About Our Guest
Are you the type of person who struggles to find the positive in negative situations? If so, this podcast is for you! This week on Chasing Happiness Podcast, our special guest is Leann Stickel. Her superpower is being genetically optimistic. She was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2009 at 29, but she believes finding the positive in negative situations is a skill that can be learned and perfected.
You won’t miss this episode of Chasing Happiness as we discuss her battle with MS and how she learned to stay positive in facing adversity.
All while competing and finishing four triathlons after being diagnosed with MS!
How to Stay Positive in the Face of Long-Term Adversity with Leann Stickel
[00:00:00] Ryan: Hey guys, Ryan DeMent from Chasing Happiness Podcast. I hope you guys are having a wonderful day. This week. We have a very special guest. She was very nice to come on the show last minute, because we had another cancellation, but guess what? We’re fighters. And we get through it. Leann Sticket now check out this naming or who she is, because this will tell you a lot about her chief optimist coaching, chronic illness, warriors.
[00:00:29] Ryan: Let that sink in just a little bit. I like that it has a great calling, but it also tells you something about her lean welcome into the show. Wow.
[00:00:38] Leann: Thank you, Ryan. That was a very generous introduction.
[00:00:42] Ryan: you’re more than welcome. Thank you for being on the show last minute. You saved my as they say took us it it’s an honor and we had a great pre-call and I immediately connected with you and you have a story.
[00:00:55] Ryan: That I really feel can benefit a lot of other individuals that potentially could be in the same situation or they’re going through something else. So let’s get into it. Tell the listeners a little about who you are and then we’ll get into your journey.
[00:01:09] Leann: Okay. Yeah. Wow. So mom of four teenagers and a wife to Don of 23 years, I have been fortunate enough to be able to stay at home with my ghettos for the last 19 years.
[00:01:22] Leann: And so really that feels like that’s who I am. I’ve been living my dream for sure. And. It’s amazing. And yet, and as we’ll talk about my journey, it was going through a diagnosis, having a curve ball happen in your life that kind of opened your eyes to maybe what strengths that you have that you could use to help others, or how do you deal with the curve balls in life.
[00:01:47] Leann: And it’s been going through that experience that I really leaned into where I’m showing up. Now I’m coaching speaking right here with
[00:01:56] Ryan: you. Yeah, coaching, speaking, everything else. So before we get into that I don’t, you tell me how much you wanna share about what you have going on, but just understand, let people understand where you’re at or where you came from, where you’re at.
[00:02:09] Ryan: And then we’ll talk about your future journey of what you’re doing that speaking and coaching.
[00:02:14] Leann: Yeah, for sure. So we’ve gotta go back to 2009 and those four teenagers were six and under, and it was busy. I used to say, I take calls in the order they’re received. There’s only so many things I can do at one time.
[00:02:28] Leann: And it was a beautiful chaos. And so you can understand why. I missed some of the early signs of something going wrong with me. Like you’re so distracted in that season, you’re busy filling up sippy cups, buckling people into car seats. It just was nonstop and fatigue as a symptom. Every mother claims they’re exhausted, right?
[00:02:48] Leann: Like you’ve never met a mom that isn’t wearing the badge of honor of exhaustion and how tired she is. And so I really dismissed and, I love that you shared my self given title as chief optimist, but when you are an optimist, sometimes your rose colored glasses are so darkly tinted. You don’t see some of the things happening with you or around you or to you.
[00:03:12] Leann: And it sounds lovely, but you can miss things. And so in 2009, I, the numbness and tingling was not going away. It was on my left side and I had fallen twice. And what’s interesting is that I still wanted to explain it away. Our mind is so good at oh no, I’m okay. Like I fell because I had a toddler in sleeping by me.
[00:03:36] Leann: I probably have a pinch nerve that explains like the, my legs being completely asleep. Totally. So you can understand it’s almost like a survival mechanism. I think within us that we wanna explain what’s going on. And of course it’s not something horrible, right? Like I ate my fruits and veggies. I drank my water, my baby weren’t on their due dates.
[00:03:58] Leann: Like you get where I’m coming from. It wasn’t, I didn’t have a lifestyle that led me to think that Leanne, you’re going down a path. Health pickups or problems with that. So my family doctor, who I love said, Leanne, we need to send you to a specialist. And every step of the way I still was skeptical, I was still optimistic that everything was fine.
[00:04:24] Leann: They were gonna find something structural. We all want something structurally to be wrong. That feels solvable, right? Like we could go to an orthopedic doctor, put me in a full body cast. Boom. I’m at heal. I’m done. So we like that idea. Unfortunately, October 23rd, the neurologist said, Leanne, we are 99% sure that you have multiple sclerosis.
[00:04:43] Leann: Wow. And yeah, Ryan, in that moment here, I’m 29 and I really didn’t know that much about Ms. But what I did know was a picture of a person in a, wh. And we now know, and I know that there are as many stories as there are patients. So the way a chronic illness impacts a person is so unique. It’s so individual.
[00:05:09] Leann: But in that moment, my world crashed down around me like chronic. And I think I mentioned this yesterday and I think it’s such a good point. Chronic means there’s no cure. Yes, It’s yours. Like this is who you are. You’re going to have to deal with this and the burden of that and the symptoms and the costs and the blah, blah, blah, the appointments and the tests, and right.
[00:05:31] Leann: Like none of those things were on your bucket list. None of that was like, hopefully someday I can go to the doctor every four weeks.
[00:05:41] Ryan: Excuse me. Yeah that’s not one of those big ones that are high on the list. That’s tragic and I’m sorry. And I know that had to be tough, but how did you work through that?
[00:05:50] Ryan: You have an active family, you’re married, you’ve got a lot going on. How did how’d you work through all this.
[00:05:55] Leann: And that, that is the question, right? And that’s the point where I’m at, where I’m wanting to help people with the working through part, because I went into a period of mourn, I was mourning the future that I had pictured I was mourning what I was going to spend my money on.
[00:06:11] Leann: Instead of that, I was morning all of these things and. There comes a point where you realize that a pity party is not that fun to host, not that fun to attend. And I needed to lean back into this optimism that I really knew was within me, this positivity that I knew was genetic that I got from my late grandmother.
[00:06:35] Leann: and I knew that would be my strength. We know that if we believe a drug is going to work, it is more likely to work. There is research to prove that, which sounds crazy. It’s like what? That doesn’t sound like science, that sounds like woo. it’s science, my friends. So positivity. It became clear. That was that’s.
[00:06:59] Leann: What would get me through and making the choice to move forward in the spaces that I could control with this new diagnosis. It felt like so many things were out of my control. And yet one day I realized that one of those things on my bucket list that I might not be able to check off was a triathlon.
[00:07:17] Leann: Somewhere in the back of my mind, I thought that when you got to your forties, which I am now in my forties, and I do not have it , but I thought that when you got to your forties and your kids were older, like you’d have plenty of time to go to the gym and you could get really fit and do a hard fitness event, which I think that is true for some, I feel just as crazy as I did in my twenties with little kids as I do with big kids.
[00:07:42] Leann: But. At that point in my life, I signed up for a triathlon and it was such a stretch for me. I’m an academic, not an athlete. I am not good at sports. I am not coordinated, but here I have a chronic condition that could take away mobility. So now it felt like this is such a crystal clear why I needed to exercise.
[00:08:06] Leann: Why? Like we, we talk, we hear about the conversation around your why and how motivating it is. Oh, yes. 100% is, and that why, the fact that I needed to move because I could was powerful. It allowed motivation to show up in my lap. And I started exercising and I printed out a training plan and I swam one day and I walked the next and I would bike another day and I just followed that and it was a choice I could make.
[00:08:33] Leann: And that really brought me out of that season of morning because I was moving forward. I was making a choice and I had started to make peace with the part of my life that I couldn’t control. And, today when I’m working with clients, that’s where I want them to get that they can put their diagnosis on a shelf is still accessible.
[00:08:57] Leann: We can pull it down, we can learn more. We can research, we can learn about the new drugs, but we can also put it on a shelf because at some point learning more, doesn’t help us. We had to make decisions about how we’re gonna deal with it. And move forward and kind. Set it aside.
[00:09:14] Ryan: So are you gonna leave the teaser there or are you gonna tell us what happened with a triathlon
[00:09:20] Leann: oh, I totally survived.
[00:09:21] Leann: It’s so funny because and I’ve done four, which is nothing. Whoa.
[00:09:24] Ryan: Back, back up four four.
[00:09:27] Leann: Yeah. You’re giving me more credit than I deserve.
[00:09:29] Ryan: No. So let me I’ll digress and we’ll go back. Very good friend of mine. He was also my boss for many years in corporate America, cancer survivor three times.
[00:09:39] Ryan: He’s a huge triathlete and he’s such an inspiration and I need to get you two together to talk because he, all he talks is triathlons and he’s in his late sixties and he, oh my God, you think he’s 20. I love that. But you guys are both inspiration four. I think he’s in the 12 to 15 range cuz he started late in life too.
[00:10:02] Ryan: But he’s crazy. That’s awesome. You, that is so cool that you’ve done. Four, are you gonna do more?
[00:10:08] Leann: Yeah, for sure. So let me give you a little triathlon synopsis. When you go to a triathlon, there’s all these amazing people, right? Because they’ve all been exercising to do this big, hard thing, and it’s more than just swimming, biking, and running.
[00:10:21] Leann: It’s the transition area. It’s the gear. It’s understanding how to transition. It’s. It’s so many pieces and it’s so funny because when you go there, people. Are you a runner or are you a cyclist? Cause typically people get into triathletes or triathlons because they are something right. They love cycling, but they wanna add running.
[00:10:39] Leann: They’re a runner. They wanna add cycling or swimming or whatever. I’m like, I am nothing. Like I am a survivor I’m just stubborn and determine. And I survive triathlons. I don’t Excel at any one part except. It’s continuing. I just keep plotting along, but
[00:10:57] Ryan: that’s the, but that’s the big win. That’s the win you’re pushing.
[00:11:01] Ryan: You’re pushing forward. Do you set yourself any goals every time that you go after another triathlon? Is there something there that motivates you?
[00:11:10] Leann: for sure. There’s always, it’s always nice to like, turn the knobs and have stretch goals as far as speed or how you feel at some point, or even in improving your transition times.
[00:11:21] Leann: Like in not standing in the transition area, visiting, like my extrovert self would like to do or chit chat with the spectators focusing. So there’s a lot of things with a triathlon that you can. I love triathlon so much that I actually eight and a half years ago started a nonprofit that raises money for people living with Ms.
[00:11:43] Leann: And it’s actually a kid’s triathlon. And so cool. Yeah. And it really is my fifth child, but over the last eight years, we have raised over a hundred thousand dollars, which I’m sure in the charity space is not crazy huge, but it’s no good. That’s good. It’s more that I’m able to donate. And so I keep doing the event and we always say our primary goal is to raise money, to help patients living with Ms.
[00:12:10] Leann: But our secondary goal is to inspire kids to love fitness, because what happened in those early years of dealing with Ms was I fell in love with movement and fitness and it helped me get through. Hard days, dark days, frustrating days. And so I feel like if we can help our kids be bought in, get addicted to race energy, that’s so powerful because they’re going to face hard things.
[00:12:37] Leann: They’re going to have curve balls just like me. And if they don’t have to view fitness as a prescription, it will help them. Oftentimes people view it as a prescription, right? Like the doctor said, you need to work out.
[00:12:51] Ryan: So how does Ms. Affect you in triathlons? What are there spec, when I say the special things, I don’t know.
[00:12:59] Ryan: I’m very UN knowledgeable, so excuse me, ignorant, as I would say. Do you have to do anything special? Does fatigue come into place? What, how do you, how does this all
[00:13:08] Leann: play out? So my worst symptoms, which is central nervous system. It is being damaged by your immune system.
[00:13:17] Leann: So central nervous is brain, neck, spinal cord. So it’s your operating system and the nerves are like your electrical cord and it has a rubber coating and a mouse chewed off. So the mouse is your immune system. And so now it doesn’t have that rubber coating. And so if you can picture a light, a lamp, right?
[00:13:35] Leann: The, it, it blinks because the connection isn’t great. So when our brain is sending our essential nervous system is sending signals out. Sometimes my limbs feel heavy, maybe they don’t cooperate. We’ll see a huge range of symptoms that Ms patients are dealing with from immobility to next to. Okay. There’s that huge range.
[00:13:57] Leann: And so for me personally fatigue has been something I have managed for the last 13 years. I often use the hashtag rest as best napping. Here is a normal thing, and my kids are used to that and I choose to rest midday so that I can enjoy the evening. I have had that luxury and I know that fatigue is such a huge loud symptom and, fatigue and stress are about the two things that we can manage or try to reduce, or try to improve. And when my stress and fatigue are worse than my other symptoms are louder. Meaning, if I’m super stressed out, if I’m super worn out, if I didn’t respect rest, then all of a sudden the numbness and tingling on my left side. Super annoying. I explain it like when you go have a cavity field and like two hours after the dentist and your face feels like that.
[00:14:49] Leann: Yeah. That’s how my left hand feels almost all the time. When my stress goes up now, it feels like I just had the cavity filled, like it’s wow. Where it feels less responsive. So there’s this range of symptoms. And in those early years, that scared me when they would get worse. It’s Is it gonna stay that way, and then, but it’s, there’s several types of Ms and mine is called relapsing remitting, which means you get worse and then you get mostly better and then you get worse and then you get mostly better. And so the mostly better part is the scary part, right? Like you wanna get better, better
[00:15:24] Leann: But if you don’t, regain everything after a relapse that’s where you see. Decline over years of time. That’s where we see.
[00:15:35] Ryan: So is there a trigger, is there a trigger point that causes the relapse?
[00:15:41] Leann: So not really that I’m aware of what made a drug fail. So here I’m taking a drug for seven and a half years.
[00:15:49] Leann: I, it was a daily injection and the drug concept was building a wall. Protect my central nervous system confused is coming in to eat the nerves. Okay. And the drug is saying, no, thank you. you’re not welcome here. The immune system turns around. Okay. So I’m like simplifying this big time seven and a half, or I’m sorry, seven and a half years on that drug worked for me.
[00:16:14] Leann: Then in 2018, 2017, I developed double. Oh, double vision will scare the snot out of you because impossible to drive, impossible to walk impossible, lots of things. And what was, that was a relapse. And I had a new lesion near my brain stem, which I called the brain stem, the New York city apartment real estate of your central nervous.
[00:16:43] Leann: Okay. Okay. This is this is the highend district. This matters. This is important. So because of that new lesion, meaning my immune system had busted through the drug was not effective. We consider that a drug fail and I went on a much more aggressive treatment. Okay. At that point. So 2018, 2019, I went through treatment that was originally developed for leukemia patients, but it basically wipes out all your white blood cells in hopes that when your body regenerates new ones, they don’t have the Ms.
[00:17:13] Leann: Marker. so that was a big, hairy deal. and wow. I’m happy to say that all my vision was recovered, but I was admitted to the hospital for two days. I was put on five day course of insane steroids oof. To reduce that issue. So I’m giving you the short, hairy version of my health journey. So that’s the long answer to, in my.
[00:17:42] Leann: Semi-educated opinion. There’s not a specific trigger and with autoimmune issues, right? Yes. There’s a lot of question marks.
[00:17:53] Ryan: There’s a lot of question marks. Of course I’m a big health guy and one of the things is, if you put garbage in, you get garbage out and you have to be able to know that.
[00:18:02] Ryan: And I think we. As a society struggle with that. I and we can go on a whole tangent on this piece, but I’m big about understanding what I’m eating. So I know where it comes from. People say, red meat and fat is bad for you, but you’d be realize if we don’t realize most of your brain and your body works on cholesterol.
[00:18:22] Ryan: In fact, so being able to have a meat diet versus a vegan diet or a vegetarian. It’s so dramatically different and it’s amazing what you can learn because I too have something similar auto autoimmune, but it’s thyroidism so my thyroid doesn’t work, it’s hypo. And it causes, other issues, but I’ve had it under control for many years, but one of the things that I can really can control it with is one, a natural diet and two exercise sleep, and watching all that other pieces.
[00:18:53] Ryan: but until I started realizing how my body function and did the research of what it runs on, when you go to the doctor and you get your blood work and they’re like, oh my God, your cholesterol’s high because your total count is 262 or whatever. Mine was 232. Last time I did it a few months ago and there and of course I’ve been going to this doctor for many years and he’s on the same path I am.
[00:19:12] Ryan: And he goes, man, you’re. Your cholesterol looks good. I like your HDL LDL and everything’s together. If I took that same report to a doctor off the street, he would try to put me on a statin immediately. And wow. It’s crazy. Just in recent months I started following a doctor.
[00:19:29] Ryan: He calls himself carnivore MD, and he’s not he’s not about just eating meat. He’s. Eating the right types of meat and the right type of food to put in your body. But one of the things that he looks at is if you go back many thousands of years on the hieros that you see on the wall, do you ever see the hunter going after a plant or a fruit?
[00:19:50] Ryan: No, it’s always an animal. Because animals can run away and he talks about the different things that are in fruits versus plants. What you should eat and what you shouldn’t eat because of how your body reacts to it. And I never thought about it from the plant perspective the root itself. it has a protective mechanism.
[00:20:07] Ryan: So like when eating a carrot or a brussel sprout or a broccoli, all those have protective shields on it because they wanna pass their seeds on to the next generation. Those are infl. They basically act as a inflammatory to your body, to where your body now is trying to reject it. Even though they say, I’m not saying vegetables are bad for you, but there’s specific vegetables that are more toxic than others.
[00:20:31] Ryan: But going into the research and understanding that, and what you put in your body is huge. And it’s could we do better for ourselves? And could we stop a lot of the cha the health challenges we have in our lives, if we actually paid attention to what we’re doing in that aspect? Oh, sorry.
[00:20:45] Ryan: That was long
[00:20:45] Leann: winded. No, it, and it’s such an interesting conversation and one that I definitely feel my limitations about my education in the nutrition. And I often people will ask me, do you eat anything different now or do you eat anything special? And I felt like before I ate a fairly balanced diet and I grew up on a farm, so we would get like a whole
[00:21:09] Ryan: cow.
[00:21:10] Ryan: And awesome. We
[00:21:11] Leann: didn’t really even know it was like steaks or it’s all we didn’t even know the cuts of meat because it was like, it said steak. So then we had steak. And so then the next night you might have steak again or a pork chop. It is funny, I’ve learned more about cuts of meat as an, and of course you would pay attention to it as, a homemaker, but.
[00:21:32] Leann: I grew up on what I would consider a balanced diet. I sold sweet corn by the side of the road with my brothers and we just, my mom made one pork chop per kid. Like we just didn’t overeat. And it’s interesting right. When you look back. And so when I, when people ask me that question, this is my kind of quippy answer, whatever you don’t stress out about.
[00:21:57] Leann: Because I think that overreacting to food is not healthy and it causes us to just be so severe and we start worrying about everything and we start reading everything and we start freaking out, which my friend is called stress and stress is something that is so hard on our system. I tell the story that I’m sorry.
[00:22:24] Leann: Tick. I tell the story that when you are in a road rage incident, right? And you are so annoyed at the driver and you shake your fist at ’em, then you, they, because they narrowly miss you and you, your life flash before your eyes, then you come home that night and you tell your family, oh my goodness, you cannot believe this driver.
[00:22:47] Leann: It was so Mading and you go through and you retell. The stress is the same to your system. Your system doesn’t know that it’s not actually happening because you’re so passionate about this annoying driver in town. We have to let things go. And it’s crazy how good that is for our help.
[00:23:08] Leann: And that’s the path I’m on really is to help people be mentally strong. And it’s not that I don’t have road rage for sure. I get irritated at drivers, just like the rest of you. But can I realize that it’s so healthy for me to forget about it in the next second and practice that for sure.
[00:23:30] Ryan: That’s hard.
[00:23:31] Ryan: That is very hard, especially since even that type of stress, but you can go to the other extreme, our instant gratification that we’re looking for in life can also be stressful because, I’m gonna be the next to guy, I’m gonna put up a TikTok and it’s gonna go viral and and then when it doesn’t, I be, I get all stressed out and it’s.
[00:23:49] Ryan: Really, this podcast I’m blessed. I get a lot of people that reach out to me and most of ’em are younger than me. I’m approaching 50 and they like look at your stuff. It’s blowing up, dude, go back and look, it’s been five years. It’s been five years of constantly posting and you gotta remember, I’m not posting, I’m not posting for myself.
[00:24:08] Ryan: I’m posting these great journeys of these guests that I have on my podcast or the things that I’m doing in the real estate space that, that I enjoy. But until you do that, nothing changes. And that stress, it’s just I don’t know how to describe that. I get I don’t know how to handle that because I wasn’t, I’m not wired that way.
[00:24:24] Ryan: I, I, I. My parents taught me to work hard, go after what you’re looking for. And when you fail, you’re still trying, but get back up, have your pity party. If you have to, what you gotta do and move forward today, it’s oh, I don’t my video didn’t go viral. So I’m giving up or I’m gonna, have a pity party.
[00:24:41] Ryan: The rest of my life. It’s sad. It really is.
[00:24:45] Leann: It is. I agree. And I love this conversation because it’s so valuable for all of us to remember that we can learn things. We can have new tools handed to us, but if we don’t actually use them, we don’t see the benefits. And exactly when I teach people how to be more positive, which.
[00:25:07] Leann: It really is a skill. And I have tools that I can help people with their mindset and things that they can do very practically in the car on the way to work in the mirror in the morning and help them change the way they think that has such a huge impact, right on every day, every week, your family, the people that you work with.
[00:25:31] Leann: It’s huge, but you have to practice them. You have to use them over and over, and you’re gonna forget, and it’s no big deal. And then next week you’re gonna do better and you’re gonna have to make yourself notes and alarms and sticky notes. And it’s gonna take a little effort, but in the end it’s a hundred percent worth it because.
[00:25:52] Leann: You’re in charge. You’re being a good boss of yourself. And I want people to feel able to be a good boss of themselves and excited about it. If that’s our passion, is that we’re gonna be a good boss of ourself. Just think about how many improvements we would see in the world. If everybody said I am gonna own my mental space, my mental.
[00:26:15] Leann: Now I am not talking about mental health. I, that is a big deal. I have a ton of respect. I have friends, family that are facing mental health challenges, and that is not my field. And I always tell people when I start working with them, I am not a counselor. I am not able to help you with things that you have gone through, but I can help you move forward.
[00:26:38] Leann: So there is, there’s a space for all of those people. In the different roles, but I wanna be very clear about what I help people with,
[00:26:48] Ryan: but it’s, but if we become better at controlling our men, our mindset and being positive, think about the impact that it has on others it it’s, it gets passed along because if you start treating somebody well, because of your mindset, you’re in a positive space.
[00:27:07] Ryan: Can that affect somebody else and affect somebody else and affect somebody else. And I totally agree, because today it just seems like if you don’t like anything, you get to throw, a tantrum or whatever you want to say. And then, you have no accountability for anything you, you do. And it’s like, really?
[00:27:23] Ryan: Some of the stuff I, and I try not to watch the news because it’s negative, but some of the stuff I see. People beating up each other because they don’t like their thought process or what they said. And it’s dude, just disagree and move on. It’s life.
[00:27:37] Leann: Exactly. If people just realized what a full-time job it is to take care of themselves and improving themselves and helping their family and helping their community.
[00:27:49] Leann: There wouldn’t be any time left over to beat someone up or to make a big, hairy deal out of something. It’s just it pains me. It pains me the amount of wasted energy and effort in the world. , it’s something I can’t spend a lot of time thinking about because if I start trying to quantify how much time is wasted in negative ways in negative spaces and bad choices, X, Y, Z, it makes.
[00:28:12] Ryan: Oh, . Yeah. And unfortunately we’ve become such, I don’t know how to describe it other than, it’s about me state type of a thing. And it’s no, it’s not. It’s about everybody. If we all can come together and work together, things get so much better. And it’s yeah. The thought the first thought that comes to my mind is.
[00:28:31] Ryan: I went to college. I had college debt and I had to pay it off. Guess what? I had to pay it off. Why should you get a handout? You went, you wanted to go to school. You decided not to graduate. You’re stuck with that. Now you need to honor it and just pay it and be done. But no we’re in that state of, oh, what’s in it for me type of thing.
[00:28:50] Ryan: And that. That RS me up. Part of my other business. Part of my other business is we buy defaulted mortgages. So we try to help people stay in their homes. We become the mortgage, we become the mortgage holder, the lender, and there’s 12 different ways we can help ’em. But since the pandemic has started and the forbearance process has come through, the people that come through this process now are.
[00:29:11] Ryan: No, the government’s gonna pay for my mortgage. You haven’t paid your mortgage in 24 months, dude. Let me tell you something. You have a conventional mortgage. It’s not FHA. It’s not Fanny. It’s not Freddie. Guess what’s gonna happen. Now that your lender has sold your loan, the person that buys it, whether it’s us or somebody else is gonna foreclose on you.
[00:29:29] Ryan: If you don’t actually come and do that. And they’re like, oh no, the government won’t let that happen. Okay. You think that, but in their driveway, Mercedes-Benz BMW Chanel. They’ve got all these Richie glitzy things, cuz they’re trying to keep up the Jones cuz they’re broke, but they’re not willing to do the work to fix their housing need.
[00:29:51] Ryan: And last time I checked all of us, need a roof over our heads.
[00:29:55] Leann: Yeah, for sure. I mean it’s one of those basic things and that’s so sad to hear about that disconnect with reality. And it’s interesting because. I always encourage people to do something good with the bad part of their story. So when you talked about thinking of others or doing something else for your community, that really was part of the motivation for the triathlon for starting that event.
[00:30:20] Leann: And it was probably about five years ago that we actually became our own non-profit. Just so that we could issue receipts because we have so many great sponsors that donate to the cause, but doing something good with this crummy part of my story, I would not have chosen to have a chronic illness. I would not have chosen to have Ms or to deal with all that or pay for all that.
[00:30:40] Leann: But. Here it is. And what can I do that would make an impact or help others or because my husband does have a corporate job and we do have health insurance. So I felt very thankful for that. And what’s interesting is that because of that journey, those first seven years, I didn’t really think that my story had a lot of value.
[00:31:01] Leann: Or a lot of weight because I felt fortunate that I had family and support and insurance. And then when I went through that relapse in 2017, all of a sudden I realized, oh my goodness, lean you’ve had enough hard now, you and I both know I had enough hard, like my story had worth. Before that, but it was like a light bulb went off and I realized, I need to share my journey.
[00:31:26] Leann: There are other people out there facing what I’m facing, that my story can help or encourage or start a conversation. And so it’s been since then that I’ve been on this journey and I’m here with you, but you bring up an distinct thing about money. , sorry, go. No, I, I won’t, I’ll pause. You ask your question and then no, go
[00:31:46] Ryan: ahead.
[00:31:47] Ryan: Finish it up because then I want to talk about, what, getting to the present day and what you’re doing with coaching and speaking.
[00:31:52] Leann: Okay. So money can I just say to all the lovely people listening that if we’re gonna pay for something that we could help people with medical debt that they didn’t choose, and that is such a hardship on their life, like that would be something that would be super kind and nice of us.
[00:32:09] Leann: I don’t even, I don’t want anybody to ask me how, but if we were going to , that is where my heart is. And I see families really negatively impacted by things that are so hard and have. They didn’t choose. The college degree that they didn’t pay for or the car or the house. That anyways, when you brought that up, I was like, oh boy, that’s a passion topic of mine.
[00:32:34] Ryan: you know what, we could that we could have a whole nother podcast on that and talk about those things. The whole medical system as a whole. In my eyes is pretty screwed up because it’s all about, pharmaceuticals making money.
[00:32:48] Ryan: The only two places in the world that you can advertise any type of medication on TV, where they’re located at right here, United States in Australia. Yeah, replace it. So guess what? They put all of, they, they run all of their ads here so they can, get that, pumped up.
[00:33:06] Ryan: So they get their money. So they get it’s just, it’s a crazy scheme. I’m not, by all means. They’re creating some great medications, drugs to help people, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of the patient and getting into such amount of debt. It just doesn’t make any sense. There’s gotta be some type of way to balance that out.
[00:33:24] Ryan: Don’t know enough about it, but I bet you, if someone dug into it, you could tell that there’s a lot of gouging there
[00:33:30] Leann: for sure. And I want to offer so much hope to people because if you are diagnosed with Ms today, oh my goodness. There is so much hope for you. It is amazing. The progress that has been made, the research has been done and the treatment that I went through, game changing, and it’s a, it’s super exciting.
[00:33:49] Leann: And there’s a ton of hope for patient.
[00:33:53] Ryan: And is that what you went through that last one in 2018, 2019, that was game changing then?
[00:34:00] Leann: Yes, it is. It’s game changing for me. It has definitely slowed the progression. My MRIs are quiet and it is, the data coming back on all patients is just fantastic that those disease is being slowed down and they’re not seeing the progression that we use to see.
[00:34:16] Leann: So that, that image of a wh. That may change, like for my kids or my grandkids, where that isn’t the first thing that comes to their mind when they hear Ms.
[00:34:24] Ryan: But is that procedure widely available now? Yeah, for sure. Can I ask, is it like astronomically crazy expensive?
[00:34:35] Leann: It was about a half, a million dollars.
[00:34:36] Leann: I don’t know what your version of expensive is. That seemed very expensive to me that
[00:34:41] Ryan: it, my re my reaction very expensive. wow. My gosh. And not to go laying around. Yeah, I know. Not to go too deep. Did the insurance pay for any of it?
[00:34:55] Leann: Almost all. Wow. Yeah. So that’s where I’m coming from. Ryan. When I.
[00:35:03] Leann: It’s interesting when we start to share our story and we hear the stories of others. , there are, like I said before, there are as many stories as our patients and I just feel confident that there’s other people out there like me, that do have blessings. But also realize that it is hard and they need support too.
[00:35:22] Leann: I’m sorry. I have such a tickle, so it’s okay, go ahead. I’m gonna I’ll mute. You can talk, Ryan.
[00:35:31] Ryan: So from the standpoint of we’ve gone through pretty much all your journey there what’s a day in a life look like for you today for coaching and speaking?
[00:35:43] Leann: Yeah. I get to help patients. I get to help women dealing with chronic illness, where they feel stuck, where they feel like it consumes everything.
[00:35:52] Leann: And I love it. It is literally my passion to help them get excited about the things that are still within their control and let go of what they can’t control and spend less time, less energy, less heart and passion in this space. That. It just can be so consuming. And yet over here we have things that we still can work on and goals that we can still achieve.
[00:36:20] Leann: And I love it. I love it so much.
[00:36:25] Ryan: So how did you get started and what are you, how you attracting clients?
[00:36:32] Leann: Yeah. So I’m on social media because I love talking and I landed there because when I was going through treatment, I wanted to let my friends and family know that I wasn’t dying. And so I started doing stories and I fell in love with doing stories.
[00:36:48] Leann: And I started connecting with patients that were choosing similar drugs or going through something similar. And I loved it so much. So I’m on Instagram regularly. I have a Facebook group called not defined by chronic illness. We talk in there about things that we’re excited about, things that feel good.
[00:37:07] Leann: I have a whole theory about frosting. And you’ll hear it throughout. We’ve woven into my social media and my website, but I believe that we need to be finding frosting that sometimes life is like dry crummy cake. And what do you do when you have a dry crummy cake? We add frosting and the frosting is anything that makes your day sweeter.
[00:37:31] Leann: I don’t care if it’s your cute dog, the sunshine, new Birkenstocks, old Birkenstocks, healthy kids, a call from a friend, a text from your grandma, whatever that is. It’s when we pause, notice, appreciate. So gratitude plays in when we appreciate it. The frosting is applied to our day. It’s applied to the cake and we all have things in our life that are frosting that are literally in the jar and the cupboard.
[00:37:52] Leann: We’re not thankful for ’em. We don’t notice ’em we don’t pause. We don’t take the time. And so that’s one of the tools that I teach and help people to start finding those things. When that becomes our focus I it’s life giving it’s game, changing it. Let’s not focus on the dry crummy cake, the cake, the life, the chronic illness, the curve ball, whatever hiccup people are facing.
[00:38:17] Leann: A lot of those, we can’t change and they’re a done deal and that’s hard because we all would like a cast or a bandaid or $20 to fix it. We’d like to Amazon prime a solution. We, but we can’t do that. And that’s a hard place. And so a lot of people that I work with are in that hard place. How do I move forward?
[00:38:41] Leann: And so I do, so coaching is one on one, which I love. And then I also have a bootcamp called bring the joy bootcamp and. Bring the joy came because of a Brendan Buch Richard statement. And he talks in his books about bringing the joy to a situation, not expecting it to be there, waiting for you. And he had bring the joy alarms in his phone, and I fell in love with that must be, I don’t know, seven, eight years ago.
[00:39:10] Leann: And so I have bring the joy alarms on my phone that go off throughout the day. And it reminds me to compliment someone, encourage someone high five, a kid. Whatever, just simple and my kids know what they are now. And we talk about bringing joy to the room, to school, to the classroom, to our conversation.
[00:39:31] Leann: And it’s an amazing power, right? It’s that we circle back again to the conversation about mental strength, being a good boss of yourself, realizing that you can have that impact on others and start this beautiful domino. It’s crazy powerful. I can’t even tell you, like I get so geeked up. So the bootcamp is four weeks.
[00:39:50] Leann: I teach those in a group. And I, each week we te I teach a new tool and they practice it for the week. And these are things that I want so integrated into their life. That at some point they can’t really remember where they learned it. Like it’s just who they are. It’s what they do. They taught their grandkid.
[00:40:09] Leann: And they’re like I feel like someone told me this but it’s theirs. And it becomes who they are. Are they ever going to be click their heels when they get out of bed, Leanne, maybe not, but improve. They’re going to feel more positive. They’re going to be able to deal with the curve falls and practice being positive because it really is a skill and it’s one.
[00:40:34] Leann: They can get better at.
[00:40:37] Ryan: Is the bootcamp virtual or is it in person or both?
[00:40:41] Leann: It’s virtual. I was, my business was born in 2020 because everything went virtual and life coaching is like the wild west. You can be a life coach for $57 to 20 grand. And I was a little bit of a skeptic, what is that, but I had people tell me what you’re doing is life coaching. That’s what you should do. So I sniffed around program and I hired one of the coaches that had gone through that program to coach me, to just see if I liked the style. And I did. And it helped me with a little bit of structure, and questions. And Really in my heart, I already was that. And I was doing that behind the scenes in DMS, but it gave me structure and anyways, it’s lovely and fun. And I don’t know if, what you call, what I’m doing is life coaching, but I feel like I’m helping people get out of their own way, help them make progress, lean into this life that maybe isn’t exactly what they order.
[00:41:39] Ryan: I’m with you cuz I just recently out of all of the not recently, it’s been, it’s almost a year now, but after all the podcasts people are like, why aren’t you coaching? And I’m. Like I have nothing else to do. I got three businesses to run. Let’s add coaching podcasting. So I started putting it out there.
[00:41:55] Ryan: I just, I made a landing page on the podcast website and it’s change. Coaching is what it is and we’re just, I go out and talk to people and so forth and people come to me and it’s interesting to, to meet people there because they’re not my typical PE individuals I work with. I have a good friend, which is my old boss, another old boss, and he’ll refer broke doctors, attorneys, and airline pilots to me because they’re in a real financial bind or they need to have something done within the finance world, which I have, 25 years experience and I enjoy it still.
[00:42:25] Ryan: And they’re just, they I don’t know how to describe it. The best way is they don’t put their pants on the same way you and I do. That’s just how it is. And I’m a straightforward guy and I’m okay with that. And most of the time it’s, they have a huge spending problem. I’m talking to an attorney that’s spending $30,000 a weekend just blowing it.
[00:42:44] Ryan: What. Just blowing it that, and I’m not to, that’s not abnormal. Some of these guys are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars a month just to keep a lifestyle up because they think they need to keep up with the Joneses of the medical world or attorneys, but they’re broke and they, or they’ve gotta put a deal together.
[00:43:05] Ryan: Some of these guys are generating 10, 15, 20 million a year in, in, in fees. And they’re blowing it and it’s just amazing to see their mindset and to be able to break it is as simply as put as this is my first conversation is you’re coming to me. You’re probably your practice is, and not a great shape.
[00:43:22] Ryan: Take a look at that. But the first place we have to start is you. And they’re like, why is that? You’re here because of your spinning habits or whatever you got going on. And if you don’t wanna address that, I’m not the type of person that’s gonna help you. I can’t fix your spending habits. I can’t fix your practice issues unless you’re bought in 100%.
[00:43:43] Ryan: And exactly, I’ve got a pretty good, I’ve got a pretty good success rate with that. It’s just getting through the mentality of I’m an attorney and I’m above you type of thing, or I’m a doctor and I’m above you back in the day that used to bother me now. It’s just whew, right over my head. And I’m just like, Do you wanna run out the billable hours by arguing with me?
[00:44:02] Ryan: Or do you wanna actually get some billable hours in and get something done soon as that happens, they shut up and then move forward. It’s funny. But I digress the coaching world is wild west. I totally agree with that. How could everybody, and we’re wrapping up here. How could anybody that has something going on chronic wise get ahold of you one and then two, what could.
[00:44:23] Ryan: One or two things that you could potentially leave the listeners with some tips on how could they work through their situa a basic overall view of their situation if they have some type of chronic illness and they’re struggling.
[00:44:36] Leann: Yeah. Okay. So first of all, you can find email@example.com. Super easy, lots of information there, and you can follow me on social.
[00:44:46] Leann: I am Leon Stickle on Instagram and Facebook not defined by chronic illness is my Facebook community, which I do love to have conversations in there. An overview. What I wanna encourage people to do is one, be okay with the period of morning when you are diagnosed with something, you go on the internet, which I caution against because it is a dangerous place and you’ll find the winners and the wines.
[00:45:15] Leann: Okay. You’ll find the winners, which are people that have overcome. They are doing great. They have figured their life out and they’re doing great things and it’s annoying, it might be kinda like you’re listening to me and you’re like, Ugh oh, Sherry, you started fundraising. Oh, sure.
[00:45:32] Leann: And that. Annoying. And then you have the people over here in this camp and I call them the wines and they go online and they tell you every love and thing, that’s going wrong in all the symptoms and how horrible it is. And they almost died. And the Facebook groups are very depressing and maybe helpful in some places.
[00:45:52] Leann: And I respect people needing space to let some of that out. That’s why I caution against the internet, because it’s more important for you to connect with 1, 2, 3 patients that make sense for you, whether that’s locally, whether that’s on the internet, finding those people. And they are out there.
[00:46:13] Leann: And there’s people like me and other patients, even with larger followings that can help connect you to a patient. You have similarities with, and you can have a conversation with that is of value. That to me is really support. That makes a difference. And locally I’m supporting patients. I actually have a contract with our Ms center and I’m coaching patients.
[00:46:36] Leann: I am a phone call away, a text away. They can hop on my calendar. We have a conversation for 20 minutes and I don’t have magical answers, but I listen and I understand. And. I help them make peace with this new reality, because it’s true. There’s part of it that we can’t change and we have to figure out how to move forward.
[00:46:56] Leann: And once we figure that out, it is exciting and it feels really empowering, right? Yes, I have a chronic illness, but this doesn’t define me. I can do a triathlon. I can write a book. I can start a business. I can be a mom of teenagers. I can go to a volleyball tournament. I can do these things. I just have to learn how to manage my symptoms, manage my fatigue, be a good boss of myself.
[00:47:21] Ryan: I love that. That is really cool. We’ll link your website. I’ll put your social media in the show notes, so make sure everyone can get ahold of you. I’m honored. I am so thankful that you came on. I love your story. I love your passion. I love your positivity. There’s so many things.
[00:47:36] Ryan: We, we. We could have another, a whole nother show, just talking about everything you’ve gone through, but the triathlons. Oh my God. I’m poof. I’m blown. My brain is doing flip flops right now. It’s doing I’m. That’s so cool. That is so awesome. You are an inspiration and I’m, and it’s to me because it’s I don’t think I’d ever even try a triathlon.
[00:47:58] Ryan: It’s just not one of, I hate. I’ll ride a bike. I like swimming. I hate running
[00:48:06] Leann: so you are literally not the first person, 8 million people have said the same exact thing. Like I hate X, Y, Z piece of it. But when you want something more than you hate those things because I’m not that I’m not that different than you Ryan.
[00:48:20] Leann: I am not awesome at all those things, but I wanted this accomplishment and that felt like so important. So valuable. It’s just interesting what we can, all of a sudden feel motivated to do. So everybody use, use your. Bumps in the road, your curve falls to motivate you to get clear on your why? Why do you want something?
[00:48:44] Leann: Why do you it’ll help you? Because motivation is like bathing, right? Like we have to keep doing it. We have to keep finding motivation. It’s not going to just stick around and be there forever.
[00:48:56] Ryan: Amen. To all that. Leanne, thank you for coming on honor. It was a great conversation. Your inspiration. So thank.
[00:49:03] Leann: Thank you. This was super fun, Ryan.
[00:49:06] Ryan: You’re welcome.