9 episodes

When Everything Changed is a series of stories about adversity, strength, and hope. Featuring real-life inspirational interviews and educational content from medical experts, we’ll follow people’s journeys through transformational health events. We’ll also explore the emotional roller coaster patients and family members often experience when faced with turning points in their health, and hear what gave them strength, courage, and the ability to cope. Hosted by Stuart Gordon, this collection of uplifting stories offers advice and inspiration for those facing similar challenges or would like to learn more about the experience of these illnesses.

When Everything Changed Podcast Kaiser Permanente

    • Self-Improvement
    • 5.0, 12 Ratings

When Everything Changed is a series of stories about adversity, strength, and hope. Featuring real-life inspirational interviews and educational content from medical experts, we’ll follow people’s journeys through transformational health events. We’ll also explore the emotional roller coaster patients and family members often experience when faced with turning points in their health, and hear what gave them strength, courage, and the ability to cope. Hosted by Stuart Gordon, this collection of uplifting stories offers advice and inspiration for those facing similar challenges or would like to learn more about the experience of these illnesses.

    Managing type 1 diabetes: When Everything Changed podcast

    Managing type 1 diabetes: When Everything Changed podcast

    Today’s guest on When Everything Changed is Lisa. As the mother of two school-age boys, she juggles the demands of a busy family life.  She also helps her eldest son  manage his type 1 diabetes, and empowers him to live his life to the fullest.

    Zane was only 3 when he began to experience common diabetes symptoms:





    * Always hungry

    * Feeling tired

    * Unusually thirsty

    * Urinating a lot



    Lisa knew something was wrong and took Zane to the doctor. Tests showed dangerously high blood glucose levels, and their doctor told them that Zane had type 1 diabetes. He was rushed to Seattle Children’s Hospital where he stayed for three days.

    Building a support system

    There’s currently no cure for type 1 diabetes, but with the right tools and support, families can learn to manage the condition and help their children adjust. Zane’s family formed a support system with another family going through the same experience, and received  mentoring from Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) a diabetes research charity.

    Diabetes hasn’t prevented Zane from living life to the fullest. Lisa says they have learned to “roll with it.” “He can do anything he wants — just with a couple of added steps,” she says.

    Zane is now 9. He checks his blood sugar 10-12 times throughout the day, but this hasn’t stopped him from being active. He does the same things that other kids his age do, including lots of soccer. With the help of a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) that measures his blood sugar level, Zane is learning to listen to his body and monitor his needs.

    Thank you for listening!



    Did this story move you? If so, please share it. Do you have a health turning point story? Email us. When Everything Changed is a production of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Washington.

    • 22 min
    Cataract surgery: When Everything Changed podcast

    Cataract surgery: When Everything Changed podcast

    In this episode of When Everything Changed, we hear from Mary who was diagnosed with cataracts (partial or complete cloudiness in the eye, sensitivity to light or glare, and double vision in a single eye). While most people are expected to have cataracts around the age of 75, Mary started experiencing symptoms specific to cataracts in her mid-sixties.

    Prior to the decision to get cataract surgery, Mary was diagnosed with lattice degeneration which means her retina was stretched and caused her vision to be nearsighted, gradually deteriorating her eyes’ ability to see clearly. Mary was reluctant to pursue the cataract surgery as it would require heavy work on her retina, making her a high-risk patient. She finally decided to undergo the surgery years after the initial diagnosis when her ophthalmologist stated that her left eye’s vision worsened to 20/300.

    Mary was paired with an ophthalmologist specializing in delicate and torn retinas. She was given the choice of Toric lenses that would not only correct her sight but fix her astigmatism as well.

    A lot of excitement and anticipation welled up inside Mary on surgery day and she recounts the experience as quick and efficient. During the surgery, her eye was propped open, and she describes that she was unable to see or feel the procedure. She reminds future patients to have someone there who can drive them home.

    Right after the surgery, she was instructed to wear an eye shields while constantly wetting her eyes with drops. She recalls being able to see all the way out of the window the first time she took off her shields. Mary emphasizes the impact the effect of surgery and the care doctors at Kaiser Permanente took to ease her into this somewhat frightening situation. Mary suggests that “listen to your doctor and you won’t have any trouble.” She is thankful for the improvement not only in vision, the enhancement of colors, but also how this change has contributed to her happiness in life.

    In this episode, we discuss:



    * The symptoms of cataracts

    * Overcoming fear of eye surgery

    * Receiving the care that you need



    Thank you for listening!

    Did this story move you? If so, please share it. Do you have a health turning point story you want to share? Email us at wheneverythingchanged@ghc.org.

    When Everything Changed is a production of Kaiser Permanente.

    • 20 min
    Recovering from chronic back pain: When Everything Changed podcast

    Recovering from chronic back pain: When Everything Changed podcast

    In this episode of When Everything Changed, we hear from Kaiser Permanente member, Summer.

    Summer began experiencing moderate back pain after she fell out of a tree as a youngster. A competitive swimmer by age 6, she swam competitively all the way through college even with constant back pain. As a trained athlete, she largely ignored the pain and didn’t adequately explain the problem to her parents or doctors. When she did tell people about it, the depth of the condition was not recognized and she was put on various core strengthening exercises which didn’t help alleviate the pain.

    In her early 20s she went to see her medical doctor about flu symptoms and was asked if anything else was bothering her. Summer mentioned her back hurt a lot so the physician ordered an X-ray of her spine that revealed a spine defect. Then living in Honolulu, she consulted with orthopedic and neurosurgeons there and was diagnosed with spondylolisthesis, a condition in which a lumbar vertebra slips forward over another. On a scale of I to V (V being the worst), her condition was at a grade III. A move to Seattle was imminent and she decided against immediate surgery.

    Over the course of the next few years, her day-to-day pain level became so intense that she consulted with medical doctors at Kaiser Permanente. She learned her condition had worsened from grade III to grade V. With such constant acute pain, coupled with the fear of what might happened if left untreated, she opted for major surgery that took place in July 2001.

    During the surgery, her surgeons removed her lowest lumbar vertebra, realigned her spine, and secured it with hardware. After the surgery, Summer was restricted to a body brace for four months while she healed. Unfortunately, some nerve damage occurred during surgery and she lost the ability to lift her feet, resulting in another condition called “foot drop.” Summer subsequently spent many years using orthotics, walkers, canes, and crutches. In 2005 and 2006 she underwent two more surgeries to move tendons in her feet to enable her to walk unaided by orthotics. With an abundance of support and help from doctors and physical therapists, she was able to walk unaided again.

    Through it all, she reminded herself that everyone experiences struggles in life. Her conditioning as an athlete helped with the mental and emotional recovery—allowing her to find ways to endure the pain and build coping mechanisms throughout the difficult healing process. Now, she lives pain-free and is able to enjoy bike rides, long walks, and time with her young child. She encourages those who are experiencing back pain to take the necessary steps, as frightening as they might be, because life presents a series of challenges that we must face head-on in order to move forward.

    In this episode we discuss:



    * The complications of back pain

    * Dealing with the emotional impact of life changes

    * The importance of receiving the care that you need



    Thank you for listening!

    Did this story move you? If so, please share it. Do you have a health turning point story you want to share? Email us at wheneverythingchanged@ghc.org.

    When Everything Changed is a production of Kaiser Permanente.

    • 21 min
    Battling Graves’ Disease: When Everything Changed podcast

    Battling Graves’ Disease: When Everything Changed podcast

    In this episode of When Everything Changed, we hear from Madeline, a graduate student who was diagnosed with Graves’ disease. During her summer break from school, she started experiencing nausea, frequent hunger, weight loss, overheating, and muscle weakness. When the symptoms did not clear up on their own, she wisely decided to seek medical help. Her doctor ran tests and found that her thyroid numbers were out of the normal range (the thyroid gland is found at the base of the neck and produces hormones that affect all aspects of the body including metabolism). Her doctor recommended an endocrinologist, a specialist who provides treatment for the thyroid gland.

    Hyperthyroidism and Graves’ Disease

    The endocrinologist diagnosed her with hyperthyroidism, which means that her body produces an excess amount of thyroid hormone. Graves’ disease is often the underlying cause of hyperthyroidism.

    After an unsuccessful anti-thyroid medication treatment, the next step was to implement radioactive iodine therapy, which works by destroying thyroid tissue cells thereby reducing the thyroid hormone levels. The iodine therapy was successful in regulating her symptoms. However, Madeline’s thyroid will never go back to normal. She will be dependent upon a thyroid-producing medication for the rest of her life.

    Despite the shock and significant emotional distress this sudden malady caused, she remains grateful for the constant support from her family and physicians. By focusing on listening to her body and dedicating more time to self-care and nutrition, she’s improving the quality of her life on a daily basis.

    In this episode we discuss:

    1.     The complications of hyperthyroidism

    2.     Battling the emotional complications of Graves’ Disease

    3.     The importance of receiving the care that you need

    Thank you for listening!



    Did this story move you? If so, please share it. Do you have a health turning point story you want to share? Email us at wheneverythingchanged@ghc.org. When Everything Changed is a production of Kaiser Permanente.

    • 17 min
    Liver failure & a path to recovery: When Everything Changed podcast

    Liver failure & a path to recovery: When Everything Changed podcast

    In this episode of When Everything Changed, we hear from Kaiser Permanente member Larry. After years of receiving unsuccessful diagnoses for his lower back and neck pain symptoms from previous doctors, Larry successfully treated his condition at Kaiser Permanente. One morning after breakfast, Larry began to experience excruciating back pain. He called the 24/7 consulting nurse line, and went directly to Urgent Care. After many tests,  Larry was diagnosed with liver failure. He was put on a weight loss program so that he could receive a gastric bypass surgery to help alleviate his back pain and liver problems.

    Recovery was a difficult time for Larry as he experienced uncertainty and anxiety about his future. Larry credits the doctors and nurses and his family for not criticizing his weight but instead, building a uniquely effective plan that would lessen the effects of his health problems and by giving their continuous support.

    Larry also went to counseling sessions to battle the depression that arose during this period and joined Kaiser Permanente Washington’s Living Well with Chronic Conditions program which supports members with self-therapy strategies including breathing and relaxation, problem solving, and how to talk to doctors. He vigorously emphasizes the positive impact these sessions had on his recovery. After graduating from the program, he led Living Well with Chronic Conditions groups for two and a half years.

    By the fall of 2013, Larry lost more than 160 pounds, started exercising with his family, and experienced less frequent episodes of pain and anxiety. He encourages anyone who is experiencing depression to talk to a physician, therapist or counselor to get care.

    In this episode we discuss:



    * The complications of a gastric bypass surgery

    * The change in Larry’s attitude before and after care

    * The importance of receiving the care that you need



    Thank you for listening!

    Did this story move you? If so, please share it. Do you have a health turning point story? Email us at wheneverythingchanged@ghc.org. When Everything Changed is a production of Kaiser Permanente.

    • 22 min
    Doctor becomes patient: When Everything Changed podcast

    Doctor becomes patient: When Everything Changed podcast

    In this special episode of When Everything Changed, we hear from Kaiser Permanente physician, Dr. Ariel Ehrlich. When Dr. Ehrlich complained of food poisoning symptoms she decided to get her care at Kaiser Permanente’s Silverdale Urgent Care, which was 45-minutes from where she lives. During the drive Dr. Ehrlich’s gastrointestinal symptoms worsened into a different condition altogether: starting with charlie horse cramps in both calves to a completely debilitating full body muscle constriction, including her face.

    Unable to communicate with her family or the medical team, Dr. Ehrlich felt totally vulnerable and alone. She applauds the nurses, technicians, and providers at the Silverdale Urgent Care for their prompt, compassionate care during a time that left her feeling out-of-control. It was this experience that prompted Dr. Ehrlich to reflect on her own patients and the complexities in patient-provider communication. She is more focused than ever on practicing with empathy and respect for patients wherever they are in their health journeys. This experience had an emotional impact on Dr. Ehrlich and her loved ones, and served as a constant reminder to all that turning points in your health can happen at any time, maybe even when you least expect it.

    In this episode we discuss:



    * The complications that can occur with gastroenteritis (stomach flu).

    * How Dr. Ehrlich felt about going from doctor to patient

    * The significance of a compassionate and thorough medical team



    Thank you for listening!

    Did this story move you? If so, please share it. Do you have a health turning point story? Email us at wheneverythingchanged@ghc.org. When Everything Changed is a production of Kaiser Permanente.

    • 14 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
12 Ratings

12 Ratings

Lineerr ,

Love these inspirational stories

It's so great hearing such real stories from people living with health conditions that impact their daily life. Really inspiring and interesting.

sznow ,

Positive, Thougthtful and Inspiring

This is an extremely well-done, informative podcast that recounts one person's transformative journey from living with a life-threatening condition to a happy, healthy life. Julene's account describes her life pre and post surgery and the decisions she faced along the way. I would recommmend this to not only patients, friends and family of ostomy candidates but anyone struggling with a chronic condition.
Very well done!

Jan Da Black ,

positive self talk is key

As someone living with a chronic condition that has forever changed my life, I know the importance of positive self talk. Thank you so much to Julene for sharing her story.

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