A mother has spoken of her frustration as treatment for her young daughter – who was ‘thrown into menopause’ to combat signs of puberty – doesn’t appear to have worked.
Emily McAuliffe, from New South Wales’ Central Coast, is undergoing hormone replacement therapy after she grew breasts at the age of two and began menstruating at four-years-old due to an adrenal gland disorder.
Mother Tam Dover, 41, revealed in October to the Daily Mail that her now five-year-old daughter was undergoing expensive treatment after a four-and-a-half year struggle to find a diagnosis.
But speaking to FEMAIL on Wednesday, Tam said it may be back to the drawing board as the treatment wasn’t showing positive signs.
‘We started [the treatment] in October but it hasn’t worked,’ she said.
‘Emily hasn’t had a period in a month but it hasn’t stopped her breast growth or pubic hair growth and the other hormones of puberty.
New South Wales mother Tam Dover (pictured) revealed to FEMAIL on Wednesday that treatment for her ‘menopausal’ five-year-old daughter Emily McAuliffe (pictured) ‘hasn’t worked’
Emily (pictured), from New South Wales’ Central Coast, began growing breasts when she was two-years-old and started menstruating at the age of four due to an adrenal gland disorder
Now five-years-old, Emily is undergoing expensive hormone replacement therapy in a bid to give her the life of a normal child
Tam added: ‘Plus she has hot flushes on top. She struggles a lot and it’s hard to settle her.’
Emily – who is also autistic – was diagnosed with central precocious puberty, Addison’s disease and congenital adrenal hyperplasia more than four years after she first showed symptoms when she was just one-month old.
She is 138cm tall, weighs 45 kilograms, and is often mistaken for an eight-year-old as a result of the disorders, Tam said.
The long journey to eventually find some answers left Tam feeling ‘distressed’, and put a strain on her relationship with partner and Emily’s father Matt McAuliffe, 41.
‘[It was] distressing because at the time, we didn’t know what was happening or what the next test result was going to be.
‘It took a toll on our relationship. We were fighting because I’d be super panicked and he’d try to stay calm.’
Furthermore, Tam said she struggled to find a way to explain to Emily what was happening to her as she couldn’t understand it herself.
Emily is only receiving the treatment after spending almost half a decade in and out of hospitals searching for a diagnosis, Tam said
‘When you have your own child crying and you can’t comfort or stop the pain, you feel like you’ve failed,’ Tam (pictured) said
Emily – who is also autistic – was eventually diagnosed with central precocious puberty, Addison’s disease and congenital adrenal hyperplasia
‘When you have your own child crying and you can’t comfort or stop the pain, you feel like you’ve failed,’ she said.
‘You start to think you’re the problem after four and a half years with no answer.’
Tam added: ‘In a day and age where you are already worried for your child but then they have a solid B cup and you can’t stop it because you have so little information – you’re given a complex situation and you get really frustrated.’
It took a toll on our relationship. We were fighting because I’d be super panicked and he’d try to stay calm’
A GoFundMe was established two months ago in an attempt to raise funds for Emily’s ongoing medical expenses.
She requires weekly physio, occupational therapy, and behavioural sessions, as well as regular doctor appointments, which have sent bills for her parents soaring.
Despite receiving more than $16,000 from 400 donations, Tam and her security guard husband have only raised enough to pay off their debts, the mother-of-three said.
They are hoping to raise a further $8,500 to help prepare for the future, especially since both Tam and Matt exhausted their leave entitlements, meaning they regularly take days off without pay to accompany Emily to her appointments.
‘We’ve had to take loans out to try and combat the costs. We don’t have grandparents who can help us – I work ten-hour shifts four days a week,’ said Tam, who works at a local hospital in an administration role.
The long journey to eventually find some answers left Tam feeling ‘distressed’, and put a strain on her relationship with partner and Emily’s father Matt McAuliffe, 41 (pictured)
Emily requires weekly physio, occupational therapy, and behavioural sessions, as well as regular doctor appointments, which have sent bills for her parents soaring
Emily is awaiting test results from her first round of hormone replacement therapy, which will determine whether or not she will continue with the quarterly Lucrin injections
‘Not only does it cause financial difficulties but it causes stress among ourselves too.’
Tam said she was near breaking point before the family received help from Laura’s Place – a mental health organisation aimed at helping parents cope with behavioural, emotional and schooling difficulties.
‘If it wasn’t for them, I don’t know where we’d be. They brought back some solidarity between us and taught us that there’s hope for Emily.
‘Their behaviour school is teaching her to interact with others … they’ve given her so much ability to cope.’
Tam said Emily was going to be home-schooled next year, but will now be enrolled in a regular school after receiving help from Laura’s Place.
Emily is also awaiting test results from her first round of hormone replacement therapy, which will determine whether or not she will continue with the quarterly Lucrin injections.