Lived Experience

339 articles:
by Anne Borden King

Giving birth during the blizzard of 2022 – while fighting COVID

Carrie Clayton drove herself though downtown Toronto during January's record-breaking blizzard to give birth to her daughter. To make matters worse - Carrie also had COVID. This is her story.

by Nicole Naimer

Quit your job, go home and prepare to die: Surviving the AIDS epidemic

In 1986, I left Toronto and moved to New York. I fell head over heels for a man in 1988. We wanted to make sure we didn’t transmit HIV to each other, so we got tested. I felt healthy as ever. However, my test came back: HIV positive.

by Anthony Fong

From music to medicine: Organization strikes a new note at the Ukrainian border

The second installment from Canadian emergency physician and journalist Anthony Fong as he describes his experience at the Ukraine-Polish border, treating Ukrainian refugees fleeing the full-scale invasion of their country.

by Nicole Naimer

‘I am more than just a girl with bipolar disorder’: Illness inspires woman’s passion to pursue degree in psychiatry

I have experienced the deep dark caves of depression and the sky-reaching highs of mania. I’ve even experienced life beyond the scope of reality during psychosis. Despite the overwhelming obstacles my mental illness presents, in a way I’m still grateful for my psychiatric disorder.

by Nicole Naimer

Born with a disease that kills but not at death’s door: Living in that in between

As a child with cystic fibrosis, I was hit with this adult issue of mortality – something no 5-year-old should be worrying about. When I was born in 1971, the median survival rate for women with CF was 20 years old. I’ve chased that median age of survival my whole life.

by Nicole Naimer

​​‘You’re in remission’: Professor goes from picking out gravestone to planning retirement

My illness was something that happened to me, but I was still under there. I had to come out from under that shadow to figure out who I wanted to be even if I was going to die in a few months. My life changed significantly when I realized I was in control. I’ve decided I’m going to retire earlier than originally planned so I can scratch things off my bucket list now that it is deeper than before. I know if my cancer returns, I’m going to have a big blowout funeral party and obviously attend it myself.

by Rachel Lebovic

Our problems don’t stop once we turn 18: Mental health care for young adults

I was 19 when I hit rock bottom. Mental illness wasn’t new to me, but COVID created the perfect storm.

by Anthony Fong

‘I’m not scared of bombs. I’m not scared of war. I became a nurse for a reason’: Volunteers at the Ukraine-Poland border

Canadian emergency physician and journalist Anthony Fong describes his experience at the Ukraine-Polish border, treating Ukrainian refugees fleeing the full-scale invasion of their country.

Trusting my mind again after psychosis failed it

My illness is not your adjective. If you are acting unhinged, you are not “psychotic.” If you’re feeling unstable, you’re not “bipolar.” In the same way, if you like things neatly arranged, you’re not “so OCD.”

by Catherine Varner

‘The well is starting to run dry’: Emergency department physicians speak out

Representatives of Toronto Women in Emergency Medicine, a group of emergency physicians working in hospitals in the Greater Toronto Area, were asked to reflect on their experiences of the most recent wave and what health-care systems can do to survive the next one.

by Anthea Lai

Hope and spiritual care

Spiritual care can be a powerful therapeutic intervention. However, 80 per cent of patients reported that physicians never or rarely discuss spiritual or religious issues with them. But the role of spiritual health does not have to fall on physicians alone.

by Elena Rusu Lucie Péléja Marc Albert

ADHD in females: Outdated criteria leading to missed diagnoses

I have ADHD, but it took nearly my whole life to receive a proper diagnosis. Unfortunately, I am not alone – females with this condition often go either undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, since ADHD diagnostic criteria are male-oriented.

by Gabriel Dobson

How I have been lonely during COVID and benefited from It

While COVID has progressed we have had the need to wear masks to slow or prevent the spread of COVID. The good thing about this is that while wearing a mask no one expects me to show emotions so I can just sit there in silence.

by Craig Kazakoff

How the Pandemic Affected Me

Because we are into two years of this pandemic and I'm so on the verge of losing my cool I can't contain it any longer and I bet you would all agree with me because you want this all to end.

by Jeremy Cygler

Family member’s undiagnosed illness gives physician new patient perspective

When patients have strange, unidentified illnesses, physicians often focus more on finding a diagnosis than managing symptoms. When a close family member struggled with such an illness, I saw the importance of addressing patient suffering earlier on.

by Anne Borden King

‘Focus on the tooth and the person’: The movement for trauma-informed dentistry

People joke that they don't like going to the dentist, but for some, a trip to the dentist can actually trigger past traumas. The trauma-informed dentistry movement is trying to make dentists' offices places where vulnerable patients feel safe.

by Junayd Hussain Noor Al-Kaabi

We need to do more: Advocating for refugee health after arrival in Canada

Canada is considered a “world destination” for refugees, but are we doing enough to support their unique health needs?

by Sahil Gupta

Granola bars, gift cards and phone chargers: The little extras nurses carry to get colleagues and patients through tough times

Nurses hold the health-care system together, even as many are suffering from burnout and leaving the profession. In this photo-essay, nurses speak about the little things they carry with them to stay motivated and connect with patients and colleagues.

by Iris Kulbatski

Sorry Not Sorry: How a hospital complaint system perpetuates harm after medical error

When hospitals harm patients, patient-relations departments provide insincere apologies and resort to other tactics to shield hospitals from accountability. I experienced this while coping with medical errors my late dad suffered as a cancer patient.

by Anne Borden King

Secondary losses: The impact of the pandemic on Canadians with cancer

We're only beginning to understand the "secondary losses" of the pandemic. The immediate future of health care will likely be defined by the appearance of illnesses that flourished among the forgotten, patients who were inadvertently neglected.

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