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Hit Cancer with a Hammer
Cancer Talk

Hit Cancer with a Hammer

Cancer Talk


Shenell Malloy

When I read the deadly statistics of surviving stage 4 brain cancer, I made the choice to focus only on the percentage of people that LIVE! I knew in my heart that I would beat the odds and went on a quest to heal my mind, body, and spirit. To me that meant trying every available healing modality. I believed that in order to give my body the best environment to heal from cancer I had to do it ALL!

Cancer isn’t just a physical journey - it’s a mental one.

Ask any survivor and they’ll tell you that the physical ordeal was tough, but that achieving overall emotional and mental wellness is a longer game. We know that our bodies, minds, and emotions are all deeply linked. Something going on with our physical body impacts our mind. Something going on emotionally, impacts our overall well being. Approaching cancer with a complete, whole-person mindset is proven to yield better survival outcomes and lessens the likelihood of a recurrence.

Due to rapidly evolving medical treatments, many cancers are highly survivable. Cancer treatment kills cancer cells, but there is no plan to treat the whole person who has whole-person needs during this difficult time. Very little will be done to see you as a complete person with emotional needs, address your wellbeing and mental state, or guide you through smart food choices or simple hacks to alleviate the side effects of treatment. But – we’re here to help!

We are passionate about hitting cancer with a hammer. It’s not just one thing you do, it’s everything you do. This means changing how you see yourself and your cancer: it must include mind, body and spirit. You are an integrated system - a human being - that will fight cancer collectively if you let it. Make sure your plan of attack includes diet, exercise, wellness, and spiritual aspects in addition to your medical protocol. Your body and mind are fighting hard for you – give yourself the best possible chance of thriving on the other side of cancer.  Simply put: it can’t hurt!

Some things will work for you, some things may not be your style. Try a bit of everything to see where you feel your best and stick with it. Don’t be overwhelmed. Just a few intentional activities a week can make all the difference.

Here are some of our favorite ways we discovered to address our whole-person healing during cancer:

Alternative Modalities

Before we experienced cancer, we thought massage and acupuncture was as far-out as you could get. Not so! There are so many wonderful complementary techniques and practices that really helped us stay calm, focused, and just feel better while dealing with cancer. I couldn't have done it without additional relief. Here are just a few of our favorites:

  • Infrared sauna. Sweat it out! Depending on the timing of your treatment, sweating out toxins really helps the body recover and bounce back to fight.
  • Sound bathing. This involves a gentle guided meditation with sound bowls to put your mind and body at ease and let your fears rise and subside. It is an incredibly peaceful and re-centering practice that can keep you focused on healing and gratitude.
  • Meditation. You’ve probably heard plenty about this practice, but some people get turned off of not being “able” to meditate. There’s short, easy, unintimidating apps that can help you relax and focus in just 5 short minutes a day. Try the Calm app.
  • Naturopath. A Naturopath is a health consultant who guides you through an all-natural wellness plan, can perform a battery of tests, and monitor your overall health and wellness. This can be done in tandem with your doctor’s plan, and your doctor should always be made aware.

Mental and Emotional Health

Cancer is hard, and white knuckling will rear its head at some point. Talk it out!

  • Find a cancer therapist. There are therapists who specialize in cancer – we highly recommend this! Many sessions are offered virtually.
  • Talk to a marriage therapist. Cancer is extremely trying on patients and caregivers. Seeing someone together and one-on-one will help stay ahead of common pitfalls and struggles that many marriages face during and after cancer.
  • Try something like hypnotherapy. No this doesn’t involve a yo-yo or putting you in to a trance. Cancer brings up a lot of pain and baggage in your life, and there’s no better time to work through it for lighter days ahead. A hypnotherapist guides you through your own thoughts to help you see solutions and healing.


Studies show that food choices not only impact physical and emotional wellness, it can also make your body primed to better handle cancer treatment and make it more effective. A recent study found that cancer patients who reduce sugar, alcohol and processed foods and swap for natural fish and nutrient-rich vegetables reduce their chance of death. Eat vegetables, nuts, dark fruits, wild caught salmon – anything from the earth – to impact your health, mood and longevity. See our diet tips here.


Feeling connected and protected is critical for wellbeing. What puts you in touch with the deepest parts of yourself? What makes you feel the love of a God, community, or family? Where do you feel most at-peace? Spend more time here whether it’s a religious practice, time in nature, with loved ones, getting inspired by art or music, or anywhere you feel the beauty of creation. It’s harder to get through this journey without realizing you are part of something bigger that values you and needs you here, thriving.


You don’t need a lot to feel better and get stronger, day by day.

  • Walking. Even walking to the mailbox or 10 minutes a day is a start. Fresh air, sunlight, and movement tells our bodies that we are up and active. Quiet walking in the outdoors also checks the boxes of mental clarity and emotional wellness.
  • Gentle exercise (Yoga, Pilates). There are lots of resources for gentle flows while in treatment that help healing, staying centered, and reducing stress and anxiety.
  • Stretching. Starting with resistance bands is an easy way to work some light weights and stretching into your everyday activities. They’re low cost and you can take them anywhere – like doing leg exercises during your infusions, or gently working your arms while your coffee brews.

Cancer is, strangely, an unexpected gift. Many impacted by cancer have seen their lives and experiences in a whole new positive way. Use this time to be gentle on yourself, let yourself feel it all, and rebuild on your terms to give yourself the best chance of a deeper, wholehearted life. It will only help!

To see all of the techniques we used in our own cancer journeys, check out our directory to find a professional who can help you!

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