Last summer former North Richmond Councillor, Katherine Arine was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Her story is not just one of inspiration, it is one of insight and information. Katherine is an Environmental Scientist who delivers the latest, wide-ranging news on a disease which will touch one in four of us at some point in our lives. RiverTribe will be publishing her Journal of Hope every month. Here, she begins with the moment she was diagnosed.


When they say, “You have two years to live,” things die. Instantly.


Dreams die. Ambitions die. Hope dies. The future dies in one professional hit from an oncologist. You are dead, but still moving. Crying, anyway.


A year later, I feel great! And I’m looking forward to making a complete recovery. My Psycho Oncologist has diagnosed me with an Adjustment Disorder. He says I’m in denial of my impending doom. Too right, and proudly so. Given a choice I’d rather be positive. I’m a young fifty with a son and daughter just out of university so I’d rather hang around for a while, thank you very much.


Last September I was diagnosed with aggressive Stage 4 breast cancer, spread to lymph, liver and spine. Too many tumours to count.  Stage 4 means the NHS says, “We can’t cure you, but we can slow the rate at which you get worse”. It’s a negative and unhelpful message. It might be realistic, but it is hopeless.  


I called my clinical hypnotist, Barry Thain. He said. “Let’s see what we can do to make you feel better.” I felt better already! Two days later he was using hypnotherapy to uide me into a positive state which he believes changes the environment in which cancer thrives. Reduce the stress and reverse the disease. As if that could work, right? But I was much happier doing that than arranging my funeral.


Marie Curie observed that the more we understand, the less we fear. As a scientist, I researched the hell out of cancer and ran across Lance Armstrong. He may have cheated in the Tour de France but he also cheated death.  His testicular cancer had spread to his brain and ‘spread’ means incurable. He recovered by combining mainstream medicine and Olympic-level diet and fitness regimes. If he did that I had hope. I could do that too. Chris Woollams’ biochemistry approach sees cancer as metabolic and thus reversible. That was empowering and fuelled my hope. Dr Michael Greger’s dietary work to keep tumours the size of a Biro tip so you live longer and die with your cancer, not because of it, is liberating.


Cancer has no one cause, and no single cure. I’m trialling a more personalised cancer drug, supplemented with my own super-disciplined diet, daily exercise, and occasional hypnotism regime.


How am I now? There is no detectable cancer in my breast where there used to be a golf ball-sized tumour. The cancer in my spine is static, the cancer in my liver has dramatically shrivelled. It’s getting better, not worse.


Now, in the circumstances it’s relatively easy to stay positive most of the time but I dread going to the hospital for the necessary checks and scans. The atmosphere is terminal. “You’re doing very well,” comes out sounding like “It’s only a matter of time.” That hurts and isn’t helpful. A trip to my clinical hypnotist repairs the damage quickly and restores hope.


Hope is so important. It might or might not extend my life, but it makes the life I have so much happier.