Uninvisible Pod

Uninvisible Pod

An award-winning health podcast about invisible & chronic illness & disability.

Latest From Series

135: Defining Heroism: A 9/11 First Responder’s Story

* * * TW / CW : mortality, and graphic discussion of the events during and in the aftermath of 9/11, 2001 * * * Twenty years after 9/11, some first responders are still struggling with long-term health complications brought on by the historic event. For Tom Frey, a former NYC detective, the consequences started with a diagnosis of Hodgkin’s lymphoma — the treatment for which then caused pulmonary fibrosis (PF) — a life-threatening, incurable lung disease. His illness can be linked back to inhaled dust from his rescue and recovery efforts at Ground Zero. Tom’s not alone. Officials worry that deaths of 9/11 first responders due to illnesses caused by exposures at Ground Zero will soon outnumber deaths of those who lost their lives that day. Despite Tom’s terminal health struggles, he works hard to drive awareness, research, and funds for a cure for pulmonary fibrosis – especially during Pulmonary Fibrosis Awareness Month, which happens to be in September. A true hero, Tom will tell you he would do it all over again tomorrow, even as he struggles daily to breathe and relies on oxygen. Tune in as Tom shares: how he was first diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2016 — as a result of inhaling toxic dust during and in the aftermath of 9/11 how one of his chemo drugs caused his pulmonary fibrosis diagnosis that the only cure for PF is a lung transplant — and his has been on hold because of COVID how the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation has changed his life the trauma of working in rescue and recovery after a disaster like 9/11, and the importance of talking about it how waiting to die — and not dying — forced him to live again…and why he hasn’t stopped moving since who his heroes are: nurses and doctors that while the average life expectancy for pulmonary fibrosis diagnosis is 2-5 years, with the right support it can be extended the difficulties he’s had dealing with the United Healthcare World Trade Center Fund to cover his life-saving treatments his plea that we take sensible precautions against COVID — like wearing masks a look back at what it was like on the ground on 9/11, and in the days following the attacks a reminder of all the individuals who were on the ground on 9/11, and whose lives and health have been impacted as a direct result
September 15, 2021

134: Sara Naveed is Fabulous & Fatigued

Sara Naveed is a Canadian writer, chronic illness advocate, and founder of the blog Fabulous and Fatigued. 14 years ago, she was diagnosed with fibromyalgia following a hit-and-run. Inspired by her experience, she started the blog with the aim of creating awareness and ending the stigma of life with chronic illnesses. Her work has been published in various media outlets and platforms including Yahoo, MSN, The Mighty, The Tired Girl Society and DPC Education Center. Tune in as Sara shares: details of the hit-and-run that eventually triggered her diagnosis what the diagnosis and acceptance processes were like for her, as a teenager how chronic pain has changed her life how fibromyalgia manifests in the body how discovering accessibility services supported her in college that taking holistic approaches to her symptom management has been very supportive for her where she has encountered “toxic positivity” in the reactions of family and friends how her diagnosis has impacted her relationships how she has worked on her mindset to cultivate balance in her life her experiences of acceptance and bias within the medical system, as a Muslim woman of South Asian heritage why she uses CBD to manage symptoms from insomnia and anxiety to chronic pain how the immigrant experience — from a language perspective — impacts healthcare access how the Canadian healthcare system needs improvement in order to better serve patients a reflection on her early experience of chronic illness, and how it inspires her current work the importance of community in ongoing healing and acceptance
September 1, 2021

133: This Thing They Call Recovery’s Jenny McGibbon on The Nuanced Experience of Living with a Disability

Jenny McGibbon is a disabled graphic designer from Scotland, predominantly living with ME/CFS. She was born with a birth defect known as gastroschisis, and as a result she also lives with short bowel syndrome, chronic internal bleeding, and iron deficiency anemia. At the age of 16, she found herself in and out of hospital almost weekly — something that would continue on for some years. She couldn't relate to her peers anymore, and felt alienated in the new medical space she suddenly found herself occupying. Often the youngest person in the waiting room (by several decades), it became abundantly clear that none of the marketing, pamphlets, posters, or websites she was directed to were aimed at her demographic — or acknowledging her unique experience. So she took to the Internet to share her story — This Thing They Call Recovery. With a blog read in over 90 different countries, translated into over 50 languages, and a social media following of over 25k, Jenny is trying to get the word out: chronic illness can look like anything, happen to anyone, and everyone deserves to feel supported. Now in her mid-20s, Jenny is determined to help make sure no young person feels like they're dealing with health issues alone, and is committed to challenging the public perceptions of disability, sparking complex conversations and uniting Spoonies and their loved ones together. As a graphic designer, she uses a mix of visuals and copy to translate how life with illness feels, particularly when one is young. As she says: “I think there needs to be much more information out there about health — and ill health — presented in a friendly and approachable manner. Chronic illness affects your life as much as your body, and I think it's time more people knew about it.” Tune in as Jenny shares: how her chronic illness journey began in childhood, with gastroschisis and bowel surgeries that from the ages of two to 16 she was largely well, but that at 16 flares surfaced again through chronic bleeding in her intestines — which also caused iron deficiency anemia that she was eventually diagnosed with ME/CFS, but had to deal with a lot of pushback from the medical establishment how she got an ME/CFS diagnosis the symptoms that impact her most acutely — pain and fatigue a discussion of the social complexities of living with disability — from gratitude and “cures” to comfort zones, accommodations, accessibility, pride, and “passing” why she owes her life to the NHS how and why she started This Thing They Call Recovery what disabled identity means to her what the community she’s cultivated means to her why there doesn’t always have to be a lesson or a silver lining in the disability experience — sometimes it just is what it is
August 18, 2021

132: Lupus Advocate Cass Rush

Cassandra Rush is a lupus advocate born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. In 2012, after a two-year battle with an undiagnosed illness due to being uninsured, she was finally diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (lupus SLE). Two years later she was diagnosed with lupus nephritis. An “accidental advocate”, she speaks out about the broken US healthcare system, with a particularly detailed lens on medical racism and systemic bias. She was recently selected as a subject in the documentary series Trust Me, I’m Sick (now streaming on SoulPancake), wherein she shares about her life with lupus. And she’s on the pod to tell us even more. Tune in as Cass shares: how she was gaslit at the early onset of her illness that she was 22 when she first got sick that her diagnosis has brought her to the brink of her own mortality how her battles with health insurance have caused emotional distress over ongoing debt how her diagnosis brought her closer with her mom how her diagnosis has affected her mental health how the COVID pandemic has played into systemic ableism how her diagnosis has affected her plans for the future the irony that accommodations have readily been made available in the workplace because of the pandemic, but that the disabled community has been requesting them for decades access issues in healthcare, from financial obligation to racism
August 4, 2021

131: Faith Ashenden of That Healing Feeling

Faith Ashenden is the founder and CEO of That Healing Feeling. She is a global patient empowerment mentor, master mindset coach, and biohacking expert who helps women hack the system and get their health back holistically, using 1-1 coaching, online courses, a podcast, and social media accounts with over 40k+ followers. Faith empowers people to ask the right questions, bust through limiting beliefs, detox their environments and bodies, and start using food as medicine. She’s also overcome Graves’ disease and Adderall addiction…and she’s on the show to share her story! Tune in as Faith shares: that she underwent radioactive iodine treatment for Graves’ disease that she has also healed her gut from Candida and SIBO, and her immune system from EBV — all through holistic methods how she developed Adderall addiction, and kicked the habit why her Graves’ disease was so difficult to diagnose how she’s detoxed her day-to-day and reorganized her life with her wellness as a priority why the root-cause approach to healing is so important to her — and why it can be financially inaccessible to many some suggestions to switch-and-ditch and reduce daily toxin exposures in your home and life
July 21, 2021

130: Actor & MS Advocate Damian Washington

Damian Washington is an actor who’s done 30+ commercials for brands like Fruit of the Loom,, and the NFL. Originally hailing from NYC, he attended the prestigious LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts (Fame, anyone?!). A few years ago, he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS)…and soon discovered that developing an MS community is the best way to share his light with the world. Damian’s weekly YouTube channel has several thousand engaged subscribers; he sits on Genentech's Patient Advisory Board and the MS Focus Patient Advisory Group; and he makes content for MS Views & News. He’s also been featured by the National MS Society and Shift.MS. Damian was the winner of the WEGO Health Award for Best in Show: YouTube in 2020. Some say they find the silver lining in the dark MS cloud, but Damian says he’s turning poop into flowers…and that the engaged community that's developed out of his shares is one of the best things to come from this horrible disease. Tune in as Damian shares: that his wife was the first to note a dip in his energy — which led to his MS diagnosis, about three months later why his diagnosis was both a validation and a relief why he’s open to multiple approaches to his health why meditation has been a useful tool for him — and how he learned to meditate with a friend when he first moved to LA how his identity forces him to navigate prejudice, and potentially triggering situations how sharing his MS journey launched his YouTube channel into visibility his lessons for others living through similar experiences
July 7, 2021

Uninvisible Pod

Uninvisible Pod is a podcast about invisible conditions and chronic invisible illness, featuring interviews with survivors, their loved ones, advocates, and experts in varied healing modalities, from medical to holistic. Hosted by Lauren Freedman, a voice actor, writer, and activist, who lives with depression, anxiety, Hashimoto’s disease, and sleep disorders, Uninvisible uncovers real stories of survival and humanity – complete with laughter. In truth and with candor, we offer solutions – and challenge the world to change.
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Lauren Freedman

Lauren Freedman

Lauren Freedman is a voice actor, writer, and activist who lives in Los Angeles. Originally from NYC, she has lived with depression and anxiety since she was a teen, and was first diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease and sleep disorders in 2017. This sparked her interest in the invisible illness community and her fellow “Spoonies”, with whom she wishes to commune and share information, inspiration, and comfort while advocating for greater awareness. Lauren graduated from London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art with a BA (Hons) in Acting in 2008. She’s a longtime student of the School of Hard Knocks and What’s-A-Matta-U. Fall down seven times, stand up eight.

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