Hi everyone and welcome back to Chronic Coffee Chat. If you celebrate Easter, you know that today is Good Friday, so happy Good Friday to you! (If you don’t celebrate Good Friday, you probably know that today is a bank holiday.) I know that lots of you are probably spending time with family and friends, so thank you to those of you joining us today! Today we have a very special guest. Not only is Sarah Frison chronically ill, she’s actually a health coach. That means she’s dedicated to helping people like you and me live our best lives with chronic illnesses. How inspiring! Let’s let her introduce herself.
Hi Brittany (and everyone reading this!), thank you so much for having me. Such fun reading everyone’s stories. I’m Sarah, I’m a health coach and I trained as a pastry chef way back before becoming ill. I had to drop out after my health took a turn for the worse, though. I think if you made it to your front door home from school but can’t remember how you go there, it’s time to call it quits 😉 . At first, I was hopeful I would be able to return to graduate, I had just 3 months to go, such a shame. I never improved like the early doctors I saw hoped for. In the end, I was diagnosed with gastroparesis and dysautonomia. I get IV saline every week and that has made a huge difference for my health. You can find me at sarahfrison.com and I’m @sarahfrisonhc everywhere on social media.
Q: You’re a Certified Health Coach, and actually offer courses to help people with chronic illnesses improve their life! I could’ve used your course about going gluten free when I was first diagnosed with celiac. What inspired you to offer these courses?
A: I do, I love creating courses. It’s the easiest way for me to help others. At this point, I don’t have the energy to work with people one-on-one. I did enjoy working one-on-one during my training but, for me, it takes too much energy and requires a lot of planning and commitment on both my side and the clients’. I think courses are a better way for people to work on something new as well. They can sign up if the timing works out for them and follow along with the materials as we go (usually one new module or lesson a week) or dive in when they’re ready, even if the course has technically ended. If you’re in you’re in, with my courses. You can always go back and review the materials. One aspect I think is very valuable of a course is being able to talk with the other people in the group who are doing the same thing you are at that time and learn from the way they’re doing things. The ‘going gluten-free’ course, I decided to make because having to figure out how to eat gluten-free when you’ve got other chronic conditions, can be overwhelming and having a plan to follow can make it easier. It helps you can ask me for replacements to foods you’re eating as well 🙂 . It took me more than a year to replace the last thing I was eating that wasn’t gluten-free because I just couldn’t find something to replace it with! I’ve just wrapped up teaching my first cooking course, that was a lot of fun to do. It focused just on the holiday season but I am planning on doing more courses like this one on different topics soon. I think knowing how things work in the kitchen combined with my energy saving tips and learning how to prepare foods in advance etc can really help improve what we’re able to eat.
Q: You’re actually gluten intolerant. There’s a lot of misconceptions out there about what gluten is, and about gluten free diets. What would you say the most common question is that people ask you about being gluten free?
A: I think people think it’s a lot harder than it actually is, once you know what you’re able to eat and what you need to look out for, it’s not that difficult. It’s just the same as cooking with gluten, really. Sometimes, it’s even easier than cooking with gluten. People wonder whether there’s anything you’re still able to eat. For me it’s more limited because of my gastroparesis, low-fodmap diet and several intolerances/allergies, but otherwise, there are so many different options, it doesn’t limit at all.
Q: Like many people with chronic illness, you had to advocate for yourself in order to get your diagnoses. What do you think the hardest part of searching for a diagnosis is?
A: Actually finding one ;), no, I think it’s finding a way to get the tests done by the doctor you were assigned to. None of the medications I take or treatments and tests I’ve had (other than the meds from my naturopath) were suggested by my doctors, if I hadn’t seen an interview with someone with Gastroparesis on Dutch tv, I still wouldn’t have a diagnosis. After seeing that TV interview, me and my mom went to the doctor who was trying to diagnose me at the time and asked if, maybe, possibly, we could get a gastric emptying test (the golden standard for diagnosing gastroparesis) done. She agreed to do the test but didn’t think it would show us anything. I’m glad she was wrong!
Thanks again to Sarah for joining us this Friday. As always, check the #chroniccoffeechat hashtag for bonus info and special news. I track the hashtag, but you can also send me an email or leave a comment with questions, comments, or to be featured on Chronic Coffee Chat!
Have a happy Friday and a wonderful Easter!