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

PERIPLUS: A Review of Passage to Nirvana by Lee Carlson

I was compelled to begin this review having not yet finished the last page. Perhaps it’s that while the “end” is important in some way, no less – or perhaps even more significant and relevant – is the inspiration at any moment in Passage to Nirvana.

An unconventional autobiography, we come to know Carlson as he comes to know himself again after an ironically-charged event leaves him to live a life transformed irreparably by Traumatic Brain Injury. It is the story of a writer, now struggling with writing, writing to heal, writing to learn, writing to share the specific and the universal of our human condition. Carlson’s observations and narrations undulate, integrating the realms of life – inspiration, challenge, spirituality, reality, cause+effect, expanding one’s experience of mind, body and soul. It is in his authenticity, his meeting and telling of truths, in this unselfconsciousness that one finds one’s own comfort in being, in one’s own (auto)biography and condition.

I knew Lee prior to this book. But, I did not know him well. And wish I had had the opportunity. Our paths crossed through the familial lines, sometimes leading to light conversations, but as I recall, mostly short and simple pleasantries or greetings. I was not aware of the depth of his Zenness, the richness [...] continue the story

Detoxing: An Intimate Exorcism

By Andrea Shewchuk

I began the process of rebalancing my intestinal flora, cleaning and rebuilding my liver tissue and nourishing my body with cocktails of antioxidants, freshly-pressed juice and a variety of fibres almost 2 months ago, addressing rapidly spreading and debilitating eczema from a systemic perspective. Until now, the process had expressed itself very logically and linearly as not only the eczema cleared before my eyes, but the many other side effects of candida pollution, emergency pharmaceuticals, passive exposure to chemicals, my emotional toxins, elusive unhealthy dynamics etc. gracefully disappeared. Only very once in awhile did I want to think that it couldn’t be this simple. And then I would swiftly abandon the thought.

It has been a week since I returned from a re-visit to the ocean and re-connection to a place of profound development. The week seemed uneventful except for many new stories and memories of laughter.

I had felt drained and the all-too familiar pain in my chest as I feared a return of pneumonia. This ended after less than 2 days when I was woken up one night by the consciousness of thick mucous in my throat. I was confused since my recent history with mucous was lung-related.

My throat burned. Viral, bacterial, a cold, new or retracing. Energy or [...] continue the story

My Story of Anne

By Andrea Shewchuk

I went into my stationery and boxes to find wrapping for the trinkets I would take to Susan tomorrow.

I had wondered late last week, before, where the calendar had gone, through our recent move and other clearings, what had made the “filter” process, my mind drifted momentarily into the bigger concept of change, impermanence, importance…

I rooted around in the envelopes and cards, and there at the back, peeking out, was Anne’s 2011. She had given it to me and said that hopefully it would be marked with many more times getting together in the future.

Anne had sent Susan to buy a gift each for me and my mother when we had lunch late in 2010 – mine was the 2011 calendar, The Twelve Muses.

Mitch Albom’s have a little faith is ironically, by accident, deliberately, by the hands of coincidence, well-placed next to me as I write.

Anne, her husband and my parents were mostly, almost, lifelong friends, intertwining business and pleasure and the cottage and boats and families and travel, sharing party sandwiches, deli food and everything else that presented itself on the path. This is how I came to know one of the best friends in the world, Susan, the daughter of Anne.

Anne was [...] continue the story

Lauren Pizzi: AWD (Artist with Diabetes)

In late 2010, I began thinking about how I could allow my 15 years living with type-one diabetes to speak in a non-abstract, relatable, and original way. “Balance” (oil on canvas, 2010) 9 x 12” This was my first attempt to paint anything from a pure, conceptual approach. After photographing dozens of pictures of my daily companions, (low blood sugar treatments: skittles and smarties as well as my insulin bottle/syringes, which I use to fight high glucose levels) I realized that this still life literally was my life. Even with tight management of my disease, low and high levels are frequent. “Balancing Act” (charcoal on paper, 2012) 22×30″ In one perspective, diabetes can be compared to as a job I didn’t apply for, a job I received, and a job I can never take a day off from, but it has also given me strength, patience, and optimism. That’s what I hope the painting displays; a juxtaposition of brightly colored candies and the sudden sharp, alarming glisten of an exposed syringe. I used to be afraid of labeling myself, but now I proudly say, “I am a diabetic.” With the completion of this work, (Balance) I believe I found my voice. Bittersweet (charcoal, pastel, gel medium, oil [...] continue the story

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