Chronic Illness

Dawn Hamilton

My Hidden Disease: I Have Ankylosing Spondylitis And I'm Not Alone

Empathy, sadness, joy and a sense of family are just some of the immediate feelings I had when I ended my FaceTime conversation with Dan Reynolds, lead singer of Imagine Dragons. Dan and I have something in common called ankylosing spondylitis, or AS for short. Instead of getting into a long, drawn-out medical definition, I will describe it like this: our bodies are attacking themselves, and there is no cure. Most of us AS sufferers have to deal with chronic pain 24/7.
Hemera Technologies via Getty Images

The Problem With Toronto's Accessibility Permits

As a disabled person, navigating Toronto is stressful and dangerous -- not just because of potholes and construction-brutalized sidewalks, but because of transit. And people. Especially people operating or riding transit. This is largely due to the absence of inclusion of pedestrians in the Ministry of Transportation's Accessibility Permit Program, currently only issued for drivers/passengers of cars, which leaves the rest of us vulnerable to harassment and injury.
JGI/Jamie Grill via Getty Images

30 Years A Hostage To My Migraines

My migraines never reduced in frequency or intensity. I took over-the-counter and prescription drugs. It was not usual for me to take 8 muscle relaxants a day plus small amounts of prescription painkillers. My lifestyle was otherwise healthy. I did pilates 5 days a week, ate well and slept 8 hours a night. But 6 out of 7 days was a struggle. A struggle to be positive focused and upbeat at work many days when I just felt like banging my head down on my desk.
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Canada Needs To Provide An Urgent Investment In Indigenous Health

The health of Canada's indigenous people lags substantially behind other Canadians -- and the tragic reality is well documented. Sadly, the data regarding poor health status for indigenous populations shows us this is true across all major illnesses and across all age groups. In other words, being an indigenous person in Canada is too often a dangerous reality. But it doesn't have to be this way. These phenomena are not new, and while Canada has been good at documenting health crises, and collecting evidence, we've been poor at doing anything about it.

The Secret Pain Of Caretakers

Staring up at the constellation Orion on a crisp winter's night, I wonder how much longer I can bear the pain. The pain of watching my husband cringe and suffer. While he can dull his chronic physical...
JGI/Jamie Grill via Getty Images

The Real Cost of Chronic Disease and What You Can Do About It

Medications are a mainstay for managing chronic diseases, yet Canada is the only country in the world with a universal healthcare plan that does not include pharmacare for all its citizens. If you are not fortunate enough to have a benefits plan through your employer, drug costs are a significant barrier to best practice care for chronic disease. Demographics are such that drug plans are becoming increasingly expensive and, as costs go up, businesses are forced to make trade-offs that impact covered employees.

How the Digestive System Affects Autism

The finding that metabolism and genes in autism may not be irreversibly damaged but can actually be altered by compounds produced from bacteria, provides an important link between the gut and brain in autism, and validates the stories that families have been telling us.
Alamy

I Was Pregnant When I Learned I Had Parkinson's Disease

Along with my growing belly and the morning sickness, there also was a new tremor in my right pinkie finger, a symptom that as a physician myself, I knew was not part of normal pregnancy. And before I could even welcome my new daughter into this world, I was burdened by a different unwelcome companion; a diagnosis of Young Onset Parkinson's Disease. Parenting is a challenge in and of itself and to do it well is even more difficult. Add into the mix dealing with a chronic disease and the hurdles are magnified.
Getty

Having a Disability Doesn't Mean You Can't Have Adventures

I've been reflecting on the fun experiences my family and friends had this summer. My thoughts inevitably also turn to those with new health challenges and disabilities, and their caregivers, the people who are supporting them. I've learned that there are many wonderful opportunities to get out and create lasting happy memories, participate in things that bring joy, and still manage the care.

Yeast Is a Problem -- And Not Just For Women

For many, the mere mention of a yeast infection can bring chills down the spine. While this is most commonly associated with women's health there are a number of other potential health problems linked to these germs. There are a number of yeasts that cause infection but most attention has gone to a specific type, Candida.

Dealing With Illness? Read a Comic

The experience of chronic suffering is difficult to convey in clinical settings and language, but it can be rendered more approachable via a combination of creative techniques. The 'medical humanities' movement is following up on what the world of medical comics can tell us about human experience.