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

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

My uterus gets no respect: the UF movement gathers steam

By Holly Bridges and Zal Press

In the second gathering of Canadian women who suffer from uterine fibroid tumours, patients and physicians alike rolled up their sleeves to share and learn how this group is beginning to influence better health outcomes and improved quality of life for the one in four Canadian women suffering from this condition.

The day was recorded on video and graphic illustrations that captured the emotions and intensity of the day.

The UF Collaborative Forum in Toronto was the first time that women and gynecologists came together to share their different perspectives on the gaps in health care that often leave women to bleed with limited choices of treatment. This groundbreaking event began the vital conversation between healthcare professionals and patients with the goal to establish a unique collaboration that tackles the critical issues affecting treatment and care.

The women who attended represented all stages of the uterine fibroid fight, including those facing surgery, those on the brink of emotional and physical collapse from years of suffering from painful and often uncontrollable bleeding, and those who have emerged victorious and symptom-free after hysterectomy or other treatments.

In our original series of stories Patient Commando highlighted the many gaps in the treatment [...] continue the story