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Over 200 Artists tackle the Illness Experience

“Mira, Mira on the wall” was the refrain that came to mind when young Mira Berlin (MFA) presented her idea 3 years ago for an art show representing the personal illness experiences of artists. After she left my office, I thought about whether the refrain’s connection to the fairy tale was applicable to the concept.

Three years later, the fairy tale reference can be discarded. A collective of European academic, art and industry leaders has produced a vivid expression of illness through the eyes of artists working in collaboration with patients.

Spain-Coexistentia-5‘Perspectives – Art, Inflammation and Me’ is an initiative designed to add a different dimension to the current understanding of immune-mediated inflammatory diseases (IMIDs) and their impact on patients and society.  The exhibition debuted at the 9th Congress of the European Crohn’s and Colitis Organisation (ECCO) in Copenhagen, Denmark on February 20 with more than 100 unique pieces of art.

Mira was interested in the subjective experience of disease to showcase the potential of Fine Arts “to transcend the bounds placed on patients upon their diagnosis” and to highlight “the incredible power of images to demystify illness and reconcile us to disease, and even to death.” At the time, her thoughts were rare and she prepared a report that identified the state of illness experience as expressed in the arts. It was clear that mainstream art didn’t welcome the theme and many artists were resistant to sharing their experience through their creativity.

The courage of her ambition, however, is mirrored in this initiative. Over 200 artists from more than 40 countries around the world participated. The collection – the result of collaborations between artists and patients – provides new perspectives into some of the unknown, ignored, or misunderstood burdens associated with these conditions.

Foremost among the artists from more than 15 universities are 12 Canadian art students from Calgary’s Alberta College of Art and Design. Their work is inspired by the stories of patients with chronic conditions such as Crohn’s Disease, Psoriasis, and Rheumatoid Arthritis.

We’re privileged to have the opportunity to share all 12 images from Canada and 9 selected works from international contributors. The exhibition’s next scheduled stop is at the EULAR (European League Against Rheumatism) Congress in Paris, June 11 to 14.

While Mira has moved on with her academic and artistic career, it would be an amazing outcome to attend in Paris so I’d have the opportunity to say out loud and without fantasy, “Mira, Mira, …they’re… on the wall”.

Select a thumbnail to see a Canadian image and story.

Untitled by Nicole Brunel and Iain Chisholm
Wild Cards by Fong Ku
Trapped Within by Micaela Blondin de Boer
Presence by Zakhari Halas
Other Side by Daniel Cleghorn and Iain Chisholm
Nothing But Strength by Lizzie Carr
Me and you Forever, and ever and ever by Matthew Ng
Kathy's Hope by Kathryn Cooke
I wished that I had it instead of him by Amy Pon
I Will Manage Whatever Happens by Sally Mayne
Endeavor by Chloe Diana Saunders
Define by Terese Mullin

Select a thumbnail to see an International image and story.

Jordan- Dying...Woke up to life again
Puerto Rico- Fusion (b)
US---Tic-Tac-Toe-Crohn's-(5)
Denmark--My-disease-in-disguise-(5)
UK-Stag-beetle-5
Bulgaria-Bride-5
Hungary-Sensing-freedom-5
Spain-Coexistentia-5
Greece-Hands-5

Who’s important in my end-of-life plan?

Editor’s Note: This article was originally posted on BestEndings.com  a website whose mission and mandate is to help navigate personal and medical decisions as life’s end nears.  Founder, Kathy Kastner, encouraged me to tackle the subject, after all, who’s a better candidate for an abrupt, or unpredictable ending, than a 61 year-old male with a life-long chronic illness. Its definitely a touchy subject, but she gave me some tools and direction to get started. Here’s my first take:

Who’s important in my end-of-life plan?

Contemplating that question, it took me a moment to realize that “I’m important!

 Taking Inventory of Who I Am

It starts here, similar in some respects to a computer chip, the intelligence that powers the organism, I am:

  • 61 years old, orphan son
  • Living with Crohn’s disease for 30+ years, with multiple surgeries, treatments, medications
  • Husband of 32 years in a loving relationship (more on this later)
  • Parent of 2 young adults who are compassionate, thoughtful, open minded critical thinkers.

Who are my ‘important’ extended family relationships?

  • I’m a younger brother (yes at 61) he and his wife are present in my life.
  • I’m a cousin to people who are important to me. Some of these relationships play major continuing roles that are vital to my existence.
  • I’ve got in-law status.
  • I’m an adopted member of an Israeli family.

I’m going to have to determine what guidance I’ll have to give them so they’ll feel comfortable with themselves about my situation.

Beyond blood: Chronic illness is a team sport.

As a Crohn’s disease patient, I have several team members. While I may be the Captain of my Team, for over 30 years I’ve relied on someone in particular who’s played many important roles. It’s no secret that my wife, Cec, has been on this trip with me for decades. She’s managed my life and my kids when I’ve been in and out of hospital like a revolving door. I can’t imagine outliving her, after all, she’s one of those damn healthy teachers. So I’m counting on her hanging around to be at my side, supportive and playing the good wife role to the very end.

 My medical team:

I have a family doctor, a gastroenterologist, and a dermatologist, all of whom I see on a regular basis. There always seems to be someone else joining in at times, from naturopathic doctors to physiotherapists, nutritionists, surgeons etc.

I go to a clinic every 2 months to get medication via an intravenous drip. This is another support team – from the nurses who infuse and care for me, to the pharmacists and coordinators who schedule the appointments.

Living with a chronic condition, nothing is simple

As an example: I can have what appear to be simple problems. A skin infection for instance: Lots of people think a course of antibiotics would take care of that. They’re probably right – for most healthy people that is. For me, however, it’s not automatic. One key reason is that my medication, in order to keep my Crohn’s in check, effectively suppresses my immune system.

This makes simple situations like an infected paper cut or an abscessed tooth a significant challenge because antibiotics and the biologic drug I take don’t like each other. Understand that patients are warned that “fatal infections” have been known to occur. This is no trivial matter to me and I’m ultra vigilant anytime I get a simple cut anywhere on my body. I rely heavily on my entire medical team anytime I have a situation that resists healing. The price for neglect could be my life.

 Taking ‘blood relations’ out of the end-of-life equation:

Who else plays a part in my life that’s not superficial? I haven’t ranked them in priority, but there’s a bunch of people who all play an important role in my life and will continue to do so to the very end:

  •       my mechanic
  •       my barber
  •       my professional advisors: accountant, lawyer, investment advisor
  •       my banker
  •       my customers

There’s much to consider, as I consider ‘managing’ not just my own health but those who will likely remain important and very much a part of my life, right up to the end.

 

A Patient Movement Finds Its Voice

Do you remember the last time you felt you weren’t being listened to? Remember how angry it made you feel? Now imagine that anger multiplied by 15.

Back in October, we introduced you to a group of 15 women behind a fledgling patient advocacy movement. They came to Toronto from across Canada this past summer to share their anger over a shared experience: of having their pain diminished or ignored by society and the healthcare system.no more silence

These women are living with, and suffering from, uterine fibroids (UF) and similar debilitating conditions—and not being heard. In a safe, non-judgmental environment, these women felt free to share stories that needed to be told—stories of years of severe pain, embarrassment, and humiliation. Often, these stories had never been told before.

Sure, lots of anger was expressed throughout the day. But the women discovered—through the mere act of listening to each other’s stories—a new meaning and purpose to their experiences. Becoming more conscious of the myths that had defined them—the biggest being that the only treatment available is hysterectomy—and of a collective narrative of not being listened to, the women decided to unite their voices on behalf of others who are suffering in silence:

“We are speaking today for all the women out there who are still on their toilets at two in the morning passing blood clots and being desperate, and not getting the answers that they need from their doctors, and I’d like for all of us to keep those women in mind. Those women whose personalities might not be as strong as us, whose voices might not be as strong as us, I’d like us to keep those women in mind today as we move forward and remember that the underprivileged, the under-educated, the under-resourced women of our country are being starved of information even more than we are. Let’s keep those women in our minds and hearts today and hopefully we’ll have some solutions that will help all women.”

And so a movement was born. The 15 women are up for the challenges and hurdles they will face as they build their movement’s membership, refine its mission, and amplify its voice. As Patricia Lee reminded the others, even though they may sometimes feel like they’re swimming upstream, they truly are pioneers in empowering other women to advocate for timely and appropriate care and treatment:

To support the movement in its mission to create and empower a collective voice of Canadian women suffering with these conditions, we’ll be sharing these women’s real words and experiences in a series of posts over the next several weeks. By sharing these stories, we hope to:

- improve awareness and understanding of UF and similar conditions to improve women’s treatment outcomes,

- equip women with valuable resources, including tools to improve communication skills with their physicians,

- connect women to each other so that they can tell their own stories, share information, and learn from their collective experience, and

- empower women to become their own best advocates of their own healthcare.

In the next installment, you’ll hear personal stories that speak to the societal bias against menstruation that keeps some women suffering silently.

To see all of the Fibroid Movement videos click here.

Illustrations © Leah Silverman, discoverydoodles.com, for Sandpile Inc. July 20, 2013

Birth of a New Patient Movement

How do patient advocacy groups get started? What motivates people to get engaged and involved? How do they become enabled and empowered?

A milestone event was held on July 20th, 2013 in Toronto to highlight the plight of women suffering from uterine fibroids and the associated heavy menstrual bleeding.

Women from across Canada who suffer from uterine fibroids came together to meet, share and brainstorm to create the first authentic patient voice in Canada regarding this important area of women’s health.

The significance of this event lies in the impact of this condition on the whole patient experience from living with the disease, diagnosis, treatment to follow up. Uterine fibroids account for more hysterectomies in Canada than any other condition. According to the National Uterine Fibroids Foundation (NUFF) in the U.S., up to 80 percent of all women have uterine fibroids. While the majority never have symptoms, one in four ends up with symptoms severe enough to require treatment and the experience can be horrifying.

UF_team_1

In Canada, there is no organization such as NUFF, no unified or organized patient voice, to advocate for timely and appropriate care and treatment of women who have suffered unbelievable pain, discomfort, embarrassment, humiliation and anger due to uterine fibroids, related conditions of the reproductive system and perhaps most importantly, how our society and our health care system diminishes, or ignores symptoms.

At the end of this day, an emerging movement kick-started a new discourse in how we define, understand and most importantly, improve the outcomes for women on this patient journey.

Follow the personal stories of these women and their determination to make an impact and create change. Their struggle to amplify their voice illuminates the challenges to get a movement off the ground.

Will they succeed? Follow the trail of discussion via the graphic illustrations that recorded viewpoints, anger, anguish and joy.

Watch their stories. Discover whether this movement has a chance to grow, then share with us your predictions and any advice you feel can help them reach their goal. Have you got any suggestions for a name?

Discover how this movement finds its voice in the first installment of our new 6-part series.

  • UF Team Stories
  • A Graphic History of UF

    Posted on by UF

    The Uterine Fibroid Experience: How does an objective perspective hear what we experience? Graphic recorder Leah Silverman spent a day with the UF team as an active listener and interpreting what she heard into illustrative notes to share with all of us. Click on the image to see a larger size and compare your experience with hers.   More Stories From the UF Team For more information about the UF movement: Holly Bridges www.facebook.com/unhysterectomy Patricia Lee https://www.facebook.com/FibroidsGroup Read More…

    Tagged Under: ,
  • Patricia

    Posted on by UF

    Determined to find ways to impact the Canadian health system as it pertains to Fibroids, Patricia turned to the internet, forming a Facebook group with surprising results.   More Stories From the UF Team For more information about the UF movement: Holly Bridges www.facebook.com/unhysterectomy Patricia Lee https://www.facebook.com/FibroidsGroup Read More…

    Tagged Under: ,
  • Mazal

    Posted on by UF

    Faced with a rush of uncontrollable bleeding from an unknown source, Mazal gets help from the least expected family member.   More Stories From the UF Team For more information about the UF movement: Holly Bridges www.facebook.com/unhysterectomy Patricia Lee https://www.facebook.com/FibroidsGroup Read More…

    Tagged Under: ,
  • Holly

    Posted on by UF

    Overwhelmed by the multiple stresses of life and the strain on her body from fibroids, a personal tragedy propels Holly to see her situation from a new perspective.   More Stories From the UF Team For more information about the UF movement: Holly Bridges www.facebook.com/unhysterectomy Patricia Lee https://www.facebook.com/FibroidsGroup Read More…

    Tagged Under: ,
  • Paragi

    Posted on by UF

    It took several years and visits with multiple specialists for Paragi to get a diagnosis and treatment plan that she would accept with full knowledge of what the risks were.   More Stories From the UF Team For more information about the UF movement: Holly Bridges www.facebook.com/unhysterectomy Patricia Lee https://www.facebook.com/FibroidsGroup Read More…

    Tagged Under: ,
  • Shannon

    Posted on by UF

    Shannon started experiencing fibroids at age 25. Engaged to be married and planning a family, the threat of infertility loomed large.   More Stories From the UF Team For more information about the UF movement: Holly Bridges www.facebook.com/unhysterectomy Patricia Lee https://www.facebook.com/FibroidsGroup Read More…

    Tagged Under: ,

For more information:

Holly Bridges

www.facebook.com/unhysterectomy

Patricia Lee

https://www.facebook.com/FibroidsGroup

Over 200 Artists tackle the Illness Experience

“Mira, Mira on the wall” was the refrain that came to mind when young Mira Berlin (MFA) presented her idea 3 years ago for an art show representing the personal illness experiences of artists. After she left my office, I thought about whether the refrain’s connection to the fairy tale was applicable to the concept.

Three years later, the fairy tale reference can be discarded. A collective of European academic, art and industry leaders has produced a vivid expression of illness through the eyes of artists working in collaboration with patients.

Spain-Coexistentia-5‘Perspectives – Art, Inflammation and Me’ is an initiative designed to add a different dimension to the current understanding of immune-mediated inflammatory diseases (IMIDs) and their impact on patients and society.  The exhibition debuted at the 9th Congress of the European Crohn’s and Colitis Organisation (ECCO) in Copenhagen, Denmark on February 20 with more than 100 unique pieces of art.

Mira was interested in the subjective experience of disease to showcase the potential of Fine Arts “to transcend the bounds placed on patients upon their diagnosis” and to highlight “the incredible power of images to demystify illness and reconcile us to disease, and even to death.” At the time, her thoughts were rare and she prepared a report that identified the state of illness experience as expressed in the arts. It was clear that mainstream art didn’t welcome the theme and many artists were resistant to sharing their experience through their creativity.

The courage of her ambition, however, is mirrored in this initiative. Over 200 artists from more than 40 countries around the world participated. The collection – the result of collaborations between artists and patients – provides new perspectives into some of the unknown, ignored, or misunderstood burdens associated with these conditions.

Foremost among the artists from more than 15 universities are 12 Canadian art students from Calgary’s Alberta College of Art and Design. Their work is inspired by the stories of patients with chronic conditions such as Crohn’s Disease, Psoriasis, and Rheumatoid Arthritis.

We’re privileged to have the opportunity to share all 12 images from Canada and 9 selected works from international contributors. The exhibition’s next scheduled stop is at the EULAR (European League Against Rheumatism) Congress in Paris, June 11 to 14.

While Mira has moved on with her academic and artistic career, it would be an amazing outcome to attend in Paris so I’d have the opportunity to say out loud and without fantasy, “Mira, Mira, …they’re… on the wall”.

Select a thumbnail to see a Canadian image and story.

Untitled by Nicole Brunel and Iain Chisholm
Wild Cards by Fong Ku
Trapped Within by Micaela Blondin de Boer
Presence by Zakhari Halas
Other Side by Daniel Cleghorn and Iain Chisholm
Nothing But Strength by Lizzie Carr
Me and you Forever, and ever and ever by Matthew Ng
Kathy's Hope by Kathryn Cooke
I wished that I had it instead of him by Amy Pon
I Will Manage Whatever Happens by Sally Mayne
Endeavor by Chloe Diana Saunders
Define by Terese Mullin

Select a thumbnail to see an International image and story.

Jordan- Dying...Woke up to life again
Puerto Rico- Fusion (b)
US---Tic-Tac-Toe-Crohn's-(5)
Denmark--My-disease-in-disguise-(5)
UK-Stag-beetle-5
Bulgaria-Bride-5
Hungary-Sensing-freedom-5
Spain-Coexistentia-5
Greece-Hands-5

Who’s important in my end-of-life plan?

Editor’s Note: This article was originally posted on BestEndings.com  a website whose mission and mandate is to help navigate personal and medical decisions as life’s end nears.  Founder, Kathy Kastner, encouraged me to tackle the subject, after all, who’s a better candidate for an abrupt, or unpredictable ending, than a 61 year-old male with a life-long chronic illness. Its definitely a touchy subject, but she gave me some tools and direction to get started. Here’s my first take:

Who’s important in my end-of-life plan?

Contemplating that question, it took me a moment to realize that “I’m important!

 Taking Inventory of Who I Am

It starts here, similar in some respects to a computer chip, the intelligence that powers the organism, I am:

  • 61 years old, orphan son
  • Living with Crohn’s disease for 30+ years, with multiple surgeries, treatments, medications
  • Husband of 32 years in a loving relationship (more on this later)
  • Parent of 2 young adults who are compassionate, thoughtful, open minded critical thinkers.

Who are my ‘important’ extended family relationships?

  • I’m a younger brother (yes at 61) he and his wife are present in my life.
  • I’m a cousin to people who are important to me. Some of these relationships play major continuing roles that are vital to my existence.
  • I’ve got in-law status.
  • I’m an adopted member of an Israeli family.

I’m going to have to determine what guidance I’ll have to give them so they’ll feel comfortable with themselves about my situation.

Beyond blood: Chronic illness is a team sport.

As a Crohn’s disease patient, I have several team members. While I may be the Captain of my Team, for over 30 years I’ve relied on someone in particular who’s played many important roles. It’s no secret that my wife, Cec, has been on this trip with me for decades. She’s managed my life and my kids when I’ve been in and out of hospital like a revolving door. I can’t imagine outliving her, after all, she’s one of those damn healthy teachers. So I’m counting on her hanging around to be at my side, supportive and playing the good wife role to the very end.

 My medical team:

I have a family doctor, a gastroenterologist, and a dermatologist, all of whom I see on a regular basis. There always seems to be someone else joining in at times, from naturopathic doctors to physiotherapists, nutritionists, surgeons etc.

I go to a clinic every 2 months to get medication via an intravenous drip. This is another support team – from the nurses who infuse and care for me, to the pharmacists and coordinators who schedule the appointments.

Living with a chronic condition, nothing is simple

As an example: I can have what appear to be simple problems. A skin infection for instance: Lots of people think a course of antibiotics would take care of that. They’re probably right – for most healthy people that is. For me, however, it’s not automatic. One key reason is that my medication, in order to keep my Crohn’s in check, effectively suppresses my immune system.

This makes simple situations like an infected paper cut or an abscessed tooth a significant challenge because antibiotics and the biologic drug I take don’t like each other. Understand that patients are warned that “fatal infections” have been known to occur. This is no trivial matter to me and I’m ultra vigilant anytime I get a simple cut anywhere on my body. I rely heavily on my entire medical team anytime I have a situation that resists healing. The price for neglect could be my life.

 Taking ‘blood relations’ out of the end-of-life equation:

Who else plays a part in my life that’s not superficial? I haven’t ranked them in priority, but there’s a bunch of people who all play an important role in my life and will continue to do so to the very end:

  •       my mechanic
  •       my barber
  •       my professional advisors: accountant, lawyer, investment advisor
  •       my banker
  •       my customers

There’s much to consider, as I consider ‘managing’ not just my own health but those who will likely remain important and very much a part of my life, right up to the end.

 

A Patient Movement Finds Its Voice

Do you remember the last time you felt you weren’t being listened to? Remember how angry it made you feel? Now imagine that anger multiplied by 15.

Back in October, we introduced you to a group of 15 women behind a fledgling patient advocacy movement. They came to Toronto from across Canada this past summer to share their anger over a shared experience: of having their pain diminished or ignored by society and the healthcare system.no more silence

These women are living with, and suffering from, uterine fibroids (UF) and similar debilitating conditions—and not being heard. In a safe, non-judgmental environment, these women felt free to share stories that needed to be told—stories of years of severe pain, embarrassment, and humiliation. Often, these stories had never been told before.

Sure, lots of anger was expressed throughout the day. But the women discovered—through the mere act of listening to each other’s stories—a new meaning and purpose to their experiences. Becoming more conscious of the myths that had defined them—the biggest being that the only treatment available is hysterectomy—and of a collective narrative of not being listened to, the women decided to unite their voices on behalf of others who are suffering in silence:

“We are speaking today for all the women out there who are still on their toilets at two in the morning passing blood clots and being desperate, and not getting the answers that they need from their doctors, and I’d like for all of us to keep those women in mind. Those women whose personalities might not be as strong as us, whose voices might not be as strong as us, I’d like us to keep those women in mind today as we move forward and remember that the underprivileged, the under-educated, the under-resourced women of our country are being starved of information even more than we are. Let’s keep those women in our minds and hearts today and hopefully we’ll have some solutions that will help all women.”

And so a movement was born. The 15 women are up for the challenges and hurdles they will face as they build their movement’s membership, refine its mission, and amplify its voice. As Patricia Lee reminded the others, even though they may sometimes feel like they’re swimming upstream, they truly are pioneers in empowering other women to advocate for timely and appropriate care and treatment:

To support the movement in its mission to create and empower a collective voice of Canadian women suffering with these conditions, we’ll be sharing these women’s real words and experiences in a series of posts over the next several weeks. By sharing these stories, we hope to:

- improve awareness and understanding of UF and similar conditions to improve women’s treatment outcomes,

- equip women with valuable resources, including tools to improve communication skills with their physicians,

- connect women to each other so that they can tell their own stories, share information, and learn from their collective experience, and

- empower women to become their own best advocates of their own healthcare.

In the next installment, you’ll hear personal stories that speak to the societal bias against menstruation that keeps some women suffering silently.

To see all of the Fibroid Movement videos click here.

Illustrations © Leah Silverman, discoverydoodles.com, for Sandpile Inc. July 20, 2013

Birth of a New Patient Movement

How do patient advocacy groups get started? What motivates people to get engaged and involved? How do they become enabled and empowered?

A milestone event was held on July 20th, 2013 in Toronto to highlight the plight of women suffering from uterine fibroids and the associated heavy menstrual bleeding.

Women from across Canada who suffer from uterine fibroids came together to meet, share and brainstorm to create the first authentic patient voice in Canada regarding this important area of women’s health.

The significance of this event lies in the impact of this condition on the whole patient experience from living with the disease, diagnosis, treatment to follow up. Uterine fibroids account for more hysterectomies in Canada than any other condition. According to the National Uterine Fibroids Foundation (NUFF) in the U.S., up to 80 percent of all women have uterine fibroids. While the majority never have symptoms, one in four ends up with symptoms severe enough to require treatment and the experience can be horrifying.

UF_team_1

In Canada, there is no organization such as NUFF, no unified or organized patient voice, to advocate for timely and appropriate care and treatment of women who have suffered unbelievable pain, discomfort, embarrassment, humiliation and anger due to uterine fibroids, related conditions of the reproductive system and perhaps most importantly, how our society and our health care system diminishes, or ignores symptoms.

At the end of this day, an emerging movement kick-started a new discourse in how we define, understand and most importantly, improve the outcomes for women on this patient journey.

Follow the personal stories of these women and their determination to make an impact and create change. Their struggle to amplify their voice illuminates the challenges to get a movement off the ground.

Will they succeed? Follow the trail of discussion via the graphic illustrations that recorded viewpoints, anger, anguish and joy.

Watch their stories. Discover whether this movement has a chance to grow, then share with us your predictions and any advice you feel can help them reach their goal. Have you got any suggestions for a name?

Discover how this movement finds its voice in the first installment of our new 6-part series.

  • UF Team Stories
  • A Graphic History of UF

    Posted on by UF

    The Uterine Fibroid Experience: How does an objective perspective hear what we experience? Graphic recorder Leah Silverman spent a day with the UF team as an active listener and interpreting what she heard into illustrative notes to share with all of us. Click on the image to see a larger size and compare your experience with hers.   More Stories From the UF Team For more information about the UF movement: Holly Bridges www.facebook.com/unhysterectomy Patricia Lee https://www.facebook.com/FibroidsGroup Read More…

    Tagged Under: ,
  • Patricia

    Posted on by UF

    Determined to find ways to impact the Canadian health system as it pertains to Fibroids, Patricia turned to the internet, forming a Facebook group with surprising results.   More Stories From the UF Team For more information about the UF movement: Holly Bridges www.facebook.com/unhysterectomy Patricia Lee https://www.facebook.com/FibroidsGroup Read More…

    Tagged Under: ,
  • Mazal

    Posted on by UF

    Faced with a rush of uncontrollable bleeding from an unknown source, Mazal gets help from the least expected family member.   More Stories From the UF Team For more information about the UF movement: Holly Bridges www.facebook.com/unhysterectomy Patricia Lee https://www.facebook.com/FibroidsGroup Read More…

    Tagged Under: ,
  • Holly

    Posted on by UF

    Overwhelmed by the multiple stresses of life and the strain on her body from fibroids, a personal tragedy propels Holly to see her situation from a new perspective.   More Stories From the UF Team For more information about the UF movement: Holly Bridges www.facebook.com/unhysterectomy Patricia Lee https://www.facebook.com/FibroidsGroup Read More…

    Tagged Under: ,
  • Paragi

    Posted on by UF

    It took several years and visits with multiple specialists for Paragi to get a diagnosis and treatment plan that she would accept with full knowledge of what the risks were.   More Stories From the UF Team For more information about the UF movement: Holly Bridges www.facebook.com/unhysterectomy Patricia Lee https://www.facebook.com/FibroidsGroup Read More…

    Tagged Under: ,
  • Shannon

    Posted on by UF

    Shannon started experiencing fibroids at age 25. Engaged to be married and planning a family, the threat of infertility loomed large.   More Stories From the UF Team For more information about the UF movement: Holly Bridges www.facebook.com/unhysterectomy Patricia Lee https://www.facebook.com/FibroidsGroup Read More…

    Tagged Under: ,

For more information:

Holly Bridges

www.facebook.com/unhysterectomy

Patricia Lee

https://www.facebook.com/FibroidsGroup

Cocaine Blues

One of my favourite early Bob Dylan songs was Cocaine Blues. I don’t know why the lyric “Cocaine all around my brain” has stuck with me for decades. But the accompanying lyric “This old cocaine ‘bout to make me sick” never meant much to me until I sat down with Kenny, the Area Chair for Cocaine Anonymous, to learn about addiction as a chronic illness.

There’s a great deal of stigma attached to the term “addict”. Pop culture and politics has shaped many of the public perspectives of cocaine addiction and what we think of addicts.  It was a revelation for me to explore the lived experience of an addict and how peer support plays a role in treatment.

Kenny shared with me his story, in advance of Cocaine Anonymous Southern Ontario chapter’s annual convention in Toronto on September 20-22. He tells it in own words with a hope to change the predominant perspective. (more…)