Positively Facing Cancer

Hi, my name is Karen and I am 55 years old. I was diagnosed with breast cancer on my birthday December 13th 2016.
I just couldn't believe it. I nursed my mother through cancer until her death on May 17th 2012, her birthday. 

I was told that a mastectomy and lymph node removal in my left arm would remove all the cancer and I would go on to lead a normal life. Surgery took place in January 2017.

Two weeks later after a CT scan I was told that the cancer had spread to my liver, my lungs, my spine, my bones, my pericardium (the sac containing my heart) and some lymph nodes in my chest and was now stage 4 incurable breast cancer. (There is no stage 5). The reason they didn't see this in the beginning is because they did not give me a CT scan. Apparently it was not their policy to do so from the results of my biopsies which showed 1 tumour in my lymph nodes.

(Lymph nodes are basically your immune system in a particular part of your body; losing my lymph nodes means i no longer have an immune system in my left arm so musn't cut it, burn it, get bitten by insects and can't have needles or blood pressure taken on that arm. I am also at risk of Lymphedema. At the moment i am suffering from a painful condition called cording which looks like a rope under my skin from under my arm to my elbow.) 

They only do a CT scan if there are more than 4. When they went to remove my lymph nodes they found 16 tumours as well as the 3 in my breast. So if they had given me a CT scan and seen that my cancer had spread then I wouldn't have needed the surgery at all as it is not usually performed on people with advanced cancer as there really isn't any point. Just in case you don't understand that part it means that i had my breast and Lymph nodes removed for nothing.

All very unfortunate for me but it has in fact resulted in a procedure change in that women with the same diagnosis as me will have chemotherapy first and a CT scan before any surgery. So at least I have helped make important changes and hopefully saved lives.

Just 4 months later in April an unexpected infection which nearly killed me, found me in hospital with a drain on my lung and 3 emergency heart operations to drain infected fluid from around my heart which saved my life. It was very scary. Unfortunately I now suffer from shortness of breath and need to use a wheelchair. I am registered disabled and will never be able to work again.

Dark Days. April 2017

I have an aggressive cancer which is HER2 positive. There is a special drug to treat my cancer called Herceptin which could extend my life by 5 years on average. Herceptin works by attaching itself to the receptors on the surface of breast cancer cells and blocking them from receiving growth signals. Unfortunately sooner or later cancer finds a way around Herceptin.

There has been a lot of research done which shows we can cure cancer or at least get more than 5 years with alternative treatments and radical life style changes and taking an active role in your own healing. Integrative therapy means combining the unconventional with the conventional to hopefully extend your life but, at the very least, ensure you have the best quality of life.

I am determined to try and find a way to stay alive more than 5 years.

I have four beautiful children and I want to be here for them; I want to one day be a grandma. I feel I am being robbed of at least 20 years, it's just not fair.

Did you know that the UK has the lowest cancer survival rates in the whole of Europe?

I have known my wonderful husband for only 6 years; I dreamed we would d grow old together. He should normally retire in 4 years but is hoping to retire next year so that we can spend my final years together and he can be my carer as my condition deteriorates. We will then have only a very small income to live on. Sooner or later we will have to move house as I won't be able to manage the stairs of our first floor apartment. We do not own our own property.

I have just finished a gruelling chemotherapy programme and will be having CT scans in a few weeks to see hopefully that my cancer is not progressing. I will continue to have Herceptin, Pertuzumab and another drug to strengthen my bones every 3 weeks by drip for the rest of my life. But it's early days for me yet and I have no idea of what's to come or for how long the Herceptin will work.
This is why I need to start my treatment now and hopefully stop my cancer from getting worse and needing far more expensive treatments that are not even available in the UK.

Extensive research has shown me what my next steps should be. I am going to undertake a strict dietary regime, 80% vegan, no dairy, no sugar and lots of freshly juiced organic fruit and veg to boost my immune system, which is expensive in itself. I will be self-fund recurring Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy to improve reparative functions as it's not available on the NHS.

I will also need to fund a great number of expensive dietary supplements from the USA and Europe which are not available in the UK as well as acupuncture and a number of other therapies. Travel costs are also a major headache. If my condition deteriorates there are other therapies abroad which are very expensive, but I won't talk about those for the moment.

I have done a lot of research and found hundreds of cases of people in my situation that took control and started an alternative treatment. There is lots of evidence in support of high dose IV vitamin C along with several other vitamins given in high doses can kill cancer cells and boost the body's immune system which fights the cancer.

All of this, at great personal expense. I have had savings that I have poured into treatments up to this point. However, it is becomingly increasingly difficult to fund or even contemplate the upcoming costs.

Each way I turn, the costs for treatments are terrifying. No one talks about the cost of cancer. I simply cannot fund all these treatments alone.

So I am asking for help...

This experience has changed my life and humbled me, as I am not normally the type to ask others for help. I would like to think that I can help others in similar situations as well and I already do so by being in various support groups. Please help me spread the word and help me save my life from this awful disease.

If you want to you can donate below, hold a coffee morning, sell some cakes, organise a marathon...anything will help. And I am so grateful for any help at all.

I will regularly do updates on what I am spending the money on and how it is improving my condition.

Thank you for taking the time to read my campaign and support my cause.

Our Wedding Day 25/08/2012

Looking Gorgeous in April 2017

Amazing friends cheering me up

My Incredible, Wonderful Daughter
  • Anonymous 
    • £100 
    • 52 mos
  • Andy Groves 
    • £50 
    • 52 mos
  • Hayley Thompson 
    • £50 
    • 52 mos
  • Patricia Timlin 
    • £30 
    • 52 mos
  • Eileen Lamb 
    • £10 
    • 54 mos
See all


Karen Skinner 
Leeds, Yorkshire and the Humber, United Kingdom