I must state before I begin, that I am in no way, shape, or form a physician. The list below is from my own personal experience, and I encourage everyone to do their own research within this area. I am however giving my all to help those who have been touched in one way or another by this horrible disease. As I write please understand that every experience is different. I am encouraging others who have been through any illness to speak to others and help guide them as I am in this moment. It is imperative that we guide one another, as well as give a semblance of control in the process. It is never a simple GO! with any illness and I say this with an emotional heart, it is our duty to help others in every way possible. I am writing this in regards to a cancer diagnosis, but others with any illness can find helpful attachments as well.
My freedom comes from my story, with a hopeful heart, that someone somewhere is listening, and receiving help from my experiences.Bakerlanebabe
You received the phone call that has changed your life within a moments notice. You are numb at first, as you try to find the initial shockwave that you do indeed have cancer. A million thoughts are shooting through your mind, and while you try to decipher one from the other, you cant for the life of you find a place to begin. You silently think about your loved ones and how you have to tell them. What do we have to do now? Where do we begin? Your not sure where to start or even what the future holds. Your scared, shocked, nervous, but more importantly your overwhelmed.
I have felt this. The sudden impact that a single word can bring upon you is something that I remember every single day. The initial shockwave as I sat next to the pool while my kids spashed within the water laughing. The troubles of the world were nonexistent to them as I sat stirring with knowing that I needed to look a little harder at their faces, and listen a little closer as their laughter echoed around me.
Im sure that every person is struck in the moment, no matter where they find out news that is ultimately life changing. Reguardless of where they are the gut wrenching reality is the same. What happens next is what ultimately sets the course for our future. Decisions need to be made, help is needed, and knowing that you are beginning a journey that is unknown is frightening, but nonetheless we are willing to fight. We fight for more memories with our children, we fight for more stolen moments with our spouses, we fight for the things that have defined our lives, and those who we hope to help in the future.
The first thing and one of the most important things, is that we need to educate ourselves on the specific type of cancer we have. Finding that we are more knowledgeable is something that will ultimately lead us on this journey. Uncertainty comes when we allow others to tell us what we should do, when we are more than capable of researching what the expectations are . When others say we need to trust our doctors, something that I do agree with, but it is also important that we know and trust our own bodies. Remember that it is your body that is fixing to endure treatments, surgery, ect. We owe it to ourselves not just to listen, but learn. We have the authority to know what is happening within us. We are the vessel for this dreadful disease, and in order to fight it we have to know what we are dealing with. Ask questions in doctors appointments, take notes, and ask for links and pamphlets to help further our knowledge.
Also, be ready to find organization within the chaos. Grab a calendar where you can keep up with appointments and also be able to take notes as you go. Organization is key in this process. Do not stress yourself by being unorganized. My favorite calendar is linked below. These are mainly for women but they do offer some that are great for men as well. http://www.bloomplanners.com
With knowing what you are dealing with I also advise that you begin getting copies of your records. More than likely you will have several doctors that you will be visiting, and having a copy on hand will not only keep you in the know, but will also cut time with waiting on doctors offices to send records to each other. I recommend toting around a folder with tabs to help organize your now busy life with out having to dig to find everything .
I for one love the accordian folder for documents from Amazon. It helps keep your labs, insurance, radiology, and other needed documents organized to work for you. http://www.amazon.com
With the knowledge will come confidence, with confidence comes strength within mind, body, and soul.Bakerlanebabe
We have to immediately know that we are in for a long road. That long road leads to lots, and lots, of financial distress. There are several things that we need to be prepared for, and that is large amounts of cop-pays, and deductibles. This is before the initial bills begin swarming in. The anxiety we feel knowing that mass amounts of money is going to be needed will more than likely feel overwhelming and we will feel the need to become defeated before we even begin. Remind yourself that we have to keep moving forward. Call your insurance company and ask them to do a financial breakdown on your benefits. Log them in a notebook and carry them to every doctors appt you have. Your benefits need to come second nature to you, so that you are aware of what is coming ahead.
Also ask yourself, “Do I have a cancer policy?” Within your workplace there are options to pick up cancer policies for this very reason. If you have a cancer policy you will need to call immediately to tell them that you have been diagnosed, and what steps do you need to take to begin capitalizing on the policy. This will help tremendously as you move forward.
There may be some thoughts in the works of raising money. With social media the amount of fundraising is much easier due to an abundance of those close to you wanting to donate. I see regularly Go Fund Me accounts set up in order to raise money to help with financial burdens. One thing I will say is that you are not allowed to feel as if others are taking pity on you. This is something that makes others feel as if they are contributing to your cause. It is by all means a way to include others in your story as you begin preparing. Financial stability helps ease our minds along the way. It is something that is necessary on this road. Whether someone sells T-Shirts, holds a Raffle, or even just feels it is within their hearts to offer some money, you take it graciously without the feeling of burden, or pity. You take it knowing that the world may hold several unknowns but love is flowing with abundance around you.
Fundraising is a chance at hope. See it with a gracious heart, and never spoil the hearts of so many giving to your cause.Bakerlanebabe
You are now more knowledgeable in what lies ahead of you. Now you must decide whether you are going to stay within your hometown or take forth and travel. I hear so many times that people do not want to travel because of the expense, I completely understand this, but I am here to help. First you must decide where the top Cancer research hospitals are located. The top 10 Cancer research hospitals of 2019 are linked here. http://www.verywellhealth.com http://health.usnews.com
It is possible for you to make your way to one of the top 10 hospitals in America. Knowing that lodging and airfare are required tailspins our mind to think that there is no way. Below I am listing links that will transport you to sites that offer help within travel. These organizations are of the top likely to help within times of need. For children visit http://www.rmhc.org For adults visit http://www.joeshouse.org
I highly recommend visiting http://www.cancer.org It is a link that will transport you to The American Cancer Society. Here they have so much information that will guide you from diagnosis, to help with financial occurrences.
One thing that we seem to overlook is health in general. Your body will be going through different procedures, and there will be an abundance of medicines that may possibly drain your body. I seemed to overlook this myself and took note at how I had wished that I had reached out to a nutritionist from the very beginning. You will need to fuel your body and become the healthiest version of yourself. I am encouraging you to do this in any way possible. We need our strength daily, but add into the mix illness and your body chemistry will need proper nutrients to ensure that you are ready for what the future brings. Investing in your strength will ultimately allow you to move forward with a peace of mind as well as a healthy body.
Once you have made the decision to pick a doctor, whether it be someone local, or MD Anderson, you now should have a plan. Treatment are about to begin and with it is some highs and lows. Your emotions often times lead you to depression as the stress of the uncertainty begins, but we must stay strong. Find some inspirational pod-cast, Books,Music and be open to emotional support from those around you. Find it within your church, friends and family. Seek guidance from support groups within your area, and never feel weak for doing so. Your strength is within you and positivity is ALWAYS key.
It is often times made to seem that it is expected of us to be strong at all times. This is easier said than done. If you feel the need to cry, then cry. If you feel anger inside you, voice it, but by all means never quit, never give up. This path is not a path we ever want, or need. With that being said it is something that happens. We must find a place of solace before we even begin to dive into the chaos that will begin to come. Gain strength from those around you and always remember that they are seeing this through with you. You find your team and you settle in with a force of determination.
Again I will state that this is written from my own experience. I feel that many of us all have our own ideas, research, and advice. My hopes is that someone can see the light that can come from any illness. My cancer tried to define me at one point. It took more than it should have, but I am still here in hopes that my story can inspire others. We all need hope in some shape or form. My hope today is that you find yours.
Additional Links and Apps
Music: Download App Pandora radio and Spotify
Books: http://www.amazon.com or download Kindle App
Food: Come up with a meal plan by using http://www.takethemameal.com perfect for your friends and family to select a day to deliver a meal just for you and your family.
***Please feel free to message me for any additional information, or if your just need to talk. You are never alone in this journey. Stay positive my friends and continue pushing forward.***