What a month we had in June 2020! We hope your summer is off to a good start as we have officially lost track of the number of weeks we’ve been in the pandemic. Wherever you are, we hope you are safe and supported right now. We’ve officially published our 80th episode and have big plans for the rest of 2020. Stay tuned for more great stories from Univisible Pod!
So, who did we speak to in June? We got to talk to CFP Annelise Bretthauer about her mission to integrate health and wellness into her clients’ finances, as well as planning for life’s twists and turns; Alicia (AP) Young about her many chronic and invisible illnesses, and teaching plus-size women of color how to advocate for their health; Keisha Greaves of Girls Chronically Rock about life with muscular dystrophy; and Sheryl Chan of A Chronic Voice about antiphospholipid syndrome, lupus, and mental health.
Take some time out of your day and connect with your Spoonie community by listening to this month’s episodes.
Annelise Bretthauer is a certified financial planner (CFP) professional living in Oregon. In 2017, Annelise was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. Faced with career overhaul and a choice between her passion and her health, she redesigned her life around her diagnosis to better serve both her body and her growing client list. With the launch of Rise Up Financial, she’s on a mission to integrate health and wellness into her clients’ finances, and believes that wellness should be a part of the planning process, whether you are facing chronic disease…or not. The unforeseen twists and turns life has handed her have given her an understanding of how to ride life’s rollercoaster securely and confidently, and have taught her to manage finances to nourish her life. Her advocacy work has been growing steadily, and as she continues to spread her wings…we welcome her to Uninvisible Pod!
Alicia Young (aka AP) is a writer, blogger and public speaker who lives her life out loud and unfiltered. She has built her platform to include in-depth, first-hand experiences of mental health, body diversity, being a special needs mom (one of her sons has Tourette’s syndrome, ADHD, and is on the autism spectrum), and navigating life with chronic illness and disability (including autoimmune disease and osteoarthritis). She has had harrowing birth experiences as a plus-size Black woman, and candidly shares her story — from multiple miscarriages to birth itself — here. Alicia has a vested interest in teaching plus-size women how to advocate for their health in the face of weight-discriminatory culture in healthcare (and beyond). As a fat woman living with a disability, she has been told she has to lose weight (via a gastric sleeve) before she will be given a much-needed hip replacement — and has been navigating the experience with grace, honesty, and total candor. AP also has a passion for fashion and beauty, specifically for women of extended sizes. Through her blog and social media platforms, she encourages and inspires women to shed stereotypes and step out of the boxes society has dictated for them — whether they exist in larger bodies, or not.
Keisha Greaves is the founder of fashion label Girls Chronically Rock, and is a motivational speaker and former Massachusetts State Ambassador for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA). Diagnosed as a graduate student with limb-girdle muscular dystrophy, she is now largely wheelchair-bound. As a patient advocate, she worked with Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker to have September 30th officially proclaimed as Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophy Awareness Day in the city of Cambridge, MA. Her passion is for adaptive fashion, and she works with Framingham State University students to teach the importance of access and practicality in their designs. She has been featured on numerous media outlets, including Good Morning America, the Today Show, ABC News, Thrive Global, and Politico. She is an active participant in many local fundraising events for the MDA and other organizations, frequently encouraging audiences to “Fill the Boot” to support research and awareness. She’s also a total inspiration, encouraging those of us living with chronic illnesses to embrace the change and move forward into our new lives with grace and enthusiasm.
Sheryl Chan is the writer behind A Chronic Voice, a blog that aims to articulate lifelong illnesses through various perspectives. She herself lives with multiple diagnoses, which include autoimmune disorder antiphospholipid syndrome, Sjögren’s syndrome, epilepsy, lupus (SLE) and more. Beginning with a mini-stroke at the age of 14, Sheryl’s experience was followed by multiple blood clots in the lungs and legs, a gore-tex band for a heart valve (she then developed PSVT — paroxysmal supra ventricular tachycardia — after this mitral valve repair in 2011), seizures, scars from various surgeries, and ongoing chronic pain associated with lupus. She’s been in and out of hospital rooms for so long that she knows what it’s like to face mortality and battle the mental health after-effects of such critical situations. One thing Sheryl truly works to destigmatize is mental health — from depression to anxiety and everything in between, she hopes that by sharing her experiences, she can share that it’s OK…to not be OK.