A diagnosis of cancer is something that invariably sends your world spinning, however disciplined and together you are. Setting up simple systems helps you to get back in control. There are two main sets of information youâ€™re dealing with:
- The portable records you need principally for hospital appointments.
- The files you keep at your home or office, such as research, and financial and legal papers.
Keeping a dedicated master ring binder with your portable records can save lots of energy and frustration. Itâ€™s also helpful to keep a lightweight tote bag big enough to accommodate your ring binder and also stocked with indispensable extras for hospital appointments.
Have a ring binder big enough to take the following basics â€“ and anything else you find useful, such as a dedicated address book to appointments. Here are suggestions for details to file in your ring binder.
- Summary of your medical history, diagnosis and treatment (helpful for first-time appointments).
- Schedule of appointments.
- Records of what happened at the appointments.
- Drugs (manufacturersâ€™ information) and drug regime.
- Record of any side effects youâ€™ve suffered, and any medication for those.
- Details of trial/s youâ€™re participating in.
- Checklist of questions to ask your doctor.
- Printouts of therapies, etc, from the internet that you want to ask your doctor about.
- Something to keep you positive when you feel low, such as a cheering card/letter or an inspiring/funny saying.
Ask your doctor if there are treatment options that will make it easier for you to work; for instance, if itâ€™s possible and appropriate to have chemotherapy administered at home or in your office, rather than in hospital.
Dedicated Address Book
Youâ€™re likely to consult several doctors and other health professionals across different disciplines, both conventional and complementary. You will also make valuable contacts in support organisations, legal and benefits offices, and many other people along the way.Â Keeping a record of their contact details in your ring binder makes life much simpler.
Indispensable Extras For Appointments
- Your diary.
- Notebook and pen.
- Tape recorder (especially if you donâ€™t have a companion with you at appointments).
- Coloured Post-it notes to mark important pages, and highlighter pens.
- A book, magazine or newspaper for the waiting room.
- Water and healthy snacks.
Have a special file for useful e-mails â€“ either virtual or in the form of printouts
Files At Your Home or Office
Itâ€™s helpful to have a filing system where you can put folders that you donâ€™t need to take around with you, such as:
Research Topics may include chemotherapy, radiotherapy, hormone therapy, bisphosphonates, surgery, supportive care, nutrition/diet, complementary therapies, alternative therapies.
Finance Benefits, insurance (such as private medical, permanent health insurance, life).Legal Examples of possible discrimination, your will.