Heads up! Do you need a step by step easy to follow system to get all of this information organized? No hassle, no stress, and minimum energy spent searching for the medical information you need (when you need it).
I have never been super organized. In fact, I have always been kind of a mess. I was working on organization as a major goal in my life when my dad was diagnosed with Lung Cancer and my entire life changed.
Suddenly, I had to figure out a system to manage my life AND help my dad battle cancer.
It’s definitely not perfect, but I was able to put a few things in place that help me (for the most part) stay on top of everything.
Keep Track of Everything with a Planner
A planner not only lets you know where you need to be, but it also helps you remember where you’ve been, and I find that to be just as useful. It’s the only way to survive when you have an active household and you spend your time running all over the place, dealing with cancer.
A planner keeps you on track.
And there are literally a ton of them to choose from.
Currently, I am using a weekly planning system that allows me to plan my week ahead of time. This planner makes sure you know exactly where you need to be, what you need to do and helps ensure that nothing major gets missed.
Cancer is like a bomb drops into your family and your whole world explodes.
And in its wake it leaves appointments (tons of them), scans, treatments, doctors, nurses, insurance companies, medication, symptoms, side effects, STRESS… The list is endless.
You can’t deal with everything flying at you unless you have a plan.
You won’t make it, I don’t care how good you are. This cancer business is like a 60+ hour job.
The weekly planning pages are quick and easy. They help you stay organized, know what’s coming and make sure the important stuff is taken care of.
It will save you a ton of time and a lot of energy.
And as a bonus, it gives you some control in the midst of a completely chaotic and uncontrollable situation.
The weekly planning pages break everything down so you can look at the week as a whole. Then you know ahead of time which days are going to be crazy, and which days you might just make it.
Once you know what your week looks like, you have the ability to head off any nonsense that might come up.
Being a cancer family is hard. One of the first things you realize is that without a plan you’re just aimlessly running around trying to manage all of this.
It’s stressful and overwhelming and you’re completely out of your element. A weekly plan gives you a road map to where you need to be, things you need to do, and priorities that need to be handled.
Without a plan, you’ll be dropping “balls” all over the place…
Keep Medical Information Organized
One of the most stressful parts of cancer is the TON of information flying at us every second.
- Things we need to do.
- Things we need to know.
- Things we need to watch for.
Figuring out a system to organize everything was not easy.
When the doctors asked simple questions, I would be shuffling through stacks of papers trying to find dates and information that was relevant.
We found ourselves drowning in information and missing CRITICAL things because they got lost in the mess…
After several tried (and failed attempts) to manage all of this, we found a system that actually worked.
The medical binder was BRILLANT and was the ONLY system that worked. It also took less than an hour to set up!
This system cuts through the overwhelm so you can…
- Identify what you need.
- Identify what’s important.
- Have an efficient (and mobile) place to organize everything.
So, you can always find what you need quickly and efficiently.
As an added bonus, doctors and their staff LOVE this system.
The binders received a pretty big reaction from medical staff who thought we were super organized and on top of everything! Which was kind of nice considering it was a huge leap from where we started.
Trust me when I say, this binder is going to save you a huge amount of hassle.
Trying to keep everything straight is a huge part of this battle…
An hour of set up and you are ready to roll.
Make Meal Planning a Priority
This is the ONLY way I can manage to get dinner on the table every night.
If I don’t have dinners planned out ahead of time, we end up eating out every night and there is no way we can afford that. I use a blank printable meal planning calendar (a full month) that I keep in my planner.
It’s not super fancy, in fact, it’s pretty simple.
Every Sunday morning, I plan out dinners for the week ahead and make a shopping list at the same time. Then I either do all my grocery shopping (or order online and pick them up).
I get everything I need for dinners so it’s in the house and ready to cook. The only thing I might need toward the end of the week is fresh produce for salad.
And the kids already know what we’re having because its written down in a common area, so they know what to expect. Planning ahead allows me to have a strategy for hectic nights, days I will be gone all day or overnight, school sports, etc.
Stop Putting Things Off
I am a procrastinator by nature. I wait until the absolute last minute to do everything. And I am most certainly an “I’ll do that tomorrow girl.”
It’s hard to plan for cancer. I have no idea where I’ll be day-to-day, or if I’ll have to leave suddenly.
This whole cancer experience has helped me tremendously in the area of procrastination.
Weekly meal planning, keeping an up to date schedule, planning for the week ahead…
I have to stay on top of this stuff now because I’m not sure what tomorrow is going to look like. I’m getting better at keeping up with the laundry and the dishes too.
So now, even when I have to leave suddenly in the middle of the day… it’s much better than it would have been.
Follow a Daily Schedule
This has been the most helpful strategy for making sure I stay on top of the day-to-day stuff that I need to get done.
In addition to procrastination, time management is not my strongest area and I’ve been working really hard to overcome that.
Having a daily schedule that lists everything I need to do in a day helps me tremendously. And, it’s designed so it can be done at home, my parent’s house, in the City when we need to stay at Sloan…. wherever I happen to be for the night.
I created this schedule after reading the Miracle Morning, and this has changed everything for me! If you haven’t already, read this! The major takeaway for me was the section on getting up in the morning…
As a natural procrastinator, my immediate response is not to jump out of bed. I’m a “5 more minutes” girl! The author of this book will change your perception about staying in bed!
So now, I am focusing on jumping right up (I’m a work in progress) and getting right in the shower… and then I check off each thing I get done as I go along.
Always Have a Bag Packed
When your loved one has cancer, you may have to leave at a moment’s notice. And you might not know when you’re coming home.
I always joke with my husband … “when I leave here, do you ever wonder if I am coming back?”
It’s been kind of a theme. I may need to sleep at my parent’s house, spend the night in the E.R. or sleep in the hospital if we’re admitted. And I may not have a whole lot of warning before I have to leave, or much time to put things together for that matter.
I have a book bag always packed and ready to go including…
- Change of clothes
- 2 t-shirts
- Extra socks and underwear
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Extra phone charger (that just stays in the bag)
Everything I need to get through a few days is in that bag and I am ready to move at a moment’s notice.
I can just grab the bag and go.
Make Time for You
This cancer business is all-consuming.
Seriously. It takes up your time and your energy and when you are done with all the running around… it dominates your thoughts.
Cancer can consume your whole life if you let it. Don’t let it.
Make sure you spend some time each day doing something for you. It can be as simple as taking a nap or as complicated as spending the day doing something you love. Either way, make time to do something for you.
Looking for ideas to take care of yourself?
These small changes have made my life so much easier to manage. And as I keep working on it, it keeps getting better and better.
Most importantly, it helps me battle cancer side-by-side with my dad while making sure things stay good at home.
There is NOTHING more important than that!
P.S. If you’re overwhelmed by all this cancer business, we can relate!
The Cancer Binder Pack will walk you through the quick and easy system we used for organizing medical information.
Step-by-step instructions, printable forms, and monthly calendar pages so you can ALWAYS find what you need when you need it. And, the best part it’s FREE…
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