Jodi Ettenberg

is creating articles & videos to help people better understand chronic pain.

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Bob

reward item
reward item
$5
per month
BOB THE BLUEBIRD.
You love bluebirds, and want to support me while learning more about chronic pain. You'll get: 
  • Access to prior and future Patreon updates.
  • Your name on the Patreon thank you page on Legal Nomads.
  • EARLY ACCESS to Legal Nomads details and news.
  • Shorter update videos about progress on the podcast and redesign, and anything else going on in the Legal Nomads universe.
  • VOTING! Ability to vote on future topics for me to cover in a podcast episode once I launch.
  • Monthly video or audio AMAs on Patreon. You can submit questions about life, travel, health, and more that I will answer!
  • Supporting me at a time where I’m physically unable to work as I used to.
  • A thank you image of your tier bird, Bob.
  • This is a general support Patreon campaign. Tiers have equal access to locked posts and benefits. I appreciate any support you can offer!

Fiona

reward item
reward item
$10
per month
FIONA THE ROBIN. 
You love robins, and want to support me while learning more about chronic pain. You'll get:
  • Access to prior and future Patreon updates.
  • Your name on the Patreon thank you page on Legal Nomads.
  • EARLY ACCESS to Legal Nomads details and news.
  • Shorter update videos about progress on the podcast and redesign, and anything else going on in the Legal Nomads universe.
  • VOTING! Ability to vote on future topics for me to cover in a podcast episode once I launch.
  • Monthly video or audio AMAs on Patreon. You can submit questions about life, travel, health, and more that I will answer!
  • Supporting me at a time where I’m physically unable to work as I used to.
  • A thank you image of your tier bird, Fiona.
  • This is a general support Patreon campaign. Tiers have equal access to locked posts and benefits. I appreciate any support you can offer!

Arthur

reward item
reward item
$25
per month
ARTHUR THE RAVEN.
You love ravens, and want to support me while learning more about chronic pain. You'll get:
  • Access to prior and future Patreon updates.
  • Your name on the Patreon thank you page on Legal Nomads.
  • EARLY ACCESS to Legal Nomads details and news.
  • Shorter update videos about progress on the podcast and redesign, and anything else going on in the Legal Nomads universe.
  • VOTING! Ability to vote on future topics for me to cover in a podcast episode once I launch.
  • Monthly video or audio AMAs on Patreon. You can submit questions about life, travel, health, and more that I will answer!
  • Supporting me at a time where I’m physically unable to work as I used to.
  • A thank you image of your tier bird, Arthur (also the Legal Nomads mascot!).
  • This is a general support Patreon campaign. Tiers have equal access to locked posts and benefits. I appreciate any support you can offer!

274

patrons

About Jodi Ettenberg

In 2017 after almost a decade of building a business and community focused on exploration and curiosity all around the world, a spinal tap derailed my life and left me with a chronic cerebrospinal fluid leak, and disabled.

Supporting my Patreon helps support me during this new stage of my life, at a time when I am unable to work like I used to. It also allows me to share resources about chronic pain, since almost everyone either knows someone in pain, or is experiencing it themselves. Through the thoughtful questions of my Patrons that I answer via video, and my own articles sharing what I've learned in navigating my disabilities and making my living space more accessible, I hope to help people understand pain—and how to cope with it— better.

Where It Began: From Lawyer to Travel and Food Writer

My business started out as a website, Legal Nomads, built in 2008 just before I set out on what I thought would be a one year trip around the world. It was meant to be a whimsical space to share my misadventures during a sabbatical from the law.

That one year turned into several, and the whimsical site organically turned into a creative and professional journey. It was beyond exciting to build something that allowed me to learn as much as possible every day, and share a view of the world that hopefully helped others to grow with me. At the same time, it was also full of entrepreneurial uncertainty as I floated further and further away from my legal background.

I love writing, and that's part of what helped me take the leap. I would continue to write even if no one was reading. But thankfully, people did read. Over time, Legal Nomads flourished and was featured in newspapers and magazines, and I moved into public speaking about community-building and the neuroscience of storytelling.

For over a decade, I travelled around the world full time, guided by insatiable curiosity and my appetite. I researched eating as a celiac in Portugal, Thailand, Japan, and elsewhere, building gluten free guides for those who wanted to follow in my footsteps, and detailed celiac translation cards in a dozen languages. I spent quite a few of those years in Vietnam, and the latter part of the decade in Oaxaca, Mexico — both to learn, share, and hopefully help readers navigate the world differently through food, even with celiac disease. I kept the site ad-free and without pop-ups or sponsored text links, focusing income instead on products I built that readers asked for, like a book about food, hand-drawn maps of (you know it…) food, and guides to some of my favourite places to eat in and visit.

Patreon: A Means to Support, and to Educate

Initially, my community asked me to set up a Patreon to help support me during this very difficult time where I couldn't work like I used to. Over time, it's become a place to share thoughts and resources to help people better understand chronic pain. This includes how to discuss pain with someone you care about, ways to help, and the nitty gritty of adjusting to a very different life. With your support, I hope keep at communicating, sharing, teaching, and learning to the extent I can.

With limited capacity for output these days, being able to continue creating is a huge percentage of what keeps me afloat mentally.

Becoming a Patreon will directly contribute to:
  • Funding my operating costs so that I can keep my websites, mailing lists, and projects afloat, including a sound engineer to help edit videos and audio, artists I hire to create illustrations to accompany my writing, and more.
  • Supporting me so I can write more pieces on Legal Nomads about the journey from these last years. 
  • Supporting articles about tips and strategies to learn how to cope when in grief, or when life goes very differently than you had planned.
  • Helping me convert my blog posts about chronic illness into audio form in order to make them more accessible to others (I will work with a sound engineer to do this)
  • General support for me as I navigate this new, limited, way of life.
What about you?
Given my limitations, I made this a support-only Patreon. I’ve offered three tiers of general support with the same level of access and benefits. I don’t want to promise something I can’t deliver to you, so I’d rather give full access and add tiers if my health allows.

Here's what you can expect with your tier pledge:
  • Your name on the Patreon thank you page on Legal Nomads.
  • Early access to podcast details, Legal Nomads site redesign, and news.
  • Ability to vote on future episode topics for my podcast, once it is launched.
  • Monthly video or audio AMAs on Patreon, as my health allows. Questions can be about travel, about my conditions, about pain, or anything else on your mind.
  • Supporting me with a stable income at a time where I’m physically unable to work as I used to.
  • A thank you hand-drawn image of your tier bird, one of Bob, Fiona, or Arthur.

Currently Disabled: A CSF Leak and Other Chronic Conditions

I wanted to share a bit more about my prognosis, for those who may be interested in understanding it better.

In 2017, a spinal tap led to a cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak, which causes me incredible pain when I am standing up. I am left with very little ‘uptime’, the standing time required to live my days. CSF is a liquid that bathes and supports the brain and spinal cord, protected by a membrane that keeps the CSF where it’s supposed to be. When there is a hole in that membrane, the CSF seeps out – a CSF leak. 

What does this CSF leak in my spine do? For starters, it means that every time I stand, the low CSF volume causes my brain to painfully ‘sag’. It also leads to other symptoms like dizziness, nausea, nerve pain, blurred vision, and impaired balance.

I went from building a business I loved while traveling the world, to spending 23 hours of my day in bed. 

The fix for a spinal CSF leak is a blood patch, where they inject blood into your epidural space and it seals the leak site. For some, surgery. Some people have chronic CSF leaks where the procedures do not stick for a variety of reasons. I am one of those people.

I had four procedures, but I am still leaking. I have not yet returned for a fifth procedure due to other complications, which sadly make the treatment even more risky for me.

These complications include nerve damage in my spine, a connective tissue disorder called Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (I wrote about it here), and an immune condition called Mast Cell Activation Disorder that has required me to limit my life even further, including the foods that I can consume. So not only can I not stand much, or work much, but I’m also very limited in what I can eat. All this to say: I may be the worst food and travel writer ever?

Jokes aside, my day to day is a remarkably sharp contrast to what it was. As you can imagine, it’s a stark difference, and has required a lot of effort during the last few years just to accept and adjust my mindset to the limitations of my present.

Still, I am here today, knowing that human connection is part of what sees us through. And although my physical mobility may now be severely limited, the curiosity that led to a life of travel and exploration around the world is still here. It guides me now on an inward journey, one that has already connected me to you, my community, in new and deeper ways.

It also fuels my desire to keep researching innovative ways to approach pain with my conditions, and with your help, to keep sharing those findings with the world. 

___

Many of you have asked how you can help support me since the spinal CSF leak changed my life.

If you’ve enjoyed my soup recommendations, my years of ad-free writing on Legal Nomads, or want to see the podcast through, this is the best way to provide support today. I would be honoured for you to join this new Patreon community.

If you're a new reader or found this page via my writing about chronic pain, I hope this community helps support you and provide strategies that make life a little bit easier.

With your help, I hope to continue sharing the work you love, that hopefully helps you feel less alone.
xo,
Jodi
By becoming a patron, you'll instantly unlock access to 18 exclusive posts
23
Images
1
Link
3
Writings
4
Videos
By becoming a patron, you'll instantly unlock access to 18 exclusive posts
23
Images
1
Link
3
Writings
4
Videos

Recent posts by Jodi Ettenberg

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