Our friend Shenell Malloy was diagnosed with stage four brain cancer a few years ago. She not only beat it but created a whole new lifestyle around keeping the body functioning at its optimum. She’s a beautiful person both inside and out and we are so grateful she’s telling us her story.
Tell us why you decided to completely change your lifestyle.
Two years ago at the age of 36, I had a seizure followed by brain surgery and was diagnosed with glioblastoma, a lethal form of stage four brain cancer. I was told not to google it because the median survival rate is between 9-18 months. That moment changed my life forever and I became determined to not become a statistic by completely changing my lifestyle. I wanted to give myself the best chance to live and see my two children grow up.
Shenell, What is one dietary thing you never compromise on?
I only eat organic, mostly from my garden, and I do not and will never again eat cane sugar, processed foods, or refined grains. Knowing what I know now about what these foods do to our bodies, simply can’t take that chance.
What is the most positive thing that came out of this challenging time in your life?
I am the best version of myself today, stronger and healthier than I ever knew or imagined. I see the beauty now in being vulnerable and I’m so proud and in love with the woman I see in the mirror. I know in my heart I was saved for a reason and am here to help and inspire others to make it through the other side of hell with grace and purpose. I never take a single day for granted.
When you came over for lunch a few months ago you pulled out a very relevant question during the group discussion. It said something like, “If you found out you had one day left to live, how would you spend it?” Can you answer that question again?
I would spend my last day on earth surrounded by my family and loved ones on the beach dancing, singing and laughing. I would soak up all the love and energy from those I love most. My last day will be the greatest celebration of a life truly lived.
Tell us the top 3 most important things we could all be doing to live healthier lives.
Our thoughts have such a great impact on our life, mood, and health, so feed your mind with positive and uplifting thoughts daily. Be present and let go of anything that doesn’t serve you or better your life. Secondly, make sure you do something outside daily in nature, whether it be an activity or just feeling the sunshine on your skin for thirty minutes. Lastly, you only have this one body, so treat it well with love and nurture it with healthy food choices. Food truly is the best medicine! Making even one healthy choice everyday is better than none. Don’t wait until you’re sick to get healthy!
What’s your favorite recipe ?
I have lots of favorite recipes depending on the season because I just love food! Right now my favorite is a wild caught fish with lemon garlic butter sauce and paired with fresh, roasted vegetables from my garden.
What’s your preferred form of exercise?
Movement is life and has been such an important part of my healing journey. On days when I couldn’t walk during brain radiation and chemo I forced myself to take more steps and pushed myself even when it was painful and unbearable. I think it’s important to keep challenging the body to get stronger no mater how hard it may seem. I make sure that I move my body every day in some form. I wouldn’t say I have a preferred form of exercise because I truly believe my body needs the variety of all different forms, so I mix it up with strength training, yoga, tennis and hiking and doing a different exercise or activity every day. They are all equally important and serve their unique purpose. Much like if we had a diet solely based on one category of food we wouldn’t be as healthy as having a diet with a diverse selection of all types of healthy foods.
Do you practice mantras or a form of positive thinking? Do you meditate?
Yes, I practice mediation, mantras and positive thinking every single day and many times throughout the day. The mantra I have used the most is: I am healthy, I am strong, I am healed. This is the truth. I want my body and cells to hear and believe it. I loop these in my mind more often when I get scared and stressed and they instantly calm and ease my mind. Much like breathing or eating healthy meals they have become a daily routine that I don’t even have to think about doing anymore. I also practice daily meditation and focus on healing and raising my vibration by using breath work and visualizations. I visualize growing old and one day holding my grandchild – A day I will have fought so hard to live for.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years I see my myself healthy, happy and helping others going through a cancer diagnosis with my book/memoir that I am currently working on. I hope my journey inspires other to adopt healthier habits so they can live long, happy and purposeful lives.
What’s your favorite hobby?
Traveling! I love visiting new places and seeing new people. I love changing our physical environment and exposing our kids to other places and cultures all over the world. There’s no better feeling than packing your bags and heading to he airport with family or friends!