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  • Writer's pictureCynthia Chin-Lee

Learning from my friend SuAnn Kiser

Updated: May 24, 2022

You may wonder why I was willing to take a different path for my cancer healing journey. One immediate reason: my friend and fellow children’s book author, SuAnn Kiser. I’ve known SuAnn for over 25 years. We met around 1993 through the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. I was a new children’s book writer, looking for a writers’ critique group. SuAnn was already a seasoned, published writer and she taught classes on writing for kids, which I took.

I joined the critique group that SuAnn helped to organize and learned not only about how to write a children’s picture book, I would also learn about how she healed herself of breast cancer. SuAnn was diagnosed in Feb. 1999, 23 years ago. She had 2 kinds of cancer, one was DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ) stage 1 and another caused by a medical mistake when an incompetent technician injected radioactive dye into her breast tissue.

She had a lumpectomy during which the surgeon accidentally cut through the cancer. After the surgery, SuAnn’s doctor recommended still more surgery (a mastectomy), as well as chemotherapy, radiation, and the hormone blocker Tamoxifen.

When a surgeon takes out a tumor, she estimates the extent of the cancer. The extracted tumor is sent to a lab and the pathologist determines whether the margins around the tumor are clear of cancer. There’s some argument about how big a margin there should be (some think less than 1 mm is OK while others say 2 mm of clearance is needed). If the margins are clear, then the lumpectomy doesn’t need to be adjusted. According to this article from, about 25% of patients who get lumpectomies don’t get clear enough margins, so surgeons will ask the patient to submit to surgery again.

Because of SuAnn’s initial panic, she was tempted to follow her doctor’s high-pressure orders and have the second surgery. But she decided to take the time to research her situation, reading more than 40 books on the topic and seeking a second opinion. This research gave her the knowledge and confidence to release her fear and make rational, informed decisions about her options.

SuAnn asked her surgeon, “How would a mastectomy and targeted radiation be a solution if, as you say, you accidentally cut through my cancer and it has spread already throughout my body?” She also questioned the need for chemo, asking “How exactly is chemo, which only works on fast-growing cancer, going to help me with my slow-growing cancer?” SuAnn decided against more surgery, radiation, or chemo, and instead, she researched other less-invasive, natural treatments. She followed a strictly vegan food plan for 5 years with 1 to 2 tablespoons of freshly ground flax seeds each morning. She saw alternative doctors and took the supplements they recommended.

For the first 3 or 4 years, she took weekly qi gong classes offered by Stanford for their cancer patients and she saw energy healers, both Eastern and Western. She meditated, did creative visualization and took walks in nature every day. She read tons of books about cancer, alternative treatments and spontaneous remissions. Most importantly, she changed her beliefs and attitudes about her ability to heal cancer.

But as you can imagine, it wasn’t easy when most of her friends and relatives trusted only traditional, allopathic (Western, conventional) doctors and advised her to be as medically aggressive as possible. Her husband, Kevin, a children’s book author and also in our writer’s critique group, fully supported her and respected her judgment to make the choices that were right for her. SuAnn monitored her health, having thermography scans during the first three years and watching any physical signs that might indicate active cancer.

Ultimately, her cancer journey was a holistic and enlightening opportunity. It involved healing on all levels: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual and she’s thankful for the life lessons and the empowering experience.

To contact SuAnn, or to learn more about her children’s books, visit


I never thought I’d be diagnosed with breast cancer, but I’m ever so grateful that SuAnn shared her journey with me 23 years ago. I remember feeling sort of incredulous that she could heal herself naturally but I took mental notes! When I was diagnosed in March 2021, I called many of my friends who had breast cancer, including SuAnn. Among those many friends and acquaintances, she stood out. I wondered if her suggestions might work for me. I hoped and prayed that they might and I read the book she recommended: Kelly Turner’s Radical Remission. SuAnn probably never imagined her story would resonate with me in this way, but as the saying goes "Your life is your message."

Thank you, SuAnn, for being a role model for me. I feel so blessed that I’ve learned from your experiences and chosen an integrative, less-invasive approach. I also thank God that my PET scan in December 2021 shows things are going in the right direction.

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