Interview of Kathy Pilolla
Interviewed for the UCLA Center for the Study of Women’s Chemical Entanglements: Oral Histories of Environmental Illness series. Experiences Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS), Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (hEDS), and Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS).
- 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 Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS), Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (hEDS), and Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS).
- Pilolla, Kathy
- Persons Present:
- Pilolla and Kim
- Place Conducted:
- The 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 Kelsey Kim, graduate student interviewer, for the Center for the Study of Women; PhD student in Anthropology, UCLA. Kim’s dissertation focuses on gender and racial inequalities in the Silicon Valley high-tech industry.
- Processing of Interview:
- The interviewer prepared for the interview by reading the Anthropology and Environment Society’s Engagement blog, as well as a pre-interview questionnaire completed by the narrator.
- 1 hr
- 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 file size 515621 under Legal Agreement.
Personal background--Mother suffering from chemical sensitivities and challenges--Relationship with sisters--Her own symptoms as a child--Associations of the Midwest with any smells or scents--Her life from elementary to high school, involvement in extracurriculars--Life in college and post-graduation--Her experiences with sensitivities during and after college--Diagnoses with Ehlers-Danlos, POTS, and Mast Cell Activation Syndrome leading to realization of chemical sensitivities--Discovery of Lyme disease and symptoms prior to diagnoses of the other health issues--Impact of diseases on her life, her relationship with her spouse, family, and friends--Seeking accommodations at work--Her work advocating and educating doctors about chemical sensitivities--Details about her daily life following her diagnoses--Seeking mental health counselors to cope with her illnesses--Similarities and differences to her life before and after COVID--Thoughts on how her race or gender identity has impacted her experience with chemical illnesses and access to proper care--How can we take steps to change society’s contemporary relationship with chemicals and fragrances--Importance of social media on coping with these illnesses--Conclusion