Wonder Women Unite

By Kristen Knott

Written September 8, 2014

I am giddy this morning despite being physically exhausted.

Team Wonder Women comprised of 11 old and new friends walked 60km this past weekend! We raised almost $30,000 for Women’s Cancer research for the Shoppers Drug Mart Weekend to End Women’s Cancer benefiting Princess Margaret Cancer Center.

The week leading up to the walk was filled with emails, phone calls and group chats. Those of us who were at our donation goals were helping others to meet their individual goal. Friends and families, colleagues and even strangers sponsored us. We all reminded sponsors that 100% of their donation would benefit Princess Margaret cancer research. We were all apprehensive and some even doubted our physical ability to walk the 60km. Some of my teammates had trained extensively, and others not at all. Every one of us monitored the weather forecast praying for dry and cool weather. Costumes were coordinated, Wonder Woman attire assembled. Our excitement grew each day. I doubt any of us slept well the night before the walk. I lay in bed listening to the thunder and watched the lightning from my bedroom window. The heavens opened up to unleash a wicked storm. I prayed that [...] continue the story

Medical Residents and Type 1 Diabetes: You Can’t Help, But Please Do No Harm

Over the past 41 years of living with Type 1 Diabetes, I have met a lot of medical Residents: doctors who have completed their initial training, but are now doing further study on the road to becoming specialists – basically, newly-minted GPs with aspirations of greater things. Because my medical team has always been situated in or associated with teaching hospitals, Residents are part of the territory.

I try to maintain an open mind and a positive attitude whenever I am told that a Resident is studying with my team and asked if I would mind if he or she either sat in on my appointment, or saw me in advance of my meeting with my Endo. After all, if we don’t allow these people to deal with real patients while they are under the supervision of a specialist, how will they learn to do it properly? I would much rather meet them in the structured environment of their education than after they hang out their specialist shingle. So I have participated in the training of many, many Residents in the course of my many years of living with T1D.

Some of them have been wonderful. More of them have been arrogant, [...] continue the story

I Must Increase My Bust

By Kristen Knott

Written July 20, 2014

I have that childhood chant in my head “I must, I must, I must increase my bust”. I have been living that chant since my March 21 bi-lateral reconstruction surgery.

I now have two breasts, or as I refer to them…I have two misshapen balloons under my skin. They are nipple free and have extensive scarring and are much wider than the final boobs will be, but in clothes you would never know. Most people are familiar with an expanding waistline but I am living the expanding bust-line.

I have had 5 injections done at my plastic surgeons office between April and June. Each injection added another 60 cc’s of saline to the tissue expanders that are slowly stretching my scars and skin to accommodate my future final breast inserts. The saline is injected by needle through the skin to the expanders via an invisible magnetic port in each expander. I felt like I was an active participant in a science experiment every time the procedure was done.

Chatting about travel, kids or my final implant surgery my doctor used a magnet to locate the ports, and then drew dots all around the port with a pen. Then [...] continue the story

Date A Guy With Crohn’s Disease

Crohn’s Disease (and/or Colitis) is a chronic, incurable, immune-related disease that eats its way around your colon and small intestine. Your immune system (for some reason) starts attacking that area causing massive weight loss, painful cramps, internal bleeding, loss of energy/cognitive thinking ability, and frequent trips to the bathroom. To top it all off, Doctors don’t know what causes it or how to cure it.

But amidst all of that chaos, Crohn’s has a bright side.

I’m a big believer in making your situations work for you to the best they can. We too often let our attitudes be reflections of a situation, when really; we should be cultivating powerful attitudes to change the situations we’re in for the better. It takes a lot of guts (pun intended) for someone with Crohn’s to see the bright side of what they have, so let’s hope this can act as some sort of inspiration. Crohn’s might get angry, throw a tantrum and try to kill you, but that doesn’t mean you have to. As with any disease, the extent to which it affects our daily behaviours is minimal… unless we let it.

I’ve come across many men with Crohn’s. They’re insecure about it, no doubt. [...] continue the story

Through My Eyes – Rosie’s Story.

Uploaded on Feb 19, 2012

A BBC Documentary Looking at Autism

APPENDICITIS I + II: Monday August 25, 2014

I experienced appendicitis twice – which is physically impossible anatomically except in the case of attempting 2 routes of healing. My first choice was to be treated by an intravenous deluge of antibiotics, as it was presented? sold? to me as an effective alternative to an appendectomy, appealed to my greatest fear (the profound invasion and alteration of my body) and, I knew how to repair my constitution following this therapy. Upon recovery, I became consumed with the creation of a document dedicated to the improvement of the patient experience in the area of abdominal conditions and surgeries. Based on my letter, I was invited to present my exhaustive holistic document of RECOMMENDATIONS to select management of the 14th Floor.

Approximately 6 weeks later, I sat in a play and began to experience familiar pain. 19 hours later, I was surrounded by lights and stainless steel, counting down from 10.

There is, in fact, a 3rd route of healing in the facing, and living through, of one’s greatest fear.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Mr. Joseph LebovicMount Sinai HospitalJoseph and Wolf Lebovic Health Complex600 University AvenueToronto, ONM5G 1X5August 19, 2011

 

Dear Mr. Lebovic,

I wanted to tell you about my recent experience at Mount Sinai, having landed in an ambulance [...] continue the story

Canadian Women Changing Healthcare

I happened to catch an episode of the CNN series “The Sixties” which featured the rise of the feminist movement. It caught my immediate attention as we here at Patient Commando were hard at work preparing our 2nd Annual Canadian Women Changing Healthcare. It had escaped my memory that in my lifetime there was a time when there were quotas on the spaces available to women  in medical, dental and law schools. There was a time when airline stewardesses had to be single, with soft hands and were forced to retire at the age of 32. There was a time in my lifetime that women marched in the streets fighting for equality and recognition. The episode reminded me of  many women who led the way – like journalist Gloria Steinem who infiltrated Hugh Hefner’s Playboy empire, Cosmopolitan editor Helen Gurley Brown (Sex and The Single Girl), author Betty Friedan (The Feminine  Mystique) and the National Organization of Women (NOW) who played such important roles in galvanizing what turned into a global movement.

I couldn’t help but think of the many parallels between that time and certain realities that exist in our healthcare system. As Patient Commando and others have pointed out before, 78% [...] continue the story

Simon Lewis: Don’t take consciousness for granted

Born in London, Simon Lewis is a film and television producer and author. After earning law degrees from Christ’s College Cambridge and Boalt Hall, Berkeley, Lewis moved to Los Angeles, where his Hollywood experience includes managing writers, directors and stars, as well as producing Look Who’s Talking, critically acclaimed films such as The Chocolate War, the Emmy-winning international co-production for HBO and ITV Central A Month of Sundays (Age Old Friends), and variety specials starring Howie Mandel.

He’s the author of Rise and Shine, a memoir that uses his personal story — of recovery from coma — to illustrate deep and universal insights about consciousness itself. An acclaimed author, speaker and commentator, Lewis uses creative visualizations that fuse cutting-edge medicine, scientific research and digital art to illustrate solutions to society’s most pressing problem: the erosion of consciousness and need for solutions to nurture and grow our minds through cognitive and other therapies.

An advocate for change in how we educate our children and ourselves, he says that we must not take our consciousness for granted, but use specific tools to screen and detect learning weaknesses and prevent academic failure. Bridge the gap from our potential mind toward our actual mind and maximize [...] continue the story

My Autism and Me

Uploaded on Jan 30, 2012

CBBC Newsround – My Autism and Me LICENCE – all rights reserved by BBC, CBBC Programmes, Newsround In this Newsround Special, 13-year-old Rosie takes viewers into her world to explain what it’s like to grow up with autism – a condition which affects how children see life, and the way they relate to others around them. With the help of beautifully crafted animation, Rosie introduces other children who have the condition: Tony, who gets totally obsessed with things but struggles to make friends, Ben, who has suffered from terrible bullying, and Rosie’s own little brother Lenny, who turns the house upside-down daily to try and make sense of things. These children tell their own stories in their own words to give a vivid and moving insight into what it’s like to be autistic. It’s a condition that affects the way you live your life and see the world around you. Our presenter Rosie was born with autism. She says even though living with it is difficult, it makes her unique and who she is. As well as telling her own story, you’ll find out how Ben, Tony and Lenny are affected by the condition.

Lots of children with autism get bullied at school and [...] continue the story

The Testing Waiting Game

By Kristen Knott

Written July 13, 2014

I am not happy. I feel it in my bones, my skin, my breath. I am rattled, unsettled and anxious. My mind races uncontrollably like a toddler taking its first steps. I want to be content and filled with all the joys and wonders of life. I have survived cancer after all and I am alive, yet I am struggling. ‘Cancer free’ does not translate to fist pumps and cheering in my mind – it does however create deep pangs of emotion.  I can’t seem to shake the shadow of cancer. Chemotherapy and surgery attacked the mutated cells, but what attacks the negative thoughts, the worry, the aches and pains?

I try hard to be appreciative and experience life as it is happening but it feels a bit tainted lately. I feel like I am on borrowed time. I want these thoughts and doubts crushed like a bug.

I am playing the ‘ testing waiting game’ again. I had a bone scan of my body and images of my left hip and upper spine on July 5. The aches in my body seem to be getting worse and after sharing this update with my oncology nurse she ordered [...] continue the story