In the 1990s, Naomi Judd was a queen on the country music scene. She and her daughter Wynonna sold out arenas, had numerous Top 20 hits, and a shelf of Grammys. But that was her second career. In the 80s she had been a nurse in an intensive care unit in Kentucky and in 1991- well into her second and beloved career on the stage- she was diagnosed with Hepatitis C.

She would eventually be told she had only three years to live. But she decided not to take her diagnosis lying down and did her own research. She experimented with holistic practices like acupuncture and reiki, in order to deal with the terrible side effects from her interferon treatments.

Judd learned a lot during that time and would later go on to describe the characteristics of survivors who beat “incurable” illnesses to a room full of doctors, at the Peter H.B. Frelinghuysen Jr. Distinguished Lecture Series in Nursing. Some of her insights were learned from friends like Francis Collins (director of the National Institutes of Health), Dr. Dean Ornish, and Dr. Andrew Weil.

To beat the odds, Judd told doctors that to help your body heal there must be:

  1. A Sense of Spirituality- you’ve got to feel like you are a part of something larger than yourself.
  2. A Support System- it is imperative that we be connected to people we love who can support us.
  3. A Sense of Humor- there must be laughter, especially in the toughest moments.
  4. A Connection to Nature- we must maintain a sense of wonder and a connection to the earth.
  5. Goals. From the Morristown Green article: “We all have to have a reason to live, to get out of bed in the morning.”  One of Judd’s pet causes is the National Humane Society. She also advocates for the American Liver Foundation, and her own research fund. Since “retiring,” Judd has written several books, hosted a talk show, appeared in a movie and staged reunion tours with Wynonna.”
  6. Good Nutrition- we MUST learn to eat real food and to allow our bodies to crave real food. Dr. Weil taught Judd to look at her refrigerator as a medicine cabinet.
  7. Regular exercise and rest- move your body and rest your mind, even from electronics.
  8. An Open Belief System- think outside the box: aroma therapy, music therapy, massage, ayurvedic medicine, acupuncture- give it all a try.

One more thing Judd is convinced of is the fact that we don’t understand the spirit-mind-body connection. For instance, millions of Americans, including Judd, have battled or are battling depression. But to best heal, the mind needs to be clear, healthy and without stressors- relaxation and reduced stress is very important for the body and mind. That way, the patients attitude can be a benefit in healing, not a hinderance.

Well done Ms. Judd. We commend you for taking your health and healing seriously and now advocating and teaching others about how they can do the same thing. Keep up the good work!

Source: Morristown Green