Noa is a 20 something Spoonie trying to make sense of life with chronic illness, especially the daunting world of dating & relationships. When Google failed to answer questions about dating with chronic illness, Noa turned to the amazing chronic illness community to hear their stories. Each episode, Noa chats with other single or coupled up Spoonies and relationship experts about communication, boundaries, intimacy, caregiving, guilt and more! Spooning with Spoonies is a community space to laugh at your dating mishaps, ask “taboo” questions, and realize your worth in society and relationships.
9. Helpful Humor for Dating w/ Chronic Illness | Caroline Rock
“That lightning the mood can be so so valuable when you’re dealing with this really heavy depressing life long incurable illness that you’re carrying around with you”- Caroline Rock
Laughter is the best medicine right? From explaining your pills and sporadic food allergies on dates, to navigating poop anxiety during intimate moments, to keeping the romance alive without “traditional” spontaneity, humor can be a great way to diffuse the tension of chronic illness especially when dating!
In this episode Noa Interviews Caroline Rock, a University of Texas School of Design grad working at Nokia software and living with Ulcerative Colitis and OCD, who is passionate about bringing awareness to chronic illness on her IG and Youtube Channel “Caroline Rock”. This episode is full of laughs as Caroline shares her experiences dating casually with a chronic illness, funny dating stories, and the joys and challenges of being in a committed relationship.
*This episode was recorded in the summer of 2020
Pod IG: @spooningwithspooniespod
Caroline IG: @hi_caroline_rock
Caroline’s Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLf9A1hVelTDV8znv8JpRqg
8. The Intimacy of Caregiving Relationships | Jessi Smith
“Relationships that involve caregiving, require a type of intimacy that a lot of relationships between able bodied people don’t ever have”-Jessi Smith
You don’t often see relationships between disabled/chronically ill and able bodied people portrayed positively or even shown at all in the media. You don’t see the intimacy that comes with caregiving, the teamwork, the fun and silly moments, the strength of the bond between two people facing challenges together, and, what may surprise some, the normalcy!
In today’s episode Jessi Smith a disabled, queer, non-binary, writer, activist, musician, composer, performer and the advocate behind @disablednotdefeated on IG, shares their love story with their husband Elliot. From the not so subtle way their husband asked them out, teaching Noa the art of picking someone up at a coffee shop, to saving spoons to create intentional moments during their wedding, to finding moments of joy together today, and to how Jessi and their partner Elliott see chronic illness and the subsequent challenges as growth opportunities for their relationship.
Jessi chats with Noa about the fun and funny aspects of caregiving like leg shaving and chair transfers, what a typical date night looks like for them, and their attitude and approach towards intimacy with chronic illness. Most importantly, Jessi and Noa talk about the importance of being loved with, not despite chronic illness and shifting/fighting ableist mindsets and narratives telling chronically ill people that they are burdensome and are “lucky” to be in a relationship and be loved.
**CW: This episode contains mention of sex trafficking and abuse**
-Pod IG: @spooningwithspooniespod
-Jessi’s IG: @disablednotdefeated
-John Gottman reference: https://armchairexpertpod.com/pods/john-gottman
7. First Date Fashion & Other Statements w/ Disability Fashion Designer | Keisha Greaves
You’re using your carefully allotted spoons to get ready for a first date. You survey your closet. Jeans or bloatproof joggers, which do you go for? In today’s episode, Keisha Greaves, a disability fashion designer, podcaster, motivational speaker, and founder of Girls Chronically Rock, an inspired, and soon to be adaptive, fashion line celebrating Muscular Dystrophy and other chronic illnesses, answers the hard hitting questions. How do your clothes affect how you feel on first dates? Why is adaptive fashion important? And what statements should your shirts be making other than advertising bands you’ve never heard of? Tune in to hear Keisha & Noa discuss GCR's black disabled lives matter line and the importance of intersectionality within the disability community. Listen as Keisha, who lives with Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophy, shares how she has navigated dating with a progressive disease: from finding adaptive shirts that give her independence, to her feelings about having personal care attendants come to dates with her, to making asking for help on dates flirty.
Pod IG: @spooningwithspooniespod
Keisha’s IG: @girlschronically_rock
Shop Girls Chronically Rock: https://girlschronicallyrock.com/collections
Key Quotes from Keisha:
“we just want to look fashionable and of course fabulous. But we just want to have certain functions on our clothing that make us get dressed easier and not make us feel like we just finished running the Boston marathon”
“Take your time, feel them out, feel the energy”
6. Dating Yourself & Discovering True Self Love | Nitika Chopra
What is self love really beyond the facemasks, and green smoothies? Nitika Chopra, a chronic illness advocate, podcaster, former TV show host, blogger, and founder of Chronicon, who lives with Psoriasis & Psoriatic Arthritis, has been on a lifelong journey to find out.
After getting divorced, and exploring the NYC dating scene, Nitika decided to take some time off from dating to be intentionally single. Today Nitika shares with Noa how she’s embraced this time alone and how it’s furthered her personal growth and self love journey.
Nitika and Noa delve into the root of feelings of otherness, codependency and chronic illness, sitting in the messiness, embracing loneliness and the shame associated with it, combatting the ex text hole, and having compassion for their inner child.
*This episode was recorded in the summer of 2020*
SWS IG: @spooningwithspooniespod
Nitika IG: @nitikachopra
Chronicon IG: @chronicionofficial
Sign up for Chronicon Community: https://chronicon.co/
“A lot of it wasnt that profound, when I was feeling frustrated about being single, it was messy.“-Nitika
“The partners and the friends, the people that i love that are gonna be in my life, get to add to the work that i'm doing, get to add to the joy that i'm able to experience, but they don't have to be the entire source of it, i think that's where the real work starts.”-Nitika
5. Traveling with your Partner While Managing EDS & Co | Katya
Katya, a chronic illness travel blogger, sits down with Noa to share her experiences traveling the world, pre covid, with her partner while managing Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Migraines and other various chronic illnesses. She describes her recent trip to Indonesia and Thailand from start to end, from planning the trips to accommodate her illnesses, to navigating finances with her partner, and asking for help with tasks that would flare her conditions.
Noa shares her struggle with allowing herself to take rest days while on vacation, and Katya explains how planning them purposely and changing her mindset around them has improved the quality of her trips immensely. Katya emphasizes that it's okay to spend time apart from your partner while traveling and shares the self care activities she does on a night in to combat fomo. Lastly, Katya and Noa connect on how mindfulness has positively changed their lives and Katya delves into ways it’s helped her cherish quality time with her partner while traveling.
*Note: This episode was recorded at the beginning of the pandemic and the travel experiences discussed took place before the pandemic. We do not encourage traveling during this time.
Pod IG: @spooningwithspooniespod
Katya's IG: @positivelychronictravels
Katya's website: https://www.positivelychronictravels.com/
1.“It’s really really important to make sure that you’ve both discussed being flexible before going away. And if you can’t go on an activity, they just go without you and that's fine”
2.“mindfulness helps you focus on where you are with that person and making sure you’re putting your all into being with them"
4. Moving in & Planning a Future Together w/ Chronic Illness | Jake Mayers
When COVID-19 hit, Jake Mayers, a musician and chronic illness coach, and his gf Jess' relationship accelerated fast when they moved in together to keep each other safe while staying together. In the 2nd part of this 2 part episode, Jake shares the joys and challenges of bringing someone onto your team with chronic illness. From finances, to treatment, to planning the future Jake emphasizes that they approach every situation as a team, what helps one of them helps both of them.
This teamwork was especially crucial for Jake and Jess when navigating intimacy with chronic illness. Noa and Jake grapple with the uncertainties surrounding protecting their health and their fears about sharing germs with a partner. Jake explains that like everything else, him and Jess handled the situation with open communication and teamwork.
Despite the difficulties of Lyme Disease Jake describes how him and Jess’s dedication to each other and building a life together has made them able to stay in the present and enjoy the ride, having fun and enjoying silly moments along the way.
*Disclaimer: The content in this episode is not intended to be medical advice in any way. The information shared are our own perspectives and experiences and should not be relied on as facts. If you’re having questions about these topics we suggest you reach out to your medical team.Links:
*Note: This episode was recorded in the spring of 2020 during lockdown
Pod IG: @spooningwithspooniespod
Jake’s coaching IG: @jakemayerscoaching
Jake’s IG: @jake_mayers
Key Quote:“Its an unconditional love, which in its definition means that. Regardless of the conditions of our health or really anything in our lives, we love each other for who we are”-Jake
Customer ReviewsSee All
How incredible to hear stories that are so relatable. I didn’t have any idea that my experiences have been shared experiences. Powerful, comforting, thought-provoking. Thank you!
I loved this podcast! Noa is such a wonderful host, and I learned so much by listening.
Such a unique and inspirational podcast!!! So excited for more.