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:

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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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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