Managing health with a doctor shortage

Are you affected by our doctor shortage?

According to a November 2017 article on CBC the doctor shortage amounts to 37,000 Nova Scotians without family doctors. Our family is about to join the ranks with four of us losing our doctor.

We were very fortunate when we left the metro area and moved to the rural town of Yarmouth. With a referral from my doctor, to a doctor he’d worked with in some capacity we had a doctor almost immediately after moving. I know people who went 4 years before finding a new doctor after their doctor’s practise closed.

Today we are faced with our doctor’s practise closing in two months, if he can’t find someone to take over his practise. Fortunately for our community our doctor is moving to another much needed position, at our ER. However, for people such as myself and my daughter who have chronic conditions or frequent health concerns… it just plain sucks.

What does someone needing regular and consistent care do?

It’s not such a big deal for people like my youngest who almost solely sees a doctor in the event of an emergency. But what does someone who needs regular and frequent care do? I’m fortunate to have a specialist who helps me attempt to manage my pain, but I need more than just pain management. And I need someone who is familiar with my history.

I’ve been trying to set myself up to be taking a well-rounded approach to my care. I’ve been reading books on many different approaches to chronic pain management. I see a physiotherapist and a massage therapist regularly. I’ve tried many other modalities and professionals for treatment.

I am attempting to track everything somehow. I use a lot of apps that cross-sync, so most of my data is available on my smartphone.

Not only do we have no choice about who we see, but we have not choice about IF we see someone

The challenge with reading and attempting alternate treatment, is that not all doctors support that. And with a doctor shortage, not only do we have no choice about who we see, but we have no choice about IF we see someone at this point.

If it were possible to see a doctor, nurse practitioner, or other medical professional on an ongoing basis privately, I believe I would. Unfortunately, of the alternate treatment modalities I’ve tried there is not one collaborative source for this that I can find.

I’m seriously considering getting my own wellness coach. Someone who can help me navigate all of this. It’s interesting that even when someone has the skill set to do so for someone else, it is still important to find a third party for ourselves.

Find a wellness coach and support community

If you are looking for someone who understands the challenges of navigating a complex medical and alternative medicine approach to treatment for your own health & wellbeing, contact me. I have done a lot of research and am aware of multiple sources for information and for support.

Want a place to chat with a coach and others in similar circumstances? Join our community.

I hope to see you there! 


Drop me a note in the comments below, or connect with me on Twitter @ceilidhontherun, email me at ceilidho at ceilidhontherun dot com, or use my contact form!

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Living “right” for health & wellness

Wellness has a right/wrong?!

Imagine that there is a “right” way to live. That by not living it your health and wellness suffers. Now imagine that this right way applies to every single human – regardless of age, gender, fitness level, income level, etc. – on the planet. It seems implausible. Why is it that people have such emotional responses to how others chose to live? Why is that so many try to convince others that their way is the right or best way?

*This post may contain affiliate links. TrishBlogs receives a small percentage of compensation for purchases made via these links.*

I have been looking into many options. Because of my chronic condition I have a specific motive for doing so – that is to find the right way for ME. I have read many books. I have surfed a lot of websites. I have listened to many podcasts.


It’s not one-size-fits all

Everyone presents his or her way as THE way to living the best life. From dietary recommendations of Paleo, to Vegan, omnivore, Vegetarian, low-carb to prescribed diets from nutritionists… one thing is clear to me. Each of our unique body-types, gene make-ups and lifestyles has a unique need for health & wellness. I’m not looking for a one-size fits all solution. I’m looking for what meets my individual needs – INCLUDING my other treatment options. It’s funny how few people question my doctors’ multi-prescription approach even with no noticeable improvement – yet tell someone that you have seen improvements due to a change to your diet based on natural/alternative medicine theory and you must heed many warnings.

There are a few common threads and that is where I want to focus for the time being. Limit processed foods. Eat real, whole, foods as much as possible. Read labels. The more green vegetables the better. Reduce sugar consumption. Move your body.

Then the waters begin to muddy.

Draw from multiple diet & exercise plans

It’s unfortunate that all professionals don’t have the same information. A base of unbiased general knowledge of all schools of thought and what situations they seem to apply best to. And the ability to then work with individuals to determine what is most appropriate for their lifestyle, body’s needs, etc.

I love research and so I have been attempting to find my “right” fit for a while now. From books like Dr. Sara Gottfried’s YOUNGER, websites like, podcasts like Ultimate Health, and professionals whose care I seek… Some of my preconceived ideas are applicable to a certain lifestyle (i.e. carb-loading for running races), but seem detrimental to my current condition. Where I once was training for endurance sport I learned specific recommendations. However, as my body began to complain, my mindset didn’t keep up with the changes. Not entirely.

So now, I am eating and exercising for my condition or what I hope will offer the best possible outcome. My biggest challenge is reminding myself not to compare my progress in any way to the formerly fit me. I need to compare my progress to me current situation going forward. One thing is clear – it’s much easier to navigate the waters when you have a better idea of the destination.


Wellness coaching services


Drop me a note in the comments below, or connect with me on Twitter @ceilidhontherun or email me at trish at trishblogs dot com!

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Uncomfortably numb. AKA depression.

I’ve written before of the experience of living with depression. It is a unique experience for each and every one afflicted. Most people I know who have lived with depression identify with the feeling of disconnect, lack of clarity and perpetual fog that I know. There are common themes, but the severity, the presentation, the duration, the triggers… all vary.

I find myself grasping at the instances of sun peaking through the fog, like each one is the only one I’ll know. While I know that many other times I can’t even be bothered to open the curtains in hopes of a glimmer of the sun’s rays – the fog is just going to roll back in sooner than later anyway.

Mavilette Beach in fog

What started my depression? It’s really hard to say. My first memory of someone suggesting I was dealing with depression came when I was newly married, almost twenty years ago. An episode brought on by relationship problems. I muddled through and came out on the other side before I even saw the counselor I’d been referred to. For years after I struggled along, seeing each of my next challenging circumstances as separate and at no time did I consider the cumulative affects.

Stress, or the experience of feeling stressed can be brought on by both negative and positive circumstances. Extra-marital affair, moving, new jobs, birth of a child, work related stresses, purchasing a home, chronic pain, returning to school, death of a loved one, new career, abusive relationship, and on, and on. Each of these can and will have cumulative affects if not managed well, affects that manifest themselves in depression and/or anxiety.

Something else that I know is that no two individuals cope the same way, nor does one necessarily cope the same way in each cycle of depression. Some become hermits, some become promiscuous, while others still turn to substances or other vices for a high. Few know of my own struggles if I don’t speak openly of them.

I work in a challenging and stressful job where I make it through most days in much the same manner as my counterparts. Most days I manage to get my children to their own obligations and interests. The house is relatively well kept. Most of my finances are in order. I ask for and accept help much of the time. On the surface I keep it together most of the time.

My physical pain flares up with every additional stress in my life, good, bad or ugly, physical or emotional. My depression comes in waves and does not seem to correspond specifically with any set timing or circumstance. Sometimes, I can’t standthe idea of of being alone. Sometimes, I can’t bear the thought of entertaining someone else’s company. Most of the time I simply feel numb.

I doubt myself often. I doubt my judgement. I doubt my decisions. I doubt my feelings. And honestly, there seems no way of really knowing which ones are valid, genuine, or in my own best interests.

More often than not, I wish for a blank slate. There are only a few significant things in my life that I wouldn’t wish to do over.

Sometimes the best change is that which comes from circumstances thrust upon you. It’s not about what the events actually are. It’s all in what you do with them. I try not to let life make my choices for me, but take control and make my own choices, even when all I want to do is bury my head in the sand.

Sometimes the actions and decisions of others force decisions to be made and actions to be taken just when we’ve grown complacent, or perhaps even have given up.

One thing I’m learning from a few of the most challenging circumstances in my life is to stop wishing life away. I catch myself still… wishing away the day and the week, just desperate for the weekend. Wanting to make time stand still on Saturday, to not have to go back to the responsibilities of day-to-day life.

So here I am trying to get better… better at: Making the most of life. Living in this moment. Living every day like there may be no tomorrow. Going with the flow and questioning things less. We hear it all the time. Death is the only real inevitability. Whether it comes today, tomorrow, next week, year or decade. It comes.

Sun and ocean

This is where I try to make my changes. It’s not cliché. It’s a fact, we have only this moment. Grab it.


Drop me a note in the comments below, or connect with me on Twitter @ceilidhontherun or email me at trish at trishblogs dot com!

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Lifestyle changes – taking charge

May 13 / Mother's Day - by Kate Inglis

I have done and tried a lot of different things in the hopes of feeling better, for the last two years I just sort of stopped making any real effort at all. Now I’m ready for a big change. Bigger lifestyle changes than I’ve ever made. One that will result in (hopefully) me feeling better, more rested, more energetic, less pain, better head space… I’m not talking about a diet or a new year’s resolution to get fit and lose a few pounds. I’m talking a complete haul-over. I am going to reboot, reset and hopefully establish a whole new baseline to operate from.

 I am sick and tired of feeling sick and tired… How many times have you heard that one before?

How about this one: the definition of insanity is doing the same thing, expecting different results… ?

So the new plan is:

Take all of the bad stuff out of the diet, put all of the good stuff in.

Make a daily routine that includes all of the activities that I know will support the kind of healthy lifestyle I am trying to achieve.


No more processed crap, no more sitting and hurting, less mindless head-spinning, more mindful head-clearing.


I want a day that includes a morning ritual, healthy work habits, and an evening routine that sets the stage… for a restful night’s sleep.


What do I hope to achieve? The simple answer… a life as close to pain-free as possible. The more elaborate… happiness, both in state of mind and physical being.


So much of what is recommended for a healthy lifestyle in general is priority for someone living with fibromyalgia to become better able to function. The details of the plan (daily moderate exercise, regular sleep, and omitting foods that are known to be bad for my condition: gluten; refined sugars; processed foods; dairy and soy) aren’t as important to me in making this happen as how I will make it stick.


What’s it going to take to keep on keepin’ on when it gets really tough? Some things come naturally to me – logging/journaling a lifestyle change is what started me on the blogging path eight years ago. Hold myself accountable by sharing my journey online. 


What else? I know I need goals and some sort of reward that I am working towards achieving. I am goal driven. This is the part I have deliberated over the most. I will track and evaluate my progress – there are great apps and other tools out there for this purpose. Once I’ve identified my goals and how I am going to reach them, I will create a focus board to refer to and remind me of what I am ultimately trying to do.


Here are a few of the things I’m working on:


Diet changes:

No gluten, refined sugars or processed foods, white breads/grains

Get back to eating a diet high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein – i.e. fish, walnuts

Prepare: breakfast foods ahead of time (i.e. steal cut oats, smoothie mixes); lunches ahead (i.e. quinoa/bean salads); and menu plan suppers (slowcooker and/or prep ahead meals) in advance


Let’s be clear here, I intend to enjoy life and there are a few things I have no intention of giving up in the foreseeable future: espresso coffee (but will switch mostly to decaf), dark chocolate, red wine…


Changes to my routine:

Rise early; exercise; practise mindfulness; eat breakfast; lunchtime break – walk? Swim?; evening walks & yoga; prepare the next day’s meals; reading/writing; bed early… sticking with a regular bed & wake time

Do you have any specific goals/plans? What do they look like?



Drop me a note in the comments below, or connect with me on Twitter @ceilidhontherun or email me at trish at trishblogs dot com!

I invite you to subscribe to my blog using one of the options available on my page (email, rss, Google Connect, like my page on Facebook, etc.)

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Birth story – first draft (2004)

Draft of my story that was published in Understanding Human Sexuality

The birth of my first child, was of course a memorable experience.  In a few words I would describe it as relaxed, personal, secure and simple.

I was under the care of a team of two midwives throughout my pregnancy; I had many opportunities to get to know them.  My children’s father attended many appointments, as we were able to schedule some in the evening.  We each preferred the other of the two midwives, finding something different in the two women that appealed to us separately.  Both my sister and my mom were encouraged to attend appointments with me, they got to hear my daughter’s heartbeat very early on.

When my labour began, I’d been aware of Braxton Hicks contractions for some time.  Even though it was my first childbirth experience, I could tell the difference, yet was still in early labour.  I called my midwife, went for a walk, took a bath, the contractions continued regularly but still quite far apart.  I called my midwife, Sylvia, again.  She said she’d come check on me, and if I were further along than she thought, she would stay.  It was the midwife I had felt a stronger connection with, as it turned out it was not her turn to take calls, but they were so busy with other births that neither of them had had much rest in 48 hours.

As it turned out, she stayed.  We ate, we watched Friends on TV, my family came by to visit with me in my home while I laboured.  Apparently I was coping very well, not sounding like a woman close to active labour.  At 8pm, I was about 5cm dilated, this hadn’t changed in a while.  I had tremendous back labour, and was leaning over all of the couch cushions, with family members taking turns applying counter-pressure on my tailbone.  Still, we chatted and relaxed in anticipation.  Within an hour or so, my midwife suggested we could break my waters, if I wanted to, that it might speed things up.  The intention was to have a hospital birth, so it was my choice, did I want to break the water at home, or head in to the hospital and do it there?   Now, why would I want to make all that mess at home, when someone else could clean it up?

By the time we arrived at the hospital 15 minutes later, things were already beginning to progress.  As we walked past admitting, Sylvia told the staff “she’s further along than she looks, her husband will look after the paperwork”, and upstairs we went.  My sister helped me into the shower, where I soon found that I couldn’t stand up, yet the pressure was too much to sit.  Into the hospital bed I went, where I found myself doing squats from a reclined position.  Sylvia and two nurses in the delivery room were amazing, talking me through everything, informing me of what would happen next, bringing me back down as I lost a bit of control in transition.

My daughter’s father was by my side holding my hand, supporting me when I needed to pull-up and squat with the contractions.  My sister was watching as my daughter’s head crowned, with absolute awe she looked at my then husband and says “you have to SEE this!”  He took a quick peak, but dared not leave my side.  I felt my daughter’s hair and her head was delivered without incident, then she rushed out, tearing me with her shoulder, so fast that the she almost flew right past my midwife’s arms!  With great interest Sylvia informed me that my daughter’s umbilical cord was longer than she’d ever seen before.  She and my husband measured it later to be approximately four feet long!

Then my daughter was wiped and swaddled and handed to me.  I remember that feeling like she opened a part of my heart I never even knew was there.  The love I felt for her had been there all along, long before she was conceived, just waiting to be released.  Within moments of her birth, my mother was in the delivery room to meet her first grand-daughter.