TGGC #66: Navigating chronic illness and building a business sustainably with Kelsey Cronkhite

Kelsey Cronkhite is the Founder and Creative Director at Pinegate Road — a brand strategy agency that specializes in helping creative businesses find their foundation, and build that out beautifully in all that they do. She personally loves bringing the hand-made and hand-lettered into the digital environment. From hand-lettering on websites, to torn paper and shadows, she believes that bringing more of what we love in our tangible lives to our online brands helps us connect with our audience in a deeper more meaningful way.

Kelsey and I talked about her journey to being diagnosed with endometriosis, how it changed her life, managing her life with chronic pain, and how she sustainably built up her business over 5 years before quitting her day job.

In this episode we talk about:

  • Kelsey’s journey to being diagnosed with endometriosis and how her life changed as a result
  • What it was like being told that if she wanted to have kids, she needed to start trying right away
  • Deciding to get surgery to treat her endometriosis
  • The systems she put into place to ensure she could still complete client work on time while in pain
  • The advice she’d offer anyone who is facing an endometriosis diagnosis
  • How to build strong foundations as a freelancer before quitting your day job


Links mentioned:


Where to find Kelsey:


Kelsey's advice when facing an endometriosis diagnosis:

1: it's great you already have doctors who are believing in your pain and thinking it may be takes the average endo sufferer 10 years before they get someone to believe them and see what's going on

2: find a NICE gyno that you can trust, and make an apt asap. I got in with one that was great...but I had an attack when I was out of pain meds this one time and had to see another one, and she thought I was just trying to get drugs, and she was emotionless and made me feel terrible. Having someone on your side early is good!

3: Start looking into your diet! This might sound weird, but after doing a lot of research and testing out with this over the past couple years, I truly believe that we can start to heal our hormones through the foods we eat. Here are two podcast episodes that CHANGED MY LIFE:, and please especially listen to the second one...

4: along with that second episode, I read the woman code by Alisa Vitti, and eventually took her online program (flo protocol) to help me start eating with my hormones in mind. While it has been hard for me to do EVERYTHING in the program, it's nice to feel like you have some control over the situation...endo can really make you feel helpless and out of control in so many ways.

5: if you feel like the pain is getting in the way of doing your normal life, do look into getting it out. I went through the cleveland clinic (being here in Cleveland) and was lucky to have the top doctor do the surgery on me. His name is Tomasso Falcone, and he is literally the best in the world. I had to wait a couple months, but I have been 100% pain free since April, and it's been amazing!!! Also, know that there is no way to PROOVE that you have endo until they go in. When they go in, they will see if it's there, and then take out all the lesions. PLEASE make sure whoever you're going through does excision and not ablation. Excision is where they cut it out, and ablation is where they laser it out. I've heard horror stories online from people who did ablation, so I just wanted to let you know that in general.

6: I joined a lot of endo support facebook groups. These are a place where you can go on, and get emotional support and help from others going through similar things. Just knowing people were there who understood was so helpful for me. I wrote on one the day before my surgery, and they were all so helpful on emotionally calming me down.