Social Impact Authors: How & Why Author Amanda Chay of ‘The Girlfriend’s Guide to Lupus’ Is Helping…

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Social Impact Authors: How & Why Author Amanda Chay of ‘The Girlfriend’s Guide to Lupus’ Is Helping to Change Our World

You’ll never get it all done in a day and in lifetime, so give it (and yourself) a rest. The desire to check off the to-do list and achieve can be such a strong pull, but this doesn’t mean it’s always right. Magic is created when you allow your brain and body to rest.

As part of my series about “authors who are making an important social impact”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Amanda Chay

Amanda Chay is an author, entrepreneur, and a lifelong health nut who has helped countless businesses and individuals prioritize their health, all while navigating her own challenging battle with lupus. Her unwavering commitment to empowering women with this condition shines through in “The Girlfriend’s Guide to Lupus.” This book is a beacon of hope, guiding women toward taking charge of their lupus journey with practical, health-focused steps that place their well-being at the forefront.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

I was raised in the suburbs of Cincinnati, Ohio where I played about every sport out there, from soccer to swimming to break dancing (that one wasn’t pretty). Raced barefoot and beat the neighborhood boys on the blacktop streets.

As it was the 80–90’s era, I had big, poufy hair, wore neon clothes, and my large glasses were way too thick. I loved animals, Madonna, Michael Jackson, and reading. The local bookmobile and the ice cream truck were my favorite treats in the summer.

When you were younger, was there a book that you read that inspired you to take action or changed your life? Can you share a story about that?

Judy Blume is one author who stands out to me because her books made me feel like she knew what I was going through. In particular, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, helped me through the awkward puberty phase as I struggled to fit into the world. To me, Margaret, with her fiery spirit, positively shaped my views on what a good friend was like. She taught me what to expect of my changing body and gave me permission to question both my parents and religion.

It has been said that our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

When I started my first business, I didn’t have the lingo down and everything was new to me. One day at a business event, I was speaking to a man about my company, he asked if I was a WBE (women owned business). Instead of being honest and saying, “what’s does this stand for?”, I choose to fake it. I responded with “oh, no. I don’t like to watch wrestling. It’s too fake for me.” To me WBE sounded a lot like WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) and I crafted a response based on this. The man smiled a bit too widely and walked away. I rushed to my phone and googled WBE, felt my face turn red, and then decided to cut my time short and take myself home.

Don’t you worry-I learned my lesson here. When some new acronyms are thrown at me nowadays, I’m upfront and confirm my lack of knowledge before giving my response.

Can you describe how you aim to make a significant social impact with your book?

With my book, my goal was to impart a lesson that took me far too long to learn: living with a chronic, incurable condition like lupus means it will always be a part of your life. Sure, life will persist, challenges will arise, and your health will ebb and flow. It’s just the daily stuff we deal with, but it’s not the stuff that defines us. That’s why this book is here to support women with guidance, suggestions, and tips that help them deal with the small stuff so they can put their best lupus health forward.

Can you share with us the most interesting story that you shared in your book?

I shared the story of the worst lupus flare I’ve ever experienced. A flare is when the disease goes into overdrive, and the risk of permanent organ damage skyrockets. It all started with extreme exhaustion, and then, oh boy, my arch-nemesis leg pain made a grand entrance.

These symptoms decided to stick around for a few weeks, even as I tried to chill out, rest more, and manage stress. But guess what? I became even more of a grump, and it seemed like nothing was working. Then, things took a wild turn when the inflammation reached my brain. I woke up one day feeling so dizzy that I could hardly function. It felt like my brain was having a never-ending party with electrical shocks, and I was convinced I was having a stroke. Talk about terrifying!

I immediately hit the panic button, canceling all my plans, refusing to talk to anyone. Writing? Forget about it; my brain was unable to cooperate. I seriously questioned if life was worth living like this.

And to top it all off, a month into this nightmare, I decided it was a brilliant time to get bangs. I mean, really, who does that when they’re dealing with a medical crisis? You’d think I’d have known better, right? Turns out, dealing with those unruly hairs took more energy than I could spare.

The moral of my story is simple: when going through a tough medical phase, maybe put off those fancy haircuts (or any major decisions, for that matter) for a while. And don’t hesitate to reach out to your doctor when you need them most.

What was the “aha moment” or series of events that made you decide to bring your message to the greater world? Can you share a story about that?

I was walking my sweet lab dog, Mobey, last summer and I felt an immediate need to write a book for women with lupus. You see, when I was diagnosed years before, it was a very lonely and scary space for me. I knew no one with this disease and found it hard to relate to all of the lupus books out there were very clinically dry. So, I decided to write the book that I would have wanted at that time and one that offered hope and inspiration.

I simply sat down and began typing, never searching “how to write a book” or asking for help. This allowed me to do to it my way and craft a message that I felt would resonate with women.

Without sharing specific names, can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted or helped by your cause?

I was honored to speak at this state-run lupus nonprofit conference, where I dished out some tips on how to be your own bestie advocate.

But here’s the cool part: after my talk, I got this heartwarming email from a fellow lupus warrior who had been in the audience. Her message was kind and uplifting. It filled me with so much validation and a hefty dose of humility. You know, sometimes I get so caught up in this mission to shed light on the lupus journey that I forget to stop and see the impact it’s having on individuals like her.

It was this little moment that slapped me in the face (in a good way) and reminded me that I’m here to try to touch lives, one person at a time.

Are there three things the community/society/politicians can do to help you address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?

1. Let’s deepen our understanding of lupus. It affects a whopping 1.5 million Americas and women represent 90% of the cases. Now, what’s lupus? It’s a chronic, incurable autoimmune disease where your body goes rogue and starts attacking healthy cells, tissues, and organs. Lupus shows up uniquely for each person, like how no two snowflakes are identical.

2. Lupus is one disease among many that is considered an invisible illness. This can be seen as someone looking healthy on the outside, but inside a storm is brewing. Invisible illnesses affect 10% of 61 million Americans with physical or mental ailments. Friends and family can be supportive by educating themselves on the illness/disease and offering an ear to listen.

3. There are no quick fixes for your health, despite everything in the media that tells us to buy, drink, or take. What matters most are the things you do each day that impact your health, like managing stress, eating the right food, and moving your body. Remembering that small healthy actions repeated on a daily basis yield a huge positive impact over time.

How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?

Great leaders are like the yoga pose called warrior two. They know when to be strong, with firm roots planted to hold up the body, and what they stand up for. But they also know when and where to yeild, whether that’s softening at the elbows as the eyes gaze forward or allowing someone else to receive the accolades.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why? Please share a story or example for each.

1. No one will care as much about your gig/book/job as much as you do. Learn this and life will be easier.

2. Slow to hire and quick to fire-although this concept doesn’t just pertain to employees for me. It taught me make decisions based on my intentions and not reactions. And when I decide to be done with something or someone, I should let it go and move on.

3. I wish someone had told me to go ahead and make the mistakes. Knowing that the learned gained from these experiences would come quicker and be more impactful, rather than playing it safe and striving for perfection.

4. Live in the moment. Life goes by so quick and if you’re looking ahead or behind, you’ll miss out on the beauty that’s before you. I believe that a lot of disappointment comes from not being present in life.

5. You’ll never get it all done in a day and in lifetime, so give it (and yourself) a rest. The desire to check off the to-do list and achieve can be such a strong pull, but this doesn’t mean it’s always right. Magic is created when you allow your brain and body to rest.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

My favorite quote by the Buddha is as follows: “In the end, what matters most is how well you have loved, how well you have lived, and how well you’ve learned to let go.”

For me, this puts life in perspective. My ability to both enjoy life and make a positive impact on rests in my hands. Reminding me to love freely, even with the risk of being hurt and rejected over and over, do all of the wild things I want to do, and let go of what I can’t control.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

Oh, this is a good, but tough one! It would be to share some tasty brunch with Bill Lawrence because he 1) created my fav shows of Shrinking and Ted Lasso and 2) he’s a master at mixing comedy with emotions. I feel like we’d have a good time and one of our would shoot some orange juice out of their nose.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

I can be found on Instagram at @amandaechay and on my website at My book, “The Girlfriend’s Guide to Lupus” can be purchased on Amazon-please and thank you.

This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success on your great work!

Thanks Yitzi for this interview! All the best to you, your family, and Thrive magazine!

Social Impact Authors: How & Why Author Amanda Chay of ‘The Girlfriend’s Guide to Lupus’ Is Helping… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.