Hi, my name is Susanne McKenna and I am a breast cancer survivor. I recovered using only natural therapies in 2012. I am sharing my story because many people have asked me about my journey, what I did, didn’t do, who I saw, how I felt etc. I would love to share what I have experienced so that others may be inspired.
To be honest, I do not know exactly what worked and what didn’t. I just began, with absolute determination and a belief that my body is a self healing mechanism and is quite capable of re absorbing a cuppla lumps!
In hindsight, knowing what I know now, I would do it all differently. However, to begin with, I blundered along, doing and taking everything that I discovered in my research on the internet and from reading books, or from what people told me, with fear of dying driving me all the way! It is such a relief now that the tumors are gone, I have been clear for over 8 years and enjoy the best of health.
My mother died from breast cancer when she was 42
In her 38th year, she found a small lump, she had a mastectomy, chemo, radiation,
then it came back, another mastectomy, more chemo and radiation etc, then spleen,
My father too, died from cancer, although, in both cases, it seemed to be the treatments, not the initial lumps that killed them both.
l was 13 when my mother passed, and from then on I developed a strong desire to keep my body and mind in excellent condition to ward off disease, and can honestly say that I have rarely been sick or debilitated at any time in my life, I have always had lots of energy and always been happy, healthy and optimistic.
When I first felt a lump in my left breast in 2010, I figured it was just a cyst or some’ting’.
Then in 2012, I felt another lump. An ultrasound and biopsy discovered 3 lumps, the largest being 2cm, ductal carcinoma’s, oestrogen receptive. Crikey, what a shock, it felt like the world had dropped out of my belly.
I was seeing Dr Oscar of Mullumbimby Integrative Medical Center, he advised me to see a breast surgeon for treatment options. I did.
The options were:
Mastectomy, chemo and tamoxifen for 5 years
Lumpectomy, radiation and tamoxifen for 5 years
However, he suggested Mastectomy would be better as they would have to remove most of my breast to remove the 3 lumps and I would end up with a very odd shaped breast!
That night, soaking in a hot bath with my partner Jake, and feeling
that my life was over, crying, every time I thought of my two beautiful
sons losing their Mum, I realised that, as I had always ‘flown the flag’
for health and natural healing options, my decision had already been
made! I couldn’t just ‘jump ship’ and do the cut, burn, poison!
Jake was like… Yeah you can do it!
This was my opportunity to walk my talk, get on and Do It! So the next morning I woke up and began a 28 day vege juice and broth cleanse. Lucky I already had a ‘slow’ juicer and a fridge full and a garden full of organic veges!
I opened my mind, heart and soul to the universe to guide me.
I got on the internet, I went to the health food shops, I booked in some sessions with healers, I had my eyes open and my ears open and my intuition open. I knew it could be done, hundreds of people had cured themselves without the trauma and debilitation of medical procedures. I actually felt excited!
I have always loved a challenge. One thing that I couldn’t quite work out was, how I was going to pay for it all! It seemed every healer cost hundreds, every supplement was pricey. Then, something that touched my heart so deeply happened, and boosted my confidence in my ability to succeed. People in the community organised raffles and fund-raisers, people (some I hardly knew) came up to me in the street and handed me money ‘towards my cause’, my partner’s mum hopped on board and helped out heaps, some people booked me in with healers and paid for it, some bought boxes of organic fruit and veg, lemons, herbs, sent Reiki, came to my house and gave me healing. I was taken aback and overwhelmed by the amount of love I was receiving. What a great lesson to learn to receive! I am sincerely and deeply thankful to you all still to this day.
After the cleanse, I stayed on juices, smoothies and raw foods for another couple of months. However, I began to feel really depleted and further blood tests (medical and naturopathic) showed I was very deficient in B12, iron, vitamin D, protein, fats, had adrenal fatigue, and leaky gut. A lifetime of vegetarianism and busy~ness. I had to start addressing inbalances and build my blood (cancer can be a disease of deficiency as well as excess). So I began organic chicken and beef bone broths, liver, raw fermented cod liver oil, cooked and steamed, vegetables lots of butter and hemp seed oil, crikey! Anyhow, within 6 months, I felt fitter and all tests showed improvement. They say vitamin D is the chairman of the body, so lots of sun bathing, no sunnies and gentle sungazing at sunrise and sunset… whenever possible. I was also going through transition from mother to blossoming elder, so my cycles were irregular and hormones wonky. I took supplements and herbs to help my body, and the improvement was confirmed by saliva tests and a general sense of well being. This was, after all, considered a hormonal cancer, so it was imperative to support my endocrine system.
By now I had my 'team' together
The following healers have been absolutely integral in guiding me, in helping me to understand my very own body type and condition and needs. I honour these dedicated and very knowledgeable people, they have helped me heal and kept me positive and on track;
Naturopath, blood analysis, 40 plus years experience, intuitive and methodical, awesome! Greg worked with me from the start and each time I saw him, we tailor made a revised path forward, it was great to see the pictures of my blood improving every time.
Dr Oscar Serralach
Medical Doctor, willing to support his patients in any way he can, non judgemental. Shared his wealth of knowledge, referrals for regular ultrasounds and blood tests and obtaining permission to import B17.
Dr Jimi Wollumbin
Chinese Med Dr, highly sensitive to individual needs. We had many sessions nutting out all the details of food choices, supplements, etc, really worked out the gut’s health, which is the base for the immune system. Regular acupuncture too.
I found a Naturopath who was experienced in working with the black salve and who was very caring and supportive.
Reiki Master and teacher, showed me how to access the spiritual realm of healing and connect with my higher self.
I also incorporated some sessions of Kineseology, Homeopathy, Hypnosis, and more…
These are some of the protocols that I followed
A 28 day juice and broth fast with many supplements, rest and sleep
I applied black salve, and I took the tincture for 6 months. I did 4
layers of black salve, it was painful enough to need strong
painkillers and some time off work, however, one of the lumps
‘popped’ out… quite extraordinary. There were two lumps still to go!
I obtained, with Dr Oscars help, an import permit for Laetrille
(b17 or extract from apricot kernels). I did intravenous, with help
from a local nurse and friend, for 20 days, then took the B17 tablets
for a little while. They were too strong for my tummy so I stopped
taking them after a cuppla weeks.
I took every vitamin and mineral in tablet form. However, when I
realised that they are mostly synthetic, I substituted ‘real’ foods
and herbs, which proved way more effective with less strain on
the body. Lots of Turmeric, Garlic, Coconut Oil, Cinnamon, Cayenne,
dozens of fresh herbs from the garden, super foods such as Goji,
Cacao, Sea Weed, Blue Berries, fermented foods such as Kimchi,
Miso, Natural Yogurt.
I took high quality CBD oil morning and evening.
I used bi carbonate of soda and molasses for a month.
I drank herbal teas such as the Essiac formula, Cats Claw,
Pau D’ Arco, Slippery Elm, Astragalus, Ginger, Licorice, Burdock Root,
Dandelion to name a few, and still do.
I did self Reiki and visualisation daily, I constantly re affirmed that I was already healed, I totally told my body to heal!
I ate medicinal mushrooms, salvestrols, selenium, algae, sea minerals, honokiol, ate the best foods I could acquire. I ate Paw Paw leaves and flowers off my tree daily.
I made a balm with coconut oil, hemp seed oil, Lugols iodine, magnesium oil and therapeutic grade essential oils of Lemon, Myrtle, Peppermint, Thyme and Grapefruit and massaged into my breasts twice daily.
I also applied Therapeutic Grade Frankincense essential oil and took under the tongue 2-3 times a day.
I walked, danced, stretched, had hot baths with magnesium salts and essential oils, skin brushed, rested and slept regularly and took a step back from too much busy~ness. I made sure:
💗 I am being fully ‘Me’
💗 I am living my dreams
💗 I have love and respect for everyone I interact with and everything I do
💗 I receive love and respect by everyone I interact with
💗 I am giving myself plenty of care and nurturing, at least as much as I give everyone else!
💗 I am not suppressed, controlled, or put down by anyone (including myself!)
I had an ultrasound every 3 months. From the time I began the protocols, the tumors stopped growing. It took about a year before the remaining 2 disappeared, it feels like all that I did made them benign, which then allowed my body to clean up. Dr Oscar said to me, ‘well we can’t call it cancer any more because, by definition, cancer is something that proliferates and spreads and yours is gone’.
I know that there are no certainties in life, but I feel blessed to have come this far and will continue to look after myself, to be mindful, whilst living life to the full.
PART TWO ~ Fast Forward Ten Fun Years!
In February 2022, it came back 😩
I felt a lump under the scar that I had on my left breast from using the black salve last time, an ultrasound showed a 2cm lump and some enlarged lymph nodes in my armpit. Biopsies and further tests confirmed it was indeed a return of the same type of cancer as before.
I wasn't so devastated this time, as I felt confident that I could deal with
it again, using natural protocols and supplements like before.
I immediately sprang into action, juicing, fasting, herbs, supplements,
healings, intravenous B17, pretty much everything I did before. I put on
layers of black salve over the course of 3 months. I took time off work,
rested, walked, enjoyed sunshine, all the while thinking, 'I've got this!'
However, 6 months later, scans showed the lump had more than doubled in size, and there was evidence of more affected lymph nodes in my armpit. Crikeeee, I had a few dark nights of the soul. Then on my birthday in August, I was driving home, and it suddenly hit me, I am going to have surgery. I have always listened to my intuition, and suddenly it was yelling at me. Do It!!
In October 2022, my left breast and half my lymph nodes in my armpit were removed.
I declined chemo and radiation and chose to do the RGCC testing and supplements, where they isolate the individual's particular cancer cell and test 55 botanical substances on them to see what kills them best, as well as detailed genetic and immune system information. It is a costly test, but I figured I had been shooting in the dark with supplements, and knowing exactly what could work seemed the way to go. I followed the recommended supplements for about 6 months, and in May 2022, scans and blood tests were all clear, phew!!
As the cancer was hormone driven, moving forward, I need to really keep an eye on my hormones, which I am doing using the Dutch Test technology. Instead of taking Tamoxifen or such, where the side effects can be quite harsh, I am taking natural substances to keep excess oestrogen's at bay and regular testing will ensure this.
So what now?
The thing is, once you have had cancer, there is always a lurking
fear that it could 'come back', so the challenge now is to accept
the uncertainty and anxiety, whilst living life to the full!
There are always silver linings, some of which have revealed
themselves, but more than ever, I feel passionate about normalising
breast CARE and inspiring women to take care of their breasts and
really get to know and love them..
And, a new Balm is underway, a thick buttery balm to apply to scars
after breast cancer surgery, there is nothing else really in the world
especially for women dealing with this.. I made a Balm which was so
soothing and helpful for me and now we are trialling this to release
later in 2023 🎉 Wohoooo!!
The daily emails and messages I receive from women all around the world, going through this experience, continue to motivate and inspire me to never give up my mission of making Breast CARE a part of every woman's self~care ritual.
With much love and gratitude
Here is a video clip of a song written and produced by myself and my partner Jake that was inspired by my healing journey and what was ultimately realised..
‘So I Can Be’ by Mantlepeace
Hope you enjoy! xx
If you enjoyed that, here are some other tunes
from our latest album