Saturday, July 13, 2013

Katie and Venus

Venus Williams appeared on the Katie Couric show yesterday. During her interview, Venus briefly discussed her experience with Sjogren's syndrome. Check it out:

Near the end of her interview, Venus became teary-eyed as she commented on her anxiety and frustration regarding her fatigue. Girl. We feel your pain. We really do. We have ALL sat in our doctor's office and asked, "What's wrong with me?!" We have ALL felt like a car that has run out of gas. We have all had people (like Katie) say to us, "But you're feeling pretty well now?" with a cheery but kind of clueless smile.

(Um. Katie: This woman pulled out of Wimbledon. If she was all "feeling pretty well", she would have played her heart out in that tournament.  Just FYI.)

Thanks to Venus once again for the courage to step up and bring awareness to our disease.


annie said...

I don't always watch Katie's show, but actually caught this one, and saw this interview. She seems to be very busy and says she's doing well, but to me, she sounded really tired and maybe just put up a facade to hide how ill she might really be.
I would really like to hear what regimen of
pills/supplements/alternative health she's using to help her get through her day. I wish someone would do an in-depth interview with her for sjogren's, maybe sjogren's syndrome foundation?

Amy Junod said...

I watched the interview also and was surprised by the, "But you're doing well now, right?"
I was a little jealous of Venus's tears. Doesn't anyone see that if Sjogren's can bring Venus Williams to tears that it's worth a look see?
It sounds like Robin and Venus share a bond so perhaps there might be an interview that will last longer than 10 minutes.
I wish, wish, wish we could learn more about her treatments also. I suppose that she deserves the right to keep her health private too. I'm sure if she admitted how life altering the illness is she might lose sponsorships?

Angie Brooks said...

I hate that she has to suffer through this - you all know we wouldn't wish it on our worst enemy. That said, I am glad that she has been able to bring some awareness to the disease.

And Julia, I used to stay pretty active with the Sjogrens blogs... then spent a year in the bed. Now that I'm back, I really appreciate your posts.

I've nominated you for the Liebster over at If you choose to participate, it's a cute way to network and spread the word a little bit further.

Thanks for all you do!

Julia Oleinik said...

Angie -- AWWW! Thank you for the Liebsster award!

A couple of things: Actually I have 500 plus followers on feedburner, so I don't think I qualify.....but also was awarded this fab a few years ago. But thanks for thinking of me!

Angana said...

So many things occurred to me when I read this post. I, too, applaud Venus for sharing her experience with Sjogren's so honestly, bless her heart.

Comments like, "So, you're feeling pretty well, now, right?" is a huge trigger for me, as I suspect it is for a lot of chronically ill people. All sorts of snide, impolite rejoinders come to mind, along with the anger, frustration, and confusion of searching for an authentic yet socially acceptable response. On top of that, this particular comment is a leading question; it directs Venus to answer in the affirmative, regardless of the truth.

But, what would we like people to ask instead, when they ask after our health?
For instance, would it have been better for Katie to ask, "How are you feeling right now?" Or, "How have you been feeling since Wimbledon?" That is, of course, assuming Katie really wanted to hear the answer.

And how might we respond o the well-meaning but clueless people we all come in contact with? Since discovering this blog, I have decided that "I'm doing reasonably well" is often the most authentic, succinct response, unless, of course, I can say something like, "well, today I am feeling tired (or achy, or whatever...)

This is a really meaty topic, and I wonder if you might explore it in more depth in a future blog post, Julia.

Kelly said...

One small gem I picked out of Venus' statements about what it's like having Sjogren's was when she said it's like jumping in the car to go somewhere but never knowing if there is enough gas in the tank to get you there. That's a very apt (paraphrased) metaphor that I think people might be able to understand a little better than the spoon metaphor and a better fit for how Sjogren's affects me.

Thanks so much for posting this Julia because I never watch talk shows and they didn't interview Venus on the Wimbledon coverage that I do least the parts I saw.

Nicole said...

Personally, I love how Venus said that she feels like her Dx has given her a second chance. I feel the same way about mine! While I know that it has changed what I can do significantly, I now know what I need to change to reach my goals, whereas before I was trying to reach them in the same way and just failing. I really admire her attitude and hope for the best for her!

peggy said...

Venus has always portrayed a very strong image and in this interview we can see her shed a few tears and reveal the truth about how she feels.

I know she has a professional image to keep up so as not to lose endorsements but I so wish someday she will come forth and tell a more frank story.

Katie's comment was out of ignorance and we can't fault her for that, as most of us have experienced much the same comments from those near and dear to us from time to time.