WSVN — A Miami woman suffering from late-stage cancer has found a way to better cope with the disease: singing. And her doctors say the music is actually helping her body. 7’s Diana Diaz shows has the story on this sound healing.

Mercedes Hernandez has always been an entertainer…

Mercedes Hernandez: “I have my own band. We do like mainly Cuban, Latin music.”

But when the Miami Lakes woman was diagnosed with an advanced gynecological cancer which spread to her lungs and bones, she became too sick to perform.

Mercedes Hernandez: “I was really upset, depressed. I said, ‘Oh my God. I’m going to die.'”

Dr. Estelamari Rodriguez: “She felt sicker and basically couldn’t move. She couldn’t breathe.”

Despite one lung being filled with fluid, Mercedes recently decided she needed to sing again.

Mercedes Hernandez: “It’s like another treatment. My soul needs to have some treatment too.”

As seen in these YouTube videos, Mercedes has been booking shows with her band and belting out songs. It’s the only time she forgets about the cancer.

Mercedes Hernandez: “When I’m doing music, I’m not even sick. Every time I do a show, it’s like I do 20 chemos.”

While Mercedes says singing has lifted her spirits, her Mount Sinai oncologist has noticed other physical changes.

Dr. Estelamari Rodriguez: “She made a dramatic change in her condition about three months ago, and she is physically breathing better. I mean, she was on oxygen, she is not on oxygen anymore. She was in a wheelchair and now she was walking.”

And there are studies that show music can be medicine for sick patients.

Dr. Estelamari Rodriguez: “We know that there are patients that are on chemotherapy or have gone through surgery that when they use music as a healing method, they can breathe better, they have less nausea, and they tolerate treatment better.”

Even though the cancer has spread throughout her body, Mercedes says she’ll keep singing and ending each day on a high note.

Mercedes Hernandez: “I don’t know what my future is going to be, but my present, I know what it is. I’m here right now, I can sing.”

Dr. Rodriguez says she has even changed the way she talks to patients, asking them about what they used to do before their cancer diagnosis, and encouraging patients to go back to normal activity.


Dr. Estelamari Rodriguez
Mount Sinai Medical Center

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