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Attacking disease like a prize fighter. Whipping yourself into shape for the battle of your life, literally. One woman shows us how it's done.

No matter what the day – she's not down, but she is exercising, relaxing her mind, eating right. Dena Mendes has the recipe for beating cancer.

Dena Mendes, author: "it's kind of like putting together pieces of a puzzle, and making up the perfect remedy for you."

And much to her surprise, she needed a remedy. Ten years ago a mammogram showed a tiny pea-sized, pre-cancerous tumor. But her surgeon didn't get it all out in the operating room.

Dena Mendes: "Called me five weeks later, 'Woops we didn't get all of your totally pre-cancerous, totally encapsulated pea.' Now opened up a can of cancer worms. From lung, brain, neck, everywhere. Ten years I have been kicking butt, kicking butt, kicking butt."

She began a journey of education and immersion into medicine… an education Dena now passes on.

Dena Mendes: "You want to know what you can do the minute you've been diagnosed. And then through protocols and procedures, through treatment, to what can I eat to empower myself.

Beating cancer is no small task – it takes total transformation, a change that at times brings pain.

Scientists say when that caterpillar is just about to turn into that beautiful butterfly they are going through the most excruciating pain ever and then out comes this gorgeous butterfly. That's what people with cancer that's our opportunity that's what we are going through.

The beautifully changed woman bears her war wounds proudly.

Dena Mendes: "I have a port that I have treatments every three weeks of Herceptin, and I have this scar and I have scars here and my son said, 'Maybe you should start saying you got attacked by a shark instead of it was cancer.' It sounds much better, but for me it's my warrior scar."

And telling her story helps others find the warrior inside themselves. Dena offers the step by step guide with advice for anyone diagnosed with cancer to kick into gear.

Dena Mendes: "It's like being your own health detective, so emotional pieces and physical pieces and mental pieces and kind of putting it together and then rehabbing yourself. Strengthening yourself, healing yourself."