The Talking Treatment

Joshua Kors is an investigative reporter for The Nation, where he covers health issues. He is the winner of the National Magazine Award, George Polk Award, IRE Award, the National Press Club’s Hume Award, the Mental Health Media Award and many others. His reporting on health issues has been featured on PBS, CNN and the BBC. He also collaborated with ABC News’ Bob Woodruff on “World News Tonight” and “Nightline” investigations, part of a series on health issues in the military, which won the Peabody Award.

He has written extensively about his own epilepsy. The following article was completed in May 2003, as his master’s thesis for the Columbia School of Journalism. This version has been updated to include reporting on his epilepsy experience in the 8 years since its original publication to October 2011. ♦ ♦ ♦ May 2003 The Talking Treatment Looking at a New Approach to Epilepsy  By Joshua Kors

Even today I have a hard time talking about my epilepsy.

Though it’s been 11 years since my first seizure, five years since I last saw the inside of an ambulance, I still feel my stomach constrict when the topic comes up.

There are reasons, I suppose. In a sheltered life lived in the suburbs, epilepsy [...] continue the story

Why patients with irritable bowel syndrome are angry at their doctors

By Sophie Lee January 10, 2010

I’ve had irritable bowel syndrome for 20 years, and I’m angry. About the pain, and the suffering, and the limited diet, and the huge impact that it has had on my life. But mostly, I’m angry at my doctors. No, they didn’t misdiagnose me. No, they didn’t harm me. No, they didn’t treat me like dirt. But they still made me angry.

Before we go any further, let’s get one thing straight: I know that IBS is difficult to treat. Try to help an IBS sufferer and you are presented with an unholy mess of anti-diarrheals, laxatives, fiber supplements and anti-spasmodics, and that’s before we even start arguing about which diets might be useful. So I don’t expect my doctor to cure me. I don’t expect a miracle.

I know that IBS patients are “heart sink” patients; that doctors dislike our visits because we’re so tough to help. I understand that it must be horrible to have patients who you don’t know how to cure, who are begging for relief you can’t provide. It’s not the physical treatment of my IBS that has made me angry. It’s the way that I have been treated as a person.

I have [...] continue the story