Bag It as a Roadmap

Bag It as a Roadmap

Bag It. Guiding one through cancer.

So, it’s National Read a Roadmap week, and I love a bizarre holiday that connects to many things I love and makes me smile. First, I recall being on a road trip a few years ago, and yes we had GPS on our phones and were using that, when we were trying to find maps of the area we were in just because (okay maybe I wanted to use them later to scrapbook the adventure). At the 3rd gas station we found one, it was dated and covered in dust and the employees thought my friend was crazy for wanting one but we were thrilled!

Then a friend was visiting me and in the side panel of my car I have a few maps, because you never know when you might need one. She found this hilarious and took a picture of it to post on social media asking people if they even knew what they were – she couldn’t believe that I had them in my car. (FYI: I have used them from time to time.)

Now I love technology and frequently use digital maps, but it’s always good to have a back-up plan as we know that technology doesn’t work everywhere or your might not have your phone charged or maybe you just appreciate having things in a printed format. Print makes things easier to share and more readily available (but I encourage you to order those maps in advance of your next trip).

How does reading a map and my random stories (that made me smile with the memories) connect to cancer and Bag It?

Reading a roadmap takes some practice, just like understanding cancer. The Bag It bag works as a guide to help those impacted by cancer understand more about their diagnosis and cope with the bumps along the way. When you receive a cancer diagnosis you don’t get the map (digital or print) to go with it.  You don’t know the vocabulary, the questions to ask, which treatment to take, or which exit has a support network. You need something to help familiarize you with this experience. Your healthcare team is one guide and a Bag It bag is another valuable guide.

The take-everywhere binder (yep, even on that road trip) helps organize appointments and records (similar to your brochures and itineraries). The booklets provide coping tips, support information, reliable cancer information and questions to ask. It’s all in the bag! You won’t feel lost during or after treatment with Bag It as your guide.

 

Bag It wants to ensure anyone who wants or needs a bag has them available to them. You can order one as a gift for someone when they are diagnosed with cancer to help them cope or you can order/request one for yourself. They are a doctor-recommended resource for anyone with any type of cancer.

If you don’t currently know anyone who could benefit consider participating in our Spring 2021 Fundraiser – Gift a Bag It Bag. With a $41 contribution you can help provide a source of comfort and the printed navigation tools to help a patient throughout their cancer treatment and beyond.

Just Breathe….

There is a wide variety of relaxation techniques* out there to try in addition to or to pair with your breathing exercises. Sample a few to find the one that is most helpful to you. Regular practice is the key to continued and more profound benefits.

These are just a few:

  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation – this technique involves tightening and then relaxing muscle groups of the body as you take slow, deep breaths, usually while lying down. You can self-guide as you work your way up your body or listen to a recording that will lead you through the exercise.
  • Yoga – an ancient practice generally involving your breath and moving through different body poses which may include some meditation. There are many types and levels of yoga that can be enjoyed solo or in a group setting led by a yoga teacher. Classes of all levels can be found in your local community or online. A consistent yoga practice will yield increased benefits. Check with your doctor regarding any health conditions before beginning a new yoga practice.
  • Meditation – a mind-body practice to increase your awareness of the present moment and promote calmness and relaxation. There are many different types of meditation which focus one’s attention using the breath, mantra, words or an object. Meditation can be guided (sometimes easier when getting started) or self-directed; it can be short or longer in duration. A consistent daily practice typically becomes easier over time and is highly recommended for maximum benefit.
  • Visualization (also known as Guided Imagery) – focus your awareness on a pleasing and calming scenario that can be a place, a memory or sensory elements all of your choosing. You can use a guide or pick an environment of your own making.

Links:

Guided-Imagery Meditation from Memorial Sloan Kettering Other meditations from Memorial Sloan Kettering Integrative Medicine Gentle Yoga Poses from Memorial Sloan Kettering Integrative Medicine Healthline’s best meditation apps for 2020 More relaxation techniques with instructions

*Relaxation techniques are generally considered safe for those who are healthy. People with serious physical or mental health problems should discuss relaxation techniques with their health care providers.

Self Advocacy – Creating Your Care Plan

Presented by Mindy Grifitth for A Cure In Sight’s Eye Believe Survivorship Seminar.

For this seminar Mindy presented on how to be your own best advocate, as your healthcare starts with you. Watch the video to learn some tips to feel more comfortable sharing your needs with your healthcare team, why you should speak up for yourself and how and why to have a care plan.