Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Getting Organized for Cancer Treatment

Binder with dividers
When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer I felt so overwhelmed with all of the information I was receiving. I was gathering so many lab and radiology reports and there were several appointments to keep track of. I decided to take control of my treatment by organizing this binder with dividers. It goes everywhere with me in case I become forgetful with "chemo brain". I feel more empowered by having this vital information at my fingertips. 

These are some suggestions for sections in your binder: 
  • Appointments
  • Medical Staff
  • Medication
  • Communication
  • Radiology
  • Labs-Tests
  • Chemo Info
  • Resources
  • Nutrition
  • Insurance - you might want a separate binder or folder

I created the following forms that I can use to record information. (A couple of the forms were given to me by my doctor but I revised them to make everything more uniform). Feel free to download for your own personal use.  I have suggested the number of copies you may need in parenthesis. 
  • Appointments for Treatment (5 copies) Hole punch and keep in binder
  • My Treatment Team (1) Hole punch and keep in binder
  • My Contact Log (20) Hole punch a few sheets for binder. Staple the rest and keep by the phone.
  • My List of Medications (2) Hole punch and keep in your binder
  • My Medical Visits (25) Hole punch and keep in your binder
  • My Food Diary (25) Staple sets of 4 - 5 sheets together. Keep in the kitchen for the caregiver to have easy access, or in the binder for your convenience. Show this to your doctor or dietitian if you are having problems eating.
  • My Weekly Medication Log (50) Staple sets of 4 - 5 pages together. Keep with your tote of medications. 

Create a file drawer or file container to store all of the pamphlets  booklets, and other information you will collect over the next several months.

Use a tote or plastic container for medications and essentials needed during your care.  Store this tote on the kitchen counter. Make sure the thermometer is always returned to this container so you or a family member can find it quickly.

Here are a couple of other suggestions for your binder. A nice hole punch and a vinyl business card holder.
I purchased a Swingline hole punch because 
the lever is easier to push

vinyl business card holder