A Patient’s Perspective: Soania Mathur

Soania Mathur’s early-onset Parkinson’s diagnosis has allowed her to live more in the moment in her role as a mother, wife, and physician. Soania explores how Parkinson’s has affected her children and how disclosure is crucial for someone diagnosed with Parkinson’s.

January 17, 2012

Dr. Soania Mathur is a family physician who retired from practice due to Parkinson’s disease. She is a speaker at patient-directed conferences for the Parkinson’s Society of Canada and is a resource for education projects. She serves on the Patient Council of The Michael J. Fox foundation for Parkinson’s Research and is an advisor to The Brian Grant Foundation. More from Soania Mathur.

Heather’s Story

Ask Dr. Heather Stuckey about her diabetes, and you probably won’t get the answer you’d expect. You won’t hear about insulin doses or what her blood sugar was earlier that day. She may not mention that she has Type 1, and not Type 2, diabetes.

What she might say, though, is this: “My diabetes is like dry bones. For me, it’s just a never-ending dryness.”

Heather has been managing Type 1 diabetes for most of her life, since she was diagnosed at age 12. And for as long as she can remember, creative expression has been part of her coping strategy. She recalls that, even as a child, she felt the need to search for support outside of traditional medicine, as she has long been aware of the emotional gap in diabetes treatment. “There are so many different specialists who treat diabetes,” she says. “But the psychological aspects of having diabetes are simply not recognized.”

Compelled by her love of writing and an interest in art, she sought to make peace with the range of emotions that often accompany chronic illnesses like diabetes. She did this by engaging in creative expression. “I was asking myself, how do I thrive with this disease? How [...] continue the story

Schwartz Center Compassionate Caregiver of the Year Dr. Amy Ship

In accepting the award, Ship spoke of the importance of small gestures in the doctor-patient relationship – specifically, the art of listening with both eyes and ears. “Returning the (patient’s) gaze is one of those powerful small gestures,” she said. “It encapsulates empathy and compassion – being present, fully present, to another human being: pausing to look back. To say with our eyes that we are listening, that we hear.”

It’s a lesson she teaches medical students who rotate through Healthcare Associates. “I’m proud to be a primary care doctor,” she said. “Primary care is focused on continuity, of knowing one’s patients through all their illnesses and the complexity of their lives. And primary care is focused on prevention – on protecting you from the consequences of untreated but silent diseases and from unnecessary tests or hospitalization. That’s care we all need and deserve.

“I look out tonight at a room filled with people who have the minds, energy and position to change medicine, and I want to make it clear that primary care needs saving. Those who practice it need to be given the time to do it right. Primary care can literally save lives, but it can not be done [...] 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.

More from the College of Family Physicians of Canada

The “Difficult” Patient: It’s Time to Replace the D-Word

November 2, 2011

I hear the phrase a lot from doctors, physician bloggers, surgeons, nurses, fellow patients and loved ones; being labeled the “difficult patient” because of a chronic or complicated illness.

I’ve heard “the difficult patient” referred to as a lot of things: the patient with a nasty attitude; the patient who refuses treatment or refuses to take care of their body; the patient with a complicated family situation; the patient with a terminal/complicated disease pattern; the patient whose disease remains a mystery; the patient who can’t give a straight answer; the patient who has a chronic illness.

Most of those definitions I understand. But it’s the phrase I have an issue with when it comes to being the chronically ill patient.

For those of you reading this that are healthy, I want you to stop and imagine the following: You are sick all of the time. You have fevers and can’t control when you’ll have a hot flash or cold sweat or chills; diarrhea or constipation; cramps or nausea. You have pain: muscle and joint everywhere, all the time and often without relief. You might have chronic migraines, numbness, memory loss and disorientation that comes and goes. You are fatigued, and by [...] continue the story