The Natural Bird

Birth Year 1968
Gender Female
Country New Zealand
Please summarize your healing story in 100 words or less I was diagnosed in 2013 aged 45 with an aggressive Stage 3 colon cancer which had metastasized to my ovary, small intestine, and lymph nodes. Following the death of my father to colon cancer I was very reluctant to choose the same treatment path he took, which was also presented to me by my oncologist. I had to figure out what I needed to do to heal, so I spent many hours researching other integrative healing options and declined to do the conventional treatments of chemotherapy and radiation.

Health Challenge

What is/was your primary health challenge?

Cancer, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Type of cancer

Colon (colorectal, including anal cancer)

Can you be more specific?

Stage 3 Aggressive Tumour with metastasise to lymph nodes, small intestine & right ovary

Highest stage of cancer


Year diagnosed


Current health status

No evidence of disease

Year you healed or became stable


Type of Healing

I first tried some conventional treatment (e.g., surgery), and my doctor wanted me to have additional treatment (e.g., chemotherapy), but I declined the additional treatment. Instead, I decided to use other healing techniques, and now I am well.

How was your health challenge diagnosed?

Imaging (CT, PET, MRI, Mammogram, X-ray, etc)


Check any conventional treatments you've tried for your health challenge:


Check any of the 10 Radical Remission factors you've tried:

Diet Change, Herbs & Supplements, Increasing Positive Emotions, Releasing Suppressed Emotions, Following Your Intuition, Deepening Your Spiritual Connection, Increasing Social Support, Finding Strong Reasons for Living, Taking Control of Your Health

Check any other alternative treatments you've tried:

Colonics, Energy Healing (e.g., acupuncture, reiki, kinesiology, etc), Exercise, Hyperthermia, I.V. infusions (please specify in your healing story), Massage, Psychotherapy, Sleep (getting more of it), IV Ozone and rectal/vaginal Ozone Treatments, Sauna


Briefly describe your diagnosis method and conventional treatments, including their timing. Did they help at all?

I had a CT SCan and colonoscopy to confirm the diagnosis. I refused surgery initially and gave myself 3 months to process my situation. I did have surgery as my health was not improving, it appeared that the tumour was draining my energy too much so I had to surrender to my healing plan.

Please tell us your healing story in as much detail as you would like:

“Sorry, but the cancer tumour has spread from your large intestine to the small intestine, ovary, stomach muscle and many surrounding lymph nodes. We expect you probably have around a 15% chance of surviving 5 years, but we may be able to extend your chances by 50% by having our treatments.”

These are not the words one wants to hear from a specialist at the age of 45.

I got this diagnosis in 2013. For the previous three months, I had been feeling increasingly exhausted but had put that down to the intrepid traveling style my husband and I were experiencing. We were self-navigating our way through Vietnam /Lao & Cambodia on motorbikes and it was challenging. With increasing & nagging pain and bouts of constipation, a sore lower back, sore muscles I was feeling increasingly lethargic, we made the decision to return back to New Zealand. A CT scan revealed the awful truth. We quickly consulted with an Integrative GP who was willing to help me, before considering surgery, but she also recommended I have the conventional treatments to give myself the best chances of surviving. As I walked out of the clinic my world felt shattered, in my heart of hearts I was too bloody scared to go down the chemotherapy path, my body weight had plummeted to 45kg and I just felt that the toxicity from the drugs would surely be enough to finish me off.

It’s a real mind game to process any diagnosis, like anyone diagnosed with a serious illness I was immediately thrown into shock, taking me several weeks to process my reality and reaching a place of acceptance.

I can remember for many years prior having a very real FEAR of getting cancer myself since I had received the news that my father had taken his life. He had been diagnosed with colon cancer, after 6 months of chemotherapy, the cancer was back, and told he may have another 3-6 months to live if he’s lucky. I believe he wanted to end his life on his own terms, and didn’t want to put our family through the gradual demise that we often see with late-stage cancer patients.

I eventually elected to have a fairly grueling 9-hour surgery three months later, and was still very reluctant to choose the conventional treatment path that my father was talked into doing largely against his own will, but convinced it may be life-extending.

Fortunately, I had a wonderful Naturopathic friend who recommended I see a Naturopath she had trained with in Auckland New Zealand who worked with cancer patients. The naturopath also worked alongside many other natural health practitioners as a team and between them, they came up with a plan for a totally holistic approach towards healing for me.

It was such a huge relief, I felt certain that this was the path that sat right, I was able to “let go” and trust the process. Each week I would travel from Tauranga to Auckland to have various tests to identify underlying toxins, pathogens, nutrient deficiencies, emotional traumas, and other energy blockages. The treatment plan included having Intravenous ozone treatments, herbs, and supplements, emotional healing, eliminating sugar, dairy, and wheat, focusing on eating a mainly plant-based organic diet with fresh fish & organic chicken, and exploring a newfound spiritual path of meditation for healing. This provided the foundation for my recovery and ongoing survival to this day.

Once this 8-week intensive plan came to an end I set myself up at home with a far-infrared sauna, an ozone machine to continue to keep my oxygen saturation levels high, protected myself and my home from EMF’s and continued with other practitioners that resonated with me to deepen my healing.

I knew I had become very toxic from our travels, having had several bouts of vomiting (thinking it was food poisoning) my gut health needed serious attention. The microbiome in my gut had become badly disrupted before we even headed away overseas from a bacterial gut infection. We had no UV filter system on our rainwater supply, so we suspected that was contributing to my health decline, however, we didn’t connect this to the potential tumour that would of been already growing according to the Naturopath. He suspected that the tumour may well have started from physical trauma I had experienced 10 years prior.

I had had emergency surgery while I was working & traveling through a remote part of Western Australia. Reacting badly to the prescribed pain-relieving medication after a workplace injury I was admitted to hospital with severe dehydration. With no improvement in my condition, and my health stats deteriorating rapidly, and no specialists on-site, they were really concerned. I was feeling incredibly sick and could have easily just slipped away. They flew a surgeon up to Kununurra Hospital from Melbourne to perform emergency surgery to find absolutely nothing wrong. Little did I know or did they know that I had contracted a nasty hospital bug. Unfortunately for me that bug left me with a raging infection in my spine which was brewing away until eventually a blood test was done 3 months later back in New Zealand after a consultation with a bone specialist. The infection had eaten away a discing spine leaving me unable to stand for any length of time.

The subsequent colon cancer tumour that had evolved was right in the location of my large intestine where the surgeon in Australia had opened me up and removed a perfectly healthy appendix 10 years prior.

One thing was, in fact, crystal clear to me since day one of the cancer diagnosis - Chemo and radiation didn’t sit right for me, it made perfect sense to actually try and heal my already toxic body instead of using the recommended chemo drugs.

I felt that the physical, mental & emotional stress I had endured had led me to having a very low vital life force essentially creating a perfect environment for a tumour to grow out of control. The surgery and hospital bug had already created internal chaos, scar tissue, pain, and an environment that meant that having children was not achievable. The emotional stress was deep and at the time was not something I ever considered to be a contributing factor to my physical reality.

People think I was brave to cross the border and receive alternative medicine to save my life, and yet I think I was wise to decline the treatments as I believe they would be severely detrimental to my already weakened state.

I realise many choices are made quickly because there is a sense of urgency instilled by the surgeons/oncologists for us to act quickly. However, I believe we may save ourselves more harm if we take some time to research healthy ways to optimise our healing first, regardless of what treatment options sit right with us. 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 and not be thrown into FEAR by what the doctors told me I SHOULD do!

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. We can all learn to manage & live with the disease and eventually get back into a place of balance and a healthy vital life force by feeding our soul, spirit, and body on a daily basis.

A follow-up MRI & PET scan several months after surgery revealed an enlarged lymph node showing active cancer cells. The surgeon told me that I was so stupid for not doing their treatments and that cancer had come back. As a consequence, they wanted to start immediate chemo followed by surgery to remove more lymph nodes, as he proceeded to tell me that cancer cells will now spread to all my other organs and that whatever I was doing was not working. I subsequently declined his treatment plan and continued to trust in the healing path I was taking.

At the two-year post-diagnosis mark I was declared NED - No evidence of disease.

During this healing journey, I read Dr. Kelly Turner’s book Radical Remission.

Every chapter of Radical Remission related to my own healing journey back to wellness. Her updated book “Radical HOPE” features several stories from cancer survivors in NZ including a wee part of my own spiritual aspect of the healing journey.

The insight that the possibilities for healing are more abundant than we had previously known, gives people evidence-based ways to defy the prognosis of late-stage or terminal cancer.

Most oncologists typically ignore the root cause of cancer formation, often just focusing on the removal of a tumour and not the reasons behind cell mutation and tumour growth. These root causes should be the focus of every cancer treatment. Toxicities, exposure to EMFs, constant conflicts, resentment, guilt, shame, and fear (known as stress) deficiencies, for example can lead to the suppression of a person's immune system and the growth of a cancerous tumour.

Cancer and the healing transformation have thankfully given me a greater understanding of who I am, a purpose, and acceptance of my imperfections, and gratitude for the opportunity to work with people who want to find greater happiness. I had the opportunity to go to New York and train with Dr. Turner as a certified teacher to facilitate her inspirational cancer healing workshops in New Zealand.

The healing journey has given me a deeply embedded passion to help people who are also open to making change and to help them realise that we can’t rely on the conventional system to fully heal. It takes effort, self-motivation, inspiration, and motivation to heal from a holistic perspective, and the standard level of health care is severely failing us.

I have yet to meet a cancer patient who does not feel burdened by some unresolved conflict/trauma that still lingers in their subconscious mind.

I said to myself when I was told I only had a limited lifespan: “Every day in every way I am getting better and better” & “Expect a miracle!” Courageous my survival maybe, but it has only come about through bloody-minded self-discipline, determination and a will to live, and a determination to help others facing the limitations of our medical system.

We have so much more control over our health & well-being than most people realise…at any age. We just have to listen to our intuition and action our inner voice and follow what feels right for each of us.

Justine Laidlaw - The Natural Bird

Justine is currently working alongside integrative practitioners at the Godfrey Medical Clinic in Tauranga New Zealand. Qualified as functional medicine cancer coach and thermography technician (breast screening), Ozone Therapy and facilitating group coaching and healing workshops online.

UPDATE: As of April 2022, I continue to thrive in health. I am coming up 9 years since diagnosis and very much alive and well and thriving, and continue to educate others about Kelly’s 10 key healing factors.

Do you have any thoughts about what may have caused your health challenge in particular, or what causes it in general?

I was very fearful of getting colon cancer as I watched my dad pass from the disease, however, I had surgery 10 years previously after becoming sick and being admitted to hospital where it is believed I contracted a hospital infection. During the surgery, they performed an exploratory surgery and also removed my healthy appendix. This is exactly the location where my tumor developed. I am fairly confident that my sugar-laden and processed food diet also contributed to the bad bacteria in my gut to proliferate. I know I had so many suppressed emotions from my conditioning and belief system as a kid, along with a very testing relationship in my 30's. This relationship became physically & mentally challenging and contributed to a very stressful period in my life. I was also exposed to horticultural chemicals while working over a period of years on a kiwifruit research farm. Having terrible endometriosis all through my 30's also led to the reliance on anti-inflammatory drugs for pain relief, along with all the emotional stress from trying unsuccessfully to have children, meant I had some big stuff to process.


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