Cowgirl Kicks Cancer Twice

A few days ago, I had the privilege to interview the lovely & amazing Kayle Martin, founder of Cowgirls and Collard Greens. Kayle is a two-time cancer survivor and for those of you who don’t know it, I’ve made it my mission to share stories like Kayle’s on my blog. If you’re new to my blog, you might consider looking back through my archive for more stories like hers. Check out:  “Red Thread”, “Begin Again” and “Gout Begone”, just to name a few.  If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to get a breast cancer diagnosis, this story will give you a clear picture! Kayle is open, honest, humble, sincere, humorous, and truly inspirational! I’m humbled and honored to have made her acquaintance! After talking to Kayle, I truly felt inspired! I think you will too! Kayle generously let me borrow and use photographs from her Facebook page. So now, I invite you to make a cup of tea, sit back, relax and read Kayle’s transformative breast cancer journey!  
Kayle Martin

Kayle, give us a little bit of background information. You didn’t grow up vegetarian or vegan did you?

No, I didn’t but I went vegetarian in the sixth grade when my cow, from our farm, ended up on our plate for dinner one night. I was familiar from a pretty young age, when I made that connection. I actually read John Robbins, Diet for a New America when I was in high school. Now looking back I guess I was destined to be on this path. After first having breast cancer at the age of 30 and then again at 31, really sort of awakened me. I felt like cancer was sort of the catalyst to introduce me to veganism and just to take that next step. I actually went raw. I was a raw vegan. Not currently, but I was the whole time…after my diagnosis. I went vegan within two weeks. I took matters into my own hands and what was happening, I was living away from home. Had moved to Boulder, Colorado – having left Grass Valley, California. I moved out to Boulder, Colorado in search of a few things. One being, I was really interested in the natural and organic foods industry. That’s sort of the hub out there and so I packed up my life and left my job of six years, working for an environmental organization who actually puts on the largest environmental film festival in the country, which actually takes place in my little town. Kind of exciting! Wow! Yes, check it out, “The Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Festival”. I was second in command of that. I just felt like I wanted a change and I had always been drawn to Colorado, so I headed out there in 2007. I was just shy of my 30th birthday and I went out there and got a couple of jobs.

Boulder Ice CreamBoulder Ice Cream 

Remember, I wasn’t vegan at the time. I actually worked for an organic ice cream company, if you can believe that called “Boulder Ice Cream” and then I got a call one day, I got offered a job for a food broker and we had 20 – 30 products. I was in charge of meeting buyers, smoozing with them, trying to get them to bring in products so they could end up getting out on the grocery store shelves. It was really kind of an intense job that I didn’t enjoy at all. I expected it to be a very sort of friendly enviro crowd that I was used to from my home town, but it was very cut throat, which I didn’t like. Fast forward, I ended up loosing my job in early 2008 and I got a call one day that my grandma was really ill. Seeing that I was really close to them, they were living on a cattle ranch…again, another irony, in Eastern Oklahoma in the middle of nowhere.


Grandpa & KayleKayle & Grandpa

So I moved out there with the intention of taking care of my grandma and help my grandpa on the cattle ranch with physical labor and what not. Ended up getting a cancer diagnosis after finding a lump in my breast and getting that checked out while I was there, which was terrifying for anyone, of course. I was 2000 miles away from home, from my security of my friends and family. That was the most challenging moment of my life! 

Kayle in OklahomaKayle in Oklahoma

Where did you come up with the idea of going on a raw vegan diet after your diagnosis?

While I was in Oklahoma, I would say within a week, you have to picture this, I’m on a cattle ranch in the middle of nowhere, so literally, the only decent grocery store was maybe two hours away. They had a Whole Foods, which after seeing my doctor, sort of ended up being my treat to go do all my appointments and then go to Whole Foods afterwards. I ended up having alternative cancer videos sent to the house via Netflix and started watching them. The one thread that was the same within all the films that I watched was a plant-based diet! And so I did that immediately. I remember thinking, how can I ever do this and I love my cheese! I just quit cold turkey and went vegan. One of the films, “Crazy Sexy Cancer” by Kris Carr, I’m sure you’ve heard of her? Yes! I was completely taken aback by her. I have the outmost respect for her. She truly felt like a soul sister to me. I’m actually getting chills right now as I’m telling you this! She has been my inspiration through this journey. I watched her film one evening.

Kayle & KrisKayle meets Kris Carr

Kayle & Kris I

At the end of her film, Kris has a bunch of extras you can watch and one of them is an interview with her and a woman named Brenda Cobb. She is a raw foodist. Brenda had breast and cervical cancer at the same time in 1998, I’d say, and she learned about a raw foods diet and started eating that way, doing green smoothies. It had a lot to do with sprouting and cleansing the body. Wheat grass enemas and all that stuff. She was interviewed by Kris Carr in this film and she quote unquote cured herself. She was going in for regular scans and her doctors said, “I don’t know what you’re doing, but keep doing it because there’s no signs…your tumors are basically gone!” Brenda was influenced so much by that, so she eventually opened an institute in Atlanta, Georgia, where she’s from called “The Living Foods Institute”.

Living Foods Institure

I heard about it in that film and looked it up on the internet. I actually called some other doctors that were in some of the other alternative cancer videos that I was watching and I was getting calls back. It was kind of incredible because these people seemed to me like movie stars in a way. You have to understand, I’m only a couple of weeks into this, I’m totally devastated and I think that I’m going to die! That’s my mindset. So through this film and contacting Brenda, I was given some glimmer of hope. It seemed to make sense to me to go back to nature! This was in October of 2008. After talking to her, Brenda said, that she had an opening for her next class, starting in January of 2009. She told me how much it was going to be and it was a two week course, pretty intense, 12 hour days, there were 30 people in the class and she offered me a scholarship. First she told me it would be five thousand dollars, that didn’t include lodging or getting there. I just said, “I’ve just lost my job and that’s not a reality for me, I’m not sure how I’m going to be able to make that happen. She turned around and said, “Well, I have one scholarship left and I think it has your name on it!” So I got a partial scholarship and went for half price. I will really never forget that moment because it was such a turning point. I remember hanging up the phone and having this great sense of hope after weeks of seeing allopathic doctors and getting the same run around that anyone with cancer will get.


The doctors would say, “You need to have surgery and you need to have chemo and radiation and you’re so young. You really need to be aggressive with it!” Keeping in mind that my tumor was pretty large, it was the size of a pretty large grape, but it wasn’t stage four or anything like that, it was stage one or two. The next step for me, before I went to the course, I was still running back and forth to Tulsa to oncology appointments, but I did decide before I went to Atlanta to have the tumor surgically removed. I had a lumpectomy in 2008 and of course, the oncologist and everyone told me that I needed to follow that up with some kind of treatment. They told me they never just take a tumor out of someone, that it has to be paired with some sort of treatment. I had been immersing myself with all this other information. Naturopathic information. I have a naturopath that I still see to this day and she was living here in Grass Valley where I live and she’d send me information and we’d talk on the phone, plus sending me supplements. I was taking 30-40 supplements per day. I was really drawn to the natural path. I did go ahead and have the lumpectomy, but was feeling really unsure about it, if I was making the right decision to have the surgery or not.  The doctors want you to make a decision, have some kind of surgery or something, “like yesterday” so there’s this immense amount of pressure! Keep in mind it wasn’t California or the East or West Coast, I think they were confused as to why I was so young and they didn’t really want to hear anything I had to say about diet. I literally went to one of my appointments with a basket filled with all of my supplements. I told them, “I’m just going to take these. Look at all these yummy supplements.” I think it was the radiologist who just looked at me like I was completely nuts. Needless to say they will probably never forget me, this crazy girl who juiced greens and inserted things up her rear end!

Living Foods Institute IKayle & Courtney at the Living Foods Institute 

January rolled around and my mother had actually moved out to Oklahoma to take over grandparent duties and to be with me, cause it was a lot with three – four appointments per week, driving four hours back and forth. I was pretty emotionally exhausted and overwhelmed, especially living with my 80 something year old grandparents. Well, they had lived a long life. They had been married and had had kids. I’d never been married or had any kids. It’s an interesting path. So many things come up! If you fast forward to January of 2009, I made my way to Atlanta and the experience there changed my life! I’m not saying that it was the most amazing program. There were some really wonderful things. There were some that I didn’t care for so much, but it really sort of set the tone for what was to come ahead for me! I made some really incredible relationships there. There were thirty people in our class, some people were there simply because they were just interested in raw food, they didn’t have any kind of ailment or illness. There was a handful of us who had cancer or diabetes…or whatever it might be. I met a girl named Courtney Campbell and she was 26, newly married and her husband actually took off two weeks of work, they both did! She was a school teacher in Atlanta to attend the program. They ended up taking me into their house for the week because they didn’t want me to spend the money on a hotel. They were so wonderful and kind! 

Courtney & Kayle

Courtney & Kayle after a 12 hour day at the Institute

Courtney was diagnosed with non-hodgkin’s lymphoma. If you fast forward to her story, this is almost five years ago now, she actually has a blog called “Green Drink Diaries”. Although she didn’t become a vegan, she actually followed something Budwig protocol, which is cottage cheese and flaxseed oil. Definitely vegetarian. I would say a large part of it was raw vegetables mostly. She ended up curing herself! I talked to her a few weeks ago and she’s had two babies. She had cancer inside during her first pregnancy and she never had any traditional treatment. However, another woman, one of the most inspirational people I’ve ever met, passed away over a year ago from cancer. Inflammatory breast cancer. One of the most fascinating stories that I’ve ever heard about! Back to the Living Institute, I went to school there for twelve days for twelve hours per day. It wasn’t all about food. The program was designed so that we had three hours in the kitchen. Brenda Cobb’s program didn’t include anything that had to do with juicing. That ended up being the main thing that I did, if you fast forward to after my time in Atlanta. She was super big on raw food.

Green drink at barnGreen juice, anyone?

When you say green juice what do you mean? 

When I say green juice I really mean a green juice! No fruits. Only greens! After this experience in Atlanta, I went completely raw and juicing was my main staple one – three times per day. There was a time where I was really concerned about fruit. That was something that was brought up in school. People dealing with cancer have to watch their sugar intake, so I really limited fruit for a while. 

juicingKayle juicing fresh organic vegetables

Kayle, let’s talk about the cancer coming back a year later, despite all your efforts. That must have been a tremendous blow!

Yes, it was a day or two short of my “cancerversary”. I was 31 years old. You can imagine how devastating that was after a year of having gone through all of that to find that it had returned. I had returned to my grandparents ranch. I stayed there for another month and then I made my way home to California. I set up all my doctors here [in California]. I kind of want to say that there are some people in the world who get a life threatening illness and they are like, “Oh, I’m just going to drink green juice and nothing else and I’ll be fine. I didn’t want to be ignorant about it. I still wanted yearly MRI scans. I still wanted to make sure that it was gone and that I was on the right track. I had a whole team of doctors, plus I had a naturopath, a colon hydrotherapist that I would see twice a week for a year. I wasn’t working at the time, so I was dehydrating and chopping and blending. Vitamix entered my life. A dehydrator and a food processor. After going to school, I learned about all these recipes and I was never like a chef. I’m totally not. I was in a period in my life where I made food the most. Ended up being amazing tasty, yummy food! People were interested in it and I would take it to weddings and potlucks and parties. They were always a big hit! 

ShamanSeeing a shaman

Back home, I was going to weekly appointments to get my blood drawn, physical therapy appointments, hyperbaric oxygen chamber treatments. Cancer doesn’t thrive in oxygen. I saw a shamans. I saw psychics. I also had an acupuncturist, which was pretty brave for someone who has a needle phobia! A very severe one actually! That is brave of you! Basically, if it was out there, I was trying it. Within the raw vegan natural realm! So I was running around seven days a week to all of these appointments. Doing juicing. Doing enema at home. Wheat grass enema. All of these really interesting things. Some people thought I was crazy! Pretty crazy girl! [We laugh!] But the one thing that I will say, what I didn’t know till I got the second diagnosis is that I had cancer growing inside of me, is that people would stop me on the street and say, “You’re glowing! What are you doing?” And I’d say, “Well, I’m not pregnant. It is not a pregnancy glow! I drink green juice or kale for breakfast!” I dropped about 30 or 35 pounds, I dropped the weight pretty quickly before I even went raw, within the first couple of weeks. It just fell off!


Green juicing was definitely my staple! I looked great and I felt great! But then I went in for a breast MRI, here at the local hospital, and got some big news! They said that in the same area, where the lumpectomy had taken place, that the cancer was back or it wasn’t gone to begin with. As you can imagine that was quite devastating, to have done all of this work, to feel great, to have lost the weight, and to look great. I ate, slept and lived raw food! This was my thing! I traveled to Italy in 2009 for my girl-friends wedding at Lake Como and I ate raw vegan the entire time. No cheating! No cheese. No wine. No pasta. I have pictures of me eating cucumbers. I went at this like it was going to save my life! 

Kayle Speaking at WeddingKayle speaking at her friends wedding

Kayle on Lake ComoKayle on Lake Como, Italy – that’s George Clooney’s mansion behind her

When I say that I was raw, I was 100 percent raw! I didn’t want to mess around. We are not talking about 80/20  or 80-10-10. I wouldn’t eat it if it wasn’t raw! Because I believed! I had all these testimonials of people who had done this successfully and I really wanted to be one of those people! But for whatever reason that wasn’t my path, I took a different journey. After I was re-diagnosed, my oncologist and all of them knew what I was doing. They knew I was drinking my greens and seeing all these other doctors. What they ended up doing was taking my case before the tumor board here at the local hospital. I wanted a second and third opinion. They also took my case, the second diagnosis, and then to U.C. Davis. I also had a third opinion. What ended up happening was that both of the tumor boards, both here and at U.C. Davis basically said the same thing. “Look, you’re 31 years old and we don’t know why you have cancer once. We certainly don’t know why you’re having it twice. You’re doing all this work.” They were commending me, which was great, to have my doctors sort of get it with what I was trying to do. The exact opposite of my experience in Oklahoma. They said, “Look, you’ve had it twice now!” They ultimately gave the decision to me. I’m a firm believer in taking responsibility for your own health. Their advice was to have a mastectomy followed by chemo and radiation, which was really no surprise that they’d say that. I guess I really didn’t feel I needed to have a third opinion. They take the case before a board. Probably sounds something like this: “Thirty one year old female. A tumor this size. This type of cancer. Blah. Blah. Blah. It’s her second time around.” And everybody talk it over and then they come to a conclusion. Both of these hospitals were telling me, “We’re recommending traditional treatment.” I was hoping they’d just say, “You just need to have the tumor removed!” I was being very hopeful, but instead they said, “Kayle, we just really don’t want you to mess around!” The news was hard enough to hear as it was, but being who I am and taking matters into my own hands I really needed some time to just process what I was going to do. And of course they were ready to get ready and go in the very next day! This was in October of 2009 and I ended up making a decision in January of 2010, so to the doctors probably a really long time! I took some time to think about it! I ended up having a single sided unilateral mastectomy on the right side. 

KM with breastKayle with bust of breasts

I will say unwillingly. I went in to have the surgery that morning in January of 2010 crying while they’re marking me up, pre-surgery and all that. I just wasn’t certain that I was making the right decision! I was really really unsettled about it. Crying the whole way to the hospital and I think part of it is vanity. Here I was 31. Never been married. Never had any kids. Hoping that my breast would serve their purpose one day. Right! But a really crazy thing happened! I ended up having the surgery that day despite my reservations. I had done some serious work in the two and a half months prior to that in terms of letting go and forgiveness. Really trying to be at peace with it! Even though I went in that morning feeling really angry [Kayle laughs]. I woke up after the surgery and something really unexpected happened! Yes, I was in a ton of pain and on lots of drugs and all of that, but once I came out of that that evening a friend came to visit me and I remember feeling a sense like a weight had been lifted off me and I knew it was gone! Something inside of me told me that I had made the right decision and the cancer is gone! Whereas six to eight hours before that I was fighting tooth and nail, cussing at the doctors basically. It was really a turnaround! It was a beautiful thing! 

Cancer patientKayle going through cancer treatment

I don’t want to make it sound like it was all peachy. It sucked! It HURT!  

Did you decide to have reconstructive surgery done afterwards? 

Yes, because of my age…I really wanted to have reconstruction! It started that morning, so basically when they went in to remove the breast. There was a breast surgeon that did that part and then obviously while I was still under a plastic surgeon stepped in. He started the reconstructive process which is a very long process. A two and a half-year process! I ended up having a total of five surgeries on both breasts! I was actually very large chested. Obnoxiously so! I got my period when I was in the fourth grade. I was wearing a bra in the second grade. I was always made fun of in the fourth grade. The guys were calling me Dolly Parton, so I had this really interesting relationship with my breasts! I didn’t like them. I would hide them! I grew up riding horses and running. I would wear like three bras if I did anything that had to do with exercise or things like that. So there is a silver lining to this story [we both laugh] in terms of the breast part which comes later. Yes, so they started reconstructive surgery that morning. They removed the breast and they stuck something called an expander in. It’s sort of like an implant, but it is not filled up all the way. When I woke up I wasn’t totally flat on that side. They had put some fluid in there and then every three weeks I would go back to Sacramento to see the same plastic surgeon and he would put a magnet on my chest…it’s really kind of fascinating…and inside that expander, on the inside where the nipple would have been. It was obviously all gone. There was a magnet on the inside of the expander. The reason it is there is there’s a hole in the expander, not so fluid would leak out. They needed to find where that hole was because every three weeks I would have more fluid put in. Actually for being a “needle phobic” and someone who doesn’t like pain…or who is severely afraid of pain, that was a really scary process! Yes, no kidding! I would be terrified! This was of course after I had recovered from the mastectomy. Maybe a month or six weeks later! So they put the magnet on to find the hole. They didn’t want to “pop” the implant with the needle and they would fill it up slowly with so many cc’s of fluid. I started out really small. Each fill was really painful. When they remove your breast and they know they’re going to do reconstruction with an implant. They actually have to cut through your pec [toralis] muscle because when they put the implant in they need it to rest on something. It needs to act like a shelf to hold that implant in place. Ironically now I can flex that breast! I can’t flex my natural breast, of course. The pec muscle goes over the top of the implant. Therefore I can flex it!

MRI scannerGetting scanned

Fast forward, I go in and have the fills done and you basically tell the doctor I’m uncomfortable with this size and we discuss which size that I want. Keeping in mind that I have a natural breast on the opposite side that was untouched. It was pretty large in comparison. I went a year, a year and a half, looking very strange! Basically they got the expander to the size that I was comfortable and then they scheduled the next surgery to go in and put in an implant that size in its place! An implant is semi permanent. I recovered from that surgery and now I’m on the fourth surgery. I’m kind of skipping around. Somewhere with all of this happening I actually started chemo therapy!

Going through chemo therapyRound 2 of chemo sporting my new wig- me with nurse Kathy at Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital

Grass Valley, CA 4.23.10

Bald BeautyKayle – A True Bald beauty!

Here I was at the same crossroads but with a different perspective. Eating my raw foods. Feeling and looking great. I had just lost my right breast and now I’m having to decide on treatment. You’re talking to someone who doesn’t even take Advil. I don’t normally take any prescription drugs. I don’t take anything. I don’t smoke marijuana. I am pretty pure! So when they’re talking to me about chemotherapy it is pretty terrifying! Again, I’m talking to people. I’m watching more films. I’m getting advice from people who have been through it. My girl friend who has since passed away, who went through it, she said to me, “Kayle, it’s your second time. You just can’t mess around!” She was a total raw foodist. She actually had a very big influence on me. I decided that it was time to get the big guns out! 

Kayle & a sweet friendSUCH a lovely surprise to see the trained therapy dogs come in for a visit during my last chemo session. This was little Poodle Gigi who liked me rubbin’ her rump!

I decided to go ahead and have chemotherapy! In April of 2010, I had my first treatment and I cut off all my hair. Nothing really happened, but then ten days later my hair fell out. So I had this wonderful head shaving party! Just some of the things that happened to me along the way were just so beautiful! 

Hair IKayle before getting her hair cut

Hair II“Is this really happening?”

Hair IIICheck out my new shorter hair!


Some of the things that happened during this time were just so beautiful and amazing! For example, a bunch of girlfriends came over and we played the song, “I am not my hair” by India Arie. Just wept the whole time before having my head shaved. People stood up and read poems and said kind things about me. Just really supported me! I had three people shave their heads with me. Including a female friend. That was really amazing! 

Shaving a friends headThumbs up for amazing & supportive friends!

Shaving headGetting head shaved by another amazing friend who also shaved his head in support!

Bald with HennaLater…getting a henna decoration


I ended up only having four treatments of radiation, which was what they were recommending for me. Three weeks apart. The cool part of that story, there were a few bumps in the road along the way, but the amazing thing was that I never got sick from the chemo. I was out hiking. I was gardening. I was having garden parties. People were dropping off food. People were taking me to appointments. People were holding my hand. Spending the night with me. Doing all these amazing thing! That was just the most amazing gift of all. To see who shows up! Who is going to hold your hand. It was like a village of people. I have this AMAZING community here! To just get to know people who were acquaintances, but then they’d come over and spend the night with me to make sure I was okay. I am single, so even though my mom lives in town everyone has their life and their jobs. Everyone was sharing the responsibilities and helping me! There were just so many amazing gifts along the way! 

Hand holding in hospitalLovin’ my support of friends- me with Wendolina and Kathy the nurse

 Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital – Grass Valley, CA

Richard giving reflexologyRichard came and gave a foot rub in the hospital

Laughter in hospitalSpreading my wings and getting ready to fly!

Amazing NurseA heartfelt and happy goodbye! With Nurse Kathy

I haven’t said this yet, but I had a really amazing outlook on it all and it really came from my experience at the Living Foods Institute. I saw things differently. I ate differently! Everything you think is a choice. Everything you put in your mouth is a choice! And I totally rocked it! This is where the cowgirl comes in. I’m actually getting ready to write a blog in the next month about how I’m vegan and I ride horses. I know that I’m going to get some people who disagree with me about that. It is what it is! The part of being a cowgirl. I have these cowgirl boots come into my life that I wore to every single treatment. Every single MRI. Every blood draw. I couldn’t wear them in the operating room, but if I could have I would have! 

Butterfly BootsKayle’s famous butterfly cowgirl boots

Kayle wearing her kickin bootsWearing my kickers to represent kickin’ this dis-ease whilst on the throne o’ chemo.

They were actually just featured in a blog. There’s a whole story about how they came to me. If you go to the “Six Months to Live” blog. My friend Jackie is the author of this blog. Although, she’s never had just six months to live. She just thought it would be a really great experiment to live her life as if she only had six months to live! She has done some really incredible things and has had an amazing amazing life! It’s all about choices, right!? Right! Absolutely! You can hear a bit about my cowgirl boots story on her blog! 

Keep A Breast MagazineKayle was featured in “Keep A Breast”

Let me first go back a little. So, I had done all of this work. I had had my breast removed. Gone through chemo and radiation. This is where the cowgirl comes in. I would ride horses. I would put my cowgirl boots on. I had this “cowgirl attitude”, some would say, “Put your big girl panties on!” I would say, “I put my cowgirl boots on!” Sometimes against my will I went in and had the chemotherapy and it turned out that I did fine. I never got sick. I was hiking. Gardening. I was thriving! I remember one time I went to my oncologist and stuck my arm out and said, “Give it to me! I’m made for this stuff!” [Laughs!] Which of course I’m kidding.  I don’t want any kind of poison in me. I don’t even want to take an Advil! What I’m trying to say is that it was like the whole approach. I took this on like an experiment and with the attitude that I can do this! Cancer is my teacher. My guru. It is a visitor! It is  here to teach me something, but it is absolutely not here to stay! Wow, that is really profound! 

KM IKayle and a four-legged friend

I had gone through chemo therapy. Then I had about a ten-day break and then I ended up starting six weeks of radiation, five days a week. In between all of that I had all the surgeries. I’ve had four nipple tattoos…and I must say that I’m looking pretty good! [Laughing!] That’s really impressive! That’s the silver lining. I’m smaller now. Most importantly it’s been an incredible and amazing journey and I would never ever change it. It’s been such a blessing. You’re talking to someone who at 31 lost a breast and had five surgeries, nipple tattoos and reconstruction, lost all my hair, and I’m amazed that I went through all that and I’m still here! YEEHAW! [We laugh!] I want you to understand the attitude, the cowgirl attitude was a huge piece for me. One thing that I do want to mention about that time period – 2009 to 2010 – is that I was really living the life of my dream! It was the best year of my life! People were giving me free trips. Checks were showing up in the mail and I was traveling. I was doing raw foods. I was juicing. I met Kris Carr. It was the best year of my life. As you know, all of it has to do with having the right attitude! Yes, exactly! Choices and beliefs! I’m attempting to come full circle here! That sort of leads me into what I’m doing now! 

Yes, tell me a bit about the blog that you are writing, “Cowgirls and Collard Greens”. What are your thoughts behind it? What are you up to now?

The blog has only been launched six weeks now. I’m actually very new to the blogging world. I have a Facebook page as well, also called “Cowgirls and Collard Greens”.  I’m working  full-time. I own my house and have a pet sitting business, which I’ve always done on the side, in addition to the full-time work. I did that for about a year. Right now I’m house and pet sitting. I have this joke with my friends that I get to sleep in somebody else’s bed every night.  About a year and a half ago I took a full time job. I needed a steady income. All of the allopathic treatments that I received were covered under the State of California. Thankfully, I also happen to have a small percentage of Native American in me, so there’s a program and a clinic in my small home town where I receive basic medical care for free. Optometry, gynecology, and dental. But what got me into some financial woes were all the alternative treatments, so I basically had to go back to full time work, plus, which is what I’m doing now. I have two jobs, plus my new project, “Cowgirls and Collard Greens”, so it almost could be considered three jobs! I have such a crazy schedule! It’s a little bit too much. Stress can also contribute to illness, as you know! Unfortunately the holistic treatments, the ones that I went to, weren’t covered by insurance, so I’m now having to pay for it! It put me $35,000 in debt! That’s a lot of money, but you feel it’s been worth it, don’t you? Yes, absolutely, I wouldn’t change any of it! I have a new nice set of breasts [we laugh!] I’m joking, of course! I pinch myself every day that I’m still here!

hyperbaric oxygen chamberHyperbaric Oxygen Treatment

I did go through allopathic treatment. I can’t prove that it was drinking green juice or doing colonics twice a week or doing the hyperbaric oxygen chamber treatments, I can’t prove that, but what else what is. I had a kick ass attitude. I don’t know, but that’s really what I want to share with the world. That really amazing things can come from something horrible or what you perceive as horrible! I am forever changed and the people I have met along the way. I just wouldn’t really change any of it! That’s so inspiring, Kayle! I’m inspired by your story and your life spirit that is so incredible! You’ve gone through it twice! There are so many women, even young women, who are facing this here in the United States and abroad – I just know that your story will touch the life of someone out there who is facing breast cancer. It’s devastating to go through this. Your self-esteem gets hit, so it’s so inspiring! Thank you, it’s what keeps me going to hear people like you say that! I’m very humbled. I’m just a girl living her life! Just the fact that you’re doing that, with your attitude – despite all that you have gone through – that’s inspiring! It’s the small things in life…but you’ve done an incredible amount of work, obviously, to get where you are today! As my mother would have said, “Don’t put your light under a bushel…or whatever the saying goes.” 

KM speakingKayle inspiring others with her story

I do want to say that there’s a part of me that would like to see my name in light, but I do want to stay humbled! This is really where Cowgirls and Collard Greens. I want to do more public speaking. I have contacted a publisher in New York. I want to share this story with the world, that I’ve share here with you. You absolutely should! You must!  I’m also involved with a volunteer program at the hospital called Pure Navigator. It’s a support system for women who are newly diagnosed. The woman who runs the program is like my guardian angel! The woman she hooked me up with is my age and I feel like we’d be friends outside of “the cancer world”, so I have been assigned to her and she calls me with any questions or concerns that she might have as she is going through treatment. After this whole experience I just want to pay it forward! I want to help other women and that is where “Cowgirls and Collards” come in. If I can inspire someone to help them live a happier, healthier life that is my goal! I know that this journey is going to look differently for every person. Someone might go vegan. Someone might forgive someone. Someone might decide to put more vegetables on their plate. 

You can Heal Your Life“You can Heal Your Life Conference”

In January, I saw Kris Carr speak in Las Vegas with Wayne Dyer. I was a bit in the dumps, feeling really down. And that day things started happening. It was like the Universe aligned! The vegan cowgirl in me came back and she’s ready to see what this amazing world has to offer! YEEHAW!

Kayle, I’m so excited for you! I can’t wait to see what the next few years brings you! I know it will be amazing! Like I told you, I feel it in my bones! Thank you so much for sharing your incredible and inspiring journey with us! To follow Kayle, check out her blog “Cowgirls and Collard Greens” by clicking on the link below:


About urbanveganchic

I'm an urban chic woman, who is passionate about educating others about the benefits of a whole foods, plant-based vegan diet, cancer prevention & survival, as well as art & life. I love adventures and travel. As an artist and a teacher, I care deeply about healthy living, being a conscious steward of our planet, and being kind & respectful towards animals. Learning about a vegan plant-based diet has been like discovering a new country and falling in love with it, so if I sound like I'm enamored you now know why! As a world traveler, I truly wish I had discovered this beautiful new country twenty years ago! Better late than never, as they say, cause there's no going back now! Born and raised in Scandinavia. Proud owner of a tripod cat & a foxy little pup. Speak four languages...some better than others. Working on the fifth one. We are all either part of the problem or the solution! Health & Happiness to you! ~UrbanVeganChic

5 responses »

  1. Pingback: We All Have Cancer! | urbanveganchic

  2. Pingback: Two Years of Plant-based Interviews | urbanveganchic

  3. Your stories are isnipring. To have people my own age going through this too. I have a friend that is going though some major problems due to the radiation the is my age and its terrible. I also have become friends with an 8 year old that is just and amazing inspiration to me. I was diagnosed in 09 with breast cancer. Not is has spread to the Brain liver and bones. The good news it my Pet scans show nothing in the liver now and just a couple of smaller spots in the the bone left but I am going to little rock tomorrow because I am going to find out if I’m going to be facing surgery for the brain Tumors! I just want to thank you all for sharing your stories.!!

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