i've got the cure for you

WHY? #1 PMH Family & Patient Library
November 25, 2010, 1:08 am
Filed under: a purpose driven life | Tags: , , ,

As a way to keep many informed of just the types of services that are offered to everyone, I’ve decided to do a 10 reasons (or less) why you should visit a particular place. Hopefully that will not only be concise but help you find information that will tailour to your needs. And my first candidate for the beginning of my “WHY?” series having visited it recently,

5 reasons why you should visit the Princess Margaret Hospital Family and Patient Library

1. Being a cancer-oriented hospital, they carry almost every brochure there is for cancer-related illnesses. Don’t speak English? Don’t fret just yet. They have it in many languages, such as French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, and Hindi just to name a few.

2. Some of the books that people come take out are healthy habits/diets. You can only imagine their vast selection for such a small library.

3. Lots and lots of DVD’s (or even video cassettes if you still own a VCR) that will help in understanding the type of cancer-illness you may have. A good majority of them are interactive!

4. Computers with free-internet access while you may be waiting around in the hospital to find information that you may need. Of course be courteous of the amount of time you spend on it if others are in need of the computer too.

5. If there is something that you can’t find, ask the librarian for a form where you can fill it out to get a well-tailored information package. The librarian will search for places/websites that will provide what you are looking for and have it ready for you to pick or send it you via e-mail.

6. I said there was only 5 but an extra one because I think it’s worth mentioning. The librarian, Michelle, is  approachable, warm and very informative. Even if you don’t really need to find information, take a little stroll down and say hi to the hard-working volunteers and Michelle!

(This was also a post I made for the Youth4Health website which you can check out here.)

Solidarity of the Suffering
November 20, 2010, 1:21 am
Filed under: a purpose driven life, Life | Tags: , , ,

This is my third year here at the University of Toronto and being in a life sciences related major, it’s becomes apparent, if not right when I entered then most certainly by now that most people when they here about us think we’re ruthless in a somewhat dog-eat-dog world. Of course there are exceptions but that seems to be the general portrayal being passed around. Having a few friends in engineering, I can only admire just how much of a close-knit community feeling they have with each other. But I couldn’t for the longest time wrap my mind around why? It wasn’t until I was talking to a good friend of mine on the topic of suffering. And using the engineers as an example in our discussion, it’s normal for most if not all to be failing below a 60% but it’s still not the end of the world for them. But how is that close-knit feeling harvested from failing? Perhaps if we looked back to the basic human suffering we can find that answer. Okay, I’m going on a huge tangent here that seems nothing related to health but hear me out. I think it’s through human suffering that is what brings solidarity between all of us. And one example that depicts this clearly is cancer.

For centuries we never knew it existed but now we realize it continually encompasses such a large population of the world. Breast cancer has progressively shown just how much suffering can bring us all together, whether you are living with it, a close loved one or even someone you had just met and diagnosed the next day. And just these two words alone in a conversation with a stranger brings an immediate unspoken connection. On the official launch date of the Youth4Health group, standing at the new ELLICSR space in the basement of the Toronto General Hospital listening to Scott answer my questions about the Cancer Survivorship Program at PMH made me realize this solidarity from suffering all the more. Did you know that there was no real  survivorship program for cancer patients prior to this one that was just implemented five years ago? I think it all started with group of passionate people that got together and realized what was lacking and the real support needed to be given patients outside of treatment and the doctors office. From our icebreakers and sharing, I strongly believe that some type of suffering brought all 7 us together to form a subgroup of the Youth4health. We’ve all experienced suffering in some form or another, as a victim or a personal witness. Either way, I’m sure a few of those moments have shaped the way we are and the way we see our lives.

Recently, I just learned that someone that I work with had to discontinue their studies to take care of their mother who had just gotten back positive biopsy samples for breast cancer. No one expected it, but suffering happens. And the mother will never look at life the same way again but I admire my colleague for the dedication and compassion. But this is one story out of several others that exist out there. Because of suffering, we try to make the best of the situation and continually improve patient outcomes through research, support groups,etc. Like the people that help launched the PMH Cancer Survivorship Program, I couldn’t be more excited to be part of something so moving and contribute to their work. Jill has worked hard to find a unique group to come together and I sincerely think all 7 of us have something equally special to bring to this project from our life experiences. Solidarity.

(This was also a post I made for the Youth4Health website which you can check out here.)

November 13, 2010, 6:52 pm
Filed under: the educated imagination

Sitting at the hotel waiting for the banquet dinner to begin soon. All the way at Queen’s University, far from home (realistically only 3 hours from Toronto). Attending the Canadian Undergraduate Conference on Healthcare (CUCOH) this year and also presenting a poster on research I did just the past summer.

Last night’s social event was simply plain awkward as I tried my best to socialize with others. Don’t you just hate it when the other person just give nothing for you to feedback on? It just makes it all the more worse. The venue was nice at Zappas Lounge, and a little dance floor that barely anyone one of us waltzed to. I am quite impressed, however, at just how many people from other Canadian universities actually came to attend the event as opposed to simply coming to just compete. In fact, I haven’t met more than 1 person that will also be presenting. Odd.

Today’s itineary is was just full of speakers. Francesca Grosso was the first keynote speaker of the conference and she has a great sense of humour. It must be her Italian background and her ability to reenact her father’s words. The message I think she wanted everyone to bring back home is:  the key to navigating the healthcare is to not navigate at all. And in some sense, I find that I do agree with her. The individual responsibility of keeping records of key medications that we take, organizing a proper team such as having nurse practitioners, good dietians, etc, and also bring someone with you to the hospital. The latter I find especially true, the hospital can be quite hectic and things can be easily dismissed and you honestly need someone there to be persistent for especially if you’re in no state to make coherent statements. Self-management is such an important key aspect. We may spend only a few visits to a doctors office for checkups or medication, but the rest of the 90% is all up to us. She also posed an interesting stance on ehealth which I won’t further comment because I barely know anything myself at the moment.

The second seminar I chose to attend was nice integrated participant discussion but I wasn’t particularily interested nor felt like I was able to take anything really from it. The last seminar that I just got back from by Dr. Jacalyn Duffin was extremely enjoyable to sit through. The origins of healthcare was the main topic and she started with a great history of father of medicare, Tommy Douglas. It was definitely a good knowledge to finally gain. She even had the 1939 Time Magazine featuring Henry E. Sigerist, a well acclaimed socialist physician at the time, which I got to flip through and enough time to snap a few photos. She even brought the Hall Commission documents stored at Queen’s library. Truly amazing.  She makes me wants to go to Queen’s just for her classes.

And I end this post with just enough time to make it to the dinner. Bon appetit.

La Bamboche II
November 7, 2010, 2:46 pm
Filed under: food for thought, no it's just food | Tags: ,

La Bamboche(See that green Immunobiology book? I will be a slave to it for the next few weeks.)

La Bamboche Box

La Bamboche MacaronsMacaron Flavors I purchased above: Yuzu, Ume, Pistachio, Cassis, and Amaretto

La Bamboche CroissantsBaked Breads: Regular Croissant, and pain au chocolat

Finally picked up my contact lens today. I’ve been feeling so blind the past couple of months. My procrastination really took a toll on my eyes. Constant headaches in class because of all the squinting I have to do in class which was slightly ameliorated by sitting at the very front (which I hate because I feel like such a keener).

On my way home, I did a big detour to La Bamboche to pick up a few goods. I haven’t been there forever and decided to treat myself well post-midterm slaughter at the University of Toronto (more painful because I’m down at St. George campus). I’ve yet to visit their new location up on Avenue Rd which I will do in a few week since they have an even greater selection of pastry!!

Took pictures with my new Canon Rebel T2i. Extremely excited to play more with my new toys (also recently got a classical guitar). I need to dedicate another post for just my new toys I recently received.

Now, excuse me me while I go munch on a few with my coffee fix…

Apples to Apples
November 7, 2010, 2:13 pm
Filed under: Love

Last night the Navigators group was invited to Mr. Wickies house up north and ordered in from a Chinese restaurant. I’ve never really sat around a table, had the head of the household sit at the end, bow all our heads to say grace and pass food around as we asked about each other’s day/life. I’ve always longed for the kind of warmth that comes from a gathering like this from my own family. It was always something used to watch when I was young, flicking through channels, or just hear my friends talking about. I know my family will probably not be able to offer this feeling I so badly wanted since young, but the Navigators group has already touched me enough.

Driving back home in his car with the rest of the crew was like going on a camping trip with Dad. Sky everywhere, some barn animals in the view, and … literally blasting ABBA.

Mr. Wickie has such a gorgeous and close-knit family and he and his wife are definitely not shy to extend the love to everyone in the Navigators group. I look forward to the stuffed turkey dinner, homemade gravy, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin/rhubarb pie in February.

Don’t mind me, let me just play my life soundtrack
November 6, 2010, 12:42 am
Filed under: i don't know where to put this

What if we all had a soundtrack? What if we did stroll down the sidewalk like Peter Griffin, or like Raj Koothrappali’s t-shirt?  Epic wins would be all that more epic, and contemplation would just be jeopardy. But if we all had that, think of all the interference. We’d all be in our own movies, too hard to follow, just too much noise. There’s enough city noise as it is. Sometimes I really doubt whether I’m a city person or not.