It’s a new year and we’re happy to get a fresh start with some very interesting guests in January. We got to hear a variety of viewpoints on topics such as endometriosis, medical bias, trigeminal neuralgia, and Lyme disease.
Who did we talk to in January? We talked to Lara Parker about the effects of endometriosis and chronic pain on her life and relationships; Samantha Denäe about education and women’s reproductive health; Emily Dwass about medical bias; Kelsey Darragh about living with chronic orofacial pain; and Brooke Geahan about BVT and her experience with Lyme disease.
Lara Parker is a writer who rose to popularity after publicly discussing her issues living with endometriosis and comorbid conditions, including vaginismus, vulvodynia, vulvar vestibulitis, PMDD, pelvic floor dysfunction, and interstitial cystitis, among others. Here’s the thing about Lara: she is as real as they come. She sees and acknowledges her privilege, she is unapologetically self-possessed, and she’s mad as hell (listen in to find out why). Her first book, Vagina Problems – a collection of essays that discusses the effects of endometriosis and chronic pain on her life and relationships – comes out October 6th, 2020.
Atlanta native Samantha Denäe is a former magazine writer and entertainment blogger-turned novelist, poet, and screenwriter. At the age of 24, she was diagnosed with endometriosis – and turned this devastating revelation into a gift, making it her mission to educate women around the world through partnerships with the Endometriosis Foundation of America and The ENPOWR Project’s Endo Edukit, among others. While holistic approaches have helped her begin to control her symptoms, she presents a unique take on the nature of women’s pain – and whether or not we were born to suffer.
Emily Dwass has written for numerous publications about food, health, and cultural issues (including the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, LA Weekly, Chicago Tribune, and USA Today). She has also written several feature scripts and been a writer on TV shows produced by Disney and Lifetime, among others. She holds a degree in creative writing from the University of Illinois, and a master’s degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. Several years ago, she struggled to receive effective medical treatment and was forced to have a craniotomy to remove a non-malignant brain tumor. This experience led her down the rabbit hole of adverse women’s health experiences – and she began research into the depth of medical bias, discovering how both medical research AND the health system are, in many ways, rigged against women’s better health. This served as the jumping-off-point for her groundbreaking book, Diagnosis Female: How Medical Bias Endangers Women’s Health. In this episode, she sat down with Lauren to discuss her personal journey and what she discovered.
Kelsey Darragh is a writer, comedienne, and former Buzzfeed producer. She currently hosts the podcast Confidently Insecure, and is a regular on Dating: No Filter, where she boldly shares some of her best and worst dating escapades (season 3 premieres Feb 4th on E!). You may also remember her from a series she did with former guest Lara Parker – Can We Cure – which took them both to a laser clinic in Florida to explore chronic pain management therapies. Kelsey may be funny as hell, but she also lives with one of the most painful chronic pain conditions we know: trigeminal neuralgia (as well as anesthesia dolorosa, a co-morbid condition that causes her to have constant facial pain). An outspoken LGBTQ+ and mental health advocate, she’s also been very open about her struggles with anxiety, and has partnered with organizations like NAMI to raise awareness.
When Lauren first sat down to chat with Brooke Geahan (also known as Everyday Expert, per her Instagram handle) she mentioned Brooke’s “9 lives” — it seems she has this many, as Brooke has come through skin and cervical cancer, Lyme disease and comorbid tick-borne illnesses, pernicious anemia, SIBO, chronic EBV, atrophic gastritis, and autoimmune issues (RA, Hashimoto’s, and Celiac, to name a few), among other conditions. For years, she tried every treatment available — or so she thought. In a moment of desperation, and partially because she was running out of money, she found a last resort that changed her life: apitherapy. After having seen over 50 doctors and spent over $150k — not to mention years of her life spent between physicians and clinics — she nearly died after contracting a rare infection brought on by her use of low-dose immunotherapy (LDI). A believer in Western medicine for saving her life, she also found relief in holistic treatments — but it wasn’t until she started stinging herself with bee venom that Brooke began to feel well again. A calling was born, and she launched The Heal Hive to educate and promote scientifically-proven therapies for wellness, with bee venom therapy (BVT) at the center.