliative care after the wrong hip surgery was performed, she has it once a day on top of her cannabis oil and cannabis edibles.
Yes absolutely there is still a stigma, Cannabis should be a first-line treatment but it’s not, it’s absolutely outrageous, I am actually fuming. What kind of people in Government can do this to their citizens & what is the justification here, how about compassion for all citizens around the Nation.
It is so hypocritical, patients are unable to use medicine that helps & with no reported deaths while it’s perfectly ok to prescribe drugs with the potential for causing death when overdosed. In fact, deaths due to accidental overdose of legal drugs are one of the major killers. Let’s not forget the time between 1850 & 1937 where doctors were able to prescribe it and it wasn’t doctors who banned it in 1937.
The definition of madness is when you try to solve the problem with the same consciousness that created it. I believe policymakers and people in power still represent the same level of consciousness that led to prohibition in the first place.