Breast Mass with Swollen Lymph Nodes Healed with Natural Therapies (Mary Anne)

“Throughout this whole ordeal, I knew that once I just trusted everything and stopped doubting and worrying, God would open up my heart, mind, and body to take over and go back to what it does best: survive and heal and find peace.   Our bodies are miraculous machines, and it takes a lot to trip it up, but still, we find more and more ways to pump it full of toxins every year.  Just remember, it’s always your choice to be a statistic, or to be the real, healthy you that God intended you to be. He gives us everything we need. All we have to do is choose what’s good for us.”  Mary Anne is a motivational speaker and author of Rise Above the Sh**!: Down-to-earth Thinking from Wisconsin.

Mary Ann Ripp

Mary Anne Ripp


Mary Anne says that she began feeling ill in early 2013. She was tired all of the time and both of her breasts were painful and swollen with sharp pains that would wake her up in the middle of the night.  She made an appointment with her doctor who immediately sent her off for a diagnostic mammogram.  The mammogram appointment then turned into a consultation with the radiologist that was immediately followed by a diagnostic ultrasound.  She says that “everyone was worried and treating me like I had breast cancer already just because of a suspicious mass or two. ”

The radiologist later called her home to tell her that she needed to consult with a surgeon right away to have a biopsy.  Mary Anne says that she thought that this was a little extreme, but made the appointment anyway.  Once there, she asked the surgeon if there were any other diagnostic tests that could be done to determine if a biopsy was really necessary so the surgeon ordered an MRI to see if it would tell them anything more.

Mary Anne also requested some blood tests from her primary care doctor to check on her hormone levels, but says that nothing showed up.    She then went back to meet with the surgeon who said that she hadn’t consulted with the radiologist yet regarding the MRI results, but it appeared to her that Mary Anne could continue to be monitored for the time being.  Mary Anne says that she was relieved to hear this news but still wanted answers as to what was causing the lethargy, pain, lumps, and the lymphatic swelling, as none of the doctors seemed to know.  By the time Mary Anne reached home she found an urgent message from the surgeon saying that the radiologist had called right after her appointment and they decided that she should have the entire 2cm mass on the left breast removed right away and tested.  She also said that the lymph nodes nearby were questionable so she would probably be removing those as well.   Mary Anne says, “All I could hear in my head was a strong message to get a second opinion!”

Mary Anne says that even if the tests revealed cancer, she still wasn’t willing to go through the traditional treatments of chemotherapy and radiation because they would only hurt the rest of her body.  She says, “I needed to change whatever was causing the problem so that my body could take care of it, not just try to put a band-aid on every lump that showed up.”  She cancelled her visit with the surgeon in order to give herself time to see what she could do on her own.  She began researching on the internet and reading books from her local library.  She wanted to know what causes breast problems, and what cures them? She says, “and what I found ticked me off.”

The Causes of breast cancer:  Toxic foods, sugary beverages, smoking, iodine deficiency, exposure to toxins, and radiation exposure (including from mammograms).  She says that she won’t be doing them anymore.

The Problems with Conventional Treatments: she says that cancer is on the rise despite all the BS out there that is misleading us, and treatment such as chemotherapy and radiation are not raising the survival rates at all. She says that she believes that the traditional treatments are often the true cause of death and she refuses to be another statistics. The cancer healing miracles that she is aware have all of these points in common:

  • They didn’t use traditional treatments- especially chemotherapy.
  • They researched and asked questions and learned about the side effects.
  • They increased their health naturally
  • They removed toxins from their environments, foods, and body.
  • They focused on healing and surviving.

lymph-illustration1Her Condition: she says that she had always had fibrocystic breasts (heavy and lumpy), which affects about 2/3 of all women in the US to varying degrees.  This condition also makes mammograms harder to analyze.  The 2 cm mass that was found on her left breast worried her doctors enough for them to want to cut it out completely along with the congested lymph nodes next to it, but Mary Anne wondered what might the impact of surgery be?  She asked her doctor, “What if it is cancer and it’s all contained right now and you accidentally cut into it. Won’t that release cancerous cells into my body?” The doctor answered, ” If it was cancer, they would remove more tissues from the surrounding area.”   Mary Anne says that she didn’t like this answer because all of the systems within the body are connected, and the cells have the ability to move around. Surgery would only leave her with a scar and a deformed breast, but it ultimately wasn’t going to fix the initial problems.

Mary Anne was also frustrated by the fact that her right breast was much more swollen and painful than the one they wanted to do the surgery on.  Doctors told her that she had a partially cystic/partially solid mass on the right side but that they would be willing to just watch it.  But Mary Anne decided that she did not want to be cut into.  “If they can’t tell what it is, forget it. I’ll work on healing it on my own. The body and mind are the most powerful thing there is to healing disease (especially cancer), so I’ll just take care of it myself, as much as I can. ”   Mary Anne reassured her doctors that she was not in denial;  she just want a shot at healing the source of the problem instead of slowly cutting pieces from her body.

She Embraced Her Spirituality:  She asked God for constant strength, faith, and guidance.  She says “it was trying at times to question if I was being wise about this, and did I have what it takes to have the faith to heal myself? It was challenging when I was tired or dealing with something negative to not feel like a victim and start feeling sorry for myself. I just had to continue believing that everything happens for a reason, and for a greater good.”     She says that all negativity had to be removed, including people close to her because it would directly feed her stress and health issues. Spirituality is the only way she knows to stay focused and strong, and so she followed Divine Guidance. She prayed more and if she was slipping into doubt, she looked for any avenue to pick herself back up.

She Cleaned Up Her Diet: She eliminated dietary toxins by viewing them as poisons that would feed the lumps in her breasts. They included caffeine, sugar, processed foods, white flour, and processed fats/ oils.  She says that nearly all processed fats, salt, sugar, and flour are nothing but toxic to our bodies.  She is convinced that most of us are addicted to sugar and that it is behind the majority of our health problems.   By reading labels and replacing the bad stuff with healthier items, she was able to drop a few pounds and this had her feeling better right away.  Along with this, she learned that unless it was fresh, organic, and raw, there are probably more poisons in it than nutrients. Here in America we overeat calories full of toxins of all kinds and then wonder why everybody’s so sick.  She now takes her time and shops for fresh, organic foods and eats lots of them. She says that our tastes buds start to come back as we wean ourselves off of the toxic foods and drinks and you can taste the difference.  Two of her favorite books are Super Immunity: The Essential Nutrition Guide for Boosting Your Body’s Defenses to Live Longer, Stronger, and Disease Free by Dr. Joel Fuhrman and Beat Sugar Addiction Now!: The Cutting-Edge Program That Cures Your Type of Sugar Addiction and Puts You on the Road to Feeling Great – and Losing Weight!, by Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D.

Acid/Alkaline Balance: Years of toxins are making our bodies more acidic and diseases thrive in acidic environments.  Fresh greens, seaweed, and many other foods have high alkaline levels, but then don’t forget to weed out the high-acid foods at the same time like processed sugar, flours, bad fats, bad carbs, processed foods, and alcohol. The more processed, the more poisonous it will be.  She also began to make her own fresh juice because the processed juice from the store is just  sugar without the nutrients, and she began taking a Chlorella Tablets which would help to carry the toxins out of her body, as well as help her to become more alkaline.   Read an article on acid alkaline balance

She Ate Flax Seeds: She read an article on the benefits of adding Flax seeds, which she ground up in a coffee and spice grinder.  (Freshly -ground is best because the essential fatty acids become rancid within a short period of time).   She says there are tons of health benefits from eating flax seed this way, but the article specifically said that it helps prevent fibrocystic breast conditions, treats hormone issues, and helps prevent cancer. She started by adding one teaspoon daily, and then worked up to more than a tablespoon a day, sprinkled on whatever food she was eating.  According to a study released by The Journal of Integrative Cancer Therapy, flax seed provides many benefits, including:

  • Decreases in hot flash symptoms
  • Increased cell death (apoptosis) within their tumors
  • Decreased HER2 expression (a protein associated with breast cancer malignancy)
  • Decreased breast cancer proliferation
  • Read more about the benefits of adding flax seeds.

Supplemented with Iodine:   She says, “nearly all of us are iodine-deprived, especially women.   This causes all kinds of health issues, including hormone imbalance, and that the FDA’s recommendations are laughable to those that have researched this. Iodine deprivation can also cause fibrocystic breasts.”   Mary Anne read about the controversy regarding the specific tests needed to correctly diagnose hormone/ thyroid problems, saying that conventional doctors don’t use full panel blood screening tests so problems are often missed and the conventional treatments offered can sometimes cause further health problems.  She has taken synthetic hormone medications and has struggled with ragging menstrual cycles her whole life (in more recent years this has included having migraines too) and not one doctor has ever suggested that she look at her iodine intake.  She began taking a Sea Kelp as a natural way to increase her iodine levels.  Note from CCAR: You can contact a naturopathic doctor for a comprehensive thyroid panel or they are also available online

Deep Breathing:   She says that most diseases (especially cancer) survive best in low-oxygen environments and that most of us don’t breathe deeply enough to give our cells all the oxygen they need.  She went to her local library and checked out the audio Breathing: The Master Key to Self Healing, by Andrew Weil MD, to re-train her diaphragm take in and push out more air, thus oxygenating her entire body.

She Rested:  she let herself rest a little more instead of going out or doing things that she really didn’t need to do.

Her results:  the pain and swelling in her breasts disappeared within days of starting the freshly-ground, organic flax seed and the supplements. When she got her next period it came without any pain or migraines. She says that has never happened before.  Her energy was returning, but she reports that her lymph nodes were still swollen.

After a month of her new way of eating she was eager to go to in for her next physical.  Her primary doctor thought that she looked great, but he continued to be concerned about the swollen lymph nodes so he referred her back to the surgeon. He said that until it is examined, they can’ t rule out cancer, and they wouldn’t feel comfortable telling me there’s nothing to worry about.

At that appointment, the surgeon carefully went over both breast making sure she no longer had any concerns. She pointed out the two swollen lymph nodes, agreeing that the swelling was way down, and remarked that everything else looked much better. Mary Anne told her that she was still working on finding ways to drain the lymph nodes and said that she wouldn’t give up until she found a way. The surgeon smiled and said, “Well, looks like it’s just a follow-up in 6 months then!” Mary Anne then expressed her concerns about the risks related to radiation exposure from having mammograms and how they really can’t see much through her fibrocystic condition anyways, so the doctor recommended that Mary Anne have a follow up ultrasound instead.

Lymphatic drainage:  Mary Anne continued to look for ways to help her lymphatic system drain.  Since she is a writer she spends much of her time sitting at her computer which she knows isn’t stimulating her circulation or lymphatic systems enough, so  she began doing hot yoga, dance, and also added extra arm stretches when she was sitting at her desk for long periods of time.  Read more about the lymphatic system

Follow up– Mary Anne’s six month follow-up was in September of 2013 and showed that she had no tumors visible.  She shares the details of her story in hopes of helping others facing a similar situation.   She now takes a natural thyroid supplement to treat her under-active thyroid and says that her health has continued to improve.  Read more about Mary Anne


How to do self massage for breast tissue for lymphatic drainage


Additional Resources:


Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It

  Super Immunity: The Essential Nutrition Guide for Boosting Your Body’s Defenses to Live Longer, Stronger, and Disease Free

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