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The Pursuit of Recovery

Embracing Life After Cancer and Chemo

Article by Cassandra Green

Photography by Nicola Jane Photography

Originally published in Parker City Lifestyle

Melissa Grosboll, DC, CPT, CES, makes me reconsider how I view pain and recovery. Melissa is a certified personal trainer and cancer exercise specialist. As a cancer survivor, Melissa declares herself a “cancer thriver.” You can tell by her quick smile and welcoming presence that she lives her life to better the lives of others. She comes alongside those who have been in the trenches with cancer, lending strength and guidance to recovery.

When it comes to healing from cancer, Melissa categorizes recovery in three areas; nutrition, exercise and mindset. Quick disclaimer: this is a major summarization. The true depth of wisdom here is held in the care of one-on-one consultation and professional guidance that Melissa offers face-to-face with her clients. 

The first area to consider when recovering from surgery and/or chemotherapy is paying attention to your nutrition. Melissa says, “The biggest thing is to trust yourself.” Very simply it’s best to reduce/eliminate processed sugars, cut out alcohol and avoid fried or processed foods. Drinking lots of water and eating food with an ingredient list you can easily understand is a good place to start. Melissa advises her clients to work with a nutritionist or naturopath. Understanding what foods bring the best nutrients as well as your own body’s sensitivities will help take monumental steps in recovering your strength.

Exercising is what Melissa likes to hone in on next. She says, “Movement is medicine, movement is life. The more you can move your body the better off you are.” The best movement for most cancer/chemo recovery is found in walking. Melissa has a ton of ways to encourage getting 8,000 to 10,000 steps in a day. “It doesn’t have to be done all at once,” she states. From walking 10 to 15 minutes after each meal, to walking around the grocery store before you get your groceries, there are lots of options.

Within exercising it is important to focus both on building strength as well as developing your balance. Melissa highly suggests, “Listen to your body. Take it slow. Use resistance bands and soup cans at first instead of weights.” She also talks about doing suitcase carries. 

“It’s where you pick up one weight in one hand and walk around your house, then switch to the other arm.” This method helps strengthen your core and build balance to prevent injuries in the future. Proper nutrition and moving your body are key ways to recover at a steady pace. 

The final, but incredibly vital key to recovery is found in your mindset. Melissa addresses, “We live in a world where stress is normal. [We are] very prone to distraction. We look for distraction to not feel a lot. In the face of a cancer diagnosis, people want to check out, go through the motions, [but] stress is one of the biggest contributing factors to cancer.” It’s important to get out of the fight or flight mode and let your body rest. 

Melissa recommends meditation, yoga, sitting and relaxing, listening to music. “Being okay with rest,” she emphasizes that resting is not laziness. It’s important to process and release negativity. “Your body will tell you what it needs if you get quiet enough to listen.” 

She understands that it’s hard when you have young kids and a family, but slowing down is good for everyone. Melissa has a podcast you can tune into called The Many Faces of Cancer. You can also reach her at or (720) 201-4292 for a free consultation.