Episode 43: Ilana Jacqueline

Ilana Jacqueline is a best-selling author, speaker, patient advocacy strategist, and professional patient advocate. While her background is in PR, her career as a patient advocate started with an early blog, Let’s Feel Better, in 2012, and gave birth to the book Surviving and Thriving with an Invisible Chronic Illness – which was Lauren’s playbook when she first got diagnosed (Ilana has a way of saying it like it is and managing to stay sane and amused that is right up Lauren’s alley). She has a longstanding relationship with Global Genes, where she served as the managing editor of The RARE Daily for five years. She was later appointed the Manager of Patient Advocacy at FDNA, where she developed the Genomics Collaborative program. Most recently, she has joined the boards of RUN (Rare and Undiagnosed Network), HAS (Health Advocacy Summit), and IDA (Invisible Disabilities Association), while also working at WEGO Health and continuing her regular column in IG Living. She has a long career of freelance writing, and has contributed to publications including The Huffington Post, Marie Claire, Everyday Health, Mashable, and The Miami Herald, among others. She speaks at medical, patient, and pharma conferences as well as consulting with companies on how the patient voice can improve the design of healthcare.

Key links mentioned in this episode:

Ilana Jacqueline

Ilana Jacqueline – Instagram

Ilana on YouTube

Let’s Feel Better

Surviving and Thriving with an Invisible Chronic Illness

Global Genes

The RARE Daily





WEGO Health

IG Living

Marco Polo – App

Lara Parker

Kelsey Darragh

Can We Cure on Hulu

Can We Cure on Amazon Prime

Uber Eats


Tune in as Ilana shares…

  • all about Surviving and Thriving with an Invisible Chronic Illness
  • about life with PIDD (Primary Immune Deficiency Disease)
  • that her family is more holistic when it comes to healing – but that holistic approaches haven’t been effective in managing all her symptoms
  • that she’s eager to try varied approaches to her healthcare
  • how difficult it was to be taken seriously by doctors
  • that she lives with constant gastrointestinal issues, nausea, etc.
  • what PIDD is: a lack of antibodies to prevent illness; and how to treat it: intravenous immunoglobulin therapy (IVIG)
  • that she is one of the very rare few living with PIDD who do not have a positive response to IVIG – so now, she treats infections as they come (high-dose/IV antibiotics, etc.)
  • that she has survived pneumonia, sepsis, and other serious conditions as a result of PIDD
  • that she is constantly proactive about her health, prevention, and care
  • how telecommuting has enabled her to have a career without endangering her body
  • the role that self-care and boundaries play in her life, both personally and professionally
  • confrontations with strangers – and the audacity of the uninformed
  • what it was like to have a visible element to her chronic illness (in the form of a central or PICC line)
  • the “rite of passage” of being judged for using the disabled spot in a parking lot – when you have a parking pass and live with disability, but look young and able
  • why she’s solution-focused and doesn’t wallow in sadness
  • her “curiosity cards” – business cards that called strangers out on staring, and provided answers through her blog
  • escaping uncomfortable situations without always engaging
  • why it’s not a disabled/chronically ill person’s responsibility to educate everyone – but why instructing the public on how to respond is useful
  • her co-morbidities, among them dysautonomia (the dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system) – and why hydration and fluids are so important to her health
  • how her mom has shown up as her advocate – and discovered her own diagnoses after Ilana did
  • how she’s learned to mitigate medical trauma
  • how her husband has taken on the role of advocate from the beginning of their relationship
  • what it’s like to be a patient advocate
  • her realizations about friendship with chronic illness – and that relationships are a two-way street
  • other chronic illness warriors she admires
  • how she was diagnosed with pelvic floor dysfunction
  • the thin line between empowerment and shame in the chronic illness world
  • the importance of finding a good therapist


This episode is also sponsored by Embr Labs, creators of the Embr Wave.

Get $30 off your personal thermostat device with code INVISIBLE at checkout!

Every purchase you make with the above codes supports Uninvisible Pod’s ongoing mission.


Ilana Jacqueline Uninvisible Pod

Transcript coming soon!

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