This mantra was one of many gifts received during my stay at the Miraval Arizona resort.
I sponsored a Bag it bag to help an individual impacted by cancer feel informed, empowered, and supported throughout their treatment journey. I never imagined this donation would also result in my own wellness journey and lasting benefits.
I was fortunate to be the winner of Bag It’s 2018 drawing and booked my stay at Miraval Arizona in December, looking forward to a relaxing weekend to reflect on the year. The experience at Miraval was so much more that I expected, and the people and activities left a positive impact that I appreciate daily.
- Relaxation: Exploring the beauty of the resort property and visits to the labyrinth provided the ideal mental space to decompress.
- Expansion: Encouraged to step out of my comfort zone, I participated in my first Zumba class which was the most fun, accepting, and laughter-filled fitness experience I’ve ever had.
- Reflection: Through meditation activities, I explored emotions and strengths, vowing to reprioritize
- Connection: I enjoyed truly meaningful conversations with staff and guests, reinvigorated by the kindness and compassion shared in these interactions.
We have all been impacted by cancer. Some have experienced it personally, others through a family member or friend, or a hero or celebrity we admire. Last month I sent a Bag It bag to a colleague recently diagnosed with cancer. While she thanked me, she indicated she had received information from her doctors. A few days later, she reached out to share how comprehensive the Bag It resources are, expressing how they have been a helpful addition to the information she previously received. The resources developed by Bag It are invaluable. I appreciate Miraval Arizona’s support of Bag It’s important work to inform, empower, and support individuals impacted by cancer.
Sponsor a Bag It Bag
What is Self-Advocacy and why is it important?
Self-advocacy is taking a proactive approach to being part of your healthcare team to ensure your needs are met and you are more in control to live your best life possible with cancer. It includes learning how to educate yourself with reliable information, knowing your rights, listening, and asking the right questions to make sound decisions. Being able to clearly communicate with others and feeling comfortable in making yourself heard are important. Reaching out to others when you need help is another form of self-advocacy and self-respect.
Bag It’s NEW publication Paths to Survivorship and other contents in your bag guide you on how to advocate for yourself from the moment of diagnosis and beyond.
How to Advocate for Yourself:
- Use your Bag It My Companion Guidebook to organize and track your own information. It’s a handy reference and a good back up if something gets lost. Request copies of your records, labs and test results at every appointment. Store them in the 3-ring guidebook with the most recent on top.
- Write down your questions before your appointment and then write down the answers.
- Bring someone with you to every appointment. A second pair of ears is helpful. They can take notes or record what’s said (ask permission first).
- Visit only reliable websites for cancer information. See Bag It’s resource page for more than 150 websites.
Resource topics include:
- Types of Cancer
- Clinical Trials
- Caregivers and Family Resources
- Parenting and Fertility
- Supportive Care—Emotional Support, Palliative Care, Complementary & Integrative Therapies
- Insurance, Managing Costs, and Financial Assistance
- Legal Rights, Workplace, Advance Care Planning
- Resources in Spanish
If you were recently diagnosed:
- Assemble and work closely with all the members of your healthcare team.
- Learn about your cancer diagnosis and treatment options with potential side effects to help you make informed decisions about your treatment and care. Consider getting a second opinion.
- Use the My Appointments Summary Log found in My Companion Guidebook to write down your questions in advance of appointments. Make sure you fully understand the answers provided and take notes.
- Bring someone with you to every appointment, especially at the beginning.
- Express fully and honestly what you need and want—to your healthcare team, caregivers, family members, and friends.
- Watch our short “How to use the Bag It bag” video.
Written by Beacon Group…
For the last eight years, Beacon Group has assembled bags for Bag It, one of the country’s leading resource centers for cancer recovery that provides resources, tools, and services for patients, caregivers and advocates. The resource bags that Beacon puts together include a wide variety of materials that need to be collated, inserted and packaged in a specific way.
Beacon assembles over 8,000 bags per year, and that number is expected to grow as Bag It expands distribution across the country. Teamwork was a big part of the process, especially when major changes for Bag It’s organization required production adjustments for a new bag design. Flexibility and communication strengths from both sides contribute to the success of the arrangement. Bag It’s executive director, Mindy Griffith, explains ”I like the idea that we are supporting individuals with disabilities of course. But your service is phenomenal! If we have questions, they are answered quickly. If there are problems, they are taken care of.”
By: Lori McNeill, Arizona Oncology
“I was shocked.” This, perhaps not surprisingly, was Sherri Romanoski’s response to being told back in 2000, at the age of 48, that she had breast cancer.
“It hit me hard. I was full of fear,” said Sherri.
Along with that fear can sometimes come a sense of powerlessness—how do I combat a disease I don’t fully understand?—and a lot of questions. What’s my cancer treatment plan? How long will it take? What can I do outside of the doctor’s appointments right now to help make a positive difference? How do I tell my family? What do I share, if anything, at work? What do I do about side effects? How am I going to pay for all these medications?
Read more . . .