Hi, I’m Justine Laidlaw – Colon Cancer survivor, Integrative Nutrition Health Coach & Life Coach based in the beautiful Bay of Plenty in New Zealand. I love life, make the most of opportunities and I am certainly not afraid of change. I coach to help change lives as mine was changed drastically in 2013.
Life is a little bit like a nursury rhyme sometimes: you never know if the big bad wolf might be around the corner and for me my big bad wolf was a CANCER diagnosis.
So in May 2013, at 45 years old I was diagnosed with Colon Cancer. I refused to have surgery initially and embarked on a radical detoxing regime.
By August I was not improving and I opted to undergo a 9 hour surgery for a very aggressive Stage 3 bowel tumour with metastasis to my small intestine, abdominal muscle, right ovary and 14 lymph nodes.
Following surgery I spent the next few weeks trying to sort out my feelings about it on one side, and surfing the web for possible alternative treatments on the other. I had been given a 16% chance of surviving 5 years if I did not do the recommended Radiation and Chemotherapy treatment. And a 50% chance of survival if I did do the treatment, which would supposedly buy myself some time. This was to be 6 months of Chemo followed by 6 weeks of Radiation.
One thing was in fact crystal clear to me since day one. I wouldn’t allow anybody to poison me in order to ”kill” my cancer, possibly killing me as a delayed “side effect”. I don’t have a bad relationship with death, we just don’t know how and when. “When” never concerned me much. I had already watched my father go through chemotherapy from Bowel Cancer, when his cancer came back within 6 months, my father took his own life before the sickness from conventional treatments took him.
I’d rather live a short, healthy and fulfilling life than a long, mediocre one. That’s why I never spared myself, diving head first with passion in embracing this cancer as an opportunity for me to change the way I was doing things in my life.
It made perfect sense to me to actually try and heal my body instead of using the recommended toxic chemo drugs. I respect the courage of everyone’s choice though if they do decide to do the treatments.
People think I was brave to cross the border and receive alternative medicine to save my life and yet I think people who do chemo are brave. I realise many choices are made quickly because there is a sense of urgency instilled by the oncologist for us to act quickly.
We may save ourselves more harm if we take some time to research healthy alternatives. We are part of our success, and deep down I knew I could do this my way, and I wanted to choose what was best for my body.
My health history wasn’t to flash prior to this diagnosis, I had already been through 3 surgeries to my belly. Faced with the reality that I couldn’t have children from the internal chaos created from a hospital bug following emergency surgery while I was travelling in Australia. My internal & external scars had already manifested to a very real outcome that I had to face.
I did not expect that after all the mental and emotional exhaustion that had come with my journey so far that I would be then faced with a Cancer Diagnosis. I was tired from surgeries and had developed chronic fatigue. The journey was extremely rough at times, I can still smell the anesthesia and feel all the IV needle pricks and of course I felt the pain in my emotional body.
You go through shock at first. It’s a choice to adjust and love yourself regardless and believe that you will be loved again scars and all. We’ve all got something that doesn’t fit in our scope of the perfect body. I think our soul can become more beautiful as more scars collect on the outside. If people worked out their souls as much as they worked out their bodies, this world would be a better place to live in.
At the time of my diagnosis. I had made another big decision. I didn’t intend to allow cancer to rule my life. I never pitied myself, once I had reached that place of acceptance, I wasn’t going to allow others to do so. I felt so positive and inspired to find a new way forward through this process.
After living through this, I tell my story to as many people as will listen as I believe that I made it through all of this for a reason. It may sound a little weird but I chose to thank my cancer for coming and saw it has a blessing in many ways.
I want to be an inspiration to others. I want just one person to make a decision to see a doctor after hearing me, or maybe I can help someone live through a cancer diagnosis.
If I can help someone make a decision on his or her journey in this crazy world or if someone can look at me and think, wow, look at what she went through, look at what she was told, but she is still here, so I can do it too, then it was worth it. You don’t have to listen to the odds and the statistics. Cancer is a label, a phrase, not a way of life or a death sentence. Just look at me! I am living my truth and I love every minute of helping others to live theirs too.
Whenever someone asks me about my health and how I’m feeling I say, “I’m awesome, I feel so good!” because the majority of the time I am and I do. I still struggle with an underlying level of fatigue at times but I live a very full, happy and healthy life – despite having cancer cells in my body.
6 months after my initial surgery a scan showed I had one enlarged lymph node with cancer cells, at this time my surgeon did his best to fill me with fear once again by telling me whatever I was doing was not working. As far as he was concerned it was back and the lymph node needed to be surgically removed. He told me in no uncertain terms that they would NOT remove it unless I did the recommended Chemotherapy first. This did not sit right with me at all, so I trusted in my own methods of healing. Each subsequent scan I had, showed a reduction in the size of the node and no further metastasis. By March 2017 there was no evidence of any enlarged nodes and I was officially de-cleared NED (No evidence of Disease)
Pretty cool huh!
So What did I do?
* Ozone Therapy – I had 8 IV Ozone treatments in a clinic in Auckland (New Zealand), then bought my own home treatment machine which I still continue to use every week as part of my healing process. Ozone therapy is an incredible rejuvenator, normaliser, detoxifier, regenerator, immune enhancer and physical and mental energiser. read more here…http://www.ozoneuniversity.com/intro-to-ozone-therapy.htm
Low oxygen levels in cells may be a fundamental cause of cancer. There are several reasons cells become poorly oxygenated. An overload of toxins clogging up the cells, poor quality cell walls that don’t allow nutrients into the cells, the lack of nutrients needed for respiration, poor circulation and perhaps even low levels of oxygen in the air we breathe.
* I radically changed my diet – initially I was told to go raw vegan which I did, however this made my body cold and I was not thriving. I changed to warming foods like slow cooked bone broths, and loads of vegetables and slow cooked meats. Eliminating sugar from all forms and got rid of processed packaged foods, including alcohol and too much fruit. I hardly eat any grains, & I increased the healthy fats. I continue to make green vegetable juices as part of my weekly routine, and green smoothies and I still drink at least a mug of bone broth a day and include fermented foods into my diet. I still eat red meat, but stopped eating it when I was initially diagnosed, and now buy the casserole cuts to slow cook most meats. I buy organic chicken and eat fresh fish a couple of times a week.
* I grow my own wheat grass and have 2 shots a day
* I took control of my own destination, without giving my power away to the oncologists and doctors
* Followed my intuition
* Use herbs and supplements – Turmeric, Astragalus, Garlic, Selenium, Iodine, Minerals, Omega 3, Cod liver oil, Digestive enzymes, Vit D, Vit C, Salvesterols, Ginger
* Use energy medicine treatments – Accupuncture & Shiatzu Massage, PEMF.
* Released my suppressed emotions (a work in progress)-
worked with a EFT practitioner
* Increased positive emotions
* Embraced social support
* Deepened my spiritual connection through meditation and mindfulness
* Started to follow my life’s purpose “I now love what I do”
I believe within my entire being that food and the simplest lifestyle changes can be your medicine, and you were born to be well. All we need to do is create the right environment for your body to heal, thrive and feel alive.
As a certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach I now help others through their journey of life. Coaching is ultimately about getting support. You can finally make positive changes, restore balance, create healthy eating & self care routines and through the process I will empower you to find your true desires and make your wellness a reality.
If you or someone you know is needing support I offer a free 15 minute phone consultation to help get you started…