Transcript of Interview with Caroline Goodner about FemiClear, Diagnosis and Treatment
Alexandra: Hi, I'm really excited to be back here with this awesome, amazing gal Caroline Goodner. She's joining us from Austin, Texas. And I am actually in San Diego, so we are with the East Coast to middle of the country. I always find it fascinating that we can just be anywhere in the world and talking... I met Caroline probably over a year ago, a little bit over a year ago, and she reached out to me with some amazing research and amazing product. We're gonna get into Femiclear a little bit before I wanna just introduce you all to Caroline and talk about herpes, being diagnosed with herpes, the emotional trauma it causes the... 'Oh my gosh, what do I do now? How do I get through this? How do I get out of this? How do I get through my next outbreak, what happens if I get outbreak'... Let's just get going on it. So Caroline, I'm excited to be here.
Caroline: I am so excited to be here. Alexandra, thank you so much for having me.
Alexandra: You are welcome. So let's talk a little bit about your story and how you've found herpes 'cause it's such a unique... Herpes. So how did you get into herpes world?
Caroline: We certainly wanna change that. Nobody wants to talk about that, we wanna talk about it. But yeah, so no, I started this company called Organicare about five years ago, and we started it with this super cool technology, and I say technology, it's really a substrate or an ointment base that is oxygenated olive oil, and it's sort of as proprietary technology, came out of Italy, we started it in the first aid world, moved to mouth sores, and then we really got into feminine healthcare products, and so we've been working on products for the femi-clear brand for now two and a half years, so not that long. But herpes was kind of the condition that's the newest for us, we've had a product for it for about a year.
Alexandra: And did you just stumble upon it?
Caroline: We tested our this substrate with different formulations against the herpes simplex virus one and two, to just see, was it effective? And so that is what led us into this area, we were in feminine Health, but we really thought, Gosh, herpes seems like an underserved condition, and we really wanted to help people with it, and we found out that what we've got really works for it.
Alexandra: It's such a nice relief to find things that are natural that are not prescription-based, there's something that you can go to a CVS or Amazon and be discrete about it, pick it up, and just not feel like you're under the microscope and people are watching you and they go: Look that they have...
Caroline: Yeah, completely, it's a small little package, you can just sort of sneak out through the checkout line with it, and you don't have to go to the doctor, and so that was one of the important things -it does not have to get a prescription. We actually believe you should continue your prescription if you're on one, but this helps topically, and so we just learn from our consumer research of people who have herpes that they're really not happy with the options that are out there, and people are cobbling together stuff that's like anti-itch or anti... Even Tylenol or topical like cortisone or things like that, all with pretty mediocre satisfaction results, and so we knew that there was a need for better management, and so that's what led us down this path.
Alexandra: Right, and so I know you've had an opportunity to talk to some people that are diagnosed with herpes, I've seen you on social media, and I've seen you talk to people. Is there a story that stands out to you? Is there a situation that you're like, Oh my gosh, this happened and it's been absolutely... 'Thank goodness We created this product.'
Caroline: Yeah, we've gotten a lot of reviews and stuff like that, where people said, I've been struggling with this, I'm miserable, I don't even come out of my house and I can't even go to the bathroom without me to get in the bathtub. I mean, just all these really suffering and different people obviously experience outbreaks with greater or lesser intensity, but for people who are really debilitated by it, it makes me feel really good. I know we've heard : Bless you, thank you for creating something that actually really works for me, and that sounds so... I don't mean for it to sound self-promotional, it is honestly, my heart goes out to people who struggle that much with it, I tend to think that it is on average a greater emotional burden than it is a physical one, but that we've heard from a lot of people where the physical burden is pretty bad, and there just hasn't been very much available to people to help them manage when they've got really painful outbreaks.
Alexandra: Yeah, I was just talking to my community yesterday on our call, and I had a significant amount of people in our support group calls, and I had a handful that were newly diagnosed, they got diagnosed that weekend or they're still in their first outbreak, and every time I have a new person, they're like, Is it going to be like this forever? I couldn't sit down, I couldn't wore jeans, I couldn't go to the bathroom, I got my period, I couldn't have a tampon. No, no, no, no, no. You can relax. It's not gonna be like that. Yeah, you'll have some that are painful... I'm not gonna lie. It'll be an uncomfortable situation, you're not gonna be thrilled that you have an outbreak, like Yay. But you're gonna be able to wear jeans, you're gonna be able to do the bathroom, you're gonna be able to do these things, it's just an uncomfortable situation for a couple of days, and that for as the worst? Yeah, yeah, it's like Armageddon. I asked people like, Well, 'cause they always say, Well, is it gonna be over everything again? I'm like, No, you can relax. It's not gonna be this huge, but now there's other people that are like, I never had that experience, I have a mixed to not break or I just had one little paper cut... I didn't even realize what it was. So everybody is a little bit different, but with that being said, we still don't like getting outbreaks and we still want to figure out a solution that will be fast-acting, or you can feel something happening when you put it on, maybe it soothe tingle or soothes the pain or the burning sensation that we have.
Caroline: Yeah, for sure, that that kind of story has really struck me only because we make this product and you feel good about helping people in that way, but the other ones that just like my heart breaks is when people really get down on themselves about having it and it just puts so much fear of rejection. It's negative self-talk. And I hope that we can help people get past that, because this is something that you can come to terms with, accept it, and even thrive with it, and so that journey that people will have to go on from first diagnosis to: Hey, I'm living with it, and it's okay, the journey that I hope we can overtime, shorten and make it faster, easier, lots of great resources like you and your group, so that's what we wanna help facilitate too.
Alexandra: Yeah, and well, thank you for that. And the ability, I was in, I call it the Eyoree phase, so we all think of... Oh, he has the rain cloud over hand, he's just kinda ho-humming along, just like, Okay, life is this life... I just use my rain cloud again. And I was in that phase for two years, and I started realizing, alright, I'm turning 30, I wanna get married at some point in my life, I potentially wanna have a family at some point in my life, and if I stay in this Eyoree phase, either that's not gonna happen, or I'm gonna attract somebody that is going to pray on that situation, be a toxic relationship. And so that was the big kicker that I was like, I have to get it.
Caroline: It's amazing that you have that analytical ability to stand back from yourself and look at it in that way, and be that objective... That's incredible.
Alexandra: Yeah, thank you. But otherwise I was like, Alright, I can just see my path and I can see my pattern, and there were a lot of steps I had to do, it wasn't overnight, it's not... You just wake up because then you'd be like, Okay, I'm fine now, no, it doesn't work that way, and then you can now break and then you go back to that and then you go... It's a whole awful cycle that you just get stuck in and get sucked in, and so that's really my focus here and your goal and our goal here is the sooner we can get people out of that Eyoree phase and back into their life and actually realize that herpes had nothing to do with what puts them in that phase, we take herpes and make it our glass ceiling, so it is... I can't, I can't go to college, Because I have herpes. No, before it was herpes, it was, I can't go to college because whatever thing, something else, I can't become a firefighter because that's been my dream since I was a little kid. Because now I have herpes, and if I get an outbreak and I'm in a burning building and that might really not work, that might not feel well, so now I can't be a fire fighter. Now, I'm not gonna do it. It was something else that I'm using real examples that I've heard from people, I talked to someone who dropped out of college, and it absolutely broke my heart, but that happened, I've talked to people that have... They've never gotten in a swimming pool of their kids because they... Thought it can be transmitted that way. Yeah, and I know you're a mom and there's nothing better than Marco Polo, it gets a little after a while... There's nothing better. And to think that we... And I let the stigma control my life, decide what I was gonna do and not do, and eat and not eat, date, we were gonna date and this and that, and I was like, I cannot let this control my life anymore.
Caroline: Yeah, you're such a good example. And other women that tell their stories and are active in herpes community, such great, big examples, role models to look at and say, Okay, she has been there and she knows what it's like, and what did she do? How can I just kind of be like her and be like her, because I wanna get there, that's where I wanna get to. And so you are speaking now talking and others who do that I just have such admiration for because you're making people think differently, you really make a fundamentally, kind of want to, and see a path towards real change, and it is right here, life is like right on 100%.
Alexandra: Yeah, I went for a run this morning and I haven't gone for a run in five weeks, we were just talking, I've been on vacation and I hadn't gotten a run for Run in five weeks, and it didn't feel good and I was... It was back to the mental thing, it's all mental, I can do it. I exercised. I didn't run right. I was like, Man, it doesn't feel good. I'm like, It's all mental, it's like it just a mental game, I wanted to stop. Of course I did, I wanted to go get a cup of coffee and just go to brunch. Right, but I can't do that every day.
Caroline: But what do you think it is, what's the trigger or the impetus that you've heard of people who've either listened to you or you've talked to people that are like you, that kind of got you over that first time, because maybe once you're over that of any behavior change is kind of, and this is more of a mental behavior change, but... What do you think it takes?
Alexandra: It takes... Well, what I have found is when people try to do it alone and they like, I don't wanna talk to anybody, I don't wanna share my story, when people try to do it alone, that's where they get to an Eeyore phase... I was diagnosed in 2011, and I started life with herpes in 2017. There really wasn't that much of a platform if I even wanted to... Maybe 2015, I could have started it maybe 2000, but social media wasn't what it was, zoom didn't existed, but all these things didn't really exist... Now going forward, it's so easy for people to connect on whatever: Herpes, not herpes. Whatever it is that you wanna connect on, so thank goodness, now that we have this opportunity, and in the way, technology is there to be able to connect virtually. And it's also not as taboo, there are multiple people that are speaking out about it now, which is awesome, so my number one thing I would say is, find a community and find others that are like you, find the community that you feel comfortable in. You may go to a group and be like: The isn't my group, but that's my group, and the sooner you can find a home, the sooner you'll get over it. 'cause there will be those night at 2 AM when you wake up with an outbreak or you have a new partner and you just had sex and you're like, Oh my gosh, I woke up with an outbreak, what do I do? And you need somebody to talk to. The family, you need that. You need someone to tell you, I know exactly what you're going through: Here's what we've done, here's what I've done. The other things one: Find a community, number two, I would say, figure out your triggers and figure out what works for you to get over that outbreak as soon as possible, so... Outbreak prevention and managment.
Caroline: I think that's great. I love the community statement and never before, as you were talking and you're talking about, even just a few years ago, social media connection, and I think of a covid, because it gave us... This is the ubiquitous-ness, everybody is on video. Now, it used to be like, Okay, maybe I'll talk to somebody on the phone, but it was kind of an unusual thing to be on video calls, now it's just an everyday occurrence, and so... People are happy to do that. You can have these sort of meetings, whether it's a bigger group or one-on-one group and connect that way, we have really the power of numbers and people, just a mental construct of not feeling alone and knowing one and six women has it... It has got to like... We just keep kind of parting that every time where we get the opportunity is to say one and six women has it, and because most people really still don't know that, people with herpes don't all know that, and certainly people without herpes, we just wanna shout that from the rooftops, and then go find those people so that you can commiserate, feel better, do work group.
Alexandra. Right. And not make... 'cause okay. The outbreak is painful. There's no way around that. It's not a fun couple of days. Fine, we all can agree, but then just realize that this is part of life, I didn't do anything wrong, 'cause there's so much shame associated with sex, it's wrong to have sex, it's wrong to enjoy sex, or you need to be married to have sex, or you should all these whatever our concerns, and if we were raised in the western culture... I can speak for the Western culture. I don't know the other...
Caroline: That's true.
Alexandra: But we're raised to believe that it shouldn't necessarily be a fun thing, it should just be between the spouse, and that's that, and so it's not realistic. Right. And sex-ed is taught that, Oh, we'll just use a condom and you're fine. That's also not realistic. And it's also false. People truly believe. I'll just use a condom and I'll be fine. I've always used to comment, how did I get this? Well, let me tell you... I was just talking to a friend I haven't talked to in 10 years, and he's like, I always used a condom... I don't get it, and I was like... Okay, so let me explain. Here's what happened. But back to how do you go over that hump, how do you recove., I mentioned definitely getting the management part down, but there's two things I believe that really need to happen internally, number one, obviously find the community, that'll help you, but number two, two things, and it really will take work and you'll go up and down with it. It'll be like rollercoaster, but you need to take responsibility for your actions. It's so easy for us to be: You gave me herpes. You did this to me. You didn't tell me, you lied to me, the breaking of trust, the betrayal of this... About that one, at the end of the day, I made the choice. I made the choice to have sex, right, even if it is with someone you trust or not trust or know or don't know, or could be married to, not married to... Whatever the situation is, I made that choice. So I need to take responsibility for my choices. And the sooner we get out of: But why, how... And it's okay, and I get that, and there's a day in a place for that, but if we stay in that spot, that's when we don't get over the hump now.
Caroline: And you know that is true for everything. Yes, of course, you're gonna be mad, of course, you're gonna feel like you wanna blame for some time, but you're right, if you stay there, there is nothing empowering about a victim mentality. You're by definition, you're feeling victimized, that's what you will be - you are whatever you think you are. And so if you do what you say, take the responsibility, you're back in a position of control, and I always think: God, to be in control is where you wanna be, you wanna be driving your own bus alive that... That's really good.
Alexandra: It goes in waves. It takes time. All those things take time and then, because you can easily... You can run into that person and you can see 'em and then... Or you see that person dating someone new, you just wanna go run and tell that person: Don't you realize that person... Whatever. Nope. It's their choice, they get to make their own decisions. And they're choosing to do that, the next thing that I really, really, really, really command is practicing forgiveness. So forgiveness to that person. And forgiveness to yourself. Right, so forgive that person, whether he or she knew or did not know, it's very possible they may not have known, very possible. They may have thought I did everything I thought was to practice safe sex or not, they may have known deliberately and not cared, but forgive them for that because they had something else going on that led them to this. And then forgive yourself, I can't beat myself up for the choice I made was it was a good choice or bad choice. I made it, so forgive myself. I may make a different choice in the future, that's the choice. And to forgive myself. So following those two well, a community and following those two steps and just continuing to go over those steps, and it might be a daily practice, but as soon as we get out of that...
Caroline: No, I think that's really... And it's so nice and kind of simplified and so completely on point, it completely nails the dealing with outbreaks, trying to prevent it and then manage it a bit as best you can. So it goes away quickly. And then just the mentality of moving from the, Oh God, I feel so bad and Oh, I feel so angry. And blaming and why did they do that? Why me? To - either I made a mistake or I did something that... I'm sorry it happened, but I'm okay, and moving forward, here's how to manage it, and here's who I'm gonna be.
Alexandra: These are the choices I made. So here I am, here I am today, 'cause we so easily get in that mindset of like, I wanna go TP their house or: I wanna sue them and I'm like: Back up. Right. So.
Caroline: There may have been some case in the news that encourages that.
Alexandra: Totally, but the sooner that we can get out of that phase and just move on with your life.
Caroline: A lack of forgiveness just balls the person up who's feeling... Who's holding the grudge. It's holding the anger. This is not under control. Yeah, no, that's great.
Alexandra: Yeah, and then the other huge, huge part here is we're talking about... Of course is where you come in. Right here, I got my little FemiClear. I love this. I know you can get it in CVS. I've seen it in CVS, you can get on Amazon.
Caroline: It's in Walmart, Writing & going into Walgreens as well, so yeah. So we are really excited about is... The tough thing is, because this is kind of the first OTC treatment over the counter, it's not obvious where it would go, because there's a Fortin the store, so it's merchandise in most stores near the contents, so.
Alexandra: So it moved.
Caroline: It hasn't always been like near the connection, it's near the yeast infection treatments in the feminine health, but most of the stores, it's near the condoms, so in the sexual wellness area, near plan B. We learn from consumers that that's kind of where most people would think to look for it if they knew about the product, but anyway, that's where to go. So that was the section, 'cause it's a tentative... It's a pretty small box, so you might have to look a little bit for it, but it can be found there, it can be bought on Amazon, of course. But yeah, and we always wanna hear from people who've tried it to know how did it work for them? We've gotten a lot of really positive feedback. We did a study to show that over 90% of people get less pain, burning and itching, so I think it was 88% of people had a shorter duration outbreak than normal, and over 50%, I wanna say 57% of people when they used it at the very first tingle, before any sore actually happened, it prevented a blister from forming, so over half of people if used that way, didn't get a blind our study...
So again, we've done a lot of studies, but nothing works perfectly for everybody, so we always like to hear from people what... What's helpful? And what recommendations they have?
Alexandra: Yeah, and it says right here on the front, like kills 999% of the herpes simplex one and two fires. So, a lot, which is awesome. And also people, what I have oral or I have genital, or I have something down there which type does it matter - it does not matter, it's something that you applied topically. I like the way it smells, it is a very fresh smell, very lemony. I just think it's a fresh smelling. I like it. And what I like to about it is it's compact, I can throw it in my purse, I can travel with it. Now, if they come across it, they're not gonna know what it is, what is also important, we wanna be discrete about it, it's not this huge prescription thing that you would see in someone's purse and be like: Oh... Yeah, so I just think that it's great for reoccurring outbreaks, and like we were saying... Getting over the herpes and saying: We don't have an outbreak, I don't have any prodrome symptoms, you're like, hey, this is great, whatever. And then all of a sudden you feel it and you're like, it's like, I hate the jaws music in my head, just coming. So the sooner we can have solutions to... Just mentally handle it. I think there's always a great thing.
Caroline: Yeah, And to feel prepared. I think that's just it. It's an easy thing to have in a medicine cabinet, it's got three-year shelf life, so it's not gonna go bad, and if you have that jaws thing coming in or the tingle, you can just use it quick and hopefully you'll be in the 50% of people that don't get an outbreak after all, and if not, hopefully it'll be a much shorter duration that you're used to, but again, we've heard great things so far. It's only been on the market for a year, so we're still welcoming, of course, of all input and comments that people have.
Alexandra: Yeah, so this is a great solution. I'm really glad that I was introduced to it and yeah, it's all ages, you don't need to worry about... Just use it. It's not an issue.
Caroline: Yeah, there's no drug in it, the... It's natural.
Alexandra: There's like... Two ingredients, right?
Alexandra: Beeswax, oatmeal, essential oil and olive oil, all natural, very simple. So learning a lot about these wax actually, and it actually, I didn't realize, but it's extremely hydrating, it's soothing, it offers... It's an anti-something, antibacterial or anti-micro, it was something anti... Anti-inflammatory...
Caroline: So, our purpose for putting it in is to thick in the product, so when we oxygenated the olive oil, it becomes an ointment, but it can be... Especially if it gets warm, it can get a little runny, so we've added beeswax to thicken the product, so it's more consumer-friendly. But yeah, I've heard good things about these back for other kind of more functional purposes to that. So again, the formula works, and so we hope we can help more people, and I hope you keep ringing the bell... And telling your story, it's just so helpful what clarity of thought process you have and how you got yourself after two years in the Eeyore state to come over to the light and to just take back the reins. Yeah.
Alexandra: Exactly. No one else is gonna do it for you, and so you have to do it. And if getting herpes is gonna cause you to get... 'cause I talk a lot of people... And when I say, was your life really on track, was there something else, was there another issue going on? I actually boiled down to things happening in our life into three phases are three different categories: Sex, money or food, we have or have had issues in one of the three, or all three, or two of the three... At different points in our life. And so a lot of times when you look at a herpes diagnosis, whatever works went on your life will fall into one of those three categories.
Caroline: Allstate, that's really... Yeah, 'cause they're sort of things everyone needs to some extent or other, and they're not always as straightforward and simple to navigate and... That's really interesting. That's it, I've never heard that before, but I am glad to hear it from you now.
Alexandra: Alright, Caroline, so how can people find Femiclear or find you or locate, what do you recommend is the best way for them to purchase this or should they just go to the storage... Or is there a website?
Caroline: Yes, Femiclear.com is our website. And we are coming up with a new one in a few weeks, but also if you wanna find it in stores, CVS, Amazon, like I said, a Walmart, Rita going into others as well, but you can find where all the stores are on our website.
Alexandra: Love it. Well thank you thank you thank you so much Caroline I have enjoyed this talk I've enjoyed learning about how you started this what the make up is and of course our journeys together in breaking the stigma and helping people get back to their beautiful lives.
Caroline: Absolutely, so appreciate partnering with you and hope we keep on doing it. Tomorrow is National herpes Awareness Day and hope the word get spread.
Alexandra: I know, I know, it will get spread, it will at all well. Excellent. Okay thanks.