The White Walls and Beeping Machines of the ICU Couldn’t Mask the Heartache

As an oncologist, I am no stranger to difficult situations, but the case of Mr. Smith was particularly heart-wrenching. Mr. Smith had been diagnosed with metastatic lung cancer and was being treated in the intensive care unit of the hospital. The sterile white walls and beeping machines were a stark contrast to the normally tough and stoic Mr. Smith I knew from our clinic visits. He was the kind of guy who seemed to take everything in stride, just like a character out of a Clint Eastwood movie.

But as I walked into his room that day, I was met with a scene I had never witnessed before. Mr. Smith was in tears, telling me about how he had missed his daughter’s award ceremony at school and how the thought of dying had finally hit him. His usually cheerful disposition was replaced with a deep sadness, and my heart went out to him.

“I can’t believe I missed it,” he said, shaking his head. “I always thought I’d be there for my girls, no matter what.”

I took a moment to sit down with Mr. Smith and listen to his concerns. I encouraged him to talk about his feelings and gave him the space to express his emotions. “It’s okay to feel sad, Mr. Smith,” I said. “It’s a tough situation, and it’s natural to feel like this.”

“I just can’t stop thinking about all the things I’m going to miss,” he said, tears welling up in his eyes. “I don’t want to leave my girls behind.”

“I understand,” I said. “It’s important to make decisions that are best for you and your family. And remember, you’re not alone. We’re here to support you every step of the way.”

As the conversation came to a close, I could see a visible change in Mr. Smith’s demeanor. The weight of his worries seemed to lift from his shoulders, and he sat up a little straighter in his hospital bed. The sadness in his eyes was still present, but there was a glimmer of hope and resolve there as well. He seemed more at peace, as if he had found some clarity in his difficult situation.

I left the room feeling grateful for the opportunity to be there for my patient and to make a difference in his life. The hospital can be a cold and intimidating place, but in that moment, I felt a sense of connection and purpose. I knew that I had done my best to support Mr. Smith through a difficult time, and that was all I could ask for. As I walked down the sterile hallway, I took a deep breath and reminded myself that this was why I became a doctor.


Feeling Tired All the Time? It Could Be Anemia. Here’s What You Need to Know.

As a hematologist, I often see patients who are struggling with anemia. In my experience, many people are not aware of the causes and symptoms of this condition, and they may not know how to properly manage it. That’s why I find it important to educate my patients about anemia and how to cope with it.

Anemia is a condition in which a person has a lower than normal number of red blood cells measured in hemoglobin, a protein that carries oxygen in the blood. This can lead to a lack of oxygen in the body’s tissues, causing symptoms such as fatigue, pale skin, shortness of breath, and a rapid heartbeat.

One of the most common causes of anemia is a deficiency in iron, a mineral that is essential for the production of hemoglobin. When a person doesn’t get enough iron from their diet or their body is unable to absorb iron properly, they may develop iron-deficiency anemia. This type of anemia can be treated by increasing iron intake through diet or supplements, or by receiving iron injections.

Another type of anemia, called megaloblastic anemia, is caused by a deficiency in vitamin B12 or folic acid. These vitamins are important for the production of red blood cells, and a deficiency can lead to the production of larger, abnormal cells that do not function properly. Megaloblastic anemia can be treated with vitamin B12 or folic acid supplements, or by receiving these vitamins through injections.

In some cases, anemia may be caused by chronic diseases such as kidney disease, cancer, or HIV/AIDS. These conditions can interfere with the body’s ability to produce red blood cells, leading to anemia. Treatment for anemia caused by chronic diseases may involve treating the underlying condition, as well as medications to stimulate the production of red blood cells.

It’s important for people with anemia to manage their condition properly to avoid complications. This may involve making dietary changes to increase iron and vitamin intake, taking supplements as prescribed, and regularly monitoring blood cell counts. It’s also important to avoid medications that can interfere with the production of red blood cells, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and aspirin.

Living with anemia can be challenging, but with proper management and treatment, people with this condition can lead full and active lives. If you think you may have anemia or if you have been diagnosed with this condition, it’s important to talk to your doctor and follow their recommendations for treatment. By working together, we can help you manage your anemia and improve your quality of life.

From Injured and Bedridden to Stronger Than Ever: My Journey with Bodyweight Training

“The only way to change your life is to change your mindset. If you want to be successful, you can’t let your mind hold you back. You have to be willing to push through the pain and the fear and the doubts and the excuses. You have to embrace the suck and keep going. You have to take control of your thoughts and your actions and refuse to be a victim. You have to be a fighter, not a quitter.”

David Goggins

As a former gym rat, I never thought I would find myself bedridden and unable to exercise. But that’s exactly what happened after I ruptured my Achilles tendon. For weeks, I was unable to do any form of physical activity and I quickly began to lose my strength and fitness.

At first, I struggled with the victim mentality. I asked myself “why me?” and blamed everything else for my situation, including my injury, my work, and even my family. I felt helpless and frustrated, and I didn’t know how to move forward. Instead of trying to find solutions, I just sat around feeling sorry for myself and doing nothing.

To make matters worse, I started drinking alcohol to cope with my frustration and boredom. I spent hours watching TV and mindlessly scrolling through social media. As a result, I gained weight and became increasingly grumpy and irritable. I was unhappy and unfulfilled, and I didn’t know how to change my situation.

But instead of succumbing to this mindset and continuing on this downward spiral, I decided to take control of my situation. I knew that I needed to make a change.

One of the challenges I faced was that my ruptured Achilles tendon made it impossible for me to leave the house to go to the gym. But instead of letting this obstacle hold me back, I decided to explore other options for staying active at home. That’s when I discovered bodyweight training.

I began my calisthenics and bodyweight training routine with just 10 push-ups each day, and gradually increased the number of reps as I grew stronger. Over time, I was able to build up to a daily routine of at least 100 push-ups and 60 pull-ups.

But it wasn’t always easy to stick to this routine. I had to overcome numerous challenges and obstacles along the way. For one, I have a family and a full-time job, so finding the time to workout can be difficult. But I made it a priority, and I never missed a day, even on weekends. I would work out at 6am every morning, before the rest of the household woke up. If my kids woke up early, I would incorporate them into my workout, playing with them and getting them involved in my exercises. If I needed to take calls for work, I would do it while working out, multitasking to make the most of my time.

By prioritizing my health and fitness, I was able to reap numerous benefits. Not only did I regain my physical strength, but I also improved my mental clarity, focus, and discipline.

First and foremost, having a regular exercise routine helped me to overcome the victim mentality and take control of my life. By focusing on what I could do, rather than what I couldn’t, I was able to shift my mindset from one of helplessness to one of determination and resilience. This shift in mindset had a positive impact on other areas of my life, and I found myself becoming more disciplined and focused in general.

Another benefit of regular exercise was the positive impact it had on my overall health. By getting my heart rate up and increasing blood flow, I was able to reduce my risk of heart disease and other chronic illnesses. I also found that I had more energy throughout the day and was able to sleep better at night.

But perhaps the biggest benefit of regular exercise was the way it made me feel. I am more confident and self-assured, and I have a newfound appreciation for my body and its abilities. I feel strong, powerful, and capable of tackling any challenge that comes my way.

In short, regular exercise has been a game-changer for me. If you are struggling with the victim mentality, I highly recommend giving bodyweight training a try. By just starting and taking small steps, you can overcome this mindset and begin to take control of your life. The benefits will spill over into other areas of your life, and you will be amazed by the positive impact it can have on your overall happiness and health.

From Oncologist in Training to Oncologist in Practice: How Focusing on What I Can Control Helped Me Find a Career

“You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”

-Marcus Aurelius

Towards the end of my fellowship in hematology and medical oncology, I was anxious about not being able to find a job. I had applied to two places, but had not been offered a position at either of them. The burden of medical school debt, combined with the responsibility of providing for my family, including two small toddlers, weighed heavily on my mind. I found myself worrying constantly about the unknown and what the future might hold.

At first, I tried to control the situation by applying to every job I could find and even considering relocating to another state. But as the weeks went by and I still didn’t have any offers, I began to feel increasingly helpless and frustrated. I was consumed by thoughts of failure and the fear that I would never be able to provide for my family.

Eventually, I realized that I was letting my fear and anxiety control me. I decided to let go of the things I couldn’t control, such as the outcome of my job search, and focus on the things I could control, like my mindset and my determination to keep going. I started to see the job search as a challenge to be overcome, rather than a source of stress and anxiety.

I began to focus on my mindset, reminding myself that I was a skilled and knowledgeable oncologist with a lot to offer. I also started applying to more places and networking with other professionals in my field. As I continued to take action and stay determined, I gradually began to feel more in control of my situation.

One day, I received an offer for a job at a private practice group. It wasn’t my dream job, but it turned out to be the best career decision I ever made. I accepted the offer and began my new job with a sense of accomplishment and gratitude.

Looking back, I realized that I had let go of the things I couldn’t control and focused on the things I could. By accepting my situation and taking action, I was able to overcome my anxiety and find a job that provided for my family and allowed me to continue pursuing my passion for oncology.

Here are the crucial points to remember and apply in order to achieve your goals and live your best life:

  1. Take control of your life by identifying the things you can and can’t control, and focusing your energy and efforts on the things you can control.
  2. Make self-care a priority in your life, and take time to focus on your own well-being. This can help to support your personal growth and development.
  3. Practice gratitude on a daily basis, and focus on the good in your life. This can help to shift your perspective and keep you moving forward with positivity and purpose.

Consistency is Key: The Last Shot In Wins the Point

In high school, I was a competitive tennis player, and I was determined to be the best. I would spend hours on the court every day, hitting balls and practicing my shots. But despite my hard work, I often struggled with injuries and burnout. I would go through periods of time where I was unable to play at all because of these issues.

One day, my coach suggested that I try a different approach. Instead of always trying to hit the ball as hard as I could, he suggested that I focus on consistency. “Mike,” he said, “it’s more important to consistently hit the ball in the right spot on a regular basis than it is to always try to hit winners. The last person to get the ball in wins the point.”

At first, I was skeptical. I didn’t think that this approach would be as effective as my previous training methods. But over time, I started to see the benefits. I was able to maintain my skills without getting injured or burned out. And I even won more matches. I realized that consistency was the key to my success, and that always trying to hit winners was actually holding me back.

So in the end, I learned that consistency is better than perfection. I was able to achieve my goals and improve my performance by focusing on consistency and playing smart, rather than always trying to hit the ball as hard as I could. It wasn’t always easy, and there were times when I still wanted to go for the big shots. But I learned that staying consistent was the key to success, and it helped me become a better player.

I learned that being consistent allowed me to consistently outperform my opponents and achieve my goals. I learned that being consistent allowed me to build my skills and confidence, and that it was the key to achieving success on and off the court.

The Surprising Secret to Making Meditation More Enjoyable: Smiling!

Meditation can be a powerful tool for reducing stress and improving mental and emotional well-being, but it can be difficult to stick with the practice. When I first started meditating, I would sit with a serious and focused expression on my face, trying to force myself to concentrate and clear my mind. But despite my best efforts, I often found myself getting frustrated and overwhelmed by my racing thoughts. I was about to give up on meditation altogether, when I stumbled upon the idea of smiling during the practice.

It was a simple but transformative realization. By smiling, I was able to relax my body and mind, and to approach meditation with a more positive and playful attitude. And as a result, I found myself looking forward to my daily meditation sessions, and feeling more relaxed and content throughout the day. In this article, I will share the benefits of smiling while meditating, and why it can make all the difference in your practice.

Research has shown that smiling can have positive effects on mental health. For example, a study published in the journal Psychological Science found that smiling can help to reduce stress and improve mood. The study found that when participants were asked to hold a pen in their teeth (which activates the muscles used for smiling), they experienced a reduction in heart rate and blood pressure, and reported feeling happier and more relaxed.

Another study published in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience found that smiling can help to activate the brain’s reward system and reduce feelings of anxiety and fear. The study found that when participants were shown images of people smiling, their brains showed increased activity in the amygdala (the part of the brain involved in emotional processing) and the ventral striatum (the part of the brain involved in reward and pleasure).

Additionally, research has shown that smiling can have positive effects on social interactions and relationships. A study published in the journal Emotion found that people who smiled more during a conversation were perceived as more likable, and that smiling can help to create a sense of connection and trust with others.

While there is no specific research on the benefits of smiling during meditation, it is likely that smiling can enhance the benefits of the practice in several ways. For example, smiling can help to reduce tension and stress, which can make it easier to enter a relaxed and focused state of mind during meditation. Smiling can also improve your mood and overall sense of well-being, which can make the practice more enjoyable and satisfying. Additionally, smiling can help to cultivate a sense of compassion and connection, which can be beneficial during group meditation.

In my own personal practice, I have found that smiling during meditation brings a sense of lightness and joy to the practice. It can help to shift your mindset from one of effort and struggle to one of ease and enjoyment. And as a result, I find that I am able to meditate more consistently and with greater benefit.

If you’re new to meditation or are having difficulty sticking with the practice, I encourage you to try smiling during your sessions. You may be surprised by how much it can improve your experience, and how it can make meditation a more enjoyable and beneficial part of your daily routine.