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The incredible story of Diane Caine

Updated: Aug 14, 2018

Recently we caught up with Di to get the whole story about how she came to be producing and selling this awesome completely natural range of skincare

We first met the invincible Dianne Caine in a Health Shop in Perth. We were actually buying some of her products when she just happened to be in the store promoting her latest skin care range. Dianne oozes Mother Earth. We ended up chatting briefly about her story and we were transfixed about why she had gone to great lengths to produce and source the natural ingredients found in her range. Her products have become a household staple for our whole family.

It’s not often you meet someone so dedicated to a cause that they’ve made it their life’s work, despite some real highs and lows, but Di lights up the room and has a warrior heart. Don’t be fooled by the soft voice and gentle smile and warmth she possesses. There’s a West Aussie fighter in there I wouldn’t want to cross.If you see smudges anywhere on this page, it was us crying when listening to Di talk about her journey and all the heartbreak she has gone through. A more amazing woman I doubt you will find.

So, Dianne, thank you so much for seeing us today. Now I know that really, all this started way back when your daughter Jess was just six years old. Can you tell us what happened?

One night Jess had a seizure at midnight, I had no idea at the time it was a seizure. She was rushed to Karratha hospital where they injected her and it finally stopped. They then did a lumber puncture and test after test. The hospital could not find what made her have her seizure so they admitted her.

Lucky for me, the visiting pediatrician was in town. He tested and tested her but could not find anything wrong.

They were not keen to put us on a plane to Perth as there was nothing wrong but after lengthy discussions decided to allow her to go for further tests at Princess Margaret Hospital.

At PMH they did a CT scan and found what they thought looked like a blood clot or she had had a large knock to the head?

After a week of trying to work out the cause, the hospital called us in.I could tell by the look on the Drs face that is was more than a knock on the head.

He announced on December 23rd 1991 that Jessica had a brain tumour.

On 13th January 1992 Jessica had her first major operation to remove the tumour and we were told it was not going to take long, just a few hours. Five long hours later my daughter was wheeled passed me with every hole in her body with some form of tubing coming out and if there wasn’t a hole they made one.

It was announced that the tumour was inoperable and was not quite where the scan was showing it to be and that they only got enough for a biopsy. It was in her speech area and if they had of gone ahead she would have been paralysed down her right side. It was the size of a 50c piece.

Wow, that must have been so scary? I understand that you refused to accept the initial recommendation that Jess receive-immediate radiotherapy and that you received animosity from the doctors. Do you think this was all a mother’s natural Instinct kicking in?

I did refuse to give Jess radiotherapy as they gave me a paragraph of the definite side effects that they knew would affect her but were not sure on the many other side effects that were going to damage her. The one I could not get past was that she could go back to being a 2 year old and could end up a vegetable. Jess was the only one at the time in the world that they could find, who had a tumour where hers was. They wanted me to sign forms because the radiotherapy was going to be experimental (I don’t think so). So I would have to say yes to a mother’s instinct kicking in.

Did you know much about radiotherapy back in the day?

I didn’t understand what cancer was back then really. I was put in front of 8 specialists and each one gave their speech on why it was important for me to give Jessica radiotherapy and if I didn’t give it to her she would definitely die before she was 7 years old. Jess was diagnosed with an Astrocytoma Grade 2. I still couldn’t come to grips with the paragraph about the side effects of radiotherapy and what it was going to do to her.

I think it was incredibly brave, sticking up for something you ultimately believe in, but did you have much support in your quest for Jess’s health?

No. I feel the only support I was given was the day they took me through the Oncology Ward at PMH, to let me see what Jess would look like after treatment. I can assure you that was so heart breaking at the time. I could not finish the round. So ‘tongue in cheek’, that was the only support I was offered. I didn’t have Mr. Google back then, I was empty, emotional, confused and scared.

So what happened?

I took her back to Karratha with few anti-convulsi medications to help keep any seizures at bay, as everyone has to have after brain surgery.

On one of my trips back to Perth I took her to an alternative Dr in North Beach. He was the first person ever to tell me what cancer was and how it grows. He gave me some awesome advise and some vitamins. He was also the first person to talk to me about diet.

Each Specialist visit back to PMH (3 monthly) they would check to see if she had any seizures. She was good for 12 months but then the seizures started again. Every visit to Perth they gave her more anti-convulsing medication, all the time adding more to the list, without taking her off any of the others.

As she got older the worse the seizures got as the tumour grew. Each time the Drs told me that I should give her radiotherapy as this would slow the tumour down. Actually not tell me, I know now it was ‘pressure me’.

Once we had reached the age of 7, they also told me she would probably die during teenage years due to new hormones. Jess was having about 10 seizures a day that I could see. I let her leave school as she became disruptive. All she wanted to do was sleep.

When she got to 15 years old and because I was a pain (scared) they sent me to Sir Charles Gardener Hospital to see a specialist there. By then she was now on ten different anti-convulsion tablets.

Well what a shock that was. The specialist at Sir Charles Gardener told me I wrapped her in cotton wool! As Jess couldn’t have a good conversation, as she was distracted with the seizures, I spoke mainly for Jess. Well he put me in my place and told me, “I’m speaking to Jess not you”. He hounded Jess that she should know this and that, but she had no idea. He finally ordered her a (EEG) Scan.

The next appointment he apologised to me as he had discovered that she was constantly having a seizure and the tablets were just masking the seizures and it was the reason so many broke through.

Oh and for something different he gave her some more anti-convulsants that were experimental. I had to sign forms to say that Jess would take them on time every day and never to get pregnant as they had never been tested on the damage on an unborn foetus. After 3 years of this Dr and now on 16 Anti-convulsants a DAY, and a desperate mother of a child who is 18 years old and wetting herself and still having loads of seizures a day due to the tumour growing, I needed some help.

Instead he decided we were too hard to manage and sent us to a specialist at Royal Perth Hospital.

This was the best thing that ever happened. Finally someone who was gentle and actually listened. He was amazed about how many tablets Jess was on and could not believe she could still walk or function as much as she could. He told us about experimental surgery that had been done, only 5 people have had it done, only 3 survived, no one as young as Jess had been operated on. It was very risky, again because of the potential collateral damage. It was brain mapping. They operated on her and laid the maps on her brain. She was connected to a computer and her tablets for seizures were reduced dramatically so they could map where they were coming from.

On the Friday (before another operation on the Monday) they got her to do things like read a sentence, or talk, all the while Jess was awake even though the top of her head had been pulled back and her brain was exposed as they prodded different areas to map the effects. When her actions stopped they mapped that information so they knew not to operate in that particular part of the brain.

On the Monday one week later after mapping the brain again, she went in for further surgery. Nine hours later she was wheeled into intensive care. The first thing I did was to get her to move her legs to see if she was paralysed. She was all-good. The specialist came in and said they got the entire tumour visible to the human eye.

She spent 7 more days in hospital.

That's amazing, that after all your turmoil, you finally found someone that was really helping your baby girl. You’ve told us that Jess had severe problems with seizures throughout her life and was on a cocktail of drugs to help her cope. As she got older she was told that it would be hard to conceive a child due to all the inherent dangers to the foetus and if she did conceive the baby would have to be terminated due to deformities. How are things now?

Jess’s anti-convulsants are reduced to 2 after the operations. These drugs had to be reduced very slowly. Due to unforeseen circumstances Jess split from her at the time fiancé. She came home to live with me. One night on the lounge Jess said to me, “Mum, there is something here in my stomach that keeps moving”.

I casually moved over and put my hand on her stomach and nearly fainted. I got a good boot from her stomach. I jumped up and had a good feel. I estimated that she was 25 weeks pregnant.

The next day I rushed her to our GP and he said it would be impossible for her to be pregnant due to all the drugs and her birth control.

He also nearly fell over after an examination, definitely pregnant. He was talking termination due to the kind of tablets and the amount she was on. He rushed us off to a specialist that day.

The specialist was so good, assuring us that everything should be ok as he had seen a lot worse. He scanned her and told us Jess was 25 and a half week’s pregnant and his scan of the baby was looking good. He then sent us for more intensive scans, which revealed what looked like a healthy baby.

As this now seemed such a short pregnancy and not a lot of time to get ready for the new addition, we were all confused, excited and really didn’t know what to think.

The day came and my beautiful healthy granddaughter was born. She is now 10 years old and is healthy and very much loved.

So, with all this going on in your lives, somehow you started Dianne Caine Skincare….how did that all come about?

Dianne Caine Skin Care came about with a lot of thought about a mother wondering why her child got a brain tumour.

I did a lot of research about food during the years and kept my daughter on a healthy eating plan. This mainly consisted of real whole foods, which were organic. I wouldn’t give her any junk food, take ways, or any processed foods from a packet. Jess eat the best natural food I could source for her.

Then I discovered the skin being the biggest organ of the body and also the most absorbing. I found out how the skin absorbed everything we put on to it. Starting in the bathroom, first thing in the morning…shampoo, conditioner, soap, bodywash, toothpaste, anti-perspirants, hairsprays, mousse, gels, shaving gels, makeup and the list goes on.

It freaked me out that all these toxic chemicals were even in these products.

I went to a health food store to find products to use that didn’t have all these toxic chemicals in. I started using a brand of products but after some time it didn’t make my skin or hair feel like I wanted it too.

I did some more research and found a place that showed you how to make your own basic cream and it went from there. After playing around in my kitchen for a few months and some great human guinea pigs I finally had cream.

After some time I realised that really, this was a basic cream, no different to what was already out there.

In the middle of the night I had a thought, “What if I made a cream with lots of goodness, a cream that you could feel and see the difference, a cream that was a reasonable price that people could afford. A cream that had quality about it?”

I thought about the big brand names. Even though in the past I had used big brand names I wanted to be one of them, but better.

With lots more research with manufacturers, I developed my first anti-aging cream. I decided not to go with just one safe peptide, but 3. I really wanted this cream to work so people could feel and see the difference. That’s exactly what it did. Then all the other products just followed.

The Dianne Caine Range grew out of my kitchen and moved into half a warehouse. There were a lot more other things to be done like packaging, marketing and getting it into retail stores.  

Not easy but I did it.

You certainly did Di, and we are very thankful for all your hard work and determination. I know you used to work in the hairdressing trade. Did you think any of the day to day chemicals you used could have contributed to Jess’s condition?

I believe that this could have contributed to her condition along with all the other toxic chemicals I was putting on my skin. I now don’t allow hair dyes to absorb on my head. I only use the cap.

We understand that you started to research what was in the products everyday people were using and you were horrified?

I was horrified because the list was so big. I found car degreasers used as the main products in shampoos and radiator rust inhibitors also used. It scared me so much, I just wanted to create something without all these chemicals in them.

So how does a single mum, with all the pressures you were having to cope with, even begin to start to produce their own products in a world dominated by major manufacturers?

It was hard, to try and put it into the health food stores who already had more skincare than they really wanted. When I tried they would just say, “No thanks, can’t even sell what we have”, “Sorry we have enough, no room on the shelves”.

I used to do a lot of stalls and markets and started getting repeat business. I sent customers into shops to ask for the products so they knew who I was already when I went in.

I had two shops finally put it in, and then the shops where ringing me to put it in through demand of customers saying how great it was.

So where does Dianne Caine Skincare go from here? What’s your dream?

I just would like everyone to experience the products to feel and see the difference in Australia and then go worldwide. The products are such high quality; I wouldn’t have put all my money into it if they weren’t as good or better than the bigger brands. They are most definitely safer than any of the bigger brands!

So what’s your philosophy with food? You mention earlier that you only gave Jess real, whole organic foods, is that still something you standby that has helped Jess’s recovery?

I have always tried to eat healthy. Cooking is my other passion, so I love trying different recipes. I buy every healthy cookbook that comes out. Fresh and organic where I can. What we put in our bodies is the same as what we put on our bodies.

So where can people buy your range? I know that health shops and even our local Naturopath sells them but are they going to go mainstream? We think they should! We LOVE the Nutter range! 

I think that people have their favourites in the range. I have unusual names in the range but they’re all still the Dianne Caine Skincare as they are known as well.

Now, as most people know, we are mad Fremantle members here at Paleonutter. And we ask everyone this….if you had to choose, would it be Freo or West Coast?

Oh come on Paleonutter! There is only one team to follow and that’s the Blue and Yellow. We’re the Eagles, the West Coast Eagles and we’re flying HIGH..!!!!

Ha ha, you certainly are at the moment we’ll give you that ;O) Dianne, we think you’re amazing, so what advice would you give any other budding entrepreneur who has a dream?

Keep going, don’t give up, determination, listen to advice, be prepared to work long hard hours, don’t think you know it all, listen to experienced people, and last but not least, have a cash back up for when you grow.

Thanks Dianne! We love your work, you are an inspiration to many, so keep it up!

Thank you, I love how you’re also helping people. It’s such a joy when you can help someone through something that has happened to yourself.

Dianne Caine Skincare is here. Please watch this video and have a look at the website for products and stockists.

Product Review:

As Dianne Caine states, ‘our skin is our LARGEST ABSORBING ORGAN and I have been using only pure organic skin and beauty care for as long as I can remember.’

Dianne Caine offers everything you can need to complete an all over body treatment in the bathroom everyday. There is also a teenage range, a men’s range, baby range, travel items and an older woman’s range, which is the secret to youthful skin. The amazing CRUSHED PEARLS & HIBISCUS GEL ‘is made from finely milled freshwater pearls, which contain a number of amino acids and minerals, is said to possess wonderful anti-ageing properties and Hibiscus flowers provides a natural source of alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) which are known to help exfoliate and speed up cell turnover, which can encourage fresher, younger and smoother looking skin. AHAs also increase moisture and improve flexibility and elasticity – the reason why Hibiscus is called the ‘Botox plant’.’ Oh yes, give me some of that! This is definitely up for review next!

We personally have used some of the Dianne Caine skincare range for a while now.

We love DC’s (Dianne Caine’s) anti-aging cream; it feels so luxurious, thick, and creamy but leaves no residue on your skin. It leaves it feeling hydrated enough to go ‘oh natural’, but also a beautiful base if you want to apply make up straight away. If you aren’t as old as me, Dianne also does a range of skin care for all skin types and ages. There are foaming face washes and gels for problem skin, a sensitive range. Callum uses the foaming facial cleanser and the anti-acne gel, which is deep cleansing but not harsh on the skin. He loves it, and as a teenage boy, not to want to use anything else really says something!

However, it was only recently after meeting up with Di, that I mentioned how lovely and shiny her hair was. “It’s my shampoo,” she said, “I have been using it for over 14 years now!” and with that, she gave us some to try. Poppy our eighteen year old, who has to find the most famous natural product on the market, whether it comes from England, or ancient Africa to get her thick long curls to sit just right, without going fuzzy, had also never used it (I know, shame on us!). She loves it and won't use anything else! It leaves your hair shine, soft and manageable. However if we hadn't used it until now, I’d imagine some of you reading this also haven’t. So get down to one of the stockists written below as soon as you have liked and shared Di’s story on Facebook and grab some for yourself!  

One of the big things that strike me in all of this is that we are living in a society that is consumed with chemicals, whether it be in our food, or what we are putting on our bodies. I know I’m preaching to the converted, but it’s occur to me, that some of us don’t understand the connection between cancers’ auto-immune diseases and how our bodies work everyday by them consistently having to fight and attacking hidden chemicals. If you have a young family and get this now, then you are so very lucky. It took Bendy and I into our 30’s and 40’s before the ‘penny dropped’ and how we were still trusting big companies to have our best interests at heart. I wish I had had DC’s baby range to comfort and nurture my little ones. They would have been as pure as nature intended them, but enriched with today’s modern technology to be able have the best care.

With winter for us in the northern hemisphere approaching, DC’s lip balm is a must for every backpack or handbag. This healing lip balm can rescue the driest of lips.

Men, the shaving cream is exceptional. It does what it’s meant to, but is ‘enriched with therapeutic Aloe Vera and hydrating olive-based ingredients, the light and pearly texture of the shaving cream creates a caring balm that protects the skin from the razor blade. Perfect for close and neat shaving, it leaves the skin soft, hydrated and soothed.’ So give it a go!

I am so pleased that this story has a happy ending, and that Dianne Caine was strong enough to say no to the doctors, just like we should be saying no to chemical based skin products that promise us the world. They don’t!

Dianne also has a home range with bug off spray, washing/laundry powder and amazing cleaning products, that smell devine!

Like Di did for her family, make sure you eat organic, treat all of your body with the respect and care it deserves and hopefully we will be around in happy, youthful, strong, healthy bodies to teach, serve and help our younger generations the secret to longevity!

EXCITING NEWS FLASH!!! - For those of you who are coming to our information packed day all about tackling inflammation in the body and how to get the healthiest gut, Paleonutter are giving away to some lucky attendees a sample pack of Dianne Canie’s skin care range. For those who haven’t yet bought tickets - head over to ‘A Gut Feeling’ at TRYBOOKING  or head over to our events page and click on the link there, and we can’t wait to see you! Until then, keep it real, natural, and organic. oxo

In the mean while follow our very own WA skin Care queen on Instagram.

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