12 Mar How a Cancer Planner can Lead you to Recovery
These past few weeks have been CRAZY to say the least. The day before I launched this Kickstarter project, I had to take my friend to the ER due to a health issue that has grown out of control. Since then, we’ve been to the ER about 3 times in a matter of 2 weeks, with no form of alleviation from her doctors other than prescription medications. The reason I’m informing you of this is because:
1. Her health has taking up 80% of my time, and I’ve had very little time to focus on actually promoting the Kickstarter campaign for CanPlan version 3 (http://kck.st/2EJpfny)
2. This experience of being her primary caregiver and using the planner in real-time has made me SO MUCH MORE confident in the benefits CanPlan can bring. Although my friend doesn’t have cancer (at least not that we know of at this point), CanPlan can help with any issue where you need to feel like you have a sense of control over your life once again.
On one hand, I feel like I’ve failed in terms of fundraising, since we’re not anywhere close to where I expected us to be. And on the other, I feel like this entire experience has been a beautiful disaster, where I was able to really put my theory to the test. So I want to show you exactly how CanPlan has helped my friend and I navigate through this journey, and how I hope it helps you to navigate yours:
I was able to figure out she was having an allergic reaction to her nausea medication (ZOFRAN), which I’m sure most of you who’ve been through chemo are familiar with. I researched every medication she was prescribed, and kept a list of the potential side effects they could bring. I then tracked her medication intake as well as her symptoms on a daily basis, and isolated each medication by writing her symptoms down before and after she took it. I showed all this information to the ER doctor, who was almost going to put her on a higher dosage of Zofran. Since then, she hasn’t had any major side effects like intense shortness of breath, itching, and swelling.
She started puking blood the other day, so we had to take her to the doctors. We initially thought it was because she wasn’t responding well to her blood pressure medication (ATENOLOL), but after looking through the daily trackers we saw that it was because she was taking Advil with the Atenolol, which can lead to adverse effects like stomach bleeding. All the days she took Advil with her Atenolol, were days she was experiencing major symptoms.
APPOINTMENT TRACKER/MIND MAPPING:
My friend has acid reflux or GERD, which her doctor didn’t diagnose her with. Her doctor assumed that her symptoms were from hyperthyroidism, so she was just giving her medication to treat the symptoms for that. I was taking notes at every appointment to make sure that we were on the same page as her doctor, and made sure to ask her questions every time we were confused.
HELPFUL TIPS WHEN DEALING WITH DOCTORS:
1. ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS: Seriously, I cannot stress this enough. Yes your doctors are highly educated, but they are also busy humans that can make very serious mistakes. They have about 25-30 patients a day, with a 8-15 minute time slot, which is just not enough time to provide sufficient care. They’ve also been trained to see patients as numbers rather than humans, so sometimes they lack the willpower to dig further than they need to in order to see what’s really going on. Asking the right questions requires some catching up and researching on your end, so make sure you’ve done some homework before you show up to your appointments.
2. ASK FOR YOUR TEST RESULTS: Ask your doctor if there’s a patient portal you can access that has records of all your blood tests, ultrasounds, labs, etc. Keep track of this information because it’ll give you the most accurate view of the status of your health.
3. SHOOT FOR ACCURACY IN EXPLAINING YOUR SYMPTOMS: There’s going to be a list of repetitive questions you’ll be asked when you enter the hospital. They mostly deal with medications and symptoms. The more accurate you can be about explaining each, the more accurately they can find the source of the problem. So for example, saying you started feeling nauseous about a month ago isn’t as helpful as saying you started feeling nauseous on 2/13/18, after you started increasing your xanax intake to 4x/day.
4. RECORD YOUR CONVERSATIONS: There’s this huge emotional factor to illness that a lot of doctors don’t know how to address. When you’re highly emotional and stressed, your prefrontal cortex (part of the brain that deals with consciousness) is the first thing to shut down, so essentially you aren’t comprehending much about what’s going on. If you don’t have a primary caregiver, record your conversations with your doctor on your phone so you can listen to it again when you’re calm and collected.
SHIFTING MINDSETS (THE GOAL OF CANPLAN):
Okay, so I’M A HUGE NERD. Psychology and neuroscience give me life. And i’m saying this because I want you to know that I didn’t just create CanPlan on a whim. Every single detail of this planner has been carefully researched, and can be backed with scientific studies. Stay tuned for the video tutorials on this, but for now, I just want to address the overall mentality shift I hope CanPlan helps to bring.
There are 3 psychological roles which people take in response to a traumatic life situation: Victim, Persecutor, and Rescuer. In the case of cancer, often times it’s the patient that takes the role of the victim, the cancer itself that’s the persecutor, and the caregiver/loved one who takes the role of the rescuer.
The Victim: Is frozen in fear, and avoids responsibility because they think their experience is beyond their control. This stance keeps them from making decisions, solving problems, or going after what they want in life.
The Persecutor: Anyone or anything that creates a sense of paralysis, hopelessness, and helplessness in the victim.
The Rescuer: Anyone or anything that helps the victim escape their feelings, and avoid dealing with the issue at hand.
The goal of CanPlan is to shift the mindset of each of these roles:
Victim —-> Creator: By tracking, researching, and reinstating a sense of control over the situation, the creator has the capacity to envision positive outcomes again and take baby steps towards manifesting these outcomes. The creator knows that he/she always has a CHOICE, regardless of the circumstances. He/she can always choose how they’re going to RESPOND.
Persecutor ——> Challenger: Through CanPlan’s positivity exercises, self reflection prompts, daily gratitude and self affirmation practices, the creator will now begin to see the persecutor as a challenger who is meant to spark growth or development. CanPlan was scientifically created in a way to help the creator deconstruct what’s happening and try to find the lesson that’s hidden in the experience.
Rescuer ——-> Coach: Rather than having the caregiver do all the work while the patient is still stuck in a victim mentality, CanPlan shifts the role of the rescuer into the role of the coach, where they help to assess the situation and recognize reoccurring patterns. The coach never takes the power away from the creator. Rather, they empower them to make their own healthy choices. CanPlan can take on the role of the coach for those who don’t have a primary caregiver, by showcasing areas of improvement and getting the creator to ask empowering questions rather than disempowering questions.