Interview: Cortney Campbell, Green Drink Diaries – healing naturally from cancer
Stumbling across Cortney Campbell online, a few days after I was diagnosed with cancer, left me awed and hopeful. Curious, too.
When you think cancer treatment, does salad smoothies, a mini-trampoline, and sunshine come to mind?
They did [after a considerable amount of consideration] for Cortney when she was diagnosed with Stage II Nodular-Lymphocyte Predominant Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at 26. Daunted by the side effects of chemo and radiation, Cortney chose to step away from conventional cancer treatments, feeling intuitively that there had to be an alternative.
Cortney and I chatted about:
- How she healed herself naturally from cancer
- About becoming pregnant a few months into her cancer treatment
- How she lives well now, as a mum, teacher and blogger
- What cancer taught her
Those early days of a cancer diagnosis are madness, right? Overwhelmed, panicked, and feeling that you’re in no man’s land by taking healing into your own hands. How did you settle on your natural protocol and were you sure it was “the one” that would heal you?
[Cortney] It was my husband’s idea really. The type of cancer I had was rare and no two doctors we spoke to agreed on how to treat it. The chemotherapy offered to us was aggressive and damaging to other systems in my body, but I was particularly sensitive to infertility. Once we decided to take the “holistic” route, we knew we would try it for 3 months and then re-evaluate from there.
Your wellness Rx included a series of colonics; Bill Henderson’s protocol, which includes an organic, raw vegan diet; Essiac tea; reflexology; daily sun; drinking alkaline water; rebounding; and using a dry heat sauna. Considering you refused conventional cancer treatment and created your own plan, how easy was it to find an oncologist to monitor you?
[Cortney] It was NOT easy to find an oncologist that was open to what I was doing, but I found one without even trying through my Holistic MD.
On a physical level you ticked all the boxes. Tell us about the emotional or spiritual element to your healing.
[Cortney] YES – emotional/spiritual healing was just as important. I had to work through anxiety and an overall “go-go-go” attitude. I had to slow down and completely give my worries to God. I wrote a post about this here.
Raw organic veggies were a key component of your healing protocol – but you hated salad! How did you get around not being able to stomach veggies?
[Cortney] At first I just wouldn’t eat rather than have to eat all of the greens and vegetables. I lost a ton of weight very quickly and it began to make me feel very sick. The green smoothie was an act of desperation for me. I dumped my salad into our Vitamix with some water, pinched my nose, and CHUGGED it. It was SO much better for me at that time! Since then I have begun to really appreciate and crave salads, but back then it was very hard to stomach them. This is why I named my blog, “Green Drink Diaries.”
Initially your family were doubtful and scared about your choice to heal naturally. Has your success now spurred your family to make any healthy lifestyle changes?
[Cortney] Absolutely – first of all, 21 of my family and friends have bought Vitamix blenders since my diagnosis. If only I could have made some of that money! I’m now a Vitamix Affiliate so I could make a little money to support my blog and they could get a great deal and product! Many of my friends have made small changes in their diet habits that have led to larger ones. Life post-cancer has really become lemonade out of lemons!
One of the reasons you refused conventional cancer treatment was because chemo carries a high risk of infertility, and you knew you wanted children. Fast forward a few months into your natural protocol, and you became pregnant. How?
[Cortney] Oh boy, well… I could get funny here, but when my husband and I got married, we agreed that we would not use birth control. About 4 months after my diagnosis, I went completely raw-vegan for a few weeks while detoxing at the Living Foods Institute here in Atlanta. My monthly cycle went completely haywire. I was used to tracking my cycle through natural methods such as daily temperature, etc., but the change in my cycle was difficult to decipher in my charting. Lost story short – I ended up pregnant and it was a very scary time. I write about this in more detail on my blog.
Hmmm, salad smoothies and morning sickness: not an ideal match. What changes did you have to make to your natural cancer protocol when you were pregnant?
[Cortney] For a few weeks I had to make some major changes and was very scary. I survived off of organic saltines, apples, and almond butter. One day I actually had a chicken sandwich from a chain-restaurant because I was starving and couldn’t even look at a green thing. The crazy part is that I was declared in remission during this time. I couldn’t have been more shocked!
You’ve been in clinical remission since the 15th week of your pregnancy, only 8 months after starting your intensive natural protocol, which is amazing on so many levels. You daughter is a thriving 2 year old now: What are you doing now to give her the tools she needs for a life of wellness?
[Cortney] “Sneaky” green smoothies. I use blueberries to color them so they’re not green but use all kinds of fruits and greens in them. I’ve posted many of them in the smoothies section of my blog. Also, she eats complete whole foods – lightly cooked when needed, nothing processed, little to NO (mostly no) sugar, and only drinks water.
Being young and what you thought was healthy, then being diagnosed with cancer, becoming pregnant, and ultimately healing yourself from cancer naturally; how did this change how you think about your body?
[Cortney] God gave us an amazing, self-functioning, beautiful body creation. Restoring it to its natural state and powering it by the food intended for us gives a much better chance of recovering! It’s not just an issue of nutrition though. We must also restore our mind spiritually, detox the junk we already have been putting in it for many years, and educate ourselves with the latest discoveries in alternative/holistic cancer protocols.
What have you learned about yourself that you didn’t know before your journey with cancer?
[Cortney] This one is deep. I have become much calmer. I tend to be frantically charged and nervous at times, calm and serene at others. I think this journey has mostly empowered me and taught me balance. I’ve realized I am not weaker or less important than someone else. I have just as much potential and power. Every day is new and I have been given grace that I accept.
Mom, wife, teacher, and blogger: time is precious. What’s one of your go-to meals that’s simple, yum and good for you?
[Cortney] My favorite is my Ezekiel Bread Pizzas because everyone that tries them seems to love them. Because I don’t eat very much cooked food, I usually will have one of them along with a salad. It’s all about moderation, even after holistic cancer recovery.
Give us a sneak peek!
What were you were doing at 9 am yesterday? LoL – teaching my 4th grade students about the cotton gin. I had REAL cotton from Southern Georgia here in the U.S. They had to try to see who could pick the most seeds out. Picking out seeds from cotton is REALLY hard!
What did you have for lunch yesterday? Big Surprise – 64 oz. green smoothie with watercress, Bok Choy and Kale as my greens, tomato, carrot, cauliflower, and ½ an avocado and ½ an apple.
What were you wearing yesterday at 8pm? Probably my school clothes rolled up to my knees giving my daughter a bath. (: One of my favorite times of the day…
What do you love most about your life today?
[Cortney] Its Potential! I truly believe that I am being USED to help others. Even in my 4th grade classroom I have students bringing my smoothie recipes in their lunchboxes or making them at home with their parents. I have been praying lately for guidance on where to go from here. I feel the pull to go full time into nutrition work but am not sure how to get there. I have faith that I am already being guided and look forward to the present and future…
Tell us 3 exciting things you’ll be doing in the next 5 years.
- Having more children.
- Speaking publicly about my cancer experience.
- Working in the holistic health education field.
Yes to the power of healing foods and minds!
On a personal note, being able to read about Cortney’s experience helped inspire and propel me toward a natural cancer treatment, when I was in the market in 2011. [I've since sent her a gushy love letter, don't worry!]
Connect with Cortney @ www.greendrinkdiaries.com.