Another great month in the books! October’s episodes covered a lot of ground. We talked with five amazing guests, each with extremely different stories regarding invisible illness.
We talked with Aditi Juneja about living with Epilepsy; Ilana Jacqueline on her career as an author and battling chronic illness; Clare Stafford on surviving breast cancer; Nitika Chopra on her struggles with psoriatic arthritis; and took a dive into Chris Armstrong’s research on ME/CFS.
A stand-out episode this month is Clare’s story about battling breast cancer. It happens that Clare is also one of my lifelong friends, so that made this episode extra-special for me, too. Clare shares some important lessons on trusting your intuition when things don’t feel right. She walks us through her history of adverse healthcare experiences, including how she navigated several setbacks that put her back in the hospital.
Relate to one of these stories and want to share your own? We’re ready to listen. Contact Univisible Pod and let’s connect you with our Uninvisible community.
Aditi Juneja is a lawyer, writer, and organizer living with epilepsy. She is the creator and host of Self Care Sundays, a podcast about self-care for communities of color. With past guest T. Sydney Bergeron Mikus, she is also the co-founder of the Invisible Illnesses Support Circle at The Wing in NYC. In this interview, we talk about what it has been like to manage her seizure disorder throughout her early life and career, and how we can make healthcare more accessible.
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. 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.
Clare Stafford is one of Lauren’s oldest friends. Hailing from Melbourne, Australia (by way of Irish-born parents), Clare has built a career as a social justice advocate and lawyer. In 2017, shortly after turning 33 years old and subsequently losing her mother to lung cancer, Clare herself was diagnosed with cancer in her left breast. She has now survived this cancer twice, and has been told by her Western medical team that a third occurrence and metastasis would mean she’d be treated as terminal.
Nitika Chopra is, in her own words, “a woman on a mission to inspire radical self-love.” Her goal is not only to show us how to fall in love with ourselves, but, like her, to “learn to thrive with a chronic illness.” If she’s one thing: she’s real. Nitika shares the raw pain she had to grow through in order to find that self-love she speaks so passionately about.
Chris Armstrong, PhD was first introduced to myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) through research into metabolomics at the University of Melbourne, Australia. As he delved deeper into his work, he discovered its connection to ME/CFS patients, and empathized so much with their plight – and the lack of resources, funding, and research available to both patients and clinicians – that he made it his mission to continue research in this field in the hope of finding a cure.