Dealing with cancer can be overwhelming. In fact, I have seen that even the word “cancer” can freak many people out. Hey—it’s a freaking scary diagnosis, after all.
But, my job is not to freak you out. My job is to inspire and empower you, even when you are facing cancer (as my husband and I are right now).
My goal is to help you improve your knowledge, your confidence and your self esteem.
I call it Cancer Unplugged: An informal, yet informational dialogue that takes you places you might be afraid to go alone.
This is cancer, made simple, where the emotional is dialed down by ramping up the practical.
And, with cancer, there is a lot you need to know.
So, today, I’m sharing some of the things I’ve learned to help you be in the know!:
• Know your cancer doctor: Get recommendations from your own doctors, family members and friends you trust. Look up the doctors on the internet: What are their specialties, and how much experience do they have with cancer?
• Know that it’s always good to get a second opinion. (And that you’re worth the time and the effort!)
• Know your cancer diagnosis: Your stage, the location of the cancer, the type of cancer. Also know the tests you need to determine your diagnosis accurately. (And the correct preparation for those tests.)
• Know that you need be educated about your cancer. The internet is a wealth of information. Don’t be afraid to use it. Also, don’t be afraid to ask friends and family to help you with your research.
• Know that it’s your right to ask your cancer doctor anything you need to know, and that you should not be afraid to ask—and ask again–if you’re not clear on what he/she is telling you.
• Know your prognosis: the long-term outcome expected.
• Know your strategy: how to enhance or change that outcome.
• Know your insurance: What is and isn’t covered?
• Know any names and numbers to call in an emergency.
• Know your treatment: Chemo? Radiation? Surgery? Ablation? Also, know the length of treatment and the side effects you may expect. Know the hospital or location where you will be treated. Get to know the nurses. (Tip: Asking cancer patients that you know about their own journey may help!)
• Know your body: If you sense something else is wrong or has changed, know to speak up!
• Know your options. What else is available that may help you?: Clinical trials; integrated medicine; immunotherapy; medical marijuana.
• Know your team: Not only the doctors, but your caregivers, friends and family who can help you; and colleagues who can cover for you at work.
• Know your rights at work, eg sick time, medical coverage, company resources available, and how your employers can work with you and help you during your course of treatment.
• Know services you can use to make your life easier: For instance, laundry service, car service, cleaning service.
• Know ways to relax and deal with stress: Meditation, prayer, massage, psycho-therapy, anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medications.
• Know that you are welcome to share any helpful thoughts or tips here as well!
Always remember that being in the know helps you dispel any conflict and confusion, and helps you to take control!
To your health and healing,
Copyright 2016 Michelle Kerrigan
All Cancer Unplugged and Facing Cancer with Confidence posts are dedicated to everyone battling cancer, and to those that fight alongside them: If these posts help you in any way, I am thrilled!
I am also giving a shout-out to my friends at the TJ Martell Foundation, the music industry’s largest research foundation that focuses on finding cures for Aids, leukemia and cancer. Thank you!
“Cancer Unplugged” is a trademark of Michelle Kerrigan Inc.