One of the best pieces of advice for cancer patients may be the simplest: Get organized.
From appointments to clinical terminology, a major medical crisis like cancer can generate lots of things to remember. And between co-pay receipts, medical bills, and correspondence with doctors and insurance companies alike, cancer patients may find themselves drowning in a sea of paperwork.
Getting and staying organized can be a big help for cancer patients, who already have enough on their minds without having to keep track of every detail that a diagnosis produces. Here are a few items of advice for cancer patients looking to make organization a part of their path to recovery.
3 Tips for Staying Organized
- Keep notes: Take detailed notes of all of your doctor’s visits, meetings with financial counselors and financial assistance companies, and even interactions with insurance companies. Bring along a loved one to help you log all of the details, or even set up a tape recorder or smartphone so you can revisit the conversations later.
- Save your paperwork: A dining room table covered in a mountain of bills and receipts is likely a common sight for most cancer patients. It’s important to save that paperwork, as you may need financial documents to challenge insurance decisions or for tax purposes, and all medical paperwork is important to establish a firm record of your case. But it’s easy enough to manage without all the mess. If you have a filing cabinet, clear out a drawer just for documents relating to your case; use color-coded folders or file tabs to differentiate among topics, such as Bills (Paid and Unpaid), Receipts, Test Results, and Physician Correspondence. If you want to embrace the digital age and cut down on space, scan all of your documents and organize them on an online cloud-enabled drive (just make sure the site is password-protected and secure).
- Tap your team: Rely on loved ones to keep things on track and on schedule. If you have kids, come up with a chore chart to have the little ones help out with the housework you might not be able to physically manage. Enlist a spouse or sibling to take over regular household tasks, such as making the monthly utility payments. Digitally savvy individuals can even use a scheduling app to assign tasks, which could come in handy to keep track of carpool schedules and transportation to and from doctor visits.
Staying organized can take some of the burden off of you and help you focus on health, which is great advice for cancer patients.