Breast Cancer Journey, Organization

The “C” Word

Ew, No I’m not talking about the word that refers to the female anatomy.  And I’m not talking about Cancer either. I’m talking about Chaos.

Chaos is what happens when you have too many doctor’s appointments, too many explanations, too many nurses, phone numbers, pamphlets, resources, tests, more appointments, phone calls, lab work… agh!

So it turns out that, for me anyway, after the doctor said “you have cancer” the rest of the information just bounced off me. I’m assuming that’s what happened because none of it made it into my brain. Same thing happened when they told me I was going to need to be treated with chemotherapy.

So I came home with tons of paperwork, instructions, pamphlets, notes, etc. My table looked like this:

And of course, if you know me at all, you know this makes me crazy. So I did what any rational organizational freak would do. I organized it.

I started by getting a simple three ring binder, some sheet protectors, a three ring zip pocket, a business card holder page, and some sticky notes. I keep a few essential business supplies in my basement at all times for such organization emergencies. The only thing I bought was a write on calendar. I’m really good about using my phone to keep organized. A simple “Hey Siri” command puts appointments on my calendar, todo’s on my list and reminders to call so and so when I get home. But this was different – I needed to see everything on paper.

So here’s what I did. I organized the papers by information, resources and contacts put them in sheet protectors in the binder and used the sticky notes as tabs. Then I wrote in all of my appointments on the monthly calendar page and again on the daily pages (displayed by week).

I’ll also have room to make little check boxes for remembering to take medicines (like my daily thyroid meds), oil pulling or rinsing with baking soda (recommended by others to prevent the mouth sores chemo drugs are famous for creating). I can also write in notes about how I’m feeling that day, what I ate, etc. As I progress through my treatment there are days they’ll want me to take nausea meds and other days they want me to give myself shots for white blood cell production. All of these items can be written in as reminders or recorded afterwards as records.

It feels strange to go back to writing everything on a calendar and reminds me of my Franklin Planner stage, just before my Palm Pilot stage. But I think it’s really going to help me stay on top of all of the things I have to remember and all of the places I have to be.

Chaos conquered!

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