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:

Surviving Cancer/Sustaining Self 2: Physical Activity

Alongside the practice of mindfulness described in my last post, I also coped with my prolonged treatment for acute myeloid leukemia by doing as much physical activity as possible. My induction chemotherapy and initial recovery occurred during a 37-day hospital stay.  I arrived with no debilitating symptoms, so I was restless right from the start. I began doing some isometric exercises and stretching to go along with my evening yoga. My routine was enriched when physical therapists gave me additional exercises and some resistance bands to tone various muscle groups. But my most valued activity was walking the halls.  I walked in the late morning, late afternoon, and before bedtime, pulling my IV pole alongside like a faithful companion.  I followed a serpentine path down ...
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Surviving Cancer/Sustaining Self 1: Mindfulness

During my lengthy and ultimately successful treatment for acute myeloid leukemia, there were several practices I deliberately engaged in to sustain myself throughout the ordeal.  These will be the subject of my next few posts. The first thing that sustained me was mindfulness.  It helped me bring a rich, non-judgmental awareness to each moment as it occurred and realize that everything else – ruminating about the past or worrying about the future – is just noise that detracts from the present moment. Throughout multiple hospitalizations, prolonged treatments, and gradual recovery, mindfulness reminded me that although I could not control what I was experiencing, I could control how I experienced and responded to it. My hospital days thus followed a routine of mindful morning stretching and ...
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Who Survives Cancer…. and Why?

When people are diagnosed with cancer, the question “why me?” looms large.  For those fortunate enough to survive, the question arises again. While definitive answers to who gets sick and who gets better remain elusive, the questions remain. In 2016, I was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. I didn’t spend much time asking “why me” because it didn’t seem like a healthy road to go down. After being successfully treated and recovering, I have the luxury of pondering the second question.  Why did I survive while others did not? In transplant support groups, I often hear people say that everything happens for a reason. I think that is true in a narrow, probabilistic sense. Personal medical history, comorbidities, environmental factors, and genetic abnormalities can dramatically ...
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How Autism Shaped Me as a Writer

      In eighth grade, I discovered a new word I didn’t know existed: ‘autism’.             Beforehand, I never knew what it meant, until I asked my parents about the definition one day. When I found out, my perspective on my childhood and the world around me shifted, rather than changed completely. Learning that word gave me a sense of clarity. It explained my prescription pills, the challenges I faced compared to other students, and why I couldn’t pay attention to my teacher in class. For those unaware, autism is a neurological disorder currently found in 1 of 100 children. It is often categorized by an impairment of communication skills and difficulty in social interaction. While the severity of it is variable between patients, ...
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The epidemic of Overuse

Insanity is trying the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome. The father and son duo who I  have seen three times since Christmas break have returned again.  The father is scowling because last time I refused to an order an antibiotic for his son’s allergies.  Of course the first visit I had relented  because the office was busy and the father practically demanded one. “ There are some fragile older relatives in the house. What I am kinda saying is we need that antibiotic.” Flash forward a few months later they returned to see me again. The office was not as busy and dad was scowling about his son missing school yet again. The teenager had forgotten to take his ...
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Doctors as Detectives

During my prolonged treatment and recovery from acute myeloid leukemia, I spent many weeks in the hospital with a severely suppressed immune system as a side effect of chemotherapy. This condition is an open invitation to any infectious agents who happen to be in the neighborhood, and I had my share of them.  They included colitis, E-coli, the cytomegalovirus, and several others that were never definitively identified. I was also on numerous medications, including prophylactic antibiotic, anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-rejection drugs as well as other drugs to blunt the side effects of these initial medications.  These drugs nonetheless produced some nasty side effects on their own or in interaction with each other. The upshot was that on any given day, I would experience symptoms that ...
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