DIY Cancer Binder (in less than an hour).

This DIY cancer binder will make overwhelming medical information easier for your family.  Organization of all the information flying at you and free printables to cover all the basics.

A cancer binder will save your sanity when cancer explodes into your family.

Things get really overwhelming, really quickly.

Creating a cancer binder will save you a TON of stress, anxiety, and frustration. 

Cancer comes with an unbelievable amount of information. Appointments, scans, tests, biopsies, medication changes, new doctors, lab results… the list is endless.

You are entering a whole new world.  Seriously.  

There’s going to be multiple appointments, several new doctors, and a boatload of medical information flying at you from every direction.

No matter how good you are, or how organized you are… you will miss things.

There is way too much information for anyone to be able to manage.

Creating a cancer binder is cheap, easy and you can put it together in under an hour.  And, once it’s assembled it takes literally a few minutes to maintain.  

Using this system will save you HOURS of searching for the medical information you need, whether you’re looking for something from yesterday or 3 months ago… You’ll know exactly where to find it.

To make set up even easier, grab the FREE printable Cancer Binder Pack. It’s designed to walk you step by step through the entire set up with printable pages for every section. 

And the best part, The Cancer Binder Pack is only 25 pages and costs about $12 to print in color at Staples (but you can do it for way cheaper at home).    

You can grab The Cancer Binder Pack for free here…

Setup Quick Tips 

  • Binder Size:  Don’t try to fit everything into a 1-inch binder.  It will work for a while, but you’ll need to upgrade really soon.  Skip all that by starting with at least a 2-inch binder.
  • Choose Erasable: Use a pencil (or FriXion pens, which are fully erasable) for the calendar so you can make changes without making a mess.
  • Use a Pencil Case:  Keep pens, pencils, highlighters, and any business cards you get in a pencil case in the front of the binder.  It saves a lot of time and energy.  

Supply List

Okay, let’s get started putting your cancer binder together…

Cancer Binder Cover 

This DIY cancer binder will make overwhelming medical information easier for your family.  Organization of all the information flying at you and free printables to cover all the basics.

Choose a binder cover.

The binder cover HAS to be motivating. Even when you’re just starting out,  you’re fresh, you still have a ton of energy and you’re determined to kick this things ass… It’s hard to stay motivated for the long haul.  

This cancer business can really wear you down.

Some days It’s hard to get out of bed.  Between the stress, the obstacles, and the slew of doctor’s appointments, this is a really draining disease.

You can grab a collage of photos that you love here like the one above (choose 8.5 x 11) with pictures of the people and things that you love to remind you why you have to keep going.  

Or, you can use one of the quote pages in The Cancer Binder Pack to remind you that you are strong as hell and YOU CAN DO THIS.

Calendar Pages

This DIY cancer binder will make overwhelming medical information easier for your family.  Organization of all the information flying at you and free printables to cover all the basics.
1. Add the month and the dates to each of the calendar pages.
The calendar pages go first in the binder (once everything is assembled we’ll add the pencil case on top, but for now leave it out.)

Use the calendar pages to document:

  • New appointments
  • Hospital visits
  • Treatment dates
  • Surgery Dates
  • New symptoms
  • Starting a new medicine
  • Starting a new treatment
  • Scans that are scheduled
  • Results of the scans

There is so much happening all the time.  The more you have written down, the better you will be able to manage it all.

2. Keep a “timeline” on your calendar pages.
This DIY cancer binder will make overwhelming medical information easier for your family.  Organization of all the information flying at you and free printables to cover all the basics.

 A timeline is just an outline of what’s happening on the journey.  For example…

  • New symptoms popping up.  
  • Starting a new treatment or medicine (which could later lead to symptoms/side effects).
  • When did you start/finish/skip treatments like chemo, radiation, immunotherapy?
  • When did symptoms like nausea start, stop, get better, get worse…

You are going to want to be able to keep everything straight and have an idea of the dates when things are happening.

When you have new symptoms the first question the dr will ask is “when did that start?”  “When did it get worse/better?” 

Keeping a timeline right on the calendar is a great way to keep that information accurate.  Just jot it right in the calendar. 

You can grab those calendar pages for free here…

Medical History

This DIY cancer binder will make overwhelming medical information easier for your family.  Organization of all the information flying at you and free printables to cover all the basics.
 3. Write down your medical history.

Anything and everything having to do with your prior medical history should be compiled on an easy to read document.  

Most of the time cancer is not the only concern you have and other health issues need to be managed as well.  It’s imperative that the Dr’s are able to factor all of this in when making treatment decisions.

You will be asked these same questions over and over and it’s so much easier when you have it all together.

Do you have Diabetes, Congestive Heart Failure, or even high blood pressure?  You should include any past or current diagnoses, any past surgeries, etc on this sheet.  

*This information should be kept as up to date as possible.

You can get the page you need for your medical history free by clicking here…

Medication and Allergy List.

4. Complete the medication and allergy list.
This DIY cancer binder will make overwhelming medical information easier for your family.  Organization of all the information flying at you and free printables to cover all the basics.

 A complete and updated medication list is a non-negotiable.  You need to have that information available quickly and easily.  

EVERY TIME you go to the dr. it’s the first question they ask, “do you have any changes to your medications?

Your life will be much easier if you keep that information updated and in one place. 

I recently watched a woman present an overstuffed bag of medicine bottles, so the nurse could go through each medication, one-by-one.  Not the most efficient way to get that information to your medical team.  

A much better alternative is to have it already organized, where it’s easy to update and present to the nurse.

Make sure you include the name of the medication, why you take it, the dosage, and when it needs to be taken.

Here’s an example:  

Eliquis5 mgAnticoagulant(blood thinner)Take one in the morning and one tablet in the evening.

*This information should be as up to date as possible.

Grab the free medication sheet here…

Care Team

This DIY cancer binder will make overwhelming medical information easier for your family.  Organization of all the information flying at you and free printables to cover all the basics.

5. Gather the information you need regarding your care team.

Family members, insurance contacts, social workers, doctors, specialists…

Who is involved in your care and how can they be contacted?  

Having the names, phone numbers, fax numbers, and addresses of your treatment team and insurance company will save you a lot of time tracking that information down when people ask for it. 

  • Who is in charge of what?  
  • What number should you call if you have a problem or a question that can’t wait?    
  • How can a doctor get a hold of your caregiver?

If another dr. like your primary care physician or cardiologist needs to talk with your Oncologist, you’ll have everything you need right in the binder.

You can grab the FREE Cancer Binder Pack here…

Health Care Proxy, Living Will, Last Will and Testament

6.  Fill out your healthcare proxy & living will. And once you have them drawn up make some copies.

What do you want to be done when the unthinkable happens?  What are your wishes and who should make medical decisions if you can’t?

This experience makes you see and think about things very differently.  Health Care Proxy documents should be on-file for everyone.  Even you. Hey, you never know.

My husband and I now have a will, a healthcare proxy, and living wills, all drawn up and filed.

I could walk outside tomorrow and get hit by a bus.  

You can grab the FREE Cancer Binder Pack here…

Phone Call Log

This DIY cancer binder will make overwhelming medical information easier for your family.  Organization of all the information flying at you and free printables to cover all the basics.

7. Use the phone call log to track calls and conversations.

This was added when a good friend of mine pointed out that she makes a gazillion phone calls a day, but we had no place to track them.

This page is designed to give you a space where you can keep track of all of the back and forth communication with doctors, insurance companies, pharmacies, social workers, physical therapists (this list could go on a while!).

It’s a great place to jot down notes and keep track of any conversations happening during your journey. 

 It’s especially helpful when you’re chasing down information.

Grab the phone call log page here for FREE…

Emergency Information

8. Make a section for any emergency information

In this section, you should include and highlight anything that you need to be aware of or looking for and how to deal with them if they happen.

  • Contraindicated medications: meds that when mixed with what you’re already taking can have adverse effects (sometimes life-threatening). Restrictions: Things you need to avoid.  
  • Symptom monitor: Things to watch for/track occurrences or call the dr about.
  • Emergency instructions:  Directions that outline what to do if specific symptoms are happening.  

Notes

9. Add a section for notes.

Create this space with some lined paper so you can take notes during dr. visits.  There is a ton of information coming out of these appointments and you don’t want to miss anything…

What about supplements or strategies that might make you feel better?  Referral to a new specialist?  Instructions you need to follow or questions you want to ask can all be written here.

It’s easy to get distracted and overwhelmed during appointments, but this is your opportunity to get the information you need.  You need to be able to write down important information or questions you want to ask.

More Cancer Binder Categories

10. You can create a section for any additional information that applys to you. Sections like…

  • Lab reports
  • Treatment/medication information sheets 
  • Discharge Papers/Medical Reports
  • Medical Insurance
  • Medical Bills 

Actually, the list of additional categories is endless, but the categories above will give you a solid foundation as you figure out what you need.

Heads up!  Creating this cancer binder is even easier because all of the worksheets above have been created for you, so you have everything you need to get this binder started.  You can get those worksheets here for FREE…

As a bonus, medical staff LOVE this binder.  TRUST ME, they think you’re super organized and on top of your game (even if you feel more like the hot mess express)!  This binder just gives the impression that you have your sh@t together. 

Pencil Case

11. Once everything is assembled add the pencil case on top.  Fill it with pencils and pens (so it doesn’t matter if you lose them) and leave space for business cards.  

The pencil case is AMAZING at making sure you always have something to write with!  I mean who wants to be this organized and then be scrambling around for a pen.  ????

If you’re sick of scrambling for information every time you need it, this is a brilliant solution.  And once it’s set up, it takes minutes to maintain.  

Just grab the FREE Cancer Binder Pack which has every single page you need to get set up and running.  

You can get it here for free…

I’d love to see what your cancer binder looks like!  Comment below and show me!

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