Alopecia areataMarcy Gallant has been educating Canadians about alopecia areata as an online advocate. She wants plan sponsors to know that alopecia looks different for everyone, and that it can affect anyone — men, women and children — at any point in their lives.
“ The best thing employers can do is educate themselves. I don’t mind explaining it when people ask, but many others aren’t comfortable being asked about it.”
Type 2 DiabetesKerry Rasmussen wishes plan sponsors would look beyond the price tag and consider the cost to employees in time, productivity and pride when they can’t access their optimal medication.
“If that medication had been available to me immediately after my diagnosis, just think how much longer I could have been healthier.”
Atopic DermatitisA 2016 survey estimated that 3.5 per cent of Canadian adults experience atopic dermatitis (AD). Adults who have moderate to severe AD can experience symptoms that may affect sleep, mental health, quality of life and productivity. 1 Amanda is one of them. For her, AD is not “just a rash.” It’s a chronic skin condition that, when she’s in a “flare,” is agonizingly painful and makes it difficult to participate in social activities and to concentrate at work.
“ During my most recent flare, the dermatologist said, ‘You can’t go to work like this,’ and she wrote me a doctor’s note without me having to ask.”
Atopic DermatitisTanya Mohan wants employers to know that atopic dermatitis (AD), more commonly known as eczema, isn’t “just a skin thing.” People with moderate to severe AD may need work-from-home and other accommodations, as well as access to sometimes costly medications that relieve their symptoms.
“ Employers need to know how AD can affect your ability to concentrate, to write, to do all the things we need to do to succeed at our jobs.”
Canadians with Episodic Cluster HeadacheFour plan members in their own powerful words explain episodic cluster headache - a devastating primary headache disorder - and the drilling pain that gives it the nickname “suicide headache.” One female and three males ranging in age from 27 to 53 from Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador describe the impact it has had on each of them.
“ It’s like I live in a glass prison and others can’t see what I’m going through. I’m oppressed by it.”
Anne PertusOrganizational transformation consultant Anne Pertus faced a major shift in her own life after a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes put her on a new diet and lifestyle regimen that required constant finger pricking to monitor her sugar levels. But instead of being in control of her disease, Pertus felt like it controlled her. That all changed when she switched to the FreeStyle Libre system, which uses a sensor, on a compatible smartphone* or a reader to monitor glucose without finger pricking.†
“ My insulin has gone down by two-thirds over the last two years. I’m not stressed anymore. I’m in control.”
LisaLisa Vautour had struggled with obesity for many years and tried countless approaches to losing weight. Six years ago, thanks to a supportive employer, she was able to get the treatment she needed for what she unequivocally describes as a chronic disease.
“ It was so much easier to be successful once I didn’t have to stress about having time off or coverage for the medications I needed.”
SusanSusan loved her work as a physician, but by November 2016 she could literally no longer stand to do her job. The pain in her feet and right knee had become relentless; walking and even standing had become excruciating. Drug compatibility testing, also known as pharmacogenetic testing, proved to be the turning point in her long journey toward recovery.
“ I truly believe drug compatibility testing can be the key to setting the course for quicker, more successful, healing.”
RyanRyan is working to overcome depression. He shares his experience with benefits offered through RBC Insurance, including the Onward by Best Doctors program, that helped turn his life around.
“ My plan was amazing because it took the pressure off me financially. There was no way I could work in that time in my life, and with a family of five, I would have had no income. My stress, anxiety and depression would have increased tremendously.”
Jeff AarssenRetired: Senior Vice-president of Sales, Group Customer Division, The Great-West Life Assurance Company
“ If I had not found the right treatment, things could have been much worse. When I was initially diagnosed with RA, my doctor said there was a good chance I’d be in a wheelchair by the time I was 30.”