In this final entry, I’ll be sharing as one patient to another the complementary practices which have enhanced my total health.
I am most grateful to the M.D.s who treat me, as I’m sure most of you are. I do not look to them for everything, however.
I personally have benefited from my spiritual quest. Having a near-death experience as a result of the brain stem stroke gave me a different perspective than most. I am fully aware of my eternal nature and no longer fear physical death. I have found that every blood test and every doctor visit is, however, a reminder that my time here on earth is precious. I intend to be here in the present moment and to have no regrets when my time as Patricia Wagner is finally ended.
I begin each day with Tai Chi and a thankful heart for all of my blessings. I focus on breathing deeply and completely throughout the day, and try to avoid taking life too seriously. If I have a low moment, nothing brings me back to a cheerful attitude faster than writing a list of things I am grateful for. I volunteer my time whether I’m capable of physical activities or only an e-mail to help someone or help a cause. I use tapping (EFT) to reduce stress.
I spend time daily in spiritual study and meditation. My contemplative meditations at morning and evening have a common theme. In all cases I hold a vision of a positive present and future. I have seen evidence in my personal life that we indeed do create our futures through our concentration, visualization, prayer and affirmation.
I have given serious consideration to the concept of the body-mind connection. I have come to believe that for myself, I can achieve a healthier life if I recognize and release all of my old hurts, fears, and sources of anger. If this is a new concept to you, you may learn more of this through one of the many books to be found on this subject, for example those by Norman Shealy MD, Caroline Myss PhD, Ken Dychtwald, or Barbara Hoffman Levine.
On a lighter note, I find that it is wonderful to have a hobby that you can lose yourself in. During the years when I couldn’t do much but rest, I found that reading and handcrafts were fulfilling. There is a hobby which is perfect for you, regardless of your physical stamina.
And friends! What would one do without the friendship of others! It is harmful to one’s frame of mind to be isolated by disease. If I have the energy for only one event a week outside of the doctor appointments and routine demands of life, I make that event a study group or book club or tea with a girlfriend.
My final bit of experience from these years of my journey with myelofibrosis is this: Live each day to the maximum that you are able. Your capabilities might change from one day to the next. Be willing to adjust to these changes and find what is enjoyable in each moment. There is always something beautiful to be found if we look for it.
The following Medical Edge video features Pat Wagner's journey living with myelofibrosis: