Naomi Judd has lived a successful life comprised of several careers, singing and songwriting making her name synonymous with fame.
Originally a single mom from a small-town in Kentucky, she went on to become a nurse at intensive care units in Nashville, Tennessee where it was routine to be stuck with needles or get bodily fluids on herself.
In 1984, Naomi made a decision to leave the medical field and enter the more glittery and glamorous world of entertainment. She looked good and felt even better as she performed alongside her daughter and singing partner Wynonna Judd. Together they went on several tours and sang at the Super Bowl halftime, the London Palladium, Madison Square Garden and even Carnegie Hall. They sold 20 million records, made 15 #1 hits and received more than 60 awards including six Grammys and seven CMA Vocal Group of the Year trophies. They were unstoppable for five years until 1989, when Naomi started losing her energy at a drastic rate.
Naomi’s symptoms came in the form of exhaustion, headaches, nausea and muscle aches. She decided to visit one of the doctors she had known from years past and after an analysis was told that her ALT/AST liver enzymes were a little elevated. The doctor made nothing serious of it, as he believed that her strenuous lifestyle was most likely the cause. But knowing herself and her body very well, Naomi knew something was off. It was then that the head of her record label made an appointment for her at the Mayo Clinic where it was concluded that she had contracted Hepatitis C, most possibly from an infected needle while working as a nurse. She was given three years to live and was forced to say goodbye to her fans.
Initial treatment consisted of Interferon injections three times a week. Doctors advised the treatment would slow down the mutation and replication of hepatitis C but not cure it. The side effects were off-putting and comparable to a having a severe flu. There were times Naomi was so weak she couldn’t even get out of bed or change her clothes. With unwavering determination she continued treatment even when the hepatits C seemed to outwit the Interferon. Within a matter of time a newer version of the medication was released, and in 1995 Naomi received the call she had been waiting for and was told she was completely cured.
The experience changed her life and led her to become an advocate of health and wellness as a form of self-empowerment. In 2004 she published a New York Times bestseller “20 Choices to Transform Your Life,” and in 2008, “Naomi’s Guide to Aging Gratefully: Facts, Myths, and Good News for Boomers.” She has also had her own docu-series on OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network, and her own radio show “Think Twice” on SiriusXM radio series.