While a cancer diagnosis is obviously overwhelming, the paperwork and things you or your caretaker needs to keep track of is overwhelming as well. Getting organized during cancer treatment is important so you do not become overwhelmed. One of the things that blew Don and I’s minds after his diagnosis is the vast amounts of paperwork and doctors appointments and everything else we needed to keep track of. Today, I am going to share some tips, tricks, and some printable worksheets from Fight Colorectal Cancer’s website.
The first thing I suggest is purchasing a binder or an expandable file for all your paperwork and information. This way, as you go to your doctor’s appointments, you can grab it and have all the information at your fingertips. This can be organized however makes sense to you… by doctor or specialist, by sections (think insurance, treatment, medication) or any other way that makes it easy for you to find the paperwork when you need it.
A second purchase I suggest is a calendar. This can be a wall calendar, a pocket planner or just a calendar printout from the Internet. Whatever works for you. Keep a copy with your binder or expandable file so you can keep track of your appointments, medication refill dates, treatments, and even your side effects.
In getting organized, it helps to get some answers to questions from your doctor and specialists. They might mention terms you don’t understand or ask if you have any questions. If you can’t think of any, check out this brochure from Fight Colorectal Cancer to get started. If you don’t understand the staging of colon cancer, this is also a good resource for information.
One of the most important sections in your binder or expandable folder is going to be information about your follow up care. This worksheet is perfect to keep track of what tests, treatments, and visits are needed for the next 5 years after diagnosis. Your doctor should provide this information to you. If he or she doesn’t… ask.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. The one thing I didn’t do was ask more people for help, and I wish I would have. It is hard to take on an entire household by yourself while caring for a patient. I was mowing our yard, taking out the trash, taking care of the twins, and everything else. I should have asked for help from neighbors, family, our church, and friends. To keep track of who can help you, print off this worksheet to stay organized.
Ahhhh… the cost of cancer treatment. This is a scary one. The billing specialists make mistakes. A lot of mistakes. Make sure you know exactly what your insurance pays for and exactly what your visits are for. Keep track of the amounts, dates, insurance payments, and all the other financial information on this handy printable.
Keeping track of what medications you are on is almost as much fun as keeping track of the costs of your treatment. But, it is a necessary evil. Especially when you visit the various doctors and specialists involved in your treatment and care. It can also be helpful in an emergency to ensure the medics or hospital knows what medications you are on prior to emergency treatment. Use this simple worksheet to keep track of your medication, dosages, and times.
Do you know who to call when you need an appointment or have a question? You definitely need to print out this worksheet to keep track of all your doctors and specialists. Make sure you grab a business card at your next visit and tape it onto this worksheet. Keep this one in the very front of your binder or file. You will use it often.
Do you have a copy of your medical history? Keep a hard copy of this worksheet with your cancer information. If you are having “chemo brain” or can’t remember what diseases your parents had, this is helpful. It can also be helpful when your caretaker assists you at doctor visits.
Cancer treatments usually cause side effects. It is important you keep track of these and discuss them with your doctor or specialist. It is possible they can change a medication or treatment or provide relief. Keep track of all your side effects, no matter how small, on this worksheet.
Keeping track of your previous treatments is very important during your care. Your specialist might be unaware of what your doctor has done and vice versa. Plus, when you are sitting on the exam table, you can’t remember what date you had testing or treatment done. This worksheet will help you keep track of your surgeries and treatment, along with the dates they were performed and the physicians involved.
Don’t get overwhelmed with the paperwork involved with your cancer treatment. If you don’t have the energy to take care of it, ask an organized friend or family member to help you. They would love to help in any way they can. Don’t be afraid to ask.
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with colon cancer, I highly recommend you check out the resources and information at Fight Colorectal Cancer’s website. They have become my first-stop for colon cancer information since Don was diagnosed.
List of all Worksheets Mentioned in this Post:
- Newly Diagnosed Information
- Follow-up Care Plan Worksheet
- Help I Need Worksheet
- Managing Medical Costs Worksheet
- Medication Management Worksheet
- My Medical Team Worksheet
- Medical History Worksheet
- Side Effects Worksheet
- Treatment History Worksheet
Worksheets used from the Fight Colorectal Cancer website.