Best of the blogs March 2014

Photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons (click to see)

Photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons (click to see)

It’s been a while since I’ve done this, but this is me cheerleading for the best blog posts and articles in March 2014.

Health and disability news

  • Thrive Show – Eva Hagberg. The wonderful Jen Brea has started Thrive Show, an online Google Hangout show (c. one hour each) – conversations “about how to live well with chronic illness and make a more just world for all.” If you are interested in chronic illness, you’ll want to check this out. The first one was a conversation with Eva Hagberg who always has interesting observations about illness, misdiagnosis and life in general. (I reviewed her book here.)

  • John Green on why the US healthcare system is crazily-bad value for money – fascinating video

  • “Chronic Fatigue Controversy” explains why many advocates are concerned by the $1m IoM ME/CFS ‘redefinition’ process in the US

  • YES to all of these. 5 things I didn’t know about healthcare until I got sick

  • “If a wheelchair user can’t play Beyoncé then Beyoncé can’t play a wheelchair user”

    Maysoon Zayid, comedian and actor – brilliant TED talk on Hollywood and disability


  • “The diagnosis at the time was anxiety and/or depression. And while I was both anxious and depressed, this was due to the increasingly disabling symptoms that my doctor kept insisting were purely psychological.”

    The Telegraph – Professor dies of lung cancer after doctors dismiss illness as purely psychological


  • Professor of Psychiatry Allen Frances warns that the new criteria for ‘somatoform illness’ is so broad that even 7% of healthy population would falsely qualify (see also Justina Pelletier case below). Somatic Symptom Disorder: New Disorder Could Classify Millions of People as Mentally Ill.

    The case of Justina Pelletier

    Justina Pelletier was diagnosed with mitochondrial disease, an unusual (physical) illness which affects many organs of the body. Acting on their doctor’s instructions, her parents sought the expertise of a gastroenterologist at Boston Children’s Hospital to deal with Justina’s digestive issues. But while she was in hospital she was seen by a Neurologist and psychiatrist who didn’t ‘believe in’ mitochondrial disease, and instead thought that she had a somatoform condition (where mental trauma manifests as physical symptoms). They thought that the gastroenterologist tests were ‘invasive’ and would amount to ‘medical abuse’. Understandably, the parents objected to this diagnosis and refused to go along with it. So the hospital locked Justina in a children’s psychiatric ward for the past 14 months, where she had very restricted access to her parents.

    The judge ruled on 25 March 2014 that Justina has a somatoform illness (accepting the diagnosis given by hospital psychiatrists), and that despite there being no evidence of harm by the parents, custody of Justina is being awarded to the state of Massachusetts. Nothing was said about the significant deterioration in Justina’s condition since she has been in the psychiatric hospital. In 2012 she is pictured ice skating happily, now she is immobile and in a wheelchair. She has not received treatment for mitochondrial disease for the past year.

    I am dismayed at the judge’s ruling, and concerned by the power of psychiatrists to overturn a medical diagnosis by another doctor. I am hoping that by keeping this in the public consciousness that the state will see sense and overrule. Thank you for listening. Read more here. #freejustina

    On spirituality and suffering

  • “Depression seems to be the demon that continuously haunts me.”.

    Alison Luna for Leanne Penny (and check out the whole excellent ‘Love Shows up’ series) :
    When love drives you home


  • For when you just don’t trust God, but know you should. Leanne Penny – God, I don’t give this to you.

  • On spirituality and finding it hard to worship God. This by Sarah Bessey is just beautiful – In which the Spirit inhabits the praises of the people.

    On Christianity and Social Justice


  • “Baby, we’re black. They’ll shoot first without asking questions”. Powerful: Osheta Moore for Deeper Story: Speaking Fear, Praying Shalom

  • Spirit of the Poor – Esther Emery et al. This whole series on social justice is brilliant and very thought-provoking, especially this: Esther Emery – For I Know the Taste of Charity.

  • “We can stop seeing our material wealth as “blessing” or “providence” and start seeing it for what it is: plunder.”

    Luke Harms (not strictly speaking March, but so good I’m including it anyway) – When the word returns empty



  • Why some kids can’t spell and spelling tests don’t work

  • Powerful, chilling: A second a day in the worst year of this little girl’s life

  • Oh my goodness! This was so good. Such fun. (I’m Type 2 – look out for me!) Leigh Kramer – Enneagram and Blogging Series.
    Over to you:

  • Which were your favourite blog posts last month?


    14 Responses to Best of the blogs March 2014

    1. Stephanie 24th April, 2014 at 5:51 pm #

      I am late getting to this, but wanted to thank you for bringing awareness to these important issues. I have a lot of reading to do today. 🙂

      • Tanya 10th May, 2014 at 10:50 am #

        Thanks, Stephanie! I’m really glad.

    2. Beth 24th April, 2014 at 9:05 am #

      That is absolutely terrifying about Justina’s case. How can the judge have ruled so? Horrifying. 🙁

      • Tanya 10th May, 2014 at 10:51 am #

        YES. It’s terrifying.

    3. Heather 16th April, 2014 at 1:43 am #

      The Justina Pelletier case is local to us and at one of our treating hospitals and very difficult and scary to read about. It’s just bonkers what people can get away with. We’re hoping she comes home soon. Thanks for these great reads.

      • Tanya 17th April, 2014 at 3:18 pm #

        Oh gosh – that must be incredibly painful to read when it is so close to home. Thinking of you and standing with you. Much love.

    4. Rebecka 5th April, 2014 at 9:37 pm #

      The Justina Pelletier case makes me so sad, and so angry. Just like the Karina Hansen case in Denmark…

      • Tanya 8th April, 2014 at 12:41 pm #

        Yes – the two cases are so similar. I always feel so powerless. It’s like reading a novel about a dystopian future, and realising that that is reality for so many. It’s terrifying.

    5. Mark Allman 4th April, 2014 at 7:21 pm #

      The case of Justina Pelletier really bothers me.

      • Tanya 8th April, 2014 at 12:37 pm #

        Me too, me too. Thank you for feeling it with me.

    6. Leigh Kramer 4th April, 2014 at 5:38 pm #

      Thanks for linking to my Enneagram and Blogging series! Glad you enjoyed it.

      • Tanya 8th April, 2014 at 12:33 pm #

        It was amazing!

    7. Leanne Penny 4th April, 2014 at 2:12 pm #

      What an amazing feast of links! So humbled and happy to be included.

      • Tanya 8th April, 2014 at 12:33 pm #

        🙂 I am loving your ‘love showed up’ series – it’s ace.

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