I feel so grateful to be living in a town that has a cancer support center. Ojai Cares provides their services to cancer patients and their families free of charge. They have been a wealth of information and education for me on my breast cancer journey. One of the very first things that was suggested to me by the director, Susan Kapadia, at Ojai Cares was putting together a binder with all of my cancer information and medical records. At the time, I wasn't sure why I would need such a thing, but as the number of appointments, tests and specialists increased, I realized that it was an absolute must have.
I used one of my son's old school binders and created tabs for each doctor or specialist. I also created tabs for insurance information, education material I was given, business cards I received and all test results. The binder combines tabs, plastic sleeves and pockets. At every single appointment, I ask for copies of the results I received that day along with any medical notes or permanent information. All of that information gets filed right into the appropriate section and is there if I need to look something up.
On a recent appointment to a new specialist, I found out after checking in, that none of my records had been sent over by my referring doctor as promised. I had waited weeks to get into this very busy and popular specialist. Without my medical records, the specialist would not be able to see me and I would have to reschedule the appointment. Luckily, I had brought my medical binder with me. I ran to my car and got it. The receptionist was able to make copies of the test results and other records, and my appointment went ahead as scheduled. I got the information I needed that day to go back to my oncologist to make some very important treatment decisions.
I highly recommend putting together a medical binder that you can take along to every appointment. Having an organized medical binder at your disposal will also help to relieve fears and remind you of information that you may have forgotten. My 2 inch binder is stuffed full with every single piece of my year long breast cancer journey. It is all in there and I use it frequently.
Stay tuned next Monday for my next blog: Compassion and Cancer