The day after I was diagnosed with breast cancer was tough. I couldn’t concentrate. Fortunately I only had one client scheduled for early that morning. I don’t know how, but I managed to get through that appointment.
I needed to get out of the house. I needed to pretend that things were normal.
I made an appointment to get my hair cut. The same woman has been doing my hair for almost 2 years. In the past we have talked about my purple hair, her wedding, the excitement of her first house and my chickens.
But on that day when she asked me how I was doing it made my stomach hurt. Even though my diagnosis was the only thing on my mind, in that moment I couldn’t tell her. I couldn’t say it out loud.
I lied and said everything was fine.
But my trip to town was not just about keeping myself busy, it was also about starting on the next step of my journey. I have supported many other people through health challenges and now it was my turn to take my own advice.
The first thing I did was buy myself a notebook. If you follow my blog you have seen me write about the importance of having a healthcare binder. This is different than the healthcare binder; this notebook is specific for this one issue only.
I really wanted a pretty notebook. I wanted something that would make me forget about my diagnosis and why I was buying it. Nothing fit. I stood in Staples staring at the huge selection of notebooks and I began to cry.
It wasn’t supposed to be this way.
Fortunately the store was almost empty and no one saw my tears. I chose a notebook that would serve my purpose, content with the fact that I could pretty it up myself. I paid the cashier without looking him in the eye and left.
Walking to the car I pulled the notebook close to my chest and winced in pain. My biopsy sites were only 2 days old and they were still very painful. I never realized how much stuff I pull into my chest until this happened.
When I got home the notebook provided a much needed opportunity to do something. First thing was to figure out what needed to be in it.
So far this is what I have:
- Doctors: A list of every healthcare professional I speak with, including the name, address, phone number and specialty.
- Timeline: A diary of what is going on with my current medical situation. It lists the date, the interaction (type of test, phone call, results) and healthcare professional involved.
- Issues: This is my honest take on exactly where I am. A list of things that I feel need to be addressed for me to achieve optimum health.
- Protocols: Here is where I write down all the things I am doing holistically for myself. Diet changes, ear candling, energy treatments, herbal recipes and others get listed with the date.
- Food Journal: Just like it sounds…writing down everything I eat and drink.
The notebook I chose also has a couple pockets in it that I can use to hold loose papers. I take it with me to every doctor appointment and keep it close to write down my food.
Putting together that notebook was a diversion but it was getting to be afternoon and I still hadn’t called the surgeon.
The woman that answered the phone was very matter of fact. The doctor sees patients on Tuesday and Thursday. I can get you in next Tuesday.
My mind screamed….no that’s too soon! I’ve only had this information less than 24 hours. I don’t want to have surgery. I’m not even supposed to be in this club.
But I calmly replied “No, Thursday would be better”.
I felt sure she could hear me shaking through the phone.
A few more phone calls, another request to the insurance and the MRI was scheduled.
Then a call that made me feel like I had been punched in the stomach.
She called herself a navigator. She was to help me get through breast cancer. She would explain my diagnosis, tell me next steps and answer my questions.
She was very nice on the phone but…..I don’t want a navigator.
Having a navigator means this is real.