Grief, A Necessary Part of Accepting Diabetes

Michelle Sorensen | December 18, 2012

I don’t remember the first time I had to inject myself with a needle. I don’t remember being taught how to test my blood sugar. But I have many memories of being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. In retrospect, the day of my diagnosis was the beginning of a long process of grieving my diabetes. At the time, however, I had no idea that being diagnosed with a chronic illness would involve a grieving process.

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross famously outlined the stages of grief in her 1969 book called On Death and Dying. She described five stages (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance) that describe a process by which people deal with grief and tragedy. Many people think of the stages of grief as just relating to loss of a loved one. These stages, however, apply to many types of loss, including divorce, job loss, dealing with terminal illness, or the diagnosis of a life-changing and life-threatening disease like diabetes. The stages are not in a consistent order and people may go back and forth between different stages. Also, not everyone experiences all the stages. The way each person experiences grief is unique.

On the day I was [...] continue the story

Brave

Meet Tommy Carroll. He has been skating since he was ten, but has been blind since the age of two…

Video production: EyEFORcE

Director: Arthur Neumeier

Director of Photography/Editor: Rakhal Heijtel

Agency: The Odd shop

Creative Directors: Niels de Wit, Robert van der Lans

Production: Josefien Homan

Music: ”WHERE THE HEART IS”

Written by Marijn van der Meer and Jorrit Kleijnen

Performed by Marijn van der Meer

Produced by Alexander Reumers and Jorrit Kleijnen

Featured Guitarist: Lourens van Haaften

Client: VeiligheidNL, Perry Sport

eyeforce.nl

perrysport.nl/bebravebesafe

theoddshop.nl

Psychological Support: The Missing Piece in Diabetes Care

Michelle Sorensen | November 13, 2012

When I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1999, I was both overwhelmed with information and desperate to find more information. It was easy to find depressing facts about the immediate dangers I would face, as well as the future complications I might suffer one day. When I looked for more, however, something about support or about real people living with type 1, there was nothing more than information about fundraising and camps for kids with diabetes.

I was in the middle of graduate school at the time of my diagnosis, training to be a psychologist. In the years since, while learning to manage my diabetes, I have furthered my knowledge about how to help others with diabetes make changes and feel better. I learned quickly that the psychological aspect of diabetes care is mostly absent in the diabetes field. Patients had access to information, but they didn’t have support.

Eventually, I began to counsel people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Using cognitive behavioral therapy, I have tried to help my clients learn how to change the way they think, so that they can change the way they feel and behave. In recent [...] continue the story

Health Mentor – Season One – Episode 1 – Jennifer

By: Jennifer Ladrillo

For years following my diagnosis, I believed that the only way I could find a job and truly be able to build a genuine, solid foundation for my career, was if I kept my “disability” a secret. I thought that in doing so, I would be protected from people judging me as “un-fit”, and from pitying me in any way. Now though, 14 years later, I am not only happy, but eager to tell my story to people (strangers at that!), openly and honestly – no holds barred!

How had I come to be here?

A girlfriend and past co-worker of mine told me she was inspired to take the Health Mentorship course because of me; as she had seen the obstacles I faced balancing my health, work, social life, and everything in between. After taking the course she approached me, asking whether or not I would be interested in taking part as a mentor – the timing could not have been more perfect. I had made great strides from grieving the loss of my old self, and not only accepting, but actually embracing the life I now had. The challenges I had faced and always struggled not to be [...] continue the story

How Gen Y Is Changing Cancer

F*ck Cancer founder Yael Cohen is at the forefront of a fresh news movement that has multiple generations working together to begin “looking for cancer instead of just finding it.”

Following her mother’s breast cancer diagnosis in 2009, Yael Cohen decided to use the ‘F word’ to fight the ‘C word.’ Yael is founder, president, and CFF (Chief Cancer Fucker) of FCancer, a non-profit organization that encourages and empowers Generation Y talk to their parents about early detection. It gives them a clear call to action to involve, engage, and educate their parents. Named one of Fast Company’s “100 Most Creative People in Business,” in 2012, Cohen has grown FCancer into an inspirational and influential player in the charity space and has recruited a host of A-list celebrities to use their influence to garner public support.

The Empowered Patient

After her newborn daughter experienced unnecessary treatments in the NICU, CNN correspondent Elizabeth Cohen began a quest to empower patients to better navigate the health care system, encouraging us all to be vigilant, be educated, and listen to our bodies.

Elizabeth Cohen is senior medical correspondent for CNN’s Health, Medical and Wellness unit, reporting breaking medical news and health consumer reporting on CNN and CNN.com. Her signature digital column the Empowered Patient keeps consumers informed on how to ensure the best medical care for themselves and their families. Her book, THE EMPOWERED PATIENT: How to get the Right Diagnosis, Buy the Cheapest Drugs, Beat Your Insurance Company, and Get the Best Medical Care Every Time, was published in August 2010.

Where Does the Patient Fit?

Patient advocate Alan Blaustein visited a number of doctors, a handful of wrong diagnoses, and a dozen unnecessary prescriptions before finally being diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. Here, he shares his story and describes his hope for a reformed system and better communication among health providers in the near future.

Alan was diagnosed with thymic cancer in 2005. Since that time, he has focused much of his efforts on helping patients and caregivers make better decisions in the face of the healthcare system’s complexities. He has started a number of successful ventures (e.g., OpenSky.com) and spends as much time as he can on charitable activities (e.g., The Foundation for Thymic Cancer). Most importantly though, he is the father of three wonderful kids for whom he wants to set a lasting example of the right way to do things.

Fuller Life with Prosthetic

Melissa Stockwell sports a shiny red, white and blue prosthetic after she lost her leg to a bomb in Baghdad. Find out why she says losing a limb made her life more fulfilling, and hear how she’s gone on to compete in the Paralympics and find a new career.

On April 13, 2004, 1LT (ret) Melissa Stockwell became the first female to lose a limb during OIF earning a purple heart and a bronze star. She is a 2008 Paralympian in the sport of swimming and the current 2x Paratriathlon World Champion. Melissa is also a certified prosthetist at Scheck and Siress Prosthetics, fitting other amputees with artificial limbs, a board member on the Wounded Warrior Project and a co-founder of dare2tri Paratriathlon Club.

Health Mentor – Season One – Episode 2 – Annette

By: Annette McKinnon

Just as happened at the last session all 5 of the participants are here for today’s meeting. The major topic is Ethical and Professional issues this week, but as usual we go where the conversation takes us. Unlike Zal, I really like to sit at the head of the table because of the limitations in the movement of my neck. If I twist it one way for too long I get spasms and pain so it’s the best way for me to see everyone.

When it comes to the impact of the health care system on me I would say that it has improved greatly as I have become more knowledgeable. Almost like in raising children “it takes a village” in chronic disease. You need a captain for your team of health care providers. It used to go without saying that the leader would be the doctor – now the patient is taking on a much less passive role and calling in other health care providers as required.

The two biggest problems in not having enough information about healthcare issues is that decisions are often slowed down while you collect the info you need to make the decision, and (if [...] continue the story

Virginia and Horace’s Story: Living with Vitiligo

Meet Virginia H. and Horace F. as they discuss the daily (and different) challenges they face with vitiligo—a condition in which patches of skin turn white.

Interviewed by CSPA Board Member, Preet Bhogal

Tell us bit about yourselves. Virginia H.: I’m a “Winnipeg-ger” Canadian, Australian born. I’m a dance choreographer/visualartist with a musical background and a writer. I have Scottish, Maori, American and Irish roots. I have a beautiful daughter and an epic son. I’ve had vitiligo for five years.

Horace F.: I’m an American from Atlanta, Georgia. I’m an ordained minister, sales manager, health-care recruiter and director of my own consulting group in Vancouver, BC. My journey with vitiligo started in 2004.

How does vitiligo affect you? VH: My “attitude is my altitude.” I need to take into account things others don’t. This affects the clothes I wear, how I spend my money and even budgeting extra time and money for protective clothing styles and skin maintenance lotions and makeup. I really have to focus on make-up application and visual presentation in my daily life. HF: I have concern that people that I come into contact with sometimes draw away in fear that it’s contagious. Sometimes, when reaching out to hold or shake someone’s hand the look on their face is so depressing. My family was okay with it once they knew it is not contagious. VH: I’m 49 and single. My children see me as I am—their mom. I’m [...] continue the story