on-air advocate, Tammy Flynn, Lunch and Learn with Dr. Berry, Dr. Berry Pierre

LLP 143: Caring for the Caregivers with Tammy Flynn

Let's talk about Caring for Caregivers

On this week's episode of the Lunch and Learn with Dr. Berry we have Tammy Flynn, a single mother of four who is passionate about helping individuals find a voice as a champion for their loved ones, especially within the medical and educational systems.
She is the host of the On-Air Advocate Podcast which helps to educate, support & empower all those with different abilities, mental & medical illness & caregivers.

We talk all about taking care of our loved ones, our family members & friends but I always stress that the most important person to take care of is yourself. This episode we talk about Tammy's passion to help those who usually put themselves last to help everyone else.

Text LUNCHLEARNPOD to 44222 today or sign up at www.listentodrberry.com to join the mailing list.

Remember to subscribe to the podcast and share the episode with a friend or family member.

Listen on Apple PodcastGoogle PlayStitcherSoundcloudiHeartRadioSpotify



Social Links:

If you are looking to help the show out

  • Leave a Five Star Review on Apple Podcast because your ratings and reviews are what is going to make this show so much better
  • Share a screenshot of the podcast episode on all of your favorite social media outlets & tag me or add the hashtag.#lunchlearnpod

Download Episode 143

[showhide type=””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””post”””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””” more_text=””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””Episode 143 Transcript…”””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””” less_text=””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””Show less…””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””] Introduction Dr. Berry: Hey guys. Welcome to another episode of the Lunch and Learn with Dr. Berry. I'm your host, Dr. Berry Pierre, your favorite Board-Certified Internist. Founder of drberrypierre.com, as well the CEO of Pierre Medical Consulting. Helping you empower yourself for better health with the number one podcast for patient advocacy, affirmation and education. This week we bring you another amazing guest, Tammy Flynn, who is one who have, I've actually been a guest on a podcast a few times. So I am excited to be able to return a favor. And she is one who where I really wanted to get on to talk about the aspect of the importance of a caregiver and really just seeing the amount of growth that Tammy has done over the past couple of years since I've been following her has been absolutely truly amazing. Because you could tell in her heart her goal is to really empower others. Especially those who may have mental disabilities, medical disabilities, to get them to that next level. So I'm definitely excited for today's guest. I want to read quick little bio of hers. She's a networker, motivator, change maker, a serial entrepreneur advocate and philanthropists who never stops. As she is passionate about helping individuals find a voice as a champion for their loved ones, especially within the medical and educational systems. As a single mother of four, Tammy has been a caregiver for more than two decades and has recently redesigned her business and her life to continue caring for adult son with special needs. Pulling from decades of experience as a caregiver business owner, she formed the on-air advocate to educate, support and empower all those with different abilities, mental and medical illnesses and their caregivers. Since she started her career at the age of 15. Tim has lodge and run more than four businesses, absolutely amazing, including direct sales, beauty products, a salon and spa and events company. She is a committed volunteer; we love volunteers here on Lunch and Learn community. She has helped raise more than half a million dollars for the children's hospital, Wisconsin and make a wish foundation. Organizational talents, energy and resourcefulness have brought recognition from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the state of Wisconsin, radio station 99, WMYX, the county of Waukesha, city of New Berlin and Brookfield chamber of commerce. Ladies and gentlemen, please take the time out and get ready for another amazing episode here with Tammy Flynn on Lunch and Learn with Dr. Berry. Episode Dr. Berry: Alright, Lunch and Learn community. You just heard another amazing introduction for a podcast guest that I've been waiting to get on the show. Guys, you know I love highlighting people who are doing amazing things and this week is no different. Tammy Flynn, you heard the bio. Tammy, thank you for coming onto the Lunch and Learn this week with Dr. Berry. Tammy Flynn: Thank you for having me. I've been waiting too. I just had to get well enough caring for the caregiver. Remember getting back… Dr. Berry: And I think that's what's so important and we're going to talk about that during this episode. Because a lot of times when we are the caregiver, when we're the ones taking care of people, a lot of times we put ourselves in the back burner. So I was definitely happy that you realize like, no, I need to make sure I am right for myself so I can give you the best interview I can. Tammy Flynn: Right. Exactly. Dr. Berry: So for those who sped through bio, sped to the introduction, and they read it. Who is Tammy? So tell them something that may not even be in your bio, but you want people to walk away from this episode now. Tammy Flynn: Who is Tammy Flynn? Well, I always like to say that I'm the proud mother of four. I know, I think it says that in my bio. I don't know if it tells you that I'm the grandmother of one. So I'm a very proud grandma of a five year old grandson. I am a serial entrepreneur, but over the years I like to say I'm also a caregiverpreneur. I don't know if that's a term, caregiverpreneur. Because I'm trying to work around being a daily caregiver, but also try to still attain my goals and give back and do all those things. Definitely a lover of Jesus. So I feel like if God brings you to it, he will bring you through it. And I love blueberries. Dr. Berry: I love it. Tammy Flynn: Oh, and I'm a global advocate. I would say, I used to say I do advocacy, I'm an advocate. But as you know, on my platform, all the way from Kenya, Africa to the UK, people that I'm talking to globally around the world, I would really say that I'm more of a global advocate now. Dr. Berry: Perfect. We love that aspect because when we're talking about empowerment, when were talking about health, it isn't local. It's amazing when you just go to the different locales and just see how health, mental health, wellness, everything is affected, just depending on the location you're at. But at the end of the day, when you have that common theme, that common goal of wanting to uplift, wanting to empower, it's such an amazing thing. And that's why again, just to lead into a segue wise, let's talk about your mission, we're going to talk about on advocate. But of course, those who don't know, onairadvocate.com definitely check out that website. Again, link will be in the show notes. But I was very drawn by your mission right there. Let's talk about it, just in general. Tammy Flynn: My mission away from The On-Air Advocate is always to be the change that we wish to see in the world. That's one of my favorite quotes from Gandhi. And so before I started the On-Air Advocate, I know in my bio it doesn't go heavily into it. I am a mother of four and within my four kids, one of my sons does have different abilities as well as chronic medical illness. And so years ago I had the opportunity to more engage within my community and actually attend events, put on events, become a huge part of putting on our charity events within our city of Milwaukee and all of those kinds of things. But as my son has aged and he's graduated out of school, which we can talk about that issue later. I had that space that he was at school and he was safe from 8:00 AM in the morning to 3:00 PM in the afternoon, which led me, which gave me the opportunity to be able to physically be there giving back. So whether that was at fundraisers, charity events, hands on things at the hospital, I could be there and do that and really use my God given talents to touch others and really advocate for our community. Well, now that he's graduated from school, I do not have the opportunity to be out in the community as much as I did before. And so I really sat back as he got into his twenties and school was going to be no more a thing. And as we know, there is that huge detrimental disparity after kids age out of school have nothing to do. And so many parents end up becoming a retiree in a way, staying home with their young adults. I decided that I wanted to create a platform that I could give the same amount of energy that I used to give to my thousands and thousands of people events and giving back and sharing within my community physically. I wanted to be able to give that back virtually online to do it in the way that I could. So, that's how the On-Air Advocate was born is I was trying to figure out this was my mission before really was to touch so many people empower others to take hold of their communities, to take hold of the things that they need to be using their voices for. When I was there more in that physical form of preaching that, and actively doing it and now it's more on that online platform. Dr. Berry: I think it's interesting because me and my wife, we talk about this all the time as well too. My daughter who's autistic. She's only seven years old. But we also talk about the fact that once she turns 18, we know a lot of the services and programs that are set up, essentially hard stop. Why? no clue. But it's such a hard and we're actually thinking about that now. Imagine 11 years having to think like, alright, in 11 years we got to worry about the fact that she's not going to have these services. She's not gonna have these outlets. She's not going to have these ways to be able to cope how we want her to cope and we are going to have to take more of an active role in that time comes up. I'm glad that you share that same sentiment and understood that I need to do something and I need to be able to still reach out and really touch the masses, which you wish you had been. Like I said, doing an amazing job Lunch and Learn community. Tammy Flynn: And to speak to what you said about your daughter. I know, tried to empower parents do not even wait until your young adult is 18. Don't wait until they're 17. Don't wait until they're 16. I wish I would have known what I know now. I thought if I gave myself three years, no, I am a rocker and a roller. I can figure this out in three years. I didn't really realize when they said that there was about this much for opportunity after these young adults’ graduate. I didn't realize that it was about 1%. I didn't realize that the average person with intellectual disability works less than 2% of them work. Then we talk about those with mobility issues and you know, less than 15%. You know what I mean? The numbers are astonishing. And you think there's community services. You'd think there would be camps. You'd think, there'd be outlets that there would be classes and basically it goes from all of these services. You have all these things do nothing. And so I know and I really, really tell parents to use their voice, start thinking, make their personal parent map at about the age of 14. And it's not for your child I would say. You should make your parent map for you. Because what you need to figure out is do I have a job that's flexible that I can work from home? Can my wife or am I a single parent? Is it just one income? Can my wife or I stop working? Because at the end of the day, if your child becomes a young adult, they graduate. But there's nowhere for them to be more than four hours a week. You’re then the care provider. Dr. Berry: And that's a huge aspect and I love that. So can we talk a little bit about what a parent map is? Because that's very interesting concept and I love that, you said 14, okay. Tammy Flynn: By the age of 14, I would say that you need to lay out what's your financial situation. Do you guys have savings? Are you guys going to be moving? Are you going to be moving to a different state? What is your significant other, your wife's outlook looks like? Or if you're a single parent who is your support system? So you don't take yourself here. Okay, so do I have a mom? Is there a grandma? Is there a friend? But then you also should look at on your map, are they sick? Do they have health conditions? Are they planning on moving? Because by the time your child becomes 21 the person that might've been your support may no longer be there. Because the mix into this equation is most of it's safe. Dr. Berry: That’s very real. Tammy Flynn: Then you're going to hire respite worker. You're going to hire a caregiver. That's what you're going to with the money that you get from SSI or the money that you get from other outside resources in your state. But there's a national caregiver shortage. So you're not going to find a caregiver. You need to be really cognizant. Unless you are paying them double the amount out of pocket or unless you have personally someone, a cousin, a friend, someone that is in your circle that would become that caregiver. It's really pretty difficult. In our state right now, for our independent living centers, if you need a caregiver, they will pay them out, but you have to bring the caregiver you need. Dr. Berry: Oh wow. So I'll cut the check but you have to bring somebody who, wow. Tammy Flynn: Yeah. So you have to be somebody who can pass, you know what I'm saying? Any training and all that kind of stuff. You have to bring the person. Well, but obviously if somebody moved to Wisconsin right now, and they have no family here. They have no sports system. (Okay.) And where are they finding somebody to bring? So then they become the caregiver, and it's this cycle. And that could be a whole another podcast of the breakdown after this age of 21. And then you have all these young adults that are graduating with, not having quality of life, not having self-worth. And know where they all are? They're at home. So people think, well, I don't see them out, don't they go to work here? Don't they go… Every person says to me, did your son go work at Goodwill? Well, if he could just go work at Goodwill, I wouldn't be. If it was really that easy that there isn't a process and there isn't a standard for where you have to be intellectually where or you have to be mobility wise. And so there's this cut off, and a lot of it is, intellectually being over a third grade level, that gets you into life colleges and things like that can help a little bit under that. It does it depending on your mobility issues as well as medical issues. That intertwined with mobility issues can become a severe problem too. So if you watched, it was a last week or the week before last week, we wrapped up our employment segment and I had some phenomenal guest on. I had one girl on, I believe she's up in upstate, New Hampshire. She's in an over 230 interviews. She has her master's degree in psychology and she has Spina bifida, wheelchair bound needs a caregiver so that she can get her personal care and all of that and cannot find a job. People have education. So I use to think… Dr. Berry: So you can't even use the, oh, they’re not aging. No, that's not even a reason. Tammy Flynn: And I used to think it was the other way. I used to think, oh well, if you're more intellectually impaired than that would probably give you less of an opportunity for employment. But no, it's really across the board. So many that utilize a wheelchair. Say to me the minute they walk into an interview, the minute that the person learns, it's like the interview is over before it ever even starts. It doesn't matter their talents that they bring to the table. So this huge employment issue. But then what happens is everybody's sitting at home and then they're not moving. And then that's Dr. Berry when they're coming to see you, because now they can't walk good, they have obesity. Cholesterol and triglycerides are all over the board. So, my campaign to obviously all the state insurances and whatnot, save yourself some money because in the long run, all those young adults that are sitting at home are going to become sick young adults by not having opportunity. And then we look at employment. It's great. They all want to integrate everybody should have the opportunity for employment and that's great in a perfect world. But in our world, what you have to look at is that you can't make any one to employ those who have different abilities. And so no matter who may right now have the, and the United States, they were giving out like up to $400,000 for people who can come up with ideas, for different ideas for employers to employ the disabled. But again, I regress back, you cannot make somebody want… Dr. Berry: They're gonna do what they wanna do regardless. Regardless of the rules. Regardless of their setup. Regardless if they're going to decide, no, no, thank you. Tammy Flynn: It's too much. It's too much liability. It's too much to work. It's too much processing. Even if someone's going to pay their wage, it's just this circle and that's where I say, parents, you want to start at 14. You need to think about where you are finance. Because what I can tell you is in my pool of friends, I have moms that have their PhDs, have their master's degrees, had six figure income jobs that now, they have the son or the daughter that has severe autism, behavioral management issues, whatnot. And there is not a place within 500 miles, a thousand miles that they can find services. And so what happens then? You're obviously retiring. Because there is nowhere else to be. And that news article, did you see that that came out about that boy? And what state that was in? He does have autism but his behaviors, he was lashing out. He was harming his siblings and his mom and they put him in jail. Dr. Berry: Oh no. Wow. Tammy Flynn: Okay. So when you read the story, I know the headline sounds like, oh they put him in jail. But basically, long story short is the state that he lives in has no accommodations. There is no facilities for him to go to that provide the level of care he needs. And the hospital for insurance purposes no longer could keep him. So the only way to keep him safe and his family safe was to put him there. Now it's completely an inappropriate place for him to be, but there is no other place. So I just say, if you have a young child, I know a lot of times when we're in that birth to seven, we're still in the hurricane of all the things we're learning. But as we get into those teen years, I wish I would've started. He had all these other surgeries and medical complications. I'm like, okay, this is all not gonna work out. I'm going to figure it out. And I'm to the point now, I told you this week, we're going to our State Capitol to campaign because our agencies need more money. There's not enough opportunity. There’re not enough services. There's not enough community involvement. There's not enough places for these young adults to go. So our voices need to change that. Dr. Berry: And I love that you segue way that, especially because you talk about the lack of a voice where voices are needed. Again, you have a state where there's no services needed. Clearly there wasn't enough voices, hey guys, this may come up. I think we should be prepared in case this happens. And unfortunately, when we're not in the room, when we're not voicing our concerns, where we're not being that advocate that we need to be. For those who need us to be their advocate, things like that happen. Again, I'm in South Florida and my brother's, he was in North Florida, the State Capitol of Florida. He's in Tallahassee. And the amount of services that we had down here compared to the amount of services that he didn't have up there was astonishing. And I'm like wow, that's the State Capitol. And if they're sparse at the State Capitol, I can only imagine if you go Central Florida or West Florida where you definitely don't have the city life. You definitely don't have the universities. You definitely don't have all of the voices that are marching and champion and say like, oh we need this kind of thing in our local community. Tammy Flynn: Right. And I say too, as I advocate, because obviously I do talk a lot about young adults and kids and all of that. But I do many segments on our aging loved ones. And that's something I just talked about in another segment, really for your aging loved ones. You might want to retire somewhere and yes Florida is awesome for weather, because Wisconsin's not, and know Arizona is nicer. But you need to see your loved one, your young adults where are their healthcare needs and know if there's wait lists and know if their hospitals really serve what your aging loved one needs. Because sometimes you move for weather or you move for, you know what I'm saying, different reasons. And then he'd get there. I don't know how many parents have done that. And even for school, oh, I moved here for the school, but I didn't realize that they don't have any other services. Oh gosh. You know? Dr. Berry: Yeah. Almost like a rude awakening and like, whoa, okay. I guess we need to rethink that decision. Tammy Flynn: Right. Here in Wisconsin though, we're very cold. It's not nice. We have sleet and ice right now, tonight. Dr. Berry: As a born Floridian and just the thought of that. It gives me some chill. Tammy Flynn: Oh, like every other day. But we are one of the only States that after the age of 18, we have services and supports where people can manage their care. Adults can pay themselves. It's not very much but in a lot of States, they don't even have that opportunity. So they can use those funds. Let's say you have to stay home with your young adult or your aging loved one, or whoever that is disabled, you can pay yourself at least some, which as the caregiver, we're in a lot of States, they don't allow you to do. The more that I talk and that I would say for the On-Air Advocate as a platform, which obviously how I met you and all of that is, you only know what you know, right? And you don't know what you don't know. And if you're only in your state and you might be the best advocate in the world, in your state, gathering this information. If you stay in that box and you don't start to look outside of that, Oh, what does that state offer for insurance, services, providers? What do they do? Well, you're just going to be here and there's not going to be global change. Because every state does something better, a little bit better than the yard. And so really picking out then as your young adult ages or your aging loved one ages, what do they really need? What are the reasons you'd move if you ever would? But definitely things people don't think about. So when he was 14, I wasn't thinking about that. Dr. Berry: Right. Because it wasn't a forethought. It wasn't something that immediately popped up so you wouldn't have… Tammy Flynn: Wasn't thinking. But now that's why I say parent mapping, parent mapping, start early, start early, start really thinking about these things and really financially thinking about where you're at. Because that's what it ultimately comes down to. You have… Dr. Berry: Really being prepared for a moment that you know is going to happen. Tammy Flynn: Right. And you don't believe that it is, but it really is. You don't believe it's as bad as it is until you're there and you're like, oh, this is crazy. Dr. Berry: Really that's what it is. You're like, wow, this is wild. I didn't realize this happened. Tammy Flynn: Right. Right now I drive a hundred miles for my son to work two hours a week. (Wow.) And really, I don't care about obviously the money aspect of that, but, okay. So you've made maybe after taxes what, $11 or $12 and you've driven a hundred miles with him, that feeling of some kind of self-worth, right? Because those are the opportunities. So when I say, there's really a lack of. Dr. Berry: And I think it's even segue way into it and you mentioned how we first met. Let's talk about the On-Air Advocate. Let's talk about when you were getting around, especially in the beginning stage and say, you know what, something needs to occur. I'm going to have to make some lifestyle changes. And I think a platform like the On-Air Advocate is a way to go. Tammy Flynn: So what made that, how did that all that process start? Dr. Berry: Yes, I'm nosy. I'm nosy. I wanna know. Tammy Flynn: I'm gonna make it into, so I started this and these names and then people were like, that sounded good name. Okay, well I'm just going to call it. I have other businesses; I'll figure it out. I'm gonna call a name. And then I was thinking, oh, I'm going to start my platform, also with a book and I'm going to get this book done about my years as a caregiver and my two decades and all of this. And then I'm like, I'm really not a writer. I mean, I could write, but I'm really not. I'm a talker, not as much a writer. And then I'm like, well, how is that going to get me in my ultimate goal of meeting all these people and getting the information and the data I need to ever create change globally. So how is that going to happen and what does that gonna look like? Podcasting really just had ignited two and a half, three years ago, were lots more people started doing it. And so I started out and I was going to have it as an individual platform where I was just going to talk about subjects. So if you listen and you go back to the early days of On-Air Advocate, it was like, I think the first four or five episodes was just me talking. So personal experiences, things that happened. But then I brought myself back to that mission of how am I going to cover all of these health conditions and topics and really get people the information that they need by just being my thoughts. Because those are just my thoughts. And though, I think that I have a lot of valuable information to teach people over time. I think that we could go back to, some of the most inspirational people in the world, people who have really touched us, mentors in the world will tell you, only greatness happens when we all work together. We all come together and we're not this whole, it's all, it's me. It's a we in the things that we do. And so I started out with a few people right here that I knew in subjects I wanted to touch on. So one of them was a very good friend of mine that has one of the rarest forms of graves' disease. So it was more of an adult topic, and bridging into really talking about that. And I couldn't even believe how many people after that episode reached out that have thyroid issues who have been misdiagnosed. And so that just grew to me looking at, okay, I need to section this. It can't be thyroid this day, CP this day. I feel like that was too hard for people, to follow and you're following a feed and you're following podcasts that way. So I started making more of a series of finding the topics that I was going to cover and then putting people into those categories in those slots. And I feel like every one that I have met on this journey, if they're in the circle of podcasting and doing that, they asked me, they're like, sometimes it's really hard to find content to find the right people to find the right fit. Where do you find all these people? Dr. Berry: Lunch and Learn community, I can tell you every time I see someone, a guest she has, I'm like wow, how'd she get that? It's like I'm always amazed. Especially because Lunch and Learn community, we typically have professionals and health professionals. But I definitely want to get to the point where I'm really talking to patients and people who, and I hate to call them patients, but really people who are, have dealing with the disorder I'm talking about. Because I want to get their firsthand account. Because again, me as a physician and I remember recently when I broke my fibula, shout out to my little son for causing that to happen. I remember being in the patient side of things and saying like, wow, this is a very different perspective. Now I'm not the doctor, I'm the patient. Now I'm the one going to doctor's appointments. I'm the one filling prescription and I'm the one dealing with the pain and discomfort and having to deal with things that were normally those active living that I couldn't do anymore. And it opened up my eyes so much that like now, even when I take care of patients now and they have a lower leg injury and I know I already noticed, hey, you going to be out for like six, eight weeks and after your six, eight weeks you're going to want to put your foot on the ground. It's going to hurt a lot. I am like just schooled them and saying like, hey, I was there and I could see that connection I get right when I tell a patient like, oh, I had that same type of injury. And while they hear me talk and they understand that, okay, alright, if he's walking around, I know I'm going to be fine. I love you guys. How’s your guest, especially someone who disorders that she has on there, I'm like, wow. How did you find someone who had that? Tammy Flynn: And so I've told everyone and within being in other businesses, people have given me the label like, you're a serial entrepreneur. I don't know. That's a new term that's come out. I've always felt like entrepreneur. I don’t know what I am. But to speak to that, I have to tell people, it's God. And I know that that's crazy. And I know that for some that maybe isn't the space that they're in. You know what I'm saying? In their spiritual life. They're like, really? That happens? And I'm like, I'm telling you, I had on one person, that first 10 episodes. I had on one person that then told another person, that then sent it to another person, that then emailed another person, then another person saw it. Unless I really want something to fit, very in sync with a series that I want this certain person on that I'm having a series. But I feel like this person would really round off the series that I might reach out to somebody. I don't really even reach out. It's crazy. And so I'm very blessed and that lets me know too that I am in the right space. You know what I'm saying? He brings it to me. And you know what I've always said with the On-Air Advocate, I was talking about my community work before this platform on the On-Air Advocate is not for me to monetize on my interviews. It's not for me to extract from that. Yes. In the future. There might be a few online courses you can take. There might be a book that you can have. But the interview platform that I have will always be what it is, where you can go and you can get this content and you can sync up with somebody, be like, oh my gosh, they have the same condition as I have, and I can make that connection. And the more people I met, I'm on episode like 170 now. (Congratulation). Those amount of people that you meet, it's so much better. Even with you, Dr. Berry, I've had so many people, men's health, Andy Rigs, he runs our Mental Health Mondays. He is a great radio, he's on a radio station here. He's radio announcer. I'm like, you need to talk to Dr. Berry because you both are very passionate about men's health. For the reason of being able to do that, I just think that God has blessed me with having the people on. So there isn't any special recipe. Dr. Berry: It just happens. And honestly, sometimes that's the way it goes. It's when you're walking in your purpose. And that's why when I see, when I watch you and I see your posts and I see the people you touch and I see the people that you're reaching out. I say, when a person was walking in a purpose, sometimes things just happen and them trying to explain it would have them sound crazy. So they just like, hey, that's just what it is. Tammy Flynn: It just is here. And as I reach out further. I just had Dhoah, she was from the UK. She was on my employment series. She was referred to watch from another girl who also has same of the same issues that their friends in California. So that had found me and she introduced me to somebody, from the UK and she was just on the show and now that brings more presence to the UK and hopefully to get more people from that area, on this show. So, with all of it, I'm just extremely blessed and I'm extremely thankful that those people are willing to share their stories with me. I never take that for granted because for somebody to come on, it's extremely brave for them to tell their story empowering others, but to be open enough to bless me with their story. I have this group after this last employment series I did, I said, you know what? All of my 21 to 25 year old, there's so many inspiring ones that I interview, I'm like, you guys all need to be on together because I feel like if we want to make a difference for employment, for those who have mobility issues, if we want to make change, having them all advocate together on one podcast. You know what I'm saying? It shakes up a lot more sometimes than that individual. The power of all of them together in their voices, I'm telling you Dr. Berry, there's a whole list of them that have brought me to tears. Dr. Berry: And I was gonna ask that too, especially when being a 170 plus episodes in, do you have favorite moments or is it just like the collective message that's been occurring has been a good highlight for you? Tammy Flynn: I would say, part of it is that collective message. I would say that there are individuals, which they know because I've started crying during their segment. (That’s beautiful. I liked it). People are probably like, why is the host crying? It's because their words. It's like they have been knocked down so much. We think as adults like, oh, you have challenges. I'm a caregiver so I could be like, oh, I have challenges. With these young adults that have now struggled that have had some kind of medical condition their whole life. And now they're adults and they're fighting and they're advocating and they're using your voice and they're writing for all of these different places. They're writing it for free for the media. All of those things that are online written content to get their word out and their passion, it comes through the computer and hits me like, you know, I wish that I could take all of them somewhere. Because they need to come to Washington. You know what I'm saying? Collectively create change and they're just there. They're all so, so powerful. So, definitely there are some that I feel that that do highlight. I'm blessed for all of them. There are few. There is my one little girl, Coming Up Rosies. I don't know if you've watched her segment. But she's a little girl who was born in alopecia. But now embraced that and she makes these scarves. Dr. Berry: Lunch and Learn community, I will definitely put that link to the show notes. That definitely sounded like very interesting episode. Tammy Flynn: She does that and then make scarves so kids that are going through anything. So it can touch anyone, even if you're going through cancer treatment. She was born with alopecia, but she was born with one of the rear forms that she didn't grow any hair. So she's just basically been bald. But her spirits is like, I think she's nine now or 10 is electrifying. And she's hilarious and she just embraces her baldness. Dr. Berry: And what I love about that, especially when you talk about it. Because a lot of times I think in our society when we see people who are different, or who don't have the typical, the normal. Whatever normal means to people. A lot of people think like, oh, you know, they've gotta be this heart and they've gotta be all of these things. And it's such an interesting twist when you're like, nope, I'm crazy happy. I love life. I have an amazing spirit. When you know people who were in, I guess quote unquote better situations than them don't have that. So I love that aspect of being able to see, despite what society may say, like, oh, well if you have this, then there's no way you can feel happy for yourself. There's no way you can live a happy and joyous life, full of richness, spiritual, mental and still turn that around and say, no, I'm going to do that. And there's nothing you can do about it. It's definitely an amazing thing to see. Tammy Flynn: It is. There is, it's a company called Pizza Diary. And so for Pizza Diary, they have this whole platform, him and his mom go to schools. Talk about bullying. Talk about differences within all of us. But he has a rare, he's in that rare disease category. He's had, I think he's on surgery 40. He's had 40 surgeries. And I think he just turned 19. But in one of his segments, he teaches the kids, because he has an ear that comes off, a magnetic ear and he's so open about it. And what he tries to create in schools and when he talks about his conditions is that, getting rid of that stigma and taking away that worry. You don't need to worry anymore about that I'm different because I'm going to show you how different I am and that's cool. But he is a musician. He plays a band across the United States. He is a rock star so he has his tagline is rock your life. But just in doing that, the whole like of, he did a segment with that. You guys need to go back and watch it. Dr. Berry: That's another one we're going to add to the show notes. Tammy Flynn: I got a whole list of names for you of all of them. Dr. Berry: The ones that need to see. Oh, perfect. Tammy Flynn: Yeah, I mean you can see all of them actually. So just go starting out and halfway through a year, I mean 170 days. Dr. Berry: Lunch and Learn community, this is definitely a podcast. If you're listening to a podcast like this, that means you want to be empowered. You want empower others. You have family members you want to empower. This is a podcast you definitely need to follow. Definitely subscribe. Definitely leave five stars on Apple podcasts because it is one of those things that it drives you. Again, I'm a podcaster and I love listening to podcast that help get me motivated. Okay, I'm ready. I like this. Tammy Flynn: Ready to go. There's been so many and really our whole mission is to support, educate and empower all of those with different abilities, mental and medical illnesses, and then support their caregivers. Because within all of this, some of the individuals that have been on the show, they're caring for themselves. They're the person who has a chronic illness, but they're their own character. So I don't ever like to discredit that because sometimes you will think of caregiver, well then you're caring for someone, which does happen. But it's also sometimes that you may have a chronic illness, but you’re… Dr. Berry: You're the one responsible for… Tammy Flynn: Or making your doctor appointments for taking care of yourself. And so that's a big load. So, we tried to talk about all areas of that. But if I've learned anything this year, you need to, or this last year in 2019, is that you really need to be caring for the caregiver as well. So if you are in that position, you're caring for someone or even yourself, you need have patience and grace with yourself if you're the one with the chronic illness and your caregiver. Can you imagine just that… Dr. Berry: Having to deal with all of the structural issues that are in front of you as well as deal with the internal issues that you have to deal with yourself. Right? Like that's just a kind of a double whammy. Definitely an amazing hat. I love it because again, it's one of those things, we stress on here all the time. Empower Yourself for Better Health, Empower Yourself for Better Health. And understanding that like, hey caregivers, we are looking out for you. Whether you're the one looking out for yourself, or you looking out for others. We recognize the level of strength that is needed to do so. And that's what I love. There's so much about you, Tammy, that I love that you do. I love that it always comes back to love, empowerment, getting better and not allowing someone who a society may consider as being different. Allow that to say like, no, no, this person deserves just as much care, just as much love and just as much fight for than everyone else. Tammy Flynn: Right. And celebrating our differences. I just think it's the coolest thing in the world when individuals come on and they're looking at the glass half full all the time and they're able to show those things and it cuts down on anyone, having those questions in their head. If you just answer all the questions right up front, there are no questions, when it comes to conditions. And so I like to empower people. If you're not in that space, you need to listen. I was just talking to a woman today that we're having some new employment opportunities that we're trying to get going in my County that I live in. And I told her, because I run an adult group here in our County for all adults and their families with different abilities. And I said, you know what, maybe you just want to come and sit in. Maybe you want to come in and sit in on the group and just listen because if you haven't come from that perspective before, but you're going to be working with this population. Let's just listen just because we have so many mistaken conceptions about things that happen. I was talking about that everybody does graduates and goes and works at Goodwill. Dr. Berry: People really think that. People think the jobs are just open. Tammy Flynn: They do. Because in my other world that I work in. I'm in the business world. The business world that really doesn't touch a lot of this different ability. Every business person I work with. Why isn't there this agency isn't there, this isn't. The United cerebral palsy isn't there. Okay. Did you all think that half a million people, or 2 million people just all go to the same. Isn't Easter seals, doesn't Easter seals do something like that? And I look at them, again, I have been an entrepreneur since I've been 15 years old. Do you think, and I would put myself in these positions, business wise, financially wise, if there was some easy answer for that. For myself or for anyone, we wouldn't be doing it. We would be finding a better way because we're smart enough to find a better way. And logically, do you think that those opportunities are there? But so I feel like if nothing else, during this journey, it's been very enlightening. I learned from others, every day on my show and I definitely share that with others to stamp out like, okay, this isn't really what happens or this condition. So listen to this podcast because this… Dr. Berry: And again, I remember, when I became an autism dad and then I'm doing, here I am, I'm a physician. I'm an autism dad now. And not realizing just the low of services, that I thought were available that made sense to be available, that weren't. For example, those who may not know. You can go fall off a tree, break your arm, you can get occupational therapy, insurance covers it. But for some reason when my autistic daughter needs occupational therapy, they don't cover it. And I'm like, that makes absolutely no sense in the world. It's to the point where I have to say, okay, alright, I have an autistic daughter. Does your rehab cover this? It's just one of those things where again, I break my arm, boom, occupational therapy. I break my hip occupation therapy, no problem. My daughter who is autistic, who needs occupational therapy, who needs therapy, who needs these services. Oh no, I'm sorry. You got to paid it on your own. Fortunately, I'm a physician. So that isn't a rate limiting step, but realizing like, oh wow, this is going to be a really limiting step for a lot of different families. (Right). And that's the norm. It's actually the norm to have services that don't cover like, oh no, no, yeah, we'll cover it for this, but we won't cover it for that. So it's definitely been very eye opening. Tammy Flynn: Don't you think for doctor, don't you think that it's even more eye opening? You know how to advocate, You know how you're supposed to talk to the insurance company. Myself, I know how to be an advocate. You can advocate all you want. You know what I'm saying? If it's not in the terms of. If it's not in the writing. Like I always say after the age of 21, it all goes in eligibility services, not entitlement services. Within our schools and the things that we do, it is all by eligibility, and they have the right to deny you versus being entitled to those services. So many people look at doctors and they say, you know how to write it. You know how what you need to put down. It's not like that. Dr. Berry: My wife tells a story all the time, even before we can get the services, needing someone to say, oh yes, I think the diagnosis of autism is it. Then you couldn't even start services unless a physician wrote like, oh no, this is the diagnosis. Which again, which is crazy because the services are there, with limited services there are, but not being able to even get those because a certain diagnosis wasn't written now. And just again, so many things you learn when you're on the side of having to take care of people and be that caregiver of someone else. And I think that's why it's so, such an eye-opening experience. And that's why I love everything that you do on your end. Because you continue to highlight, like, hey, this is happening. Hey, this is real. Again, stuff I read in my medical book. And you'll have a guest who has it. I'm like, whoa. Okay. Alright. Interesting. I haven't read all that in a while and now I need to go read on that because I haven't written in a while. So, okay, let me go back. Alright, let me maybe educate myself. Let me get myself together and then seen a person who's living through that process instead of me just reading in a book and hearing their life perspective is been such an amazing aspect of it. And again, that's why we love what we do here. Like I said, I've been a guest on your podcast. My wife has been a guest on your podcast. I've had friends who've been guests. I love being able to send people to you to say like, no, no, no, no. This is where you need to display your voice. Because she has a vehicle of people listening to her that want to hear from people like us. So especially in the health professional world and mental health world where just an amazing thing. Tammy Flynn: Yes. And I think that you have to be open to put things out there. I know that I was just talking to you about your wonderful wife being back on again for our autism month in April, and which is going to happen again this April as well. But what I found is, is that you have to be open to putting on everything. So sometimes there is some things that I put on that people are a little controversial about. And my whole stand on that is this is here to educate. You extract from it what you want. You know what I'm saying? This is to extract knowledge and educate yourself. Take the little pieces of maybe what somebody says in the interview that are valuable to you and use those to grow. Dr. Berry: My wife being an autism advocate. She's probably like, I think seven episodes in and when she posts a guest who has like, she already feels that she already see. I'm like, yeah, that's what happens. This is what happens when people disagree. They're going to let you know they disagree. Tammy Flynn: Right. And especially on media. And especially during autism month, which I did a whole separate in our private community, the On-Air Advocate has a private community. I know segment about that. I'm like, remember this is all about us working together and having the open mind to realize that everything doesn't have to be done in the same way. In your experience with one thing might be different than the next person's experience with it. One might be negative; one might be positive. But I think in the space of chronic illness, the space of being differently abled, you need to try those things. You need to try different things to ever find what works. Think about the parents that go from doing regular medicine, that go to all naturopathic. Well they got on that journey for a reason. They tried it this way. It wasn't a good fit for them. So now they're doing it this way. Does that mean that general medicine is bad? No, it just means that they found for their individual that they're caring for, that this was a better fit. And so I've had to over time just reiterate that is that try to extract the pieces of it, that are valuable to you. Within any, like today, if anything to extract of. By the age of 14, if you have a young, a child that's going to become a young adult and they're going to probably need services the rest of their life, probably start thinking about it. If that's the only thing… Dr. Berry: So thinking about that parent map now. 18 is going to happen. Your child services are going to essentially finish and you’re going to be out holding the bat. Tammy Flynn: I did a segment in the private community and I am going to do a downloadable about it. It's going from pediatrician to adult physician. That's a whole another, especially if you have multiple medical issues, that's a whole whirlwind. Parents would go, I’m like, you need to start asking your doctor at the age of 16 some questions. When are they going to phase them out? How long are they going to keep them, your specialists. Do they do adult and kid? Will they be able to stay longer? Especially, if you or someone, my son has I think 14 outside specialists. Dr. Berry: So they had a transfer of health care is huge. Tammy Flynn: Going from pediatrician to adult care physician. I think on my show, that is also a different perspective. Sometimes when your people are a host of something, they may be hosting it because they enjoy learning about it. But maybe haven't been impacted personally by it themselves. But being a caregiver, I'm a full-time caregiver every single day of my life. I'm at the hospital four days a week. So the fact of seeing the medical side of things on a daily, on a weekly basis is right in front of me. From the perspective of the schooling side of it and IPs and all of that kind of stuff. To be able to come at it. And like you were saying, the empathy part of it. If you have been there, you're like, oh, I know. Dr. Berry: Yes. Get ready. Tammy Flynn: Get ready for all of you know these things. You know what I am happy to see which I don't know if you find as much value out of as how much more though I think that social media sometimes and wonk, wonk on some things. But how much more information has come out? My son's going to be 23, and when we used to look at things on websites, there wasn't… Dr. Berry: The information wasn't even there. And now I think it's now with more people being able to get a voice, you have more people being added to the conversation where a conversation was never even being had. Tammy Flynn: Right. On these type of platforms as well as just content that you can print off. Content that you can go on and get like wash and conditions and how to walk through things. We have one of our sites here, which I love. It's called Family Voices. And they have downloadables on everything. They're a nonprofit, but if it comes to your, you go by your state, you find your state, you find what kind of support services are there. You find if your child's going to need an IEP. What are the laws? What are this? And I'm like, wow. All are there at a click of a button. Dr. Berry: Amazing. So before I let you go, I need to be able to point people in your direction. I need to be able to say like, this is how you follow. So let's shoot out a list of, your website, your social media tags or whatever you want people to follow you along so we can follow and support your journey. Where can people find you? Tammy Flynn: They can find it, all of the links to all of the social media and the blog and all of that right on the main website, which is onairadvocate.com. They can reach me on there as well. Obviously, there's a contact page, that will go to my email. But my email is tammy @onairadvocate.com. So either way there is a private community. If you go to our Facebook page, which is On-Air Advocate. You can go there, join, press the blue button, I believe. Dr. Berry: Can they get there from your official website or they have to go on Facebook to get to your private page? Tammy Flynn: Yes. There’re all different things that leads you to the community as well there. And that's a space that if you had questions about something, needed to post something who'd be able to do that. That's more open. A little bit more open conversation. Learning about each other versus the regular main platform that is on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, all of it. When we do an interview, goes onto all of those platforms over time and then it goes into a blog. It ends being put into a blog. At some point you can wrap back around to all of the different services that way. You know what I'm saying? Any of those. I don't know if I lost myself within that. Dr. Berry: Yeah, no, no, no, I definitely agree. And again, Lunch and Learn community. Again, like I said, you guys, when I pick out guests, I feel like, how can this guest help empower our community, get our community to the next level? I know there are Lunch and Learn community members who have, who are caregivers, who have to take care of people with different abilities. And it's amazing to know that we have people who are our voices, who are championing us to get to a better place for everyone. Not just themselves. And Tammy is definitely one and we're definitely appreciative. Again, Tammy, thank you for joining Lunch and Learn community. Tammy Flynn: Yes. So excited to be here. I thank you so, so much. And I want to say that if there's anybody that's listening today and you feel like you have some value to add to any interview, to share with our population, make sure that you send us. Dr. Berry: Yes. Again, I think if you just look at some of her guests. You're going to know that there is love right there. There's richness. There's, a spirit about her conversations that make it so much easier. So you'll definitely enjoy it and have a good old time. Tammy Flynn: Alright. Thanks guys so much. I really appreciate being on. [/showhide]

Download the MP3 Audio file, listen to the episode however you like.

About the Author: