The invisibility of chronic pain

Chronic pain: just by looking at someone, it’s not something immediately detectible and often gets misunderstood for its invisibility. But, for the one-in-five people in British Columbia who suffer from pain lasting longer than three months, it’s anything but transparent.

I sat down and spoke with Fiona Wade, whose journey with chronic pain is completely unfathomable to most of us; Dr. Brenda Lau from Change Pain to talk about what, exactly, chronic pain is and what its biggest myths and misconceptions are; and Janice Muir – a clinical nurse pain management specialist at St. Paul’s Hospital and director on board with the Pain BC society to find out what is being done to educate the public, physicians and patients on chronic pain.

Listen below:

There’s a monster inside me: living with premenstrual dysphoric disorder

It has no warning label, no concrete list of instructions, no ‘How to, for Dummies’, and no way to fully prepare for its inevitability every month, even when you know it’s coming.  Without fail, it arrives as if on schedule but, even then, it’s different every time and there’s no way to dictate which level of unbearableness it’ll be.

It’s 3 a.m. in New York City and Jane (first name changed for privacy reasons) Menna is wide awake, prowling the Internet trying to find an online support group to talk about what she’s going through. Insomnia is just one of the many symptoms associated with Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD), a severe form of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS).

Continue reading

New street vending restrictions in the Downtown Eastside will negatively affect vendors’ livelihoods

Street vendors around East Hastings are desperate to continue selling because it’s the only solution they have to make ends meet with a lack of affordable housing in an area being rapidly gentrified, according to advocates.

The city’s decision to force the sellers to move to the new sites and impose restrictions on how often they can sell is devastating, says Maria Wallstam from the Carnegie Community Action Plan Project.

Continue reading

Chasing Murals: an artist’s transition from animator to concept artist

There’s a good chance Ilya Viryachev wouldn’t be the artist he’s progressively become if his family hadn’t migrated to Vancouver, B.C. when he was 14.

With the completion of his most recent outdoor mural at Main and 16th behind Caffe Rustico, approval for another mural to go at Main and 8th, and an art show next month, he’s come along way from his life back in Kazakhstan.

Hailing from Almaty, Kazakhstan, what Viryachev describes as a “second world country,”  he said most jobs there fall under the trades and that getting work in the arts is more difficult. Although Viryachev’s interest in art began at an early age with the help of his mother who took him to art classes, the dream of fully pursuing his passion was put on hold until the move to Canada.

His eyes widen and his smile stretches from ear-to-ear as he reminisces his journey. “It’s pretty awesome I have the opportunity to do this here,” he says.

Continue reading