Our Med Bag

Hello, and welcome to The Med Bag, a blog created for sharing health and medical stories from people from all walks of life,

To contact The Med Bag email us at: medbag2018@gmail.com

 

Latest Posts from The Med Bag:

Addiction Diaries: Lucky Boy

Addiction is an irresistible craving for a drug, leading to out of control use, and continued use despite consequences.  As a physician practicing in acute care I’ve seen many terrible things. But what has surprised, shocked and saddened me the most is when I’ve dealt with cases of addiction. The consequences can be severe, even fatal. It’s important to talk about it and acknowledge that it exists. Because addiction is a long term problem and social/family support is perhaps the most important factor for recovery. The aim of this series is to inform and raise awareness, not to sensationalize. Whatever I write is based on facts and facts alone. The following is based on true events: RM is only 21. “Don’t be surprised doc. He’s ...
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Surviving Cancer/Sustaining Self 6: Privilege, Care and Support

In previous posts in this series, I described several coping strategies that sustained me throughout my prolonged treatment for acute myeloid leukemia. Here, I describe how my healing and recovery occurred in a larger context that was unusually privileged and highly favorable for my successful outcome. First, my employer provided excellent health insurance that covered virtually all my major expenses. My longevity in my position earned me a year of paid sick leave, covering the period from the onset of my disease to my retirement date. After retiring, I maintained a version of this same good health insurance and began receiving a significant pension. Thus, I had the good fortune to not have to worry about financial constraints on the decisions I made and the ...
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Surviving Cancer/Sustaining Self 5: A Secular Mindset

I composed the post below before reading Diamante Lavendar’s powerful paean to spirituality on this site. The benefits of spirituality that she describes are undeniable, but I believe they are also available through other means and without reliance on a supreme being. Here’s my take on one such alternative pathway. -- In previous posts, I described some strategies that sustained me during my prolonged treatment for acute myeloid leukemia. Here, I add one more item to that list. While many people rely on religious faith in a medical crisis and while I respect such beliefs, I followed a different road. It didn’t start that way. My parents were nominal Catholics and I was raised in that tradition. I was baptized, took first Communion, was confirmed, ...
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The Effects of Spirituality on Health

For years I have been seeking Spirit to help me through life hardship.  I have also been seeking a relationship with Spirit to help me achieve the things I believe that my destiny holds for me.  There was a time when I was an atheist.  But that has drastically changed.   I have experienced both sides of the story.  And I can truthfully tell you that I am much happier now that I have a relationship with God. It was strange how I came to know my Father in heaven.  It was something I had experienced in brief “bursts” as a child.  I called it the “Christmas feeling”.  A deep sense of peace and wellbeing would come over me during tough moments in my childhood.  I ...
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Surviving Cancer/Sustaining Self 4: Humor

My previous posts have described how mindfulness, physical activity, and a pro-active stance sustained me during my treatment for acute myeloid leukemia.  Alongside these strategies – and not to be underestimated – was maintaining my sense of humor. To be sure, cancer is no laughing matter. Nothing about it is easy, and it’s certainly not funny. That is precisely why I found it essential to retain my sense of humor upon my diagnosis and throughout my treatment. Doing so became an antidote to the somber reality of what I was facing. It was a quiet form of resistance that kept the cancer at arm’s length. In my mind, humor was a way of saying you may make me sick and may eventually kill me, but ...
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Surviving Cancer/Sustaining Self 3: Being Proactive

My treatment for acute myeloid leukemia required four separate hospital stays.  They began with a 37-day stint for initial treatment and concluded with a 25-day stay for my actual transplant, with two, one-week stints in between to keep my disease under control until my transplant. From my first days in the hospital, it was evident that there was very little I could control in my new circumstances. Rather than indulging in despair or frustration, I resolved to focus on my immediate environment and be as pro-active as possible in that small world. Toward that end, I took charge of my room by making my bed every morning and fastidiously keeping everything neat and tidy throughout the day. I began the exercise routines and mindfulness practices ...
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