After sixteen years of chronic illness and even after writing a book titled How to Be Sick, I still can feel sick of being sick. (When I use the word “sick,” I’m including chronic pain.) If you’re as intimately familiar as I am with sick of being sick, you know it how unpleasant it feels. Here are ten strategies to help you through this difficult emotional time. 1. Start by acknowledging how ...

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As a pediatric allergist, I treat several conditions that commonly affect children, including asthma, food allergies, eczema and allergic rhinitis. Almost everyone knows someone affected by some form of allergic condition, which makes for frequent questions from families, referring providers, and the public at large. Early in my career, I noticed that many patients (and even colleagues in other specialties) were asking me questions that were either outdated or born entirely ...

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"Do no harm." This is a key phrase in the Hippocratic Oath; one that I announced with conviction at my medical school graduation. I swear to do no harm. What would Hippocrates, the Father of Modern Medicine, think about the concept of harm reduction? Canada has a drug problem. We are one of the world’s largest per-capita opioid consumers. The country is facing what has become known in the media as the ...

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I was scheduled to attend a medical director's retreat the other day, but because of a horse emergency the day before, I had to stay home, so I offered to skip the retreat and see patients instead. It would have been almost an entire day hearing about trauma informed care and the lifelong impact of adverse childhood events. As a primer, the conveners of the seminar emailed a “dear doctor” letter ...

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Now more than ever, health insurance is a staple story in the 24-hour news cycle. Opinions vary widely on the issue, as do politician’s thoughts on the matter. Debates rage, tensions grow, and deeper divides are formed as our government wrestles with this colossal dispute. Nestled at the heart of it all though is a basic question: Is health insurance a right or a privilege in the United States? I’m alive today ...

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When Lorie Duff was pregnant with her third child, she did what all good moms are supposed to do. She went to the OB/GYN clinic for prenatal care. But she fell behind on the clinic payments. She only made about $25,000 a year managing an auto parts store while her husband stayed home with their kids. The out-of-pocket expenses were outpacing her ability to pay. That’s when she ...

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Pacing refers to spacing out your activities during the day so that you’re able to stay within the limits of what your body can handle without exacerbating your symptoms. Another way to think of it is that pacing is a way to keep you inside your “energy envelope” -- the envelope that contains your energy stores for any given day. First, an admission: Even though pacing may be the single best ...

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I’m convinced this will be a year of reflection for our family  --  as we’ve witnessed so many transitions in the past year I find myself deep in thought. As I reflect, I’m full of appreciation for the journey we’re on. I’m full of gratitude for so many of the people who have helped us along the way  --  especially the amazing doctors who have become like family.  This past ...

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Most of us have grown accustomed to Google and Facebook. When I had an Android phone, I quickly got over the initial creepiness factor of going into a restaurant, bar, or store and having a message from Google popping up with reviews, menus, or coupons. I liked that Google could recommend times to leave or asked if I went to a certain spot often. But Facebook and Google are basically ...

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One of the first things they teach in medical school is that if you haven’t pretty much figured out the diagnosis by the time the patient finishes sharing their history, your doctor hasn’t done his or her job well.  Certainly, this is a bit of an exaggeration, as many diseases cause similar symptoms. As you share your background, your doctor is creating a list of possibilities of the most likely conditions ...

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