Interview of Isabel Williams
Interviewed for the UCLA Center for the Study of Women’s Chemical Entanglements: Oral Histories of Environmental Illness series. Experiences Chronic Lyme Disease, Electromagnetic Field (EMF) Sensitivity, and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS). Disabled adoptee from El Salvador and writer.
- Chemical Entanglements: Oral Histories of Environmental Illness
- Social MovementsEnvironmental Illness
- Biographical Note:
- Interviewed for the UCLA Center for the Study of Women’s Chemical Entanglements: Oral Histories of Environmental Illness series. Experiences Chronic Lyme Disease, Electromagnetic Field (EMF) Sensitivity, and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS). Disabled adoptee from El Salvador and writer.
- Williams, Isabel
- Persons Present:
- Williams and Yiu
- Place Conducted:
- This interview was conducted by telephone.
- Supporting Documents:
- Records relating to the interview are located in the office of the UCLA Library’s Center for Oral History Research.
- Interviewer Background and Preparation:
- This interview was conducted by Wei Si Nic Yiu for the Center for the Study of Women; PhD student in Gender Studies, UCLA. Yiu’s dissertation focuses on Queerness and archives of Asia.
- Processing of Interview:
- The interviewer prepared for the interview by reading a pre-interview questionnaire completed by the narrator. The transcript is a verbatim transcription of the recording.
- 2 hrs
- Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
- Series Statement:
- Chemical Entanglements: Oral Histories of Environmental Illness is a collection of interviews with over seventy individuals living in the U.S. and Canada whose family history, occupation, art practice, or activism have brought them into direct contact with illness experience and disability related to chronic, low-dose exposure to toxicant chemicals. The procurement of this collection (from March 2019 through September 2020) was sponsored by the UCLA Center for the Study of Women under the directorship of Rachel C. Lee, with interviews conducted by six undergraduates, five graduate students, two career staff, and two faculty members at CSW.
- Please delete PDF file size 439331; did not include table of contents.
Personal background--Moving to rural Indiana to an abusive household--Getting tick bites and infections and Lyme disease--Going to the doctors who did not diagnose her of Lyme disease and called her delusional and hysterical--Signs and symptoms of Lyme disease as a teenager--Diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis instead of Lyme disease--Finding Dr. Wakaba who diagnosed her of Lyme disease--Observation of how gender plays a role in medicine--Getting overdosed from over prescription of medication--View on medical industry (sexist, corrupt)--Experience with doctors who did not believe in her
Experience of being ill and its effect on social relationships--Feeling invisible in the world--EMF sensitivity and not being able to be on digital devices for a long time--Not fulfilling expectation of being a strong, independent woman--Trying to break free of rescue culture--Difficulty and feeling victimized and disempowered living in public/subsidized housing--Advocating for other people in the same situation--Navigating life successfully as a disabled woman of color who is poor--First experience with a cell phone and getting sick--Not being able to have internet access at home--COVID’s impact (or lack thereof) on her--Journey of healing--Dancing and singing as creative outlets--Connecting with people in the same situation online or in person--Feeling of lagging behind in a digital world--Living an environmentally-conscious life, away from consumer culture--Reconnecting with birth family