Caz, who is aged 32 and lives in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, suffers from a myriad of health issues and conditions, stemming from surgery she underwent in 2015 for a bowel condition. The first surgery went wrong, resulting in her needing a stoma, and she has since undergone several further operations and treatments, leading to more ill-health.
Despite her health problems, and losing her job due to her illness, Caz has turned her abilities into a career as a blogger and freelance writer, founding InvisiblyMe a couple of years ago. She won Best Lifestyle Blogger at the Annual Bloggers Bash 2019.
‘I have a first-class psychology degree and prior to 2015 I’d hoped to train as a clinical psychologist,’ she explained. ‘I was thoroughly enjoying working as a community advice and support worker, and losing that job because of ongoing surgeries and ill health hit me hard. I discovered that work, income, and my future career were far more important to me than I’d ever truly realised. I was then left to define myself as a person with no income, with no job, and no future, which is when I had to change my perspective on such things and adapt to this new landscape. I turned my hand to freelance writing and blogging as just about covering the groceries was better than nothing, but it’s a huge challenge when you’re not often well enough to do any of it.’
The idea behind InvisiblyMe is to raise awareness of conditions, such as Caz’s own, that are invisible to others. ‘If your disability or health condition is not obvious to other people, be that physical or mental, it is particularly difficult to deal with it – and to get help, even from health professionals,’ she explained. ‘I try to encourage people to focus on what they can do, rather than what they can’t; and to try anything that will empower them to take back a little control in their lives.’
She started in a small way, blogging about her own experiences, and InvisiblyMe has grown exponentially, covering health and lifestyle issues, and reviews of products that might be of interest to readers. Because of her health problems, Caz can’t work full time, so she works from home when she’s well enough. ‘I’ve just gone with the flow, and at the start, I never thought I would continue with it this long. The time frames when I am able to work get smaller as time goes by,’ she said. ‘I get frustrated and something will have to give eventually.’ Although the site is bright, chatty and upbeat, Caz is clear that what she writes is not all sunshine. ‘You hear so much false positivity, which can be toxic,’ she said. ‘I wanted to be honest that sometimes things aren’t great. It can be very isolating to have a condition which is not apparent to everyone around you, and I wanted to allow people to realise that they are not alone in feeling low sometimes.’
She insists that honesty is paramount with her product reviews. She likes most of the things she tries for InvisiblyMe, fortunately, but she has written consumer reviews in the past and sometimes they have been scathing. ‘It’s so important to be honest, because it doesn’t help people to make an informed decision unless you are truthful,’ she said.
Caz trialled BioMin F last month, and gave it a fantastic summary and review. ‘I hadn’t even heard of bioactive glass before trying out this product but the fact that it can help to replace lost apatite mineral on tooth surfaces is fantastic,’ she commented. ‘I’ve experienced weakened enamel, chips at the top of my teeth, gum issues and sensitivity, so I gravitate towards products that target these areas. The benefits of this toothpaste are spot on for my needs. I’ve found that sensitivity is reduced after use and I’m hoping to continue using this toothpaste in future to continue to strengthen the surface of my teeth over time.’ She loved the packaging, taste and texture of BioMin F, and was won over by the science behind it. ‘I’ve been super impressed by the way this toothpaste works, its effectiveness, and the way my teeth feel after using it’, she said. ‘A worthy investment for strong, healthy gnashers – highly recommended!