My name is Christina Campbell. Welcome to my website! I was born in Miami, and I grew up in Florida. So, I am a true, bona fide Floridian. As a little girl, I dreamed of being a ballerina. I wanted to dance my life away and make a living doing it. I envisioned myself traveling the world as a sugar plum fairy or starring in ballets like “Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “Sleeping Beauty,” or “Swan Lake.” This dream persisted through high school. Although, by then, I realized I was not a Prima Ballerina. As a young teenager, I was an edgy and talented jazz dancer. But before I was “discovered,” I became very ill. I was diagnosed with a severe auto-immune disorder that would forever change my life as well as my life’s path.
After three days in what my mother called a “coma” where I was completely unresponsive, my diagnosis was confirmed. I was diagnosed with an auto-immune disorder that would haunt me for many years. It proved to be the diagnosis that ruined my dancing dreams. By the time I left the hospital, I could hardly walk; and, it was a year before I was strong enough to wear my toe-shoes again!
The Diagnosis that Changed the Path of my Life
I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, a type of inflammatory bowel disease. My doctors told me that this illness would cause me pain, suffering, and bleeding for the remainder of my life. I was informed that I needed surgery to remove my large intestine immediately or I would never heal. I was allergic to sulfa and, as a result, allergic to the only medicine other than prednisone (corticosteroids) available to treat Crohn’s disease at that time. Through countless trips to the emergency room and the hospital, I became more and more disillusioned. I found myself fearful of what my life was to become. Was I going to be sick and suffering everyday for the rest of my life?
Several surgeons told me emphatically “If you do not have a complete colectomy now, you will not make it to your 14th birthday (in 2 weeks)”. They told me I had to have my colon surgically removed and a colostomy placed immediately. I was only 13 years old! I firmly said “No!” and begged my parents to refuse this surgery. As a minor, I was at their mercy. Without my colon at thirteen years old, sick and malnourished, my options would forever be limited. How could I ever live a healthy life? As I read the literature on Crohn’s Disease, checked-out of the University of Florida medical library by my mother, I learned Crohn’s Disease was incurable and would likely flare up on and off over the years of my life. So, at the next flare up, would they remove parts of my small intestine? And, at what point will their be nothing left to remove?
Then there was Dr. James Cerda, director of the department of Gastroenterology at the University of Florida. He was a compassionate physician who was willing and able to think outside the box. Dr. Cerda remains my hero to this day. We made a personalized care plan together with my needs and his know how.
My Personalized Care Plan
Dr. Cerda agreed to forego surgery for the moment if I would agree to abstain from food or drink for six months and up to a year. “Complete bowel rest” he called it. My nutritional needs would be met with “hyper-alimentation” given through a central line, called a Hickman catheter. This catheter was hooked to an IV pump which fed me fluid nutrition 24/7. Having developed an allergy to Sulfasalazine, the only medicine on the market to treat Crohn’s disease at the time, I was placed on very high dose steroids and was slowly desensitized to the Sulfasalazine. As he lowered the dose of the steroid called prednisone ever so slowly over the next six months, he gradually raised the dose of Sulfasalazine.
When I finally left the hospital, I did so with the IV pump hooked to the catheter in my chest. Unable to go to school that year, I completed all my classes from home. I was so weak, I could not dance which broke my heart. It was at this time I felt called to the field of medicine. I saw the need for physicians like Dr. Cerda who were willing to think outside the box–to treat the individual patient not the disease. We needed doctors who were willing to concede there might be a better way for the patient. I wanted to be a Dr. Cerda for another person in need.
How Did it All Turn Out?
My Life as It Unfolded
Many of the physicians I saw thought I was crazy, but I was convinced that treatment without surgery would allow me to live a long, healthy, happy and productive life. And, I was right! I still have every inch of my gut intact. Although I was repeatedly told that I would never graduate from medical school, I did. I have had a successful and fulfilling career in medicine. And, although I was told many times that I would never have children, I have two! I have a handsome ten year-old boy and a beautiful eight year-old girl. I have adjusted my lifestyle to treat my disease. In 2011, I found dietary changes that have allowed me to have pain-free days. And, in the years to come, I discovered essential oils and many other natural methods which could help me string those days into weeks without discomfort! Amazing!
My Diagnosis Becomes My Purpose
After all these years of pain and trying to avoid embarrassing moments, I have found freedom! The purpose of this blog is to share my life and my knowledge with you. My talent is to make illness less stressful and frightening for people and their families. Health participants should understand their diagnosis and treatment. They should know the reason for certain tests and understand the results. We should be consultants and participants in our own health care. This is why I use the term “health participants” rather than “patients” in my practice.
My passion is to empower and educate people on how to live long, healthy lives by making healthy choices. My path in medicine as a DO has offered me education in hands-on medicine and an understanding that everything happening in a patient’s life affects their health. I have utilized acupuncture, massage therapy, Osteopathic Manipulative Techniques, nutritional supplements based on epigenetic testing and need, light and frequency therapies, essential oils and more in my own health care as well as with my health participants. I enjoy sharing with others how to use our environment and our nutrition to support healthy body systems. God created us all with greatness and a purpose. In His infinite wisdom, he gave us all we need on this Earth to live healthy, happy, lives. We only need understand and utilize His great gifts and take care of ourselves-mind, body, and spirit. Each day, I celebrate the gifts I have been given. I want you to join in this celebration! I pray my experiences and my lifetime of learning can help you, too.
How Can I help You?
What if My Story is Different?
I have told my story honestly and in the manner it played out through my life. However, it is important to realize every person with IBD has a different story. Consequently, many will have had to have surgery, maybe multiple surgeries. Each person with IBD has a different severity level as well as differing triggers and root causes. In my practice, I help each person uncover their triggers and root cause, and begin to intervene at this level. We use natural methods to improve symptoms and to compliment the person’s current therapy making it more effective. My goal is to help each person find their best level of health possible. Over time my hope will always be fewer medications and interventions necessary to maintain remission. Results for each person will vary based on their disease severity. However, there is hope! There is hope for every IBD patient!
There is Hope!
You can create positive change in your health! I can help. What do you have to lose? Imagine a future where you have more energy. One where you do not live in fear of bathroom emergencies. One where you are free to enjoy social events, you are no longer in pain everyday, and you no longer have to call in sick to work regularly. Imagine being able to do more and experience more in your life. What does your dream life look like? Let’s work together to make this dream a reality for you now. Reach out to me today and get started making your dream life come true!