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 8: Writing My Story

In prior posts, I identified several coping strategies I used during my treatment for acute myeloid leukemia. I’ll never know if they contributed to my positive outcome, but I’ll always know they sustained me through some harrowing times. That was certainly the case with my final, and most important, coping strategy: writing my story. It began within a week of my diagnosis and initial hospitalization when I penned a long email to some neighbors to update them on my status. Over time, my recipients grew to over fifty people and the missives ballooned to over sixty reports narrating my cancer odyssey. My ostensible goal was to keep people informed, and I was rewarded with supportive feedback from many who responded with kind words, timely advice, ...
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Surviving Cancer/Sustaining Self 7: Medical Miracles and Good Luck

In prior posts, I described coping strategies that sustained me during my treatment for acute myeloid leukemia.  More recently, I noted factors beyond my control that nonetheless worked in my favor, including a privileged status, excellent care, and social support. Here, I describe additional factors that contributed to my survival. One was generational timing. Put another way, my parents picked a good time to bring me into the world. As a baby boomer, I lived into my sixties before contracting a life-threatening disease that was incurable throughout much of the twentieth century. I am humbled by the fact that the stem cell transplant procedure that saved my life has only been available for a couple decades. A brief history. The first successful bone marrow transplant ...
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A Lifelong Illness

Aloha everyone! My name is Jenny Duhaylonsod Delos Santos, and I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1997. At that time, I was staying up all night, still had lots of energy to do whatever I had to do. Because of not sleeping and other symptoms, I ended up in a psych ward at Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu, Hawaii. Due to experiencing drastic guilt and depression, the doctor introduced me to electro convulsive therapy, which is one of the fastest ways to relieve symptoms of a depressed patient.  The therapy helped me a great deal, and I had ECT for a couple of months, but stopped the therapy because of memory loss. I would like to be a spokesperson of bipolar depression, because there’s ...
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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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