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117 Iris Waichler

Stories that Empower

Release Date: 12/09/2019

229 Poonam Bhuchar (Special) show art 229 Poonam Bhuchar (Special)

Stories that Empower

Poonam is a survivor of sexual assault, abuse and the aftermath and cultural humiliation of divorce. Writing about her experiences was one of the hardest things she's ever done. Today, she helps others overcome trauma, to enable them to feel lighter and better.

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228 Terry Sue Harms show art 228 Terry Sue Harms

Stories that Empower

When Terry Sue's alcoholic mother passed away, she embarked on a 40 year journey to search for her absent biological father. She realized she just simply wanted a sincere apology from him. Another challenge that Terry Sue faced was functional illiteracy. She feels a debt of gratitude for having escaped alcoholism and illiteracy, to where she is today, as a published author.

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227 Robert Steven Goldstein (Special) show art 227 Robert Steven Goldstein (Special)

Stories that Empower

Growing up, Robert realized that his spirituality and sexuality was not consistent with the models that are formed by others. Those views did not resonate with him. Robert felt a hollowness and emptiness. He moved and fortunately found kindred spirits. This enabled him to have a fulfilled experience and a spiritual illumination.

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226 Jean Walters show art 226 Jean Walters

Stories that Empower

Growing up, Jean realized that her mother's negative outlook was not working for her. So, she sought to live her life in a different way in light and higher energy. Today, Jean brings people to the light.

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225 Isolde Fair show art 225 Isolde Fair

Stories that Empower

Isolde (a singer, song writer and musician) shares the challenges of her mother in the music industry. As a child, she may not have fully understood her mom's struggles as a female music composer. However, as Isolde matured, she was able to witness her mother's fight for equality in the music composition industry. She is very grateful for her mother's sacrifices and guidance.

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224 Rikki West show art 224 Rikki West

Stories that Empower

Rikki, who was not an athlete, decided to join a gym in her 60s and practice kickboxing. The illness of her mother drove a wedge between her and her sister. They no longer spoke to one another. When Rikki found out that her sister had terminal tumors and had only a few months to live, she knew she wanted to be a stem cell transplant donor. Rikki's meditation and prayer became a symbol of stamina and hope for her family in that trying time.

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223 Pamela Gay show art 223 Pamela Gay

Stories that Empower

Pamela shares her family's story of being disrupted by her father's mental illness. When her parents dropped her off at college, she felt abandoned and her trauma escalated. Pamela's repressed memories were stuck in her body, but after many years 'wanted out'. Her trauma therapist helped her release the feelings of abandonment and she felt like an observer of her life rather than a participant.

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222 Cindy Rasicot show art 222 Cindy Rasicot

Stories that Empower

Cindy's relationship with her mother was challenging. She felt fractured growing up and had a yearning to heal her broken self. Cindy sought sanctuary, that sacred place of belonging that she calls home. She moved to Thailand, where she met a Thai Buddhist nun, who led her on a spiritual and healing journey.

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221 Mark Desa show art 221 Mark Desa

Stories that Empower

Mark's passion and mission is to raise global awareness on ataxia, a neurological/movement disorder which affects the nervous system. When he was in his 30s, he noticed that he slurred his words, had brain fog and was losing his balance. Mark was diagnosed with ataxia. Initially, he was severely depressed and wanted to stay in bed. Later, Mark felt this presented him with a challenge with two options.

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220 Valerie Taylor show art 220 Valerie Taylor

Stories that Empower

Valerie's story is one of survival. Her extraordinary and well-developed survival instinct helped her navigate a life filled with turmoil, such as parents divorcing before she was a year old, being abandoned by her mother to the neighbors who became her foster parents and having an abusive, alcoholic step father. Valerie does not consider herself a victim nor in denial. Her ability to compartmentalize her life helped her to stay afloat and be a survivor.

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More Episodes

When Iris' friend was dying of a brain tumor, a group of friends became the caregivers. She was impressed by her friend's courage of facing death. Iris helped her friend's brother cope with the transition, to let go, to say goodbye and enabled them to bond. She felt privileged. Iris shares the following nuggets of life wisdom for caregivers:
- strive not to judge
- be open to listen
- be there for them
- accept circumstances that we are given
- family is a subjective word
- recognize that you may be feeling that you are losing the person that you once knew
- get support for yourself as a caregiver
- identify who will be the advocate

Iris Waichler has been a well known patient advocate and licensed clinical social worker for the last 35 years. She began her career working with geriatric patients who experienced catastrophic illness and counseled them and their families about adapting to these medical problems. She helped them understand their medical condition and counseled them about how to cope with the disease and its impact on their lives.

She continued to work on a rehabilitation unit in a large Chicago teaching hospital with patients who had suffered traumatic brain injuries, strokes, cancer, amputations, burns, and neurological diseases like multiple sclerosis and parkinson’s disease. Ms. Waichler also covered the emergency room for 13 years seeing patients of all ages with a variety of medical problems. In addition she worked with kids who had been victims of child abuse.

Her long term hospital work gave her insights into how overwhelming it was for patients and families who suddenly found themselves in a hospital setting feeling helpless and alone. This prompted her to write her first book, Patient Power: How to Have a Say in Your Hospital Stay. She understood that if people knew what questions to ask and where to go for support, it would help empower them and assist them in coping with their medical conditions and the resulting life changes.

She used these insights to supervise social work students, and teach medical students, interns, residents, and nurses about patient rights, ethics, and to help them become more empathetic and effective in their day to day patient and family care.

Ms. Waichler found herself in the role of a patient when she battled infertility for many years. The feelings of loss and helplessness she personally experienced were profound. She promised herself if she was successful in having a child she would do everything she could to help other people fighting infertility.

She authored a second award winning book, Riding the Infertility Roller Coaster: A Guide to Educate and Inspire. This book won 2 best book of the year awards. The response was so great she began doing individual and group counseling with people who had infertility. She volunteered for RESOLVE, a national infertility group, and went on to do a series of radio interviews, magazine articles, workshops, and speeches designed to inform and support men and women with infertility.

In writing her new book, Role Reversal: How to Take Care of Yourself and Your Aging, Ms. Waichler has come full circle. Her experience in caring for her beloved father, who died at age 97, triggered her passion in reaching out to others who suddenly find themselves in a caregiver role and are uncertain about what to do or where to go for help. In this book she shares her father’s inspiring story and her personal and professional experience in assuming the challenges that come with being a caregiver for an aging loved one.

Iris has been doing freelance writing for the last 15 years. The focus of her work has been on health related topics and assisting her readers gain knowledge that helps them feel less alone and empowers them in significant new ways.

Ms. Waichler lives in Chicago with her husband, Steve, and her daughter, Grace. She loves to travel whenever she can and to spend time with friends and family.

http://iriswaichler.com/

https://www.facebook.com/RoleReversal1/

https://twitter.com/IrisWaichler

https://www.linkedin.com/in/iwaichler

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