I can remember the exact second that my understanding of what it meant to be “healthy” changed forever.
The shift happened in the breath that came after a resident in red Converse high-tops leaned against my hospital bed and told me I had a rare blood cancer.
Fortunately, there is a treatment – a daily targeted chemotherapy drug, taken for the rest of your life. It doesn’t work for everyone, but it worked for me. I was in remission in a few months.
But while the medication kept the leukemia at bay, it couldn’t take away the fear – the breathtaking uncertainty of living with cancer. I would hold back tears during every appointment as I asked my oncologist to spell out the odds of leaving my kids without a mom.
“Don’t worry,” was all he would say. Um, sure.
Turns out the key to reassurance and moving forward didn’t come from a doctor at all. It came from other people who were also navigating illness. They were patients, yes, but they weren’t passive. They were strong, with courage that I couldn’t understand. And they demanded to be informed, to be heard – to take an active role in their own care.
That kind of empowerment can mean the difference between life and death for some of us. It’s also critical to simple wellbeing in an increasingly complicated world.
And so we bring you healthing.ca, a destination for the straight facts on symptoms, diseases and treatments as well as smart takes on the latest health trends, research and the people who are disrupting health care as we know it.
Plus, most important, and at the centre of all we do: the perspectives of real people learning ‘to health’ in the midst of a real, messy, uncertain life. We are all ‘patients’ to some degree. We deserve to have a voice in our care, access to tools that help us to live well and an ability to help shape health systems that work for us, and make being healthy easier. not a burden. The patient revolution is already underway.
In the meantime, get better.