Michelle Sorenson

Michelle Sorenson Michelle Sorensen has been living with Type 1 diabetes since 1998, when she was 24 years old.  She was in the middle of graduate school, training to become a psychologist. She is now a member of the Ontario College of Psychologists and has a private practice in Clinical Psychology in Ottawa, Canada. Using a cognitive behavioural approach to therapy, Michelle helps patients with a wide range of issues.  Michelle has developed a speciality in counselling patients with diabetes. She combines her knowledge about changing thoughts, feelings and behaviours with the understanding that comes from personally living with Type 1 diabetes herself for over 13 years to help patients change their thoughts and modify their behavior.

Michelle believes adaptation to living with this chronic disease would be more manageable if more psychological support was available to people with diabetes.  She hopes to help fill this gap in diabetes care by helping diabetes health professionals become more aware of the ways in which they can support and educate their patients about issues like grief, accessing supports and changing the negative thoughts and behaviours that plague many people living with this challenging condition.  She speaks about various topics related to diabetes management, including counseling approaches like cognitive behavioral therapy [...] continue the story

Kathy Kastner

Kathy Kastner Much like an actor, I am driven by language and interpretation.  However, I do not aspire to be in theatre, on tv or film. Instead, my passion and commitment to language is focussed entirely in the world of health.

As a non-healthcare professional, I am regularly aghast at the assumption – nay, expectation  – that we who are untrained and illl-equipped to understand medical jargon are supposed to know, interpret and act on the language of those trained in the field of healthcare.

I use every medium I can to ‘out’ my outrage, and to educate.

With The Health Television System Inc, I pioneered a hospital-based television network dedicated to reassuring patients and their families that they aren’t stupid just because they interpret ‘stool’ as a 3-legged seat; that ‘treat’ has nothing to do with dogs or children.  Patients are encouraged to ask questions. But there’s another assumption: patients know what questions to ask. I develop lists of questions.

My mission has been electrified by the digital world: I blog on two websites Ability4Life.com – for adult children caring for aging parents; BestEndings.com  about end of life choices, and all those scary and in comprehensible words: co-morbidiities, wound-care, vent, traech.

I ‘YouTube’ about confusing [...] continue the story

Saraƒin

Saraƒin Saraƒin is a Toronto area cartoonist, who writes and draws a webcomic series called ‘Asylum Squad’.

Her first graphic novel, ‘Asylum Squad Side Story: The Psychosis Diaries’, was birthed during a year long psychiatric incarceration.

Saraƒin’s work challenges the common misconceptions about psychotic/spiritual experiences, and breaks down stereotypes of what it means to be “schizophrenic”. She has presented her work at the University of Toronto as part of the ‘Comics and Medicine’ conference in 2012, has been mentioned in various periodicals, including The Globe and Mail and Quill and Quire, and is an active voice in the Toronto Mad Pride movement. Saraƒin rejects her diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder, preferring to just say that she has lived with psychosis, and she believes that her true condition is a spiritual problem. She has just released her second graphic novel, ‘Asylum Squad: Monster Hospital’, and is working on her next book.

Click here to read Saraƒin’s graphic novel on Patient Commando.

See the stories of each of the XX in Health Week healthcare transformers:

A Partner In Crohn’s

Posted: 22 Jun 2013 11:37 AM PDT

I talk to many people throughout my life that suffer with an IBD, either through Twitter (@MrAwesomeBen), my blog or my local Crohn’s and Colitis UK (Leicestershire & Rutland) charity. These people have become a cruck for me to rely on. They know, pretty much, what I am going through. These people, some of whom are complete strangers, people who I would not recognise if I passed them in the street, are there for me and vice-versa.

I bang on about not suffering alone, especially in this modern era of the internet where a new friendship with someone is only a click away.  You can hide any embarrassment or anxiety behind the computer screen.

I class myself to be extremely lucky in this world. I found love. I found a woman to share my world with, who accepts me for what and who I am.

Granted neither of us knew at the beginning the trouble I would put us through with my diagnosis but I doubt that would have changed a thing. I struggle to remember a time where she wasn’t a part of my life.

Now I don’t want this blog to sound like one massive brag. [...] continue the story

Letter From the Editor of Recovery Wire Magazine

I entered into recovery as a teenager. I recall the nurses giving me an evening pass from the detox centre to go see the Lion King on my 19th birthday. From there I moved into a halfway house with other female addicts. I did my best to fit in. I was a very “low bottom” so they told me. I had a really hard time that first year. I had no idea how to connect to people, especially other women. I kept to myself mostly. I couldn’t carry on conversations all that well, and my outside appearance matched my insides perfectly. My entire wardrobe, make-up collection and hair accessories consisted of nothing but black, and I powdered my skin an even lighter shade of white to accentuate my expiry date. Those were indeed different times.

One morning, as part of my rehabilitation, I had to get on a bus at 7:00 am and head to a 12-step meeting in another part of the city. I remember it was a cold morning. I had about six months clean, and there was a frost on the ground. As I waited for the bus I became more and more intolerant, but a new voice was beginning to immerge. The voice of reason and sanity, a quiet voice at the time, but she [...] continue the story

Provider / Patient Communications – Part One

Bob Newhart and Mo Collins dramatize an interaction between a patient and a healthcare provider.  There’s a lot of ongoing discussion about methods to use to improve communications between patients and professionals. Newhart, reprising his famous psychologist role, illustrates a method many patients feel is all too common.

My Last Days: Meet Zach Sobiech

Zach Sobiech passed away May 20, 2013. Our hearts and prayers are with his family and friends. We are forever touched by his story. Thank you for sharing your life and music with us, Zach. You are dearly missed and loved.

 

Published on May 3, 2013

Zach Sobiech is a 17 year old diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. With only months to live, Zach turned to music to say goodbye. Zach turned 18 years old today (May 3rd, 2013) and continues his fight against cancer with a smile that can change the world. Happy Birthday Zach! You are in all of our prayers!

Zach’s song, ‘Clouds’ is available on iTunes and other online music stores and that proceeds benefit the Zach Sobiech Research Fund of Children’s Cancer Research Fund http://www.childrenscancer.org/zach

SoulPancake presents, in collaboration with Wayfarer Entertainment: Director/Producer: Justin Baldoni Producer: Ahmed Kolacek Producer: Sam Baldoni Associate Producer: Fouad Elgohari Editor: Olly Riley-Smith Special Thanks to Dirty Robber DP: Kieran Murphy Cam Op: Sam Rosenthal Grip/Gaffer: Erik Christensen Sound Recordist: Jordon Justice Composer: Jamey Heath Colorist: Kurt Nishimura Mixed by: Jamey Heath VFX: Abdullah Nabil Cam Op: Kraig Adams Cam Op/DIT: Emerson Boergadine

Visit: http://wayfarer-entertainment.com

Songs: Flowers in her hair – The Lumineers Clouds – A Firm Handshake For My Grace – Original song from Zach Sobiech Sandcastles – A Firm [...] continue the story

Valleys: Episode 6 – ‘The Choice’

Published on May 7, 2013

“The only true defeat is giving into bitterness. No matter how our cancer journey ends, we can all be victorious.” – Mike, Valleys: Episode 6. In the finale of the Valleys webseries, Amy talks about the most important thing that gets her through treatments and Annie shares what she has learned about being the best supporter to someone with cancer.

 

More Episodes of Valleys

My daily Companion…Crohn’s

I was diagnosed in 2003 after 88 days in the hospital, the physician said he was treating me for ulcerative colitis but thought it was crohn’s so I signed for exploratory surgery.  He said we would take a section of my colon or do an biopsy..let’s try a look, then.  I awoke with an ileostomy, and had 5 more sugeries (not the pig intestine transplant that I’d hoped for or the stem cell transplant suggested) but I no longer have an exit, so this is not reversible.

I’m on Cimzia injections, still deal daily with pain but am grateful for every day that I live well.  He’s now considering TPN for the rest of my life and I’m only 48? Seems drastic, but I met a man on a mission trip in Lufkin, Texas, last summer (while building wheelchair ramps with United Methodist ARMY youth volunteers…he’s in his 70’s and watched his grandchildren grow up for the past 14 years.  I can do this, if I have to!

I hope to be an inspiration to others, I’m a psychologist and getting my doctorate in Autism Spectrum disorders to work toward my future…however, long or short that may be.  My mantra is…I can [...] continue the story

Annie’s story.

At 21 weeks gestation, we were informed that our daughter, Annie, had a genetic condition associated with profound disabilities. Thus began the most difficult but, ultimately, most enriching journey of our lives.

We realized it was highly likely that Annie would require life-saving interventions in her infancy. From the outset, we wrestled with an agonizing, moral question: Would these interventions and the preservation of her life be in the best interests of our daughter and our family?

To make an informed decision, we began to research. We discovered children who were certainly very impaired, and we were afraid. However, as our knowledge increased, and we met more families with children deemed to be ‘severely disabled’, our fears were alleviated.

Shortly after Annie’s diagnosis, I attended the funeral of a young man with severe cerebral palsy, who had never walked or talked. The midweek service was filled beyond capacity. After the service, I spoke to his teacher. Tears fell freely from her face as she told me that her student had ‘changed her life’. How could that be?

Children with Annie’s condition seldom live into their teens, yet we have observed that when their child dies, the families are absolutely [...] continue the story