Debut author McKenna offers a memoir detailing her battle with breast cancer.
This highly descriptive, meditative journey takes readers through the many consequences of a breast cancer diagnosis. How does a 48-year-old woman who lives a healthy, active lifestyle react to such news? As the author describes the period between her diagnosis and her surgery, “You freak. You want it out. It can’t be fast enough. But it’s all too, too fast.” She writes that she lost her father to cancer at a young age, so the illness had often been on her mind: “I had spent my adult life fearing cancer, and cancer was what I got.” She decided to forgo chemotherapy and radiation in favor of pursuing a controversial alternative treatment on her own—the Gerson protocol, which she says involved “drinking thirteen freshly pressed juices a day, eating an immense amount of food, and doing five coffee enemas a day for a period of two to three years, on average.” However, after several months, she says, “the physical and emotional toll the Gerson therapy was taking was becoming damaging,” so she sought out other alternatives. She offers a wide array of emotional insights in this book, including how she learned that “I struggle with forgiveness.” Individual chapters are casual in tone and flow easily, though portions can be repetitive; for example, the author repeatedly reminds readers that the Gerson protocol involves coffee enemas. On the whole, though, the book is undeniably personal, and it’s at its best when exploring experiences that will be unfamiliar to many, such as “remote healing touch sessions” and a highly detailed account of the author’s trip to see a man known as “John of God” in Brazil.
A nuanced account of one woman’s harrowing and insightful experiences while confronting a dreaded diagnosis.