How to Advocate Well

for Your Health

Ep. 137 ft. Jessica Valant

“What you know about what you experience can really define how you walk through the world.”

Jessica Valant

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Bio

Jessica graduated from Regis University in Denver with her Master’s Degree in Physical Therapy in 2000. She received her Pilates training in
2001 through Polestar Pilates and is a Nationally Certified Pilates Teacher and PMA approved continuing education provider.

She has worked with thousands of clients of different backgrounds, ages, injuries and abilities, to help them reach their ultimate health goals.

Jessica is recognized as a leader in the Pilates industry. She has a successful YouTube channel, membership site and blog. She has been named a top 10 finalist in the 2015 Pilates Anytime Next Instructor Contest and a Creator on the Rise by YouTube and has been featured in Pilates Style Magazine (including as a cover model in 2020), Shape, Buzzfeed, Yoga Journal and Thrillest. She teaches popular workshops and courses to other health care professionals and Pilates instructors and is considered an expert in the women’s health arena.

Jessica and her husband, Brian, founded Momentum Fest, a three day Pilates and movement festival, in 2017 in order to create an inclusive, loving and fun place for all people to celebrate movement together.

She is married to her best friend and their days are spent in Denver wrangling two young kids, being in the sun, living their passion through work and drinking coffee.

Show Notes

Jessica is back on the Be It pod to share her health journey and to address the hard topics that many women feel but never speak about. Listen in to gain practical tips for addressing your next doctor’s appointment, how to advocate for yourself, and the importance of normalizing conversations about women’s health.

If you have any comments or questions about the Be It pod shoot us a message at [email protected]. Or leave a comment below!

And as always, if you’re enjoying the show please share it with someone who you think would enjoy it as well. It is your continued support that will help us continue to help others. Thank you so much! Never miss another show by subscribing at LesleyLogan.co/subscribe.

In this episode you will learn about:

  • Tips for getting the most out of your doctor appointments
  • Sharing is how we know we are not alone.
  • Why common should never be “normal”.
  • How Pelvic floor physical therapy can benefit you.
  • Find the person to listen to your story and give concrete action items.
  • Discover how to live your best life in the middle.

References/Links:

Transcript

INTRODUCTION

Lesley Logan
Hey, Be It babe, this is for you. This is, this interview is for you. I am so excited to bring back a guest. She’s one of my dearest, dearest friends, you’ll hear me introduce her. But also she is truly someone who is here to help with this subject. And something I’ve seen in my own health history and then also, in my clients that I work with, and the people that I coach, and my own family, just women around me is how many are going through a health struggle that no one knows anything about. And either they have not been able to find an answer, or it’s taken them years and years and years. And I know that every single one of you listening to this, is here on this planet to make a difference in the world. Like, truly. And even if you’re listening to this and say, “Lesley, I am not on a podcast. I’m not on social media. I’m not creating anything.” I don’t care. None of those things, those things make an impact for those that make an impact. Or you can make an impact with your neighbor, you can make an impact with somebody walking down the street that you smile at. And you help. Right? You, you you make more of an impact than you think. And especially if you are in line waiting for your kid at school, and you share something going on with you, health wise with someone who can then go, you too. So this conversation about. Jessica Valant is back. And we are here to talk about women’s health. And it’s because she has her own journey with it, I have a different journey. But there are so many moments in there that I just wanted to like pause and just like almost have the team rerun what she said. So feel free to pause and rewind. So you get that. Because it’s so important that you hear this episode. It’s so important. I say this later. And I will say it now because you need to hear it so many times. If you are not confident and comfortable having tough conversations with people in your life, then share this episode with them. So that you can start the conversation in a way that feels a little bit more like, “Hey, did you hear that? Hey, did you hear that?” I understand. It’s okay. I felt so weird in my life telling people was going on with me. I mean, literally, by the time people heard I was suffering, I was almost dying. That’s literally what the person who looked at my results on my test said, he’s like, “I don’t know how you’re here.” And it’s because part of the time I just stopped advocating for myself, and I was like, “Well, this is just gonna be the life I live.” And then I got frustrated with that. And I would start again, and then they would make it worse. And I got to a place where I was really not well. And I don’t know if I could have gone very many weeks longer like that. And so I’m so grateful for the different little angels that came in my life to make me feel like I wasn’t alone. And there were options. And so I really cannot wait for you to dive into this interview. And I’m gonna stop talking. So you can and please, please, please, please, please, please send this to a friend. So that we all start hearing that like some of the stuff that no one is talking about. Everyone is often going through or know someone who is. You can change the world. We can have bigger impacts, and help people solve their issues or at least have answers sooner if we stopped just keeping it to ourselves and not let anyone know because it’s embarrassing or or maybe we feel like we shouldn’t be going through that. So I love you. Here’s Jessica Valant.

Lesley Logan
Welcome to the Be It Till You See It podcast where we talk about taking messy action, knowing that perfect is boring. I’m Lesley Logan, Pilates instructor and fitness business coach. I’ve trained thousands of people around the world and the number one thing I see stopping people from achieving anything is self doubt. My friends, action brings clarity and it’s the antidote to fear. Each week, my guest will bring Bold, Executable, Intrinsic and Targeted steps that you can use to put yourself first and Be It Till You See It. It’s a practice, not a perfect. Let’s get started.

EPISODE

Lesley Logan
All right, Be It listeners, I’m so excited because I actually have one of our one of our original guests actually back here on the pod. I am so excited not only she’s a dear friend, and just a beautiful frickin human being. If you don’t already know her, you will see that as you get to know her. But she is such an advocate for women and their health. And I’m just excited to have her share that with you and help us all because I think our health as women can hold us back from a lot of things. And it can be not only frustrating, but embarrassing, and even taking away some confidence that we could have in this role. So Jessica Valant. Hello. Hi, friend. How are you?

Jessica Valant
You know what? Any excuse to talk to you? I’m great. I know. I know. I don’t know, people listening probably don’t know, it’s the end of Friday. For me. This is the end of my workday. It’s kind of early that I have to get the kids after this. And like there’s no better way to end my Friday than this and transfer into the weekend. It’s perfect.

Lesley Logan
Oh my god, I know. Anyways, agreed. I get to teach a Pilates workout after this. So (Jessica: Well, that’s fun too.) Still gonna be fun. It’s live. So people are there. And then I will do a happy hour with them. So. So it’s like you’re like you’re a part of the finale. It’s great. So Jessica, can you tell everyone a little bit about who you are? And even like your journey getting here with your health and things like that?

Jessica Valant
For sure. So, yes, my name is Jessica. I’ve been a physical therapist and a Pilates teacher for 20. I always have to look at the date and like what, like 22 years about, there abouts. I graduated from PT school in 2000. So I, I mean, to be honest, I never thought I would be in women’s health ever. Like it was not something I wanted. It wasn’t. I was like, I’m gonna work with athletes and orthopedic injuries, and I wanted to work with brain injuries.

So I had this whole different view of what my career would be, as we all do, probably usually. And then I, my first foray into my own issues happened early 2000s. And basically, I started going to the hospital with a lot of abdominal pain, I had every test under the sun. I mean, I was 24. And I had a colonoscopy, and I know you understand some of the stuff and ultrasounds and everything, and no one could figure out what it was. And I just knew I was in pain. And I didn’t know what was going on. I had a lot of back pain, I stopped PT. Anyway, finally, I had a doctor who said, “This might be endometriosis. Why don’t we go in and have surgery because it’s the only way to diagnose it.” So in 2005, I had surgery. And lo and behold, I woke up and they said, “Yes, you have an endometriosis. There is no cure for it. You’re going to have to manage it. And not sure if you want to have kids, but that’s gonna be really hard for you. And good luck.” And it kind of sent me on my way. So it was really my very first time of understanding that movement. And health had a whole different purpose other than how we looked, you know, other than, “Oh, I work out. So I can eat a doughnut tomorrow.” Like, that kind of was all put to the side in that, okay, if I want to manage this and not be defined by it, because as many women know, if you go on Dr. Google and try to find information, it’s pretty scary out there. They don’t understand women’s health. And there’s a lot of scary things. So I knew I didn’t want to be one of those stories, and that I wanted to do everything I could to not be defined by my diagnosis. So it started to change how I looked at a lot of different things and taking care of myself. And then along the way, I did I was able to have our daughter, and then I experienced severe prolapse after that. And then I went through IVF with our son, and then had prolapse surgery and two more endo surgeries and the hysterectomy. So along the way, I kind of realized, “Okay, universe, I’m pretty sure I’m in the women’s health field now.” Because (Lesley: Yeah.) this is what I know about. And you know, that’s just a whole other lesson, really in business and finding a niche, but what you know about what you experience can really define how you walk through the world. And (Lesley: Yeah.) that’s what it did for me, you know, having kids changed how I see the world and being a woman and experiencing healthcare and everything that comes with it good and bad. I remember sharing my first story and being really nervous. And I’m like, “I’ll write about endo.” And the response I got was just out of control. I couldn’t believe it. And still to this day, 90% of the messages I get are from women. Thank you for sharing about your prolapse. Thank you for taking my hysterectomy. No one does no one does. No one’s positive. And I just realized, okay, that’s, that’s really the road I’m gonna go down because it’s not talked about, and there’s not a positive outlet for people looking for answers. And so I realized it was a void, I could fill and I think it helped me heal as well along the way talking about it has always helped me heal. So I think it’s a combination of those things. And that’s where I am now.

Lesley Logan
Yeah, well, well, first of all, (Jessica: Yeah.) thank you for sharing that so that (Jessica: Yeah.) everyone could kind of be on can understand why you care and why this is such (Jessica: Yeah.) a passion for you. I mean, similarly, I had very interesting health issues where no one could know and I had a doctor say to me, “I think you have endometriosis. But I cannot tell you because of that of the surgery part.” And also, he said, “You’re on your parents health insurance. And I don’t want it to be a pre existing condition.” (Jessica: Yeah.) He said, “So don’t go looking for answers until you actually need them.” Which is like when your doctor is like, “Don’t do it, because there (Jessica: Yeah.) is no help for you. And then your insurance be more expensive.” (Jessica: Right.) Was … (Jessica: Right.) you know. And so

Jessica Valant
Right. It’s almost like our first limitation right away is insurance. And I know you even put this on your story the other day without getting into the details, but just talking about having to be an advocate for yourself for years. (Lesley: Yeah.) And it’s absolutely true that that is one thing I’ll say off the bat, it takes work to get answers for yourself. It takes work to be an advocate for yourself. Like I think both you and I would say that hands up, hands down. It’s going to take work, and it’s worth it. But it does you have to be willing to put your head down and learn a lot of terms you don’t want to know and get on the phone and a lot of things.

Lesley Logan
Yeah, yeah, I’ll share because I think it’s I I had an IUD because I needed to, then first so they couldn’t get my period to come back. So this is like how I did it. Because I couldn’t be on hormones. So thankfully a doctor, a lovely doctor along the way was like, “You had a blood clot because you can’t be on hormones. Like that’s where you’re at.” And so anyways, it put me on a copper IUD and then I couldn’t find anyone to get it out because they could and find it. And I even went to Planned Parenthood. And this is to knock that knock knock that I don’t want to knock them or anything like that. But like, I went somewhere thinking, “Oh, I’ll go there because my health insurance is not going to let me remove this on the same day appointment. So I’ll just go to them and they’ll be able to remove it.” And they couldn’t find it. And they said, “I had to get a referral to go to someone special.” And it really was me having to be an advocate so much that I actually had to hire someone to find me an appointment. I was like, I (Jessica: Yeah.) just, and I think I share that because like, it’s okay, if you have to find an advocate there are there (Jessica: Yeah.) actually are people out there who will help you but not, it’s important that we don’t let these obstacles get in our way. Because had you done had you let these obstacles get in your way. You not only would you not maybe have the kids that you have in the life you have, but like there’ll be a different story. And you wouldn’t be who you are. So like how, how hard was it to advocate for yourself? And like what, what one of the conversations you had to have yourself to get along the way?

Jessica Valant
I and those are such good questions. So for endo alone, it’s an average of seven years for a woman to get a correct diagnosis. And not that everyone has endo. But there. I say that to say that women’s health, reproductive health is there still a big mystery around it. Like we’re just now finding out research that endometriosis has a connection to hypermobility, which has a connection to anxiety, I mean that we know that they are connected. And so when your body is telling you something, listen, like that’s the first thing you can do is listen and write it down. Write it down so that you don’t start to feel like you’re a little bit crazy. Because we can feel that way ourselves like did I feel that? Did I not? Is it my period? Is it not as if there’s many things that could be. So start writing it down, like “Oh, my stomach hurt after that meal that was different.” Oh, this you know, whatever it is, I would say start writing it down for yourself. And so that you have it maybe to present for someone, but if nothing else, have it for yourself, listen, and just start to know if that feels right to you or not. And the first thing you do is really go to your doctor, I would go to the lowest barrier of entry, whoever it is, like you said, with insurance wherever you can go first and say, “I’m feeling these things. Tell me what this might mean.” Like just have a conversation. And that’s the first place you can go to see what might be next, you know, do they have an answer for you? How do you feel with that answer? It can take a year or two. So you have to be ready for one step at a time. But just make sure you’re talking to someone who’s listening to you. And if they’re not find someone else, because yes, that I mean, I remember seeing someone in college, had these weird growth legs and I saw a doctor and he said, “You’re probably getting drunk and falling down the stairs.” (Lesley: Oh …) What? And I went I went back home with my parents and saw my original pediatrician. He’s like, “No,” and he pulled out a medical book. He talked me through it. He’s like, “This is this weird thing you have,” which later I realized is kind of related to endo, I had didn’t have my endo diagnosis yet. So being a 20 year old, I just left that office crying and didn’t know what else to do. I’m like, “Well, that’s it. I don’t have anyone else to see.” So just knowing that you are important enough to be heard by somebody, and maybe it even takes a virtual appointment, you know, or something. But I think that’s the first thing is trying to create a way to listen to yourself and what your body’s telling you. Because a lot of us have never actually listened to our bodies. (Lesley: Yeah.) Or we have, we don’t listen in a positive way.

Lesley Logan
We excuse away. We are, “Oh, it’s because I ate that thing. It wasn’t really that thing. (Jessica: Yeah.) Oh, it’s because I’m not sleeping. And so I’m stressed out.” And I love I want to reiterate like I love that you said like write it down. This is really helpful for me with my stomach issues because I was able to say to a doctor who gave me some weird thing like that in the … Y’all, he said that I had he’s like, “Are you sure you don’t have body dysmorphia?” And I said, “I’m probably do now after (Jessica: Yeah.) 10 years of stomach issues, (Jessica: Thank you.) and (Jessica: Yeah.) my weight fluctuating up and down and not actually know what my actual body looks like.” Like I actually don’t even know what I suppose to look like. I said, “But I have pictures of what I look like in the morning and what I look like at night. So how, like, you can’t say that to me.” And he he sent me to the infectious disease unit to go get tested for AIDS. Like, an Ebola unit, everyone like that was a whole thing. And I was like, and the doctor said to me, she looked at me as a woman. And she said, “Do you know why you’re here?” And I said, “No, I think my doctor is giving up on me.” And she’s like, “Are you satisfied with your doctor?” And I’m like, “No, I’m not. I’m not satisfied.” But it was because I went to because I had all the stress. And that’s the thing like the stress of going to these doctors can be really can also exasperate (Jessica: That’s true. Yeah.) other issues. So having to go back to writing things down, because I had a log of when, like, what, how I felt in the morning and how I felt at night. And if it was different, I had like what I ate that day and then also when my period was and how that affected it. It allowed me to see what was more period related versus what was like actually happening when that wasn’t happening? So I couldn’t agree more. And yes, it’s effort. But there are things like otter.ai, my team will put the link in the in the show notes, y’all, you can literally walk and talk and it will just do it for you. (Jessica: Yeah.) Yeah.

Jessica Valant
Yes. Yeah, take the notes. And my other thing, I always tell every patient, women’s health or otherwise, take someone with you to the appointments, if you can. And I know we’re not always in this position whatsoever to do that. But if you can take a trusted friend, family member with you, when a lot of information is thrown at you, and especially when you’re the one it’s about, and so there’s some fear with it, you won’t hear everything. There it’s just impossible to and you’ll forget what to ask. You’ll forget your own symptoms that are a big deal. I mean, how do we all know best practitioners that we have seen clients are like, “Oh, by the way, like two days later, I forgot this major part of my health history that I should have told you …” You know we forget. So take someone with you, it will help. Practically not only to have someone to support you, but just practically it helps someone to start that journey to have another ear to listen and voice to speak.

Lesley Logan
Yeah, my first assistant, and if she’s listening, “Hi, Lindsay.” She actually created a course for us because now what she does is patient advocacy. And she actually talks to, she talks to doctors about how to be better with patients. And I hope I’m not vipping that Lindsay and then she also had, we actually have a course on Profitable Pilates on how to be an advocate for people because as teachers as even a Physical Therapist, our clients do. And I know everyone listening is not a teacher, but like you have fa… if you have people in your life, they say things to you. And they say I don’t want to do that they’re gonna let me do this. But I don’t want to take any pain meds because I don’t want to do that. It’s important that they either write that down, that’s what she said, write it down, then they can take it to the doctor and say, okay, and a script, they want to put me on pain meds. Is there an alternative way that doesn’t include pain meds, or having someone there to say, “Hey, remember, you mentioned something. Is there, is there another alternative to pain meds?” They don’t want to be on them, because they’re worried about this? Like, it’s that kind of so she actually taught us how to help our clients be their own advocate, or in the case that we might be able to advocate, like, what that would look like. And so it really is as simple as like, if someone around you is complaining that you know, you’ve been said that a lot. So let’s write that down. So next time you see your doctor, you can talk about it. So you don’t forget.

Jessica Valant
Absolutely. Yes. I think that’s and I would say those are the three biggest things. Yeah, write things down. Find someone to be some kind of support system for you, hopefully, in the appointments if you can. And then also, don’t be afraid to be the squeaky wheel. Like that’s the biggest thing, do not walk out of that doctor’s appointment until you have your questions answered. They are there for you. And they will also try to rush out, not on them. But they’re trying to see 30 people so that they get enough insurance payment to pay their bills. That’s the way insurance and medicine works. So not anything bad on the doctors, but it’s what they do. They’re trying to rush out. But if you ask them questions, they cannot rush out. So have your list of questions in addition to your notes, write them all down, and go down the list. And don’t let them walk out of that room until you’ve asked all your questions. If you think of one the next day, call the office, talk to the nurse. There’s a lot of great medical stuff online now where you can talk to your doctor and leave them questions. So be (Lesley: Yeah.) the squeaky wheel because that’s the only way you’ll get answers, honestly.

Lesley Logan
Yeah, you’re you’re so correct on that. And you know, there is a push for them to say to stop calling us patients and start calling us clients. (Jessica: Yeah.) Because that’s what we are, you paid whether you pay your is, you pay your insurance, you pay your copay, you paid. And so as a client, you know, there’s just, it allows us to not that I wanted any doctors listen, I’m not trying to knock anything that you do, you went to a lot of schooling, but also like to, because of that way, it’s seen as a hierarchical, they’re in the white coat. I’m down here, I don’t know anything. They’re super smart. We do, especially as women, we don’t want to be disruptive, we don’t want to actually take up too much of their time. We don’t want to take up too much of the space in the room. We don’t want to be seen as crazy or hormonal or any of the things that have any thing about that that could be negative about us. So we tend to put them way higher up and then not actually stand up for ourselves.

Jessica Valant
Yep. 100% 100% you have to. It’s your body. Yeah, it’s your body. It’s your life. You have to live with it. And that is exactly what women think. And and that’s, that is the way it is, it’s brushed off many many times and so you do you have to you have to be willing to put in the work and be listened to. (Lesley: Yeah.) And that you matter, you have to know you matter.

Lesley Logan
Like that could be the like whole mic drop off the podcast. Was there anything, you know, Jessica, you, you have been a Physical Therapist for 22 years. And you were I know running your own business at the time. Like, was there anything when you’re going through this health stuff that like was did it keep you from doing other things? Did it keeps you from showing up in your life in any way? Or was it like kind of something you just learned how to balance?

Jessica Valant
I think some of both, especially some of the emotional part, like I can look back, and there are really specific times that I had to sneak into a client room and close the door. And I was having stomach cramps, so bad on the ground and didn’t know why. And I had to hide until I could pull it together. So they’re really concrete times like that. And then times I was recovering from surgery that I would be teaching and tell everyone, “Hey, I can’t demonstrate that move for six months. Just so you know, but this is what you’re gonna do.” And then there was a lot of emotional baggage, I think with it, especially during the IVF stuff that I and I just constantly knew. And I think this is a lesson maybe I learned a long time ago. And we all do it. Like, as a women, we all try to right, hide it and be like, “I’m fine. I’m fine.” So there was that probably not a good part. But also, I did always walk in every time I walked into my day, I thought, they don’t need my problems like my clients. That’s not why they’re here at all. So I didn’t really talk about it. And and I didn’t share it at the time, and I tried to hold it back. And now, it’s been really interesting with my career different and having a chance to talk about all of it, because it is on video and podcasts and blogs. How many people relate to it? I think, gosh, there’s got to be a halfway point that we do you share. Because it’s the only way other people know they’re not alone. Because (Lesley: Yeah.) like you said at the beginning women’s issues can be win, really embarrassing. I mean, I put out a video about sex after hysterectomy. And again, so many DM saying, “Thank you, thank you. I’m so embarrassed, it hurts. I don’t know what to expect.” Incontinence, you know, is a big one, there are a lot of embarrassing things. So the more we can find a way to share in whatever way is natural for us. Not everyone needs to put it out in a blog post, but sharing with anyone, even just your friend down the street or a mom at pickup, it makes all of us realize we’re not so alone.

Lesley Logan
Well, and I think like I hid my stomach issues for years. And most people just thought I was getting skinnier. And I would wear like I would start the day and the tank top. And then I end the day with a sweatshirt and so no one saw, they were just like, “Oh, it’s cold in here.” You know, but then when I finally solved the problem, I started sharing it. And also because like I was actually absorbing nutrition. So I started to look like a person who wasn’t walking around dying. People were like, “Oh, I feel that I have that. I have those same pains.” And then I was like, well, crap, like, was I me not sharing was I holding people back from getting help sooner. Or even me getting help sooner. You know, and so, so it’s not like, we should all be taking medical advice from our friends. But like, at least at least with people around you just sharing like, “Hey, you know, I’m a little, today I’m a little I’m not going to be demonstrating because I’ve got some stomach stuff.” Like just saying it, just so people can go, “Oh, yeah,” like, even if they just like becomes a little more natural to share. Like it’s okay to have something weird going on. (Jessica: Right, right.) That, so it’s not weird. And so that is (Jessica: Yeah.) just part of life. And then maybe doctors can actually figure out why the heck, someone that are super stressed and causing themselves not to sleep, and not go through my dis… digestion or anything else. And especially with IVF like, I had so many clients going through that. And I knew their struggle because I had to, but their friends didn’t know. And so when they would lose babies they wanted they I’m the only person who knows. And I was like this is this can this is thank you. But I You need to have other people in your life who can support you through this. (Jessica: Yeah.) And they just the whole tradition of not telling anyone is there and that made it really hard. So I think like, I think it is important, even if you even if you just tell one other woman in your life what’s going on just so that they can either maybe they know another woman who’s going through the same thing. Or I know I’m so grateful for my girlfriends. Who are a little bit older who are hitting like menopause and they’re like telling you what’s going on and like, “What? I wasn’t told that. No one told me that. (Jessica: Yeah.) When this is gonna happen in my life?”

Jessica Valant
Yep, Yeah. Exactly. Yeah. (Lesley: I’m like …) Just this morning.

Lesley Logan
When is it … Was I supposed to get a magazine in the mail? You know, like ARP? Was that supposed to happen … (Jessica: Yeah. I know.)How would I have this information.

Jessica Valant
I know. I was just talking to Brian about perimenopause this morning. It was so hot. And I’m like, “Oh my gosh, because I’m never hot. Like, what’s happening? Is this happening? This was happening. What’s happening?” And honestly, to be able to laugh about it, too, is so nice because I don’t know, maybe it’s our mom’s generation, you know, something. It was hidden. It was embarrassing. It was like, oh, that hidden thing. I don’t know what that is, I don’t know what’s even happening. But like, we’re all getting older. I mean I’m 44. We’re all getting older, we’re not getting younger. And so it’s really nice to walk with people who I love and admire and support and like, “Oh, we can talk about this and laugh and I’m still me.” Like, I am still me. And every woman who comes to me if you’ve had a prolapse, if your bladder is literally hanging out, if you have to pee your pants, when you jump rope, you’re still you. You’re still a beautiful, empowered human being and you’re still strong, like nothing changes that it’s only society that’s told us otherwise. (Lesley: Yeah.) So yeah, to have people to laugh with, I think, is important.

Lesley Logan
Yeah. So I hope as you’re listening as you’re grabbing your girlfriends, and like, maybe he just like, “Hey, can we just share a little bit?” Because I even like, even just like even reading your stories in your posts, I’m like, “Oh, oh, I actually, you know, I can’t jump rope right now. Why can’t I jump rope?” Like I don’t. Like I would go to a gym and they put jump roping. And I’m like, “Oh, I’ll do. I could do ice skater.” So I like an ice skate. But like the actual act of jumping rope. (Jessica: Oh, yeah.) And so I was like, that’s so interesting. I didn’t know that that was a bad, like, not a bad thing. But like a thing I should be concerned about at my age. So then I like went and did some research, and I went and did some exercises. And now, when my hair bun is not in, I can jump rope ,you know. So like, I think it’s, um, I think it’s just, it’s so interesting that we’re all disposed to go through life. And like, keep all these things and like this, in this picture, that everything is fine, everything is perfect, everything is wonderful. When all that does is actually make all of us feel a little bit more like an imposter and a little bit more held back. And, and because we’re not telling people it is holding us back in our career. Those are, those are hours and days that you would like had to be at work longer, or you are like, even there, there were things that I did not sign up for, like when I was in the modeling and commercials, I would tell my agents, I have to do gigs that are in the morning. If they’re in the evening, I can’t promise I’ll be the size they hired. (Jessica: Yeah.) You know, and those things are like, that was that was a another layer of stress and feeling like I wasn’t good enough. And maybe I should just quit this. So you know, it’s a lot.

Jessica Valant
For sure. And I think too, we’re told, especially by doctors and medical community, we’re told that things are normal, like, you know, like, oh, I’m peeing some after I give birth. That’s normal. Well, it hurts with sex like I endometriosis pain with sex can be a really big symptom. And I remember before my surgery is telling my doctor and she’s like, “Yeah, it’s too bad. You just need to take some Advil before you have sex every time.” Like, really like I was 22. I’m like, “Really? That that’s what I need to do. Okay.” So we’re kind of told all these things, or you’re a woman that’s normal. And I tell people it’s not. It’s common, yes, like, don’t feel crazy. This is very common, actually. Incontinence all of that is very common. Don’t for a second think it’s normal, and you just have to live with it. Because it is not none of those conditions are normal. There are so many things we can do for it and pelvic floor physical therapy and exercise and so many things. So yes, it’s common. Don’t feel like there’s anything wrong with you. You didn’t do anything wrong to get to this point. But don’t just let doctor said, “That’s normal.” And leave. There are answers.

Lesley Logan
Jessica, that is like amazing. I really hope you all heard that because I think that that there is that word normal that is used in place of common. And if they were to say this is common, and if it is something that is bothering you and holding you back from being a human being, we should look for more options for you. And that is we had Dr. Celeste Holbrook on. She’s a sexologist, and her she waited till she got married. She’s in the purity culture and they had sex and it was miserably painful. And she’s like, “Well, it was the first time.” So they needed to get in for a year. It was painful. And her doctors response was, “We’ll get pregnant and then it will stretch out. And then …”

Jessica Valant
Yeah, and they would never tell a man that.

Lesley Logan
No. And that infuriated me so much because and then the irony is when she did get pregnant they had have his C section because she yeah, she had two, she had twins with C section so it wouldn’t have worked anyways, and (Jessica: Yeah.) she’s like, she’s like these that was so wrong, because responsibility is like the thing that keeps you from wanting to have sex so then I wouldn’t have been having sex anyway. So but she you know that that happened to to her and I hear these things that they say and they my girlfriend was was trying to get pregnant and I knew they were struggling. And I said, “Oh, has he gone to the doctor to get checked?” And they said, “Oh, my doctors don’t want him to this is waste his sperm, they like don’t.” And I’m like, “What? They, is not? They don’t have, we have, we have a limited amount.” (Jessica: Yeah, it’s us.) No. Homeboy can go put it in there and the thing and they can test it, it’s not hard. (Jessica: It is enough.) And it’s going to be, you’re gonna still have an amazing baby. But there’s good sperm and like, it gets older, like, I was, like, so frustrated by that. She’s like, “I know, but that’s what they said.” I said, “I don’t care. He can go make an appointment. He doesn’t need a referral. He can just go.” Like, so it’s so frustrating to me, that there’s always a responsibility on us. And then also, there’s this, oh, well, it’s normal. And, you know, it can take some time. And, and so I just I think it’s, it is hard. I know you all are listening to this, and you have so many other things on your plate. And being an advocate for your own health is a whole thing. But it is essential, not just for you, but for every other woman around you that comes because you can help pave the way. You can help find the doctors and it can be from just simply asking someone, “Hey, I’m looking for another Dr. X. Do you have a recommendation?” When I moved to Vegas, we have to find all new everything. Right? And so I literally found someone who I was like, “Oh, I get along with her well.” And so I said, “Who do you go to? And like, do you feel heard when you go there?” And she’s like, “Oh, here’s my list.” Like gave me her whole list. And so I could go down that list and figure out like, “Do I like this person?” … It at least helps like narrow (Jessica: Yeah.) down the search.

Jessica Valant
Yep, for sure. And if you need to start somewhere, I actually recommend pelvic floor physical therapy. If you’re having any of these things, if you’re having pain with sex, incontinence, pelvic floor pain, dialysis repti, if you’re postpartum, any of that kind of stuff prolapse. At a lot of times, you can go without even having to see your doctor. So call your PCP or call your OBGYN. Say I’d like to go see a pelvic floor physical therapist. And honestly, sometimes you don’t even need referrals, it just depends on your state and your insurance. And if you’re even using insurance, and sometimes you only need one or two visits with a good pelvic floor physical therapist, but they are going to be able to give you some good information, and they have the time to listen to you. And they’ll check it all out. And that can be a really good team member to then send you to the next place. (Lesley: Yeah.) So I think that’s a good start. If you already have a diagnosis, and you’re just kind of at a loss for answers, and you just want to talk through things. There’s some great virtual options where you don’t even have to leave your house. Like this week, I probably had saw four people and I think they were all women’s health and a lot of it is just I was told I have this I don’t know what to do. I live in hour from a doctor, I was told I can’t exercise is that true? And we just talk for an hour and give them a plan. And then sometimes I don’t even have to see them again. So just having someone yet (Lesley: Yeah.) you can talk your story, someone’s listening and can give you a few really concrete action items that can help to.

Lesley Logan
Well, and first I’ve never met like a pelvic floor therapist who doesn’t like freaking love what they do. Like (Jessica: Yeah.) they love me … that’s that’s a very specialized thing and they go into that. And and that you’re right. They they do listen. Also because when you go to that person for those one of those reasons, or just wondering if it’s one of those reasons, they’ve seen so many people that they get to like, look back and go, “Oh yeah, I’ve actually had a patient with similar things.” And here’s like, you just like it’s not when you go to a PCP your Primary Care Physician. They see a lot of people that a lot of things. (Jessica: Yeah.) So when you go to someone who’s a little bit more specialized in the thing, it’s a little bit easier to get to your answer or some some some sort of path to a solution (Jessica: Yeah.) that works for you. Yeah, I love that suggestion. Oh, my gosh, Jessica, you are a wealth of knowledge on this topic. And we could keep going because there’s so many different parts of women’s health that we could talk about, but I really am grateful that you let me open up this conversation for our listeners, because they’re all women mostly. I mean, there might be a few good men in there and thank you, but they probably have women in their life. So hopefully you send this to them. And I think the more we can talk about it and normalize, talking about our health, I just see the world being in a much better place for our daughters and kids don’t like all my friends daughters, like I like envy the world that they’ll live in (Jessica: Yeah.) with all that information. We’re gonna take a brief pause and then find out where people can find out, how they can follow you, get to know you more. So one quick second.

Okay, Jessica, where do you like to hang out on the gram? Where can people go for more information to work with you?

Jessica Valant
I’m Jessica Valant Pilates everywhere. Instagram, my websites, Jessica Valant Pilates, and then YouTube and I have a ton of resources actually about all of this prolapse, hysterectomy, endometriosis. You can find it on my website, a lot of free resources there. Or you can honestly just go to YouTube to my YouTube channel. If you search anything, I’ll have a lot of videos there where I talk about all my experiences, and hysterectomy surgeries and prolapse surgeries, and all of that stuff.

Lesley Logan
Thank you. (Jessica: Yeah.) And bold, executable, intrinsic or targeted action steps people can take to be till they see it. What do you think?

Jessica Valant
I think and it’s a great question, especially as related to women’s health. I think I’ve been thinking a lot about the middle meaning like we try always to strive to be the best, whether it’s releasing a video, because that’s our job, or whether it’s to feel our best, I’m gonna feel 100% whatever it is, and we sometimes don’t do anything until we think we’re gonna get right to that 100%. Like, we don’t release something unless we think it’s perfect. We don’t, you know, do a workout until we feel 100% better. And that’s just not life, most of the time, like most of the time, we’re living somewhere in the middle, we’re not the worst, but we’re not usually 100% the best. So how can you live your best life in that middle space. And that’s where we all are. And so if it is as related to women’s health, just know that you are important, what you have to say is important, what you feel is important, and you should feel 100%. Like you should be able to get to that place, it just takes day to day action. And it takes a plan and it takes you to believe in yourself and be an advocate to get there. But you can but most of the time is spent in that middle. So take the time to know that this is your journey. And it’s okay to have this journey. And there’s a lot of good that can come out of it. And then one day at a time, the process will get you where you want to go.

Lesley Logan
So I love that you bring up the middle because everything is like the middle, there’s actually a piece of art that Brené Brown talked about on a podcast, I heard her on at least a decade ago at this point. And she said there’s a piece of art, and it’s like has like a start. And then it says the middle, the middle, the middle, the middle, the middle, the middle, the middle, the middle, and it just keeps going until the very bottom is the end. And so like really, we’re all trying to get to 100% but like that’s, that’s actually like, yes, that’s great. And there are gonna be days when you feel that way and I woke up this morning going, “Today’s gonna amazing. Why don’t I wake up every morning like this.” (Jessica: Yeah.) But also like, how do you find a middle where you can like live in that and thrive in that and enjoy that so that you’re not constantly looking for the finish line. Yeah.

Jessica Valant
Exactly. Like endometriosis. It’s not, I can’t heal it. I can’t fix it. But my golly I can have an amazing fulfilling strong life right in the middle of it. And that’s what I’m going to do.

Lesley Logan
Thank you for being you. Thank you for being here. (Jessica: Thank you.) I love you so much. Everyone, how are you going to use these tips? How are you going to use what she talked about? What are your takeaways? We want to hear about them. Please tag @jessicavalantpilates and the @be_it_pod and do us a massive favor, do all the women in your life a massive favor. Share this. You know what? You’re uncomfortable having this conversation right from where you are in your life, that is fine. That is completely normal. But even just sharing it so that you know your friends listening to it and then maybe it’s a little easier to talk about it that is going to change lives around you and for generations to come. So let us know how are you going to use this and until next time, Be It Till You See It.

Lesley Logan
That’s all I’ve got for this episode of the Be It Till You See It podcast! One thing that would help both myself and future listeners is for you to rate this show and leave a review. And, follow or subscribe for free wherever you listen to podcasts. Also, make sure to introduce yourself over at the @be_it_pod on Instagram! I would love to know more about you. Share this episode with whoever you think needs to hear it. Help us help others to BE IT TILL YOU SEE IT. Have an awesome day!

Lesley Logan
‘Be It Till You See It’ is a production of ‘As The Crows Fly Media’.

Brad Crowell
It’s written, produced, filmed and recorded by your host, Lesley Logan and me, Brad Crowell. Our Associate Producer is Amanda Frattarelli.

Lesley Logan
Kevin Perez at Disenyo handles all of our audio editing.

Brad Crowell
Our theme music is by Ali at APEX Production Music. And our branding by designer and artist, Gianfranco Cioffi.

Lesley Logan
Special thanks to our designer Jaira Mandal for creating all of our visuals (which you can’t see because this is a podcast) and our digital producer, Jay Pedroso for editing all video each week so you can.

Brad Crowell
And to Angelina Herico for transcribing each of our episodes so you can find them on our website. And, finally to Meridith Crowell for keeping us all on point and on time.

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