Awkward Hands Move at a Snail’s Pace

One of the most troubling symptoms for those with Parkinson’s is bradykinesia, which is just a fancy word for slow movement. I’m grateful (alleluia) that my tremor and dyskinesia have subsided with help from a great Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) programmer and medication adjustments. However, I continue to be plagued by slow and stiff movement, particularly in my hands. I find it ironic that before Parkinson’s, I could talk and walk fast, eat quickly, play the accordion at a fast clip, type 99 wpm without errors, complete university in three years, work three jobs simultaneously, and overall function as an efficient and fast-moving person. People previously described me as an Instant Person.

With Parkinson’s, particularly when my medication and DBS stimulation aren’t working at an optimum level, life seems in slow motion and particularly my hands move at a snail’s pace. For example, sometimes buttoning my blouse, zipping my jacket, turning the key to open the door, folding a sheet of paper and putting it in an envelope, putting a stamp on an envelope, handwriting, taking coins and bills out of my wallet, eating with a fork, preparing or cutting food, putting on makeup–all can seem like insurmountable tasks with my [...] continue the story

Assumptions and the School of Cancer

Assumptions and the School of Cancer By: MsInterpretation October 11, 2011

As with many living with a chronic, terminal or unresolved health issue, I’ve become a student of my condition. I’ve found, in the course of my schooling, that Assumptions abound.

Diagnosis and the assumption: I felt in pre-school when my doctor said, in gentle tones: “You have DCIS: Ductal carcinoma in situ.” She handed me the lab report, and wrote down a website, instructing: “Only look at this particular information, The rest will just freak you out.” Providing specifics of a website seems responsible, recognizes the power of the internet, and is in keeping with the principles of Participatory Medicine.

I remember none of this. I know it happened, because I have the paper to prove it. What I do remember is that I understood DCIS to be exactly the opposite of what it meant. What I understood from DCIS was, “Cancer’s in my ducts. That’s the same as lymph nodes. That’s bad. In situ. That must mean it’s inoperable. I have to prepare myself for death. And I also need to prepare my family.” I left the office a dead woman.

It was a friend (diagnosed with DCIS more than a decade before) who described [...] continue the story

There Is Beauty In Darkness

By redcurls November 28, 2011

When I was diagnosed with MS I had lost most of the vision in one eye with Optic Neuritis and the dizziness was frightening having to drive on a busy highway each day to work. There were times I couldn’t tell if my car had stopped or not and working with abused mothers and their children I was always afraid of running over a child coming or going from my office. I got my sight back but started a long relapsing and remitting, in and out of the hospital experience. I had been very active in writing and illustrating my stories for the children that I worked with. I taught art classes to encourage their creativity. I had begun getting ready for my own art showing but felt like I would never be able to paint or sketch again. I went to sleep with tears, I had closed the door to my art studio with paintings half finished. I couldn’t handle the small details of my painting anymore. I dreamed that I saw myself painting and I was painting to music …it was SO REAL. I awoke and went into my studio at midnight and took out [...] continue the story

Dancing With Parkinson’s

Dancing with Parkinson’s open house for friends and family December 2010.


Hearing Hope

AMS – Mimi Divinsky Awards. 2011 award winner Dr Charlie Guiang reads his story.

These awards honour the late Mimi Divinsky, a family doctor with a special interest in narrative in family medicine.

November 7, 2011

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By Sandy Webb October 27, 2011

Memories come in many different shapes and forms. The things that can trigger a memory are numerous…a smell, a song, a book, a movie or television show and sometimes they just happen. There are childhood memories, high school memories, college memories, early adulthood memories, memories of finding that one true love and memories of your children.

I have lots of TJ memories; we spent 16 years creating memories. No, not all are good memories. It is impossible to put two stubborn, head strong, independent people together and not expect some volatility, but we did love each other very much and I have many more good memories than bad ones.

The memories that hit me the hardest are those that come out of the blue. It is usually a day that I am merrily going along in my new life and BAM! I have a déjà vu moment. The memory coursing through my entire body…I feel it everywhere. Suddenly I can no longer think about anything else, I become almost transfixed, I retreat into my own little world. The memory seems so real, so vivid, TJ is with me…I feel as though I could reach out and touch him. [...] continue the story

Good Enough

AMS – Mimi Divinsky Awards. 2008 award winner Dr. Merrilee Brown reads her story.

These awards honour the late Mimi Divinsky, a family doctor with a special interest in narrative in family medicine.

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Getting Back To ‘Normal’

By Sherry Abbott August 29, 2011

Recently, I’ve been revisiting the findings of our 2010 national survey of women with cancer, and thinking about how so much of what women told us mirrors my own experience. It got me to thinking about the things women with cancer want. Of course, there are things we all want — a self-clean bathroom, the perfect pair of jeans, great boots — but a cancer diagnosis changes everything and suddenly and somehow, for awhile anyway, many of the things we once wanted aren’t very important anymore.

In our survey, women told us that more than anything, they didn’t want the people around them to treat them differently just because they had cancer. I remember very well the overwhelming need for life to be as normal as possible (which was virtually impossible at best) during my cancer journey. For me, this meant getting up every morning and attempting to brush on touch of mood-lifting blush, pencil on some eyebrows, spritz on some of my favourite fragrance and, of course, put on my wig, just so I could start my day feeling a little more like myself. It wasn’t that I looked pretty, but somehow investing the time and [...] continue the story

Centering Ourselves as Patients

AMS – Mimi Divinsky Awards. 2008 award winner Dr. Suzanne Walters reads her story.

These awards honour the late Mimi Divinsky, a family doctor with a special interest in narrative in family medicine.

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Faith Hindering Diabetes Care

dLife investigates how some children have paid the ultimate price for their parents’ religious views.