Fourteen months ago I received a surprise diagnosis of an aggressive Stage 2 breast cancer which sent me into a terrible tailspin. Nearly all of my support network were adamant I should run with what the medical team recommended - chemo, surgery and radiation....
Of course I knew there were alternative approaches, but with the need to act wisely and decisively given that my life was in the balance.....I was hugely conflicted (as one with a background in the health care system myself), about whether I should dare to depart from the medically recommended pathway of treatment. Neither the natural nor medical approach could give any guarantees of the outcome. Whichever way I chose to go, I knew I would be kicking myself badly if it turned out, down the track, that I should've chosen the other way. And what level of (much-needed) support would I get if I defied the doctors and trusted some natural therapy, therapist or health clinic regime instead?
I was a praying Christian but felt like I was all at sea.
Long story short; although I had no real peace, I felt I had no better alternative than to go with the odds promised by a reputable Sydney breast cancer team - who were offering me a 70 percent chance of "cure" (I later learned that "cure" simply meant 5 yrs of clear reviews) and the least possible side effects (if I chose their recommended chemo regime), prior to surgery then radiotherapy and hormonal suppression tabs.
A total nightmare ensued - I will spare you the details. Suffice it to say that immediately following the first of four planned chemotherapy sessions, I experienced a barrage of extremely severe reactions necessitating several urgent hospitalisations and critical management; so was unable to progress further with the chemo. Had to now try and recover a while before I would even be fit enough for surgery. That's when I got desperate for more intense help and found out about Manuela's work. Slim chance of an appointment as Manuela was fully booked before an overseas assignment...but (thank the Lord!) I secured her only remaining time slot.
Although I could have stayed with my godmother who lived in the immediate vicinity of Manuela's clinic, I was too weak to fly there. So Manuela offered to consult with me via Skype (actually ended up doing FaceTime instead). I can't describe the huge relief I felt to be in the hands of an experienced and highly expert natural oncology practitioner, who was able to develop a thorough clinical understanding of my diagnosis and current situation via in depth collection of data, including the perusal and interpretation of complex pathology reports, haematology and biochemistry profiles, and imaging results; who was familiar with the actual drugs I'd been given and their side effects; who was also able to deeply empathise with and support me with the genuine love and care I so much needed, plus fast track my recovery with powerful pills and potions!
Manuela kept ably supporting me through an ensuing saga of surgeries - two failed attempts, before a third bout of surgery which (finally!) came back with an acceptable pathology report ("clear margins").
By this time I had had to cancel two whole legs of a long-awaited RTW trip and had been holding onto a skerrick of hope that I might still be able to do the final 21 day leg in Canada and Alaska. My scheduled flight date was now just three days after my third lot of surgery, and it was deemed inadvisable for me to depart in case complications arose. Notwithstanding, I had a strong feeling I was meant to go. So I managed to board the plane and flew to Canada (complete with stitch cutter and antibiotics in case of an infection). This break away was for me a phase of liberation and restoration, a therapeutic pause after all I had been through - one in which I could forget the past pain, and embrace afresh the vibrancy of life, and the beauty of nature.
Manuela was happy to continue offering me her support while I commenced a simple regime of a particular therapeutic product I had read about and wanted to try whilst overseas.
Immediately adjacent to my return, the medical team were anxious to simultaneously schedule more chemotherapy along with radiotherapy, believing it to be in my best interests. I was now feeling good and strong, and many, many prayers had by this time gone up on my behalf. But I just didn't feel confident to resume the medical pathway, (aside from the inevitable stress and discomfort, these treatments were aimed at reducing some risks but were adding some not-insignificant others), so I declined their recommendations and said I would trust God and pray my way forward. They bade me good luck (decidedly with tongue in cheek) and sent me packing with an imaging request and review appointment to occur in 12 months' time.
Walking out of the clinic that day felt strangely surreal. That night I went to my fellowship group, and declared in answer to their questioning, that I had ceased my medical therapy and would be relying on God (to guide me) from here on. Two particular verses of scripture independently spoken over/directed to me from several unsolicited sources over the next short while, made me feel affirmed in having made this choice.
Since then I have continued my simple therapeutic regime, supplemented with some of Manuela's recommended tablets and powders, and one or two others procured by my sister (who is a nutritional therapist), trusting for ongoing healing.
On a few occasions when I have experienced doubt and anxiety about strange pains, itches, lumps and sensations I have prayed and subsequently been encouraged. My most recent encouragement was receiving the results of my first annual review - all clear on the mammogram and ultrasound!! (More annual reviews to go but very thankful for that result and couldn't wait to convey this good news to Manuela).
Looking back.....Manuela at that time, was nothing short of a Godsend. So personable, caring, knowledgeable, positive, encouraging, helpful, flexible, and willing to incorporate my personal preferences into her treatment plans. (And she will never know how much I needed and valued her compassionate offer of a virtual hug here or there.)
Manuela was entirely comfortable to act in accordance with my wishes - whether that was in conjunction with my electing to continue with the medically endorsed treatment pathway, with her as a standalone natural oncology practitioner, or with her working in tandem with the medical team and/or other natural therapists. I never felt pressured or manoeuvred, just safe, calmed and supported. And I was so heartened to be able to discuss natural therapy options with someone who was conversant with them and confident regarding their use and efficacy, without feeling the need to persuade or make unrealistic promises to her client.
There was another sense in which Manuela played a most pivotal role in my journey. Having been blessed to be able to personally consult with an internationally respected and highly competent natural oncology practitioner who empathised, truly cared and understood what I was facing, experiencing, and having to deal with gave me renewed courage!... courage which enabled me to take back a measure of control and stand up for myself and for my poor (precious) mutilated body - not just resign myself to becoming a disempowered recipient of an assembly line of planned interventions with the likelihood of both expected and unexpected levels of discomfort and injury at every juncture, and still only a modest statistical probability of ultimate effectiveness.
I would highly recommend therapeutic consultation with Manuela to anyone searching for natural solutions - those wanting to optimise their health and immune status, those seeking improvement in a chronic or serious health ailment, and particularly to folk with deep and urgent health needs associated with a cancer condition - Manuela being someone who is highly skilled in negotiating and managing the complex diagnostic and treatment challenges one might encounter on the cancer journey, with a view to fostering and achieving positive outcomes.
Thankyou Manuela - I have been deeply nurtured by your kindness and expertise. Your input has been such an integral and indispensable part of my process of restoration. Your gentle and reassuring energy and enthusiasm which you somehow manage to transmit, is an oasis of comfort that inspires one to hope, and indeed.....there is hope.