The Chronically Courageous with Bonni Howard

Oct 27 2020 36 mins

The Chronically Courageous, where chronic illness warriors come to feel empowered and uplifted.  Listen each week to be inspired by others who have found happiness and peace, despite the physical and emotional tolls of chronic illness. Together, we navigate this complex journey and move forward with courage, passion, and purpose! See for privacy and opt-out information.

Voices of Dysautonomia
Oct 27 2020 65 mins  
October is Dysautonomia Awareness Month. Dysautonomia is mild for some people and completely disabling for others.  Imagine having to think about all of the bodily functions you take for granted….breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, digestion and more.  Dysautonomia causes a dysregulation of all of the functions that so many of us take for granted.  The result can be debilitating.  Join me as I have conversations with Marina Lombardi, Valerie Rose, and Samantha Brechner, who each live with dysautonomia.  Hear how it has impacted each of them and how they have found ways to manage their symptoms. Some things that you’ll learn:What dysautonomia is and the effects it can have on people diagnosed with itHow dysautonomia has impacted BonniWhy one of the scheduled guests was unable to be included in this episodeSome questions Bonni asks Marina, Valerie, and Sam:How would you describe dysautonomia to people who don’t know what it is? What led to your diagnosis ?What type of dysautonomia do you have?If you were to try to get someone to understand what it feels like to live with dysautonomia how would you describe what it feels like to have dysautonomia? What symptoms affect you most? What have been the most effective ways of managing your symptoms? Show Resources: Learn more about dysautonomia: with Bonni:[email protected]  See for privacy and opt-out information.

Lara Bloom, President & CEO of The Ehlers-Danlos Society | From Challenge Comes Opportunity
Oct 20 2020 52 mins  
This week I had the honor of speaking with Lara Bloom, President and CEO of The Ehlers-Danlos Society. This year she was also appointed Academic Affiliate Professor of Practice in Patient Engagement and Global Collaboration at Penn State College of Medicine.  Lara is an expert in patient engagement and advocacy for rare, chronic, and invisible conditions as well as an international public speaker and campaigner. Lara is all of the aforementioned things, but also a patient who lives with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, dysautonomia, and other comorbid conditions.  Lara’s story is both inspiring and impressive, as she has managed to accomplish so much despite her health challenges.  Some things that you’ll learn:About Lara (1:20)Recent challenges that Lara has faced separating her personal vs professional life (9:30)Lara’s personal experience with Covid-19 (11:04)About the Breaking Down Barriers initiative (19:08) One of the hardest things that Lara deals with as a public figure. (36:02)Some questions Bonni asks Lara:How do you manage all that you do? (6:08)What led to your diagnosis? (23:20)What would you tell people who are in the beginning of their process and don’t have a firm diagnosis? (26:26)Why Lara rarely sees doctors these days (29:14)What drove you to do a marathon and how did you have the stamina to complete it? (31:43)Looking back at your journey would you change anything? (34:50)What is next for you and the Society? (41:50) What would your My Intent bracelet say? (44:35)What’s lighting you up right now? (47:11)What advice can you give other people on how to best advocate for themselves? (48:25)What does courage mean to you? (50:17)Connect with Lara:Website: Resources: Issues With My Tissues Documentary: Ehlers Danlos Society Website: Down Barriers Coalition:,affected%20by%20EDS%20and%20HSD.&text=The%20Coalition%20will%20address%20inequalities,Society%20programming%20and%20advocacy%20effortsConnect with Bonni:[email protected]  See for privacy and opt-out information.

Ask Bonni Anything with Judy Venezia
Sep 23 2020 28 mins  
This week’s episode is a little different from the norm.  My friend of 24 years, Judy Venezia, is navigating some new and existing diagnoses so I took the opportunity to answer some questions for her in hopes of providing her some additional tools to make her journey a little less challenging. Before being forced into retirement due to her health, Judy spent 25 years juggling caring for her three children and her many patients as a pediatric and emergency room registered nurse. Now the tables are turned and it’s time for Judy to let others care for her.  I hope you enjoy this informal girl talk between Judy and I. Some Questions Judy Asks Bonni: How do you keep such a positive attitude? (3:21)What things have you done to deal with your pain and chronic illnesses? (7:15)What things do you do to help yourself feel your best each day? (9:30)How do you stay so self disciplined? (17:05)When you’re not feeling well where does your drive come from? (20:10)How do you find the courage to deal with illness each day? (21:25)What do you recommend for dealing with chronic illness when a health coach is not in the budget? (25:25)Show Resources:Insight Timer Meditation App Joe Dispenza - drink - - Celery Juice Movement - light blocking glasses - - use code WELLNESS for 15% offEcosque - Medical Medium on Facebook - with Bonni:[email protected]  See for privacy and opt-out information.

Christina Rice | Brain Rewiring, Energy Healing, and Uncovering Root Causes for Deep Healing
Sep 08 2020 55 mins  
Christina Rice is a living example of overcoming all odds. Having mystery illnesses all of her life, she feverishly searched for answers as her organs began to shut down and her weight dropped to a frail 73 pounds. Fighting for her life, she took matters into her own hands and explored healing modalities such as brain rewiring, energy healing, and tapping into her intuition. Today, she is stable and healthy and has a thriving high six figure coaching business helping others to break through their limiting beliefs and heal physically, emotionally, spiritually, and financially.   Some things that you’ll learn:About Christina (1:20)Christina’s chronic illness story (2:35)The difference between masculine and feminine energy. (22:00)Some questions Bonni asks Christina:What do you feel was the big turning point in your healing? (10:08)Can you explain what brain rewiring is and how it works? (11:10)What do you think was at the root cause of a lot of your chronic health issues? (18:32)Can you talk about your spirituality and intuitive abilities? (31:58)What three things can people start doing right now to heal? (44:18) Why do you think all of the crazy things that have happened in 2020 are happening? (45:22)What’s lighting you up these days? (50:41)Connect with Christina:Website: Realness Podcast: with Bonni:[email protected]  See for privacy and opt-out information.

Lindsay Gledhill | How to Live an AMAZING Life Despite Life’s Challenges
Aug 26 2020 56 mins  
This week’s guest is truly AMAZING! He has not only survived, but thrived through two heart attacks and four stents. Being a successful tax accountant all of his life, he realized that money was not the end all be all and that happiness goes much deeper than our pockets.  Lindsay is now embracing the second act of his life as fellow podcaster, coach/mentor, speaker, and leader of “The Amazing Challenge”. Interested in finding out more about Lindsay’s challenge and how he makes each day amazing for not only himself, but for those who are lucky enough to be in his presence? Tune into this week’s episode for an inspiring, heart warming story sprinkled with nuggets of wisdom for how to live every day to the fullest.  Some things that you’ll learn:About Lindsay (1:08)How Lindsay brought happiness to others even when he was in the hospital being treated for his second heart attack. (10:27)How The Amazing Challenge came to be (18:42)The meaning behind Lindsay’s analogy of the $2 bill (30:29)Lindsay’s recommendation for two things that people can do to change the quality of their lives. (34:40)Some questions Bonni asks Lindsay:What made you want to change the direction of your life? (3:50)What happened on your bike ride recently? (13:50)What inspires you to light people up? (25:27)What lights you up these days? (30:00)Looking back at your younger self, what advice would you give to that person? (39:54)What is one of the biggest lessons you’ve learned through your self development journey? (40:50) How do you define courage? (43:02)What words of advice would you give to people who feel stuck? (45:02)Connect with Linsday:The Amazing Challenge: [email protected] with Bonni:[email protected]  See for privacy and opt-out information.

Sidney DeCamella | Finding Her Life’s Purpose Through Infertility, Kidney Failure, and a Rare Diagnosis (Part One)
Jul 28 2020 36 mins  
EP. 013 The Chronically Courageous PodcastTitle: Sidney DeCamella | Finding Her Life’s Purpose Through Infertility, Kidney Failure, and a Rare Diagnosis (Part One)Sidney wanted more than anything to be a mother, but never imagined the challenges she would come up against trying. Her story had so many twists and turns, including a rare diagnosis and kidney failure, that I decided to divide it into two episodes. I hope you will be as moved as I was by Sidney’s story of perseverance, strength, and the inner fire she developed to pursue her life’s purpose. Some things that you’ll learn:About Sidney (1:21)How she came to be a life coach (3:09) What happened when she was told she was unable to have a child (12:37)The story of when Sidney found out she was pregnant (18:40)About her aHUS diagnosis (29:17)Some questions Bonni asks Sidney:Were you consider yourself to be a good recruiter? (8:50)Can you tell us about your birthing process? (22:00)Where were you emotionally after coming home from the hospital with a new baby to care for? (31:11)What would tell Sidney if you were not Sidney and you were coaching her? (34:31)Connect with Sidney:[email protected] with Bonni:[email protected] Show Resources:“Real Talks with Sidney” YouTube Channel:“Soul Sessions with Sara and Sidney” YouTube Channel: See for privacy and opt-out information.

Jana Greene | From Numbing with Alcohol to "FIERCE" Recovery
Jun 30 2020 36 mins  
If you need some inspiration to keep moving forward you’ll want to hear this episode. Jana Greene has lived through childhood trauma, addiction, single motherhood, and chronic illness. Despite the stacking of challenges that came her way, she pushed through and created a happy and fulfilled life. She is on the precipice of celebrating 20 years of sobriety and has a thirteen year marriage that’s still in the honeymoon phase. Just one month ago Jana had her third book published. The book, entitled “FIERCE Recovery: Living Your Best Sober Life Now”, provides an empowering message with a humorous slant. Tune in to this episode to learn how Jana continues to enjoy life fully despite its challenges. Some things that you’ll learn:About Jana (1:42)Jana’s diagnoses and when she received them. (13:21)Some questions Bonni asks Jana:What kind of person were you before getting sober and being diagnosed with chronic illness? (3:13)What was it that convinced you it was finally time to get sober? (4:41)What drove you to write? (9:15)How has the pandemic affected you? (11:13)What do you see as the relationship between chronic illness and addiction? (18:44)How do you cope on those difficult days? (21:18)How has having chronic illness changed your perspective on life? (24:43)What advice would you give to other people who have chronic illness? (29:11) Connect with Jana:Instagram: with Bonni:[email protected] Show Resources:BooksFIERCE Recovery: Living Your Best Sober Life Now - plunging off of the brink of drink and into the love of God - The Beggar’s Bakery - See for privacy and opt-out information.

Bonni Howard | Six Ways to Elevate Your Mood During Challenging Times
Jun 23 2020 21 mins  
The global pandemic, awakening to racial inequity, and political division happening in our world right now can make it a challenge to maintain a positive mindset. And we all know that a depressed emotional state can directly impact our physical well being. In this episode you’ll learn some actionable steps and tools that I’ve found helpful for keeping my mood elevated even in the most challenging of situations. I truly hope that you find some useful nuggets here to get you through the global challenges as well as any personal challenges you’re facing today. Some things that you’ll learn:Why I almost didn’t release an episode this week (1:43)Six techniques I use to keep me in a positive state (2:41)What I'd love to hear from my listeners (20:00)Connect with Bonni:[email protected] Show Resources:Insight Timer Meditation App - Gratitude App - Purpose Podcast with Jay Shetty - and Soul Podcast with Michelle Sorro - Sunday with Oprah Winfrey - School of Greatness with Lewis Howes - About Now! Free Online Writing Workshop hosted by author, Janna Lopez - See for privacy and opt-out information.

Rachel Barber | How to Heal from Chronic Illness with Rachel Barber
Jun 16 2020 34 mins  
Feeling hopeless and stuck in the thoughts that you may never heal? I felt the same way until I met this week’s guest, Rachel Barber. Rachel had exhausted all options, combining techniques from both Eastern and Western medicine. She was at her wits end and in a major state of depression at the thought of having to live the rest of her life being sick. This week Rachel shares her incredible story of perseverance and determination. She tells us how she went from having fibromyalgia, SIBO, mitochondrial dysfunction, hypoglycemia, and more to achieving a level of health and happiness beyond her wildest dreams. Rachel is the founder of Total Healing, a program designed to help the sick self heal and take back their lives through the power of the mind. She has established a following of over 41,000 on Instagram, where she shares her story and the testimonials of other women she has healed. Skeptical? I was too, but please keep an open mind and listen to this episode to hear about a method of healing that may be the solution you’ve been searching for.   Some things that you’ll learn:About Rachel (1:23)What Rachel’s life was like before she became chronically ill (2:34)Rachel’s view on the connection between trauma and chronic illness (3:33)About her symptoms and diagnoses (4:37)How Rachel began healing (10:05)Her personal journey with brain rewiring (12:18)About the Total Healing Program (26:36)Some questions Bonni asks Rachel:What did you do to try to find answers and what did you try? (5:55)What was that point of surrender when you said “I’m willing to do whatever it takes”? (11:00) What is your life like now? (14:08) How do your relationships impact your healing? (15:49)What are some things people can start doing today to feel better? (19:22)How would brain rewiring heal someone with physical degeneration? (21:58)What are some of the things that you’ve been able to heal people from? (23:10)What made you feel like you needed to teach others the methods of healing you learned? (25:53)Connect with Rachel: with Bonni:[email protected] Show Resources:Total Healing Program: Documentary: Hay: Dispenza: See for privacy and opt-out information.

Janna Lopez | Finding a New Identity after MS Diagnosis and Midlife Transition
Jun 09 2020 48 mins  
While getting ready to have her first book published, two years ago, Janna Lopez felt that something was off. At the age of 51, she learned that this feeling was not imagined, rather it was the result of having several lesions on her brain caused by Multiple Sclerosis. In this episode, Janna uses her gift for verbal expression to convey the emotions that accompanied her diagnosis, how she has learned to manage her illness, and how she is moving forward with courage and purpose. Janna is a published author, public speaker, midlife coach, and podcast host. Formerly, she was a successful magazine publisher and a communications consultant serving small businesses, non-profits, and multi-million dollar companies. Her life’s work has revolved around the art of expression through words and images. Janna has a beautiful way of seeing the world and believes that in this time of a global pandemic, "it is the mundane that will save us". Her way of seeing the beauty in the simplest of things was a breath of fresh air in a time of great complexity.What You’ll Learn:About Janna (2:22)How Janna came to find out she had Multiple Sclerosis (5:00)What happened when Janna first met with a neurologist (9:07)Janna’s perspective on who you are vs. what you do (32:06)Some Questions Bonni asks Janna:What do you think have been the gifts in getting this diagnosis and how has it changed you? (11:38)How has your diagnosis affected your identity and how you see yourself in the world? (12:36)What have you done to keep yourself on a positive path post diagnosis? (16:10)What do you do to handle the emotional side of your diagnosis? (22:37)What would you tell your younger self knowing what you now know? (23:56) What advice would you give to other people who have been recently diagnosed? (25:36)What would you define as courageous? (28:40)What’s your answer now when someone says, “who are you”? (39:04)Connect with Janna: with Bonni:[email protected] Show Resources:Janna’s Book, “Me, My Selfie and Eye” Talk with Janna Lopez Podcast: Mundane Facebook Group: Delight Supplement: See for privacy and opt-out information.

Virginia Underwood (Jini) | Awakening After Trauma
May 26 2020 35 mins  
EP. 006 The Chronically Courageous PodcastJini didn’t always respect her need for rest and renewal and for years she ignored her body’s signals. She went on to earn her Master's degree in Counseling followed by the study of various healing modalities at the Southwest Institute of Healing Arts. Like many chronic illness warriors, she remained invalidated and undiagnosed for years after the onset of her symptoms. Her persistence finally led her to multiple diagnoses including myalgic encephalomyelitis, hemochromatosis, and late stage neurological Lyme disease.In addition to her health challenges, she endured several life-altering traumas, including the recent loss of her home and its contents in the Paradise, California Camp Fire.  In this episode, Jini and Bonni discuss the correlation between trauma and health. Jini explains how she uses “The Work” of Byron Katie, as one of several ways to maintain her loving heart and keep a grateful outlook. Today Jini is a highly awakened soul, who shares her gifts through writing, teaching, and energy work. Her primary objective is to help others discover thier gifts and to assist in raising the collective vibration of the world.What You’ll Learn:What Jini finally figured out after 45 years (5:50)The traumas that Jini has endured (6:11)What she’s learned through her chronic illness journey (14:2)Jini’s perspective on the Covid-19 pandemic (15:19)What Bonni and Jini have learned about being courageous. (17:05)The Byron Katie technique used to manage our thoughts and feelings (18:59)The most valuable lesson that Jini has learned (28:26)Services Jini offers through Eighth Chakra (31:35)Questions Bonni asks Jini:What was your life before chronic Illness? (4:01)What kind of toll did trauma take on you? (9:19)What’s your secret to still smiling and being so full of love after so much trauma? (10:27)What have you been diagnosed with and what are your symptoms? (11:01)What advice would you give other people who are going through chronic illness? (18:48)After everything you’ve been through, what do you feel is the purpose of it all? (26:08)Connect with Jini: with Bonni:[email protected] Show Resources:Jini’s published article in The Mighty: Work of Byron Katie: more about Myalgic Encephalomyelitis: more about Hemochromatosis: more about Lyme Disease: See for privacy and opt-out information.

David Pinkus | Behind the Scenes of Dating with Chronic Illness
May 19 2020 53 mins  
Dating can be challenging under any circumstances, but chronic illness can add another level of complexity.  Many people have questions about when it’s appropriate to bring up the subject of chronic illness and what to share in a new relationship. This week Bonni and her fiancé, David Pinkus, discuss how they navigated dating early in their relationship. They talk about some of their challenges and how they've accommodated their differences in ability without having to sacrifice the things that are important to them. What You’ll Learn:The purpose behind this week’s episode (1:30)Bonni’s earlier experience of dating with chronic illness ( 2:09)David’s perspective on how Bonni handles her illness (9:20)The adaptations the couple makes to accommodate their differences in ability (11:20) The trials and tribulations of traveling with chronic illness (14:20)One thing that David finds most attractive about Bonni (17:35)The couple's feelings about Bonni having to use a cane (21:15)The qualities that David admires in Bonni (33:45)A little secret about this episode (40:20)Dating advice from Bonni to her fellow chronic illness warriors (50:09)Some Questions Bonni asks David:What were your thoughts when I first told you about my situation? (3:40)Do you think I should have shared about my chronic illness early on or should I have waited? (6:11)There are plenty of healthier women to choose from, why did you pick me and why do you stay? (6:55)Was there ever a time when it all seemed like too much? (9:01)What was the hardest thing for you to see me go through? (15:37) What have you learned about someone living with chronic illness that you didn’t know before we dated? (23:25)What advice would you give to someone who’s thinking about dating? (30:20)Do you see any benefits to dating someone with chronic illness? (36:25) Connect with Bonni:[email protected] See for privacy and opt-out information.

Dawn Hassmann | Finding my Voice
May 05 2020 53 mins  
EP. 003 The Chronically Courageous PodcastTitle: Dawn Hassmann | Finding my VoiceDawn Hassmann has had chronic health issues since the age of three. She was initially misdiagnosed, but, through self-advocacy, she found answers. Being diagnosed with multiple autoimmune conditions, she is dedicated to advocating for both herself and others as a leader of the Lupus LA support group.  In this episode, we hear about how early childhood trauma caused Dawn to feel as though she didn’t have a voice. She explains how pursuing an education in EFT Tapping, and later becoming a certified EFT practitioner, helped her manage her health and find her voice. You won’t want to miss Dawn’s inspiring story! What You’ll Learn:About The Chronically Courageous (0:01)What events and symptoms led Dawn to multiple autoimmune diagnosis (3:15)How Dawn refers to her conditions and why (7:32)The importance of being your own advocate (20:35)The link between autoimmune conditions and trauma (23:22) How Bonni benefited personally from EFT tapping (38:37)When Dawn’s autoimmune lab work came back normal and why she believes it did (42:30)Questions Bonni asks Dawn:How did you feel when you first got diagnosed? (9:25)How is Covid affecting you and how are you responding to differently than someone who hasn’t had chronic illness would? (13:41)What are the things you’ve done that have helped you? (16:43)How do you think going through this has changed you and what are some of the gifts you’ve received from it? (25:20)What advice would you give your younger self? (28:17) What is EFT tapping and what can it do for us? (30:30)Where can we learn more about tapping and reach you? (45:49) What makes you chronically courageous? (49:38) Connect with Dawn to learn more about EFT tapping[email protected]:// Dawn and mention The Chronically Courageous podcast for a discount on EFT Tapping. Connect with Bonni:[email protected]  See for privacy and opt-out information.

Yvette McCue | From Wheelchair to Walking
Apr 28 2020 51 mins  
Yvette McCue was working twelve hour days, while taking care of her ailing father and three children. It was in her nature to put everyone’s needs ahead of her own, until her health took a dramatic downward turn. The tables were then turned, as she was forced to rely upon a wheelchair for mobility and the help of her family and friends for basic daily needs. In this episode, we learn how Yvette found healing through a variety of modalities, including Qigong. She shares her inspiring story of transformation and her newfound purpose, as a certified Qigong instructor. We discuss how chronic illness changes one’s perspective and the gratitude she now has for things she was moving too fast to notice before. What You’ll Learn:About The Chronically Courageous (0:01)How Yvette began her healing journey (7:34)When Yvette started to see a shift toward healing (13:22)The importance of slowing down and pacing ourselves (18:20)The advice Yvette received on retraining her body to walk (19:08)The benefits of Qigong and Yvette’s upcoming class offerings (43:58)Questions Bonni asks Yvette:What was your life like before getting sick? (4:09)What did it take to finally get you to stop and realize that you needed to take care of yourself? (11:30)How do you feel like this chronic illness experience changed you? (21:40)How is your perception different about the Covid-19 pandemic? (24:49)Can you take us through how we can remain calm when anxiety hits? (30:33)What brings this new version of Yvette the most happiness and fulfillment? (33:57)What advice would you give your younger self before your chronic illness journey? (37:00)What are the biggest things that have helped you get to where you are now? (39:00)Besides Qigong, what other things have helped you to heal? (46:37)Are there any supplements that you take that you find helpful? (47:34)Connect with Yvette to learn more about and to sign up for her Qigong class.[email protected] with Bonni:[email protected] See for privacy and opt-out information.

Bonni Howard | From Dismissal to Diagnosis
Apr 21 2020 49 mins  
As someone who was told my symptoms were “all in my head” for over 40 years, I have so much empathy, compassion, and love in my heart for others who have been through a similar journey. I want to be a voice for people with chronic illness and rare diseases so that they feel more validated and better understood.The Chronically Courageous podcast will be a safe place where people can feel a sense of community and inspiration. The show will also provide resources for living more fully. I’m your host, Bonni Howard, and just like many of you listening to this podcast, I’ve lived with chronic pain and other life-altering symptoms from the time I was a child. I did my best to push through my pain. I became a mom, built a successful career, and led an active life until I could no longer ignore my symptoms. It took over 40 years, but I finally got my diagnoses and have spent the past five years learning to accept, embrace, and live the life I’ve been given with courage, passion, and purpose. My mission is to embrace and uplift those living with chronic illnesses and rare diseases, as well as their loved ones, so that we can all move toward a more fulfilled and happy life. In this first episode, I take the guest seat as my fiancé, David, takes over as host. I did this because I feel it’s important that you understand my journey, and why launching this podcast is so close to my heart. We discuss things such as the emotional toll of having chronic, rare illnesses, the importance of self advocacy, how my career aspirations were affected, and how I intend to use my experience to help others. I experience pain and a variety of other symptoms daily. That said, every moment of pain will have been worth it if I can use my experience to help you to feel supported, heard, validated, and put on a path to living your best life!I look forward to taking this journey with you and I will continue sending you love, happiness, and healing every step of the way.What You’ll Learn:About The Chronically Courageous (0:01)My journey with chronic illness and who this podcast is intended for (3:20)My primary symptoms and the secondary symptoms from lack of validation (10:47)My life now and the challenges of my journey (23:20)The conditions I’ve been diagnosed with (31:00)My perspective on COVID19 and the potential implications of contracting it (35:48)Why strength training is essential with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (43:25)Questions David asks:Why is a zebra the symbol of rare disease? (5:03)When did you start to experience symptoms of your illnesses? (6:15)When did you first feel heard and receive your first diagnosis? (13:44)What led up to that moment of pain you mentioned in the intro? (18:13)Bonni, who are you today? (29:38)Connect with Bonni:[email protected] See for privacy and opt-out information.

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