My wife, Shenell, is a fighter. She’s also a survivor. Since early 2019, our family has struggled alongside her as she has battled glioblastoma, an extremely aggressive form of brain cancer with a very low survival rate. I have published a number of articles around cancer and her fight, but I wanted to summarize a lot of it here.
Shenell’s survival against the odds is a result of her grit, fiercely positive attitude, and the lifestyle changes that are helping her keep up her resilience and strength. Although our lives have been forever changed, we live each day with love and gratitude.
When life changes in an instant
In February 2019, Shenell was enjoying a Super Bowl weekend getaway with friends in Cabo San Lucas in Mexico. She’d been feeling brief instances of numbness and tingling on one side of her body, but she didn’t pay much attention at first. After all, she was healthy and only 36, a loving wife and mother with a busy and active life. However, when she arrived in San Diego, she had a full-blown seizure.
After many brain scans, MRIs, and blood work, doctors confirmed an unidentified brain abnormality. She got a second opinion from the UCLA Neurology Department, where her surgeon, the brilliant Dr. Linda Liau, performed a six-hour operation the very next day. That surgery gave us the answer: Shenell had a brain tumor, a grade 4 glioblastoma.
A long journey to wellness
A craniotomy removed the tumor and preserved Shenell’s sensory and motor functioning, but she still had a long, hard road ahead of her. She underwent 45 days of intense chemotherapy and radiation to address any lingering abnormal cells, then a further six months of chemotherapy. She then did the standard of care for 6 months of chemotherapy. She was and continues to be monitored by Dr. Tim Clousey at UCLA. We can’t thank him and the entire team at UCLA enough.
Shenell has traveled through a very dark valley of shadow, but she has held onto the love of family, friends, and her healing team. She also held on because she felt that, if she was to be one of the fortunate few to be spared from this almost-always lethal disease, she would dedicate her life to helping others traveling the same painful journey. She believes that all people have within themselves the power to heal. They just need the right tools and support.
Shenell is an incredibly brave and wise woman. She knew in her heart that she would have to draw on every ounce of her physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual resources, and that she would have to make her healing journey a holistic one.
A holistic solution
Early in her recovery, Shenell started exploring how to turn food into medicine. She decided to omit all sugars, grains, and refined foods from her diet forever, replacing them with organic products from our garden. She added promising and deeply comforting alternative therapies to her healing regimen: everything from acupuncture, hypnotherapy, and energy-channeling reiki sessions to walking on the beach and daily meditation.
The goal is to bring every healthful, life-giving resource possible into her life. Shenell knows that these therapies have helped her get through the aggressive conventional medical treatment her cancer required. They have primed her body for healing, boosted her mood, and refocused and refreshed her spirit when she felt overwhelmed by fear and pain.
A big part of Shenell’s perspective also centers in her commitment to clean beauty. Knowing that many common beauty products contain toxins has led her to only use the kinds of products on her own skin that she would allow for our children.
For the next few years, Shenell will be on a schedule of treatment and testing at UCLA. As we look back with thanks for the blessing of her survival, and forward in hope, we want to remember the many other people struggling toward healing from this and other devastating diseases.
A gift of knowledge and encouragement
Shenell also wants to give back. She creates healing care packages for people of all ages who are working on their own healing from brain cancer. She supports causes that fund research on brain tumors and support patients, and she also directly counsels other patients herself.
Shenell has become an eloquent advocate not only for all people’s right to access healthy, life-giving foods, but also for the power of mind and mood to impact our health and our lives. She advises everyone to focus on staying present in each precious moment of their lives, centering positive and uplifting thoughts, and releasing negativity and other needless, destructive emotions. At her urging, our family spends more time now just enjoying the world of nature all around us, and the benefits of movement through sports and exercise.
Shenell’s full protocol for fighting cancer and creating a healthier life can be found here. You’ll find insights from her team of healers on establishing the best basis to fight cancer by detoxifying your life, enhancing your digestive process, centering good sleep and meditation routines, and using a rainbow of organic produce as the foundation of your diet. You’ll also learn more about why it’s so important to eliminate sugar, gluten, pesticide-treated foods, and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) from your diet, and how to do just that. And you’ll read about the best ways to source and use specific fruits, vegetables, proteins, prebiotics, and nutrients in your diet. Shenell and I hope this resource will give you practical information and spiritual empowerment to help you on your own healing journey.