Archive for ‘spotlight’

January 14th, 2011

Interviewing Health Activists: Katie Schwartz, Founder of Dear Thyroid™ Part 2

by Amanda

Here is Part Two of my interview with Katie Schwartz, founder of Dear Thyroid. (Click here to read Part One)

Amanda: Dear Thyroid is a different kind of health community and it says so right in the first line of the About page. What made you decide to bring your crusade online?
Katie Schwartz: Being a writer, I have an ongoing love affair with words. I believe that each person (when they are ready) must …Read More

January 14th, 2011

Interviewing Health Activists: Katie Schwartz, Founder of Dear Thyroid™ Part 1

by Amanda

In honor of January’s Thyroid Awareness Month, I had the awesome opportunity to interview Katie Schwartz, Health Activist mastermind behind the community Dear Thyroid™. Like her community, Katie is fiercely dedicated to being honest and real about life and thyroid conditions. Her responses to my questions are saturated with rich, fun language, likely due to her background as a comedy writer …Read More

December 16th, 2010

Interviewing Health Activists: Cherise, Founder of Diabetes Social Media Advocacy Chat (#DSMA)

by Amanda

If you check your Twitter stream as much as I do, you’ve probably seen a flurry of tweets every Wednesday evening marked with with the hashtag #dsma. If so, you’ve stumbled upon (or perhaps even participated in) the Diabetes Social Media Advocacy Chat! This week, WEGO Health had the opportunity to speak with its creator, Diabetes Health Activist …Read More

July 13th, 2009

Spotlight: Endochick

by admin

Spotlight: Endochick
Website: Endometriosis: The Silent Life Sentence

Twitter: @Endochick
Blogging since
: March 2007
: Freelance Writer, Freelance Correspondent for a local paper, an Aspiring Novelist, and a Part-Time Head Teacher at a Day Care. Above all, I’m also a mommy to two wonderful little kiddies

What made me start blogging?
I began blogging mainly as a cathartic exercise. I had no one in my community to talk to who had endometriosis and who could identify with what I was going through—and I needed an outlet to “unload.” My mother had had endometriosis, but her hysterectomy at 28 left her disconnected and unable to help me. My husband had been through so much with me health-wise and I didn’t want to drag him through yet another emotional medical journey.

So as a writer and someone who enjoys journaling to work through her troubles, I opened a blog. I began cataloging my experience of being diagnosed with endometriosis as well as a very frightening mammogram. Eventually, I moved my blog over to and began getting a plethora of responses from women just like me. These women were my age, younger, even older! I couldn’t believe it–I wasn’t alone! They were thanking me for being so honest and raw with my language and for really capturing what it feels like to have endometriosis. And I realized my blogging wasn’t just for me anymore, it was for all of us “endo” girls. My blogging became a mission to help spread endometriosis awareness and education, as well as still being an open book into my life as an endometriosis patient. I do this with the hope that other women who have the disease, or suspect they may have it, will not have to feel alone as I once felt.

What motivates you in your writing?
My pain motivates me. It reminds me that life is short and that no amount of pain is going to stop me from living every last minute of it. I often write through the pain.
My readers also motivate me. Without them I would be writing into an empty void with no one to bounce my ideas off of. Their comments are often inspirational and I enjoy them so much!

Who do you admire in the Endometriosis community?
I really admire Jeanne from +/2+/ (formerly Jeanne’s Endo Blog). She’s an inspiration for women with endometriosis and other chronic illnesses. During the month of March (Endometriosis Awareness Month), Jeanne created the hash tag #endo for Twitter and had it placed in the Twitter Hash Tag dictionary. It’s use in now widespread on the social networking platform. Also during this month, I instituted the phrase for use on endometriosis blogs and Twitter: “March Blogging Madness for Endometriosis Awareness.” And Jeanne was instrumental in helping to circulate this catchphrase. Jeanne is always willing to come to the aid of a friend, endometriosis sufferer or not.

What are the most common questions people ask you – and what do you tell them?
I get asked about my experience a lot and I often tell them my personal account—how I was diagnosed, etc. But I reiterate to each individual that the time it takes to be diagnosed is different for everyone. The only way for endometriosis to be diagnosed definitively is by laparoscopy. This diagnosis takes, on average, 9.9 years. During this time, doctors may “suspect” that you have it, which was my case for years. They can “suspect” and treat you to an extent all they want. But to be diagnosed one way or the other is important.

I’m also asked how I deal with co-workers, family, friends, and people who just don’t understand the pain I’m going through with my endometriosis. This is a difficult thing to deal with—people who don’t “get it.” It would be easier if we had broken bones, or even cancer. People could see our casts or our hair falling out from the chemo—and they would sympathize with our pain. But when the pain is so internal, so deeply hidden in our wombs with no external reference point for others to identify with, it makes it almost impossible for them to understand.

My answer is—you can’t make them understand. They will never understand because they can never walk in our shoes. But take two people with endometriosis—they can look at each other and they just know. They know each other’s pain and they don’t even have to describe it. They know the cramps, the bleeding, the cysts, the adhesions, and the endless pain. They just know. And, while you can’t make other people “understand,” you can educate them.

The more people we educate about endometriosis—in the work place or in the world—the more we will be taken seriously by our co-workers and loved ones. Endometriosis isn’t simply a “bad period,” as non-sufferers believe. And we need to get that word out. We need to band together, with those who understand our pain, to get that accomplished. We are not a minority; after all, according to the Ohio State University Medical Center, endometriosis is more common than both AIDS and cancer. That makes endometriosis patients a majority, a strong majority of 89 million women worldwide. When we combine, we can get our voices heard.

What would you most want to say about your condition to someone who doesn’t have it?
We are not drug-seekers—we are actually in pain. We are not lazy—we are prone to sitting on the couch in a puddle of tears because our insides are bleeding. We don’t need your pity—we need your honest, compassionate support. We don’t need or expect that you will understand what we are going through. We need you to understand that you never will. We just need you to acknowledge that the pain isn’t a specter, an imagined thing come to haunt us, or something we created in our minds. We need you to acknowledge that we are not “making the pain up,” not receding into tiny balls of tortured women every month in a desperate cry for attention. We just need you to acknowledge that our pain is real—even if you can’t feel it or see it.

What is your favorite health-related resource?That’s a tough one! I have so many health-related sources I use. I would point readers to …Read More

March 11th, 2009

Spotlight: Andréa Albright

by admin

Spotlight: Andréa Albright
Blog: +/1+/
Newsletter: +/2+/
Blogging since: February 2007
Work: I’m an Author, Yoga Instructor, Meditation Guide, Healthy Weight Loss Coach and former “chubby girl”
Favorite vacation spot: Thailand – Love the fresh fruits and vegetables, the crystal-clear beaches, and the people that smile like the sunshine.

Favorite food
: Raspberries – they’re full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and they burst and bubble in your mouth like champagne.

For full interview
Learn more about +/4+/

What led you down this career/career-path?

When I used to be fat, I tried all the famous diets to lose weight but nothing worked. Then I accidentally discovered a simple system that made the fat melt off my body. I wrote a book and started to put the idea out there because I wanted to help other people who were struggling to lose weight. Now this simple system has worked for thousands of other people too.

What was your motivation for getting involved in the health community?
There is a lot of bad, false information out there about weight loss. Once I discovered how to lose weight naturally and permanently, I wanted to share it with people confused about healthy weight loss and show them how to do it step by step.

What are some of your favorite treatment/weight loss methods?
First is “Count Chemicals Not Calories” – I call this my 3C Rule and it is one of the easiest and best things you can do to lose weight naturally. As it turns out, counting calories doesn’t work, but counting chemicals does. They put chemicals in food to keep it from spoiling and to make it taste better – but these chemicals destroy your health and your waistline and cause out-of-control cravings that make you eat way more food. This makes it impossible to lose weight. So Count Chemicals Not Calories. Read the ingredient label on everything you eat. If there are chemicals in it, don’t eat it.

Second, “Throw Away Your Scale” – The scale is the worst way to judge your health or weight loss progress (everyone uses the words “weight loss” but what you want is fat loss). As you get healthy by exercising and eating healthy foods without chemicals – you are going to be building muscle and bone density (your bones will get thicker and stronger – that’s a good thing!). You may gain weight because muscle and bone weigh more than fat cells. But your body will be getting smaller and tighter all over (that’s what you want!). If you throw your scale away, you will not be fooled by numbers. You will focus on more consistent and more reliable methods to judge your progress.

Lastly, “Tune In To Your Spirit To Stay Inspired” – When people tell me they need more motivation to lose weight, I say, “What you really need is inspiration”. The word inspiration literally means, “to bring in the spirit” in Latin. By connecting to your spirit (or your greatest meaning and purpose for living), you will have an endless supply of motivation to continue because it will be connected to the greatest power you have available to you.

What inspires you?
My personal mission – to change the way women lose weight. So many women struggle and suffer because they hate their body and the way it looks. They are living in a prison inside their own body. I want to help them break free. Every woman who wants to get healthy and live a life without extra body fat can do it. I’ve seen it happen to so many different people all around the world. I know this system works and it’s so very simple. I just love teaching it and spreading the message.

What have been the benefits of using the web in this way?
You have the ability to connect with millions of people around the world and get immediate feedback on your writing, videos, blog posts, etc. You can truly listen to your audience because you are in a “real time” dialogue with what your audience wants, and you can give them exactly what they need to succeed every day.

For …Read More

March 4th, 2009

Podcast with Leslea Harmon

by admin

I recently spoke with Leslea Harmon, founder of Allergy Ware and all around allergy guru about how it all started. In this clip, Leslea shares tips for new food allergy parents, talks about the benefits of using the web and how she balances it all.

This is the first installment of the WEGO Health podcast, so give it a listen and let us know what you think!  Details about subscribing to our podcast through iTunes are coming soon.

Learn more about +/1+/.
Is there someone you’d like us to interview, or someone you’d like to interview for WEGO Health’s new podcast? Email us at +/2+/ to get started!Many thanks to Vanessa Rhinesmith and Colin Rhinesmith for podcast production. Music by DJ Cary and available at Magnatune.This …Read More

February 24th, 2009

Contest Winners!

by admin

We’d like to announce the winners of our book giveaway! Amazing Health Activists: Patricia F. Anderson, Connie, Stacy, wholemom, and Jasmine! These exciting Health Activists, in addition to joining the WEGO Health community, have won a copy of How Doctors Think by Jerome Groopman. Congratulations! We look forward to learning from each of …Read More