Having buried her unborn child and battled with terminal cancer for more than a year, a woman from Lavenham is now asking for people to help support her family.
Kate King was first diagnosed with cancer in December 2014 after suffering undiagnosed back problems and diarrhoea for six months.
At the time she was pregnant with her seventh child but was told both her and the child would be dead within six weeks if she did not start chemotherapy immediately.
Having faced the trauma of burying her child and suffering months of side-effects from chemotherapy, Mrs King is about to start another round of treatment.
“It’s like a living nightmare,” she said. “Everything you assume you are going to be able to do in the future is taken away.”
Despite aggressive chemotherapy successfully shrinking tumours in her liver, bones, breast and ovaries, there is no cure and Mrs King is simply hoping to spend as much time as possible with her husband and six children at their home in Trinity Gild.
The 41-year-old is self employed, having run Hopscotch Handmade Gifts since 2009 as well as an events company since 2011. But for much of the past year she has been left unable to work.
Her husband Richard, 46, a self-employed auto-electrician, is also unable to work, taking his wife to hospital every day.
Despite this, the family is not entitled to additional benefits and Mrs King says it is now a desperate struggle for the family just to survive.
She has set up a fundraising page to help the family in the coming months. The children go to school in Essex, but she is now unable to drive.
She would also like to buy a wig to help her young family come to terms with her hair loss as she starts radiotherapy, being diagnosed with brain cancer on November 11.
With no money coming into the household Mrs King said: “It’s for food and rent. It’s not for luxuries, it’s for survival. Having people supporting us with their donations means that we can actually be able to enjoy being together. It could possibly be our last Christmas as a family unit.”
The treatment and the severe side-effects will not end with the radiotherapy. In January she will begin another six months of chemotherapy.
“The doctors have made it clear I may not have that long,” she said.
“There’s too many tumours for them to hope to shrink them. It’s a matter of holding it back for as long as possible.”
Mrs King’s first symptoms came in the summer of 2014, with what felt like a trapped nerve in her back. She was also suffering daily with diarrhoea.
Following a doctor’s appointment at the end of October and being given blood tests, it was revealed her liver was failing. The blood tests also revealed Mrs King was pregnant, meaning she could not have a colonoscopy.
While she had repeated tests her condition worsened.She finally had emergency bloods tests, a liver ultra sound and a liver biopsy just before Christmas. The liver was found to be completely covered in tumours.
Further tests revealed the inoperable primary behind the breast, with doctors revealing the cancer was advanced and terminal.
On New Year’s Eve Mrs King had a full-body CT scan which showed the cancer had spread to her bones and that there was probably a second primary on her ovaries.
Originally given just six months to live, the treatment did shrink the tumours, despite suffering severe and ‘unpleasant’ side-effects from the chemotherapy.
However, in November she had an emergency brain scan after suffering visual disturbances, weight loss and sickness, and was told the cancer had now spread to her brain.
It was then Mrs King decided to set up a fundraising page to help support her family.
So rare is Mrs King’s set of conditions that just two cases similar to hers are seen nationwide each year. As a result West Suffolk Hospital, where she is being treated, is working with Addenbrooke’s Hospital to get a better understanding of her condition.
Mrs King is also setting up a blog to give advice to others suffering with cancer.
To donate to Mrs King’s fundraising page visit crowdfunding.justgiving.com/kate-king-cancer or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org