The Comedian vs Cancer

“Fuck Lance Armstrong! He sets the bar too high for other cancer patients.”

It was still before Armstrong was exposed, when 12 years ago today, on the advice of my Improv coach, the legendary Brian G. Smith, I went to the theatre to see Daniel Stolfi’s Canadian Comedy Award Winning One Man Show “Cancer Can’t Dance Like This”.

It’s not an overstatement to say that Stolfi’s show – and especially the “Fuck Lance Armstrong” vitriol – inspired me to commit to the wacky life of patient advocacy the last dozen years. The singular power of his performance, and his unabashed perspectives, takes you inside his relationship with Cancer as a young adult.

Funny thing, the audience – they, me, – we all laughed our asses off and particularly the dig at Armstrong. Stolfi gave us the permission, which many thought wasn’t possible, to laugh at Cancer. He left me invigorated with the prospect that just a well told tale is all it takes to change our healthcare system. Perhaps slightly naïve, I know, – okay, really naïve – but he put a creative exclamation mark on how to enrich our understanding of the lived illness experience. I thought if only every health care [...] continue the story

Pain and parking: Capturing the patient experience

From my admittedly biased patient perspective, I'm still left with the question: Are we measuring what matters to patients?

An historic opportunity for patient partnership

Who would have imagined that the day would come when a candidate for president of the Canadian Medical Association would proclaim in his platform, that patients need to be partners at the table to co-design the future of healthcare?

Dr. Sandy Buchman walks the talk. I’m privileged to be the patient and public representative on his campaign committee. Win or lose he lives by his principles and as a palliative care physician serving the homeless he demonstrates this everyday. Today, he presents patients with an historic opportunity to enter into a new relationship with health care professionals. Whether as individuals or as advocacy groups, the concept of partnering WITH patients has now reached a new level. While its true that patients do not vote in the CMA election, patients can have influence by bringing this to the attention of their physician carers or colleagues.

This is not about the therapeutic relationship. Its about policy that will influence the delivery of care for generations. Patients and physicians have shared interests. All stakeholders in health care need to collaborate to ensure that we have a sustainable and compassionate health care system.Dr. Sandy Buchman is breaking new ground by including a role for patients [...] continue the story

Do drug funding decisions need PR? A response

healthydebate.ca- This is in response to the article “Do drug funding decisions need pr?” Read the full article here.

Mark this case a clear FAIL. Health Canada and related agencies abdicated their responsibility to properly inform the public and allowed industry to manipulate and poison the biosimilar conversation. Physicians were pressured to stamp all of their biologic prescriptions with a Do Not Substitute order. Prestigious physicians wrote opinion articles disguised as evidence-based reporting that were published in medical journals advocating against substitution. And patient organizations, whether knowingly or not were parties to delivering mixed messages to patients by disseminating material and webinars produced and paid for by drug companies.

Worse still, its been reported that coercive marketing tactics by originators took advantage of many patients’ vulnerability while they were in hospital that directly interfered in and biased their treatment, resulting in the loss of their biologically naïve status and their right to choose a therapy most appropriate for them.

However, the Holy Grail of scientific evidence, such as The NOR-SWITCH Study, is now proving that biosimilars are equally effective in patients who switch.

So at this late stage of the conversation should regulators step in with a communications plan? It’s clear that fighting a [...] continue the story

The Type 2 Diabetes Diagnosis: Emotions

By Kathy Kastner with Zal Press First, you grieve A diagnosis of Type2 Diabetes means the end of life as you’ve lived it. Adding to the shock is the perception: Type2 is the ‘bad’ diabetes. The one you’ve brought on yourself by your overindulgent lifestyle. Type1 is seen as the ‘good’ diabetes: beyond your control.

Rarely is this the case: Type2 Diabetes is most often ‘written in the genes’, thus confounding even the most diligent of health efforts.

Lori became an advocate as a result of seeing the impact of this condition on her father and nephew, which evolved into her becoming a resource and Opinion Leader.

With a Type2 diagnosis, going through the stages of grief is not uncommon: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and eventually – hopefully – choosing to accept. Anger and denial Even for those in ethnicities at high risk of T2, acceptance of a diagnosis can be devastating. Heather is a nurse and Opinion Leader who, on a whim – and well into her career – decided to test herself: Being as she was in the hospital on the Diabetes unit. That was in 1989.

Aida (who gives an infectious giggle as she explains,’ it’s pronounced like the Opera’) is slim and fit and is [...] continue the story