Happily Ever After My Diagnosis

On December 15th, 2009, I was matched up on eHarmony with a man named David (for the SECOND time – long story, I’ll explain later!!!). Being tired of waiting for the men to make the first move and message me first, I sent him my initial questions. I was a little surprised when he responded, but he did and shortly after that (January 23rd of 2010 to be exact) we started dating.

About a year later, in January of 2011, the symptoms started. It began with diarrhea and rapidly advanced to severe rectal bleeding. I told David that I was having some digestive issues, but didn’t mention the blood (I mean, who wants to tell their boyfriend about their bathroom habits!?). I thought it was a tummy bug on top of vicious hemorrhoids, so I ignored it. I started going to the bathroom 20+ times a day. Sometimes those bathroom visits would produce nothing but pools of blood in the bottom of the toilet. I finally went to the doctor at the end of January and by Valentine’s Day of 2011 I had my diagnosis of Ulcerative Colitis.

As I’ve browsed the message boards and support groups, I am overwhelmed with the [...] continue the story

Being a Patient Past Present & Future

By Kristen Knott

Written November 21, 2014

A year ago today I received my 6th and final chemo infusion. One breast, hairless head to toe, fatigued, sore and emotionally drained, I was fed up with being a cancer patient. The light at the end of the tunnel seemed almost out of view.

Now a year later, the anniversary has passed uneventfully with the usual mix of entertaining teenagers, both off for a PA day, addressing client emails and meeting a deadline for my Humber creative writing course; yet the entire time I quietly celebrated that I am no longer a patient. I question however, if I will ever stop fully being a patient in my head, as the role has profoundly changed who I am, and how I now approach my life.

As a cancer patient there was a sense of achievement and pride as I met and endured each treatment milestone, although I struggled with the lack of control over the present and future state of my health, it forced me to look hard, at my own mortality, an utterly terrifying notion to me. My body had been hijacked by cancer and I was at the mercy of this invisible enemy that only [...] continue the story

Jason Davis

Gang consultant Jason Davis on the impact of violence, on suicide, schizophrenia and bipolar diagnosis.

How autism freed me to be myself

Rosie King Rosie King challenges stereotypes of people with autism and contextualizes the issue by asking us, “Why be normal?” “Some people might call my obsession with facts boring. I call it FOCUS.” – Rosie King ABOUT ROSIE When she was nine years old, doctors confirmed Rosie King’s self-diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome. With two younger siblings severely affected by autism, Rosie had a burning desire to help make the world a more tolerant place for people with autism ever since she was a young girl. She found the opportunity to do so when her family was invited to do a local news segment on her mother’s children’s books that featured Rosie’s illustrations. Her lack of inhibition made her a natural presenter, and she was asked to host BBC Newsround’s special program “My Autism and Me,” bringing her a much wider audience and an Emmy Kid’s Award. Rosie continues to raise awareness about autism, and is working towards her goal of becoming a professional actress and storyteller. INTRIGUED? HERE’S MORE… If you could meet your 10-year-old self, what would you tell her?  I’d tell her the darkness won’t last forever, and that no matter how big and scary the monsters may seem you’ll find that one little spark of [...] continue the story

My father, locked in his body but soaring free

Published on Oct 19, 2014

At TEDMED, photographer Kitra Cahana shares a new visual language accompanying the extraordinary story of her father’s severe brainstem stroke, a catastrophe that transforms into an inspiring and imaginative spiritual journey.

What motivated you to speak at TEDMED?

It’s very difficult to express the sublime and the surreal in words and photographs. I wanted to attempt to communicate all that my family had experienced in the summer of 2011 – my father’s brain stem stroke, and the profound spiritual awakening that followed – with others. When my father first had his stroke, I wrote down these words, and whispered them to him when I first came to his bedside: “We only ever needed one pair of hands, two legs, a respiratory system to keep the world afloat between us.” This became my mantra. We can sustain ourselves through each other. This is what my father taught us; he said that all who came into his room of healing should expect to be healed themselves. Healing has to be mutual.

The stroke ruptured my reality as well as his. In those initial months, so devoted to his limp body and to allowing him to communicate all that was bursting to [...] continue the story

DEAR FUTURE MOM | World Down Syndrome Day

Published on Mar 13, 2014

A heartwarming message from 15 people with Down syndrome to a future mom.

On 9th February, a pregnant mother sent an email to CoorDown, Italy’s national organization for people with Down syndrome. She had discovered that her baby was suffering from the genetic disorder and was scared regarding the child’s future. for World Down Syndrome Day (21st March), CoorDown and agency Saatchi & Saatchi took this opportunity to create this heartwarming ad in response to the mother’s letter.

Christine: A mom’s story of stroke recovery

Christine talks about the emotional challenges that followed a stroke at age 39, and credits mindfulness with helping her recovery.

Rick’s Rant – Nurses Courage in the Face of Contagion

Published on Oct 22, 2014

Rick’s Rant for October 21, 2014.

Recently I attended a graduation at York University. You can not help but be moved watching a parade of young people who have worked so hard, march across the stage and pick up their Bachelor of this or their Masters of that—young graduates filled with such hope, such promise, and crushing personal debt….READ MORE

Beyond surviving

Published on Oct 22, 2014

At TEDMED, Debra Jarvis draws on her own experience with cancer to offer a witty yet daring look at the way that survivors of disease and trauma can achieve new levels of emotional and psychological healing. For writer, ordained minister, and hospital chaplain Debra Jarvis, humor is a powerful balm. She is not afraid to be funny even when doing very serious work with the sick and dying as a hospice chaplain, a pastoral consultant for volunteer groups caring for people with AIDS and MS, and staff chaplain at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. Debra is the author of It’s Not About the Hair: And Other Certainties of Life & Cancer and numerous other books. Currently on sabbatical in Geneva, Debra’s last job was as writer-in-residence for the University Congregational United Church of Christ in Seattle. In her free time, Debra accompanies her Cairn terrier Max in his therapy dog work.

More from TEDMED 2014

The IDEO Design Challenge

The Design Track for ePatients at the Stanford Medicine X Conference this year was an experience that demonstrated the value of teamwork. Where else could you see a cardiac surgeon, a researcher, GP doctors and a venture capitalist working with a patient to find answers to a health problem posed by a patient?

This is the way the challenge worked: two months before the MedX Conference the patients involved submitted problem statements to Dennis Boyle and his team at IDEO; participants got a shorter list back with requests for clarification and also received background links about design thinking and a copy of the book Creative Confidence Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All.

To start our day at IDEO we had a tour. The company has done amazing work in design and their workplace is full of people doing work that they love. Then we broke up into teams and I presented my ‘How Might We’ problem statements. We had a terrific facilitator, Tanya Rinderknecht, who nudged us back on track when we started to get too ambitious.

In design thinking there is much consultation and questioning with the users of the potential solution. The statement the team chose to work on was [...] continue the story