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Write Down Your Cancer Story

We are here to help you and your loved ones walk your path to a cure. When you face that initial cancer diagnosed you may have a range of emotions that will follow with you during your treatment. As you interview doctor and talk to specialists, you will tell the details of your story many times. We suggest writing down those details.
With each new doctor comes a whole new set of forms to fill out, another round of explaining what you’re dealing with and when it happened. It can get pretty old pretty fast. By having your story written down (typed) you can send it in advance of your appointment for the doctor to read. As you then tell your story you will have your document as a reference so you do not miss any details.
It can all start with your family doctor then you could see an oncologist, a radiation oncologist, a surgeon and if you have particularly severe side effects you may need to see other specialists. Depending on your surgery you may also need to attend physical therapy. If you get a second opinion that can mean another round of new doctors. If you’re struggling with emotional issues you may also need the help of a psychologist or psychiatrist.
You don’t need to reinvent the wheel each time it’s time to discuss your treatment history. Write it then update it as your treatment proceeds. Each time you see a new health care provider, give that person your history. Some tips to putting your story together:

  • Make sure your story is as complete and accurate as possible. You want to avoid confusion or miscommunication, which could result in a misdiagnosis or improper treatment.
  • Start out with contact information for you and a loved one and include your insurance information on the first page.
  • Include dates, times of appointments, contact numbers and lab results when available. This gives the new physician the ability to contact other doctors and have all the necessary information at their fingertips.
  • When going through cancer treatment, the medications you have taken, dosage, and frequency are critical. Some will be directly related to your cancer but all are important. You don’t want to needlessly repeat chemo drugs that may not have done you any good or caused severe side effects.
  • If you’ve had anesthesia, pain medications or antibiotics make sure you note what you received and whether you had any problems or if you think it worked particularly well.
  • There are also limits to how much radiation you should be exposed to, so that should also be noted.
  • Of course, each cancer story is personal so take time to record any occurrences that were personal to you. You can also include how you would like the doctor to address you, your loved ones, and a bit about you so they get a sense of who you are as a person.

The time and energy you’re investing in writing your treatment history should pay you dividends in the future. You can walk into your appointments ready to share your story, confident that you will not forget important information and ready to discuss next steps as an educated part of your treatment team.

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