Your medical team will be a major source of mesothelioma help for you and your family. But how do you make the most out of this important mesothelioma help? You may be seeing multiple doctors and medical care providers including oncologists, radiologists and other specialists and it could get confusing.
But whether you are going to your first mesothelioma appointment or a routine follow-up, trying to make sure you understand everything you’re being told from diagnosis to treatment plan is crucial.
That may not be as easy as it sounds. You may understandably be feeling too emotionally overwhelmed by the information you’re receiving to take it all in. Or you may be experiencing what many cancer patients refer to as “chemo brain,” a common term to describe the thinking and memory fog that can occur during cancer treatment. Weat Mesothelioma Circle have put together some ideas for you to chronicle your doctor visits.
Mesothelioma Help With Remembering What the Doctor Says
Have you ever returned home after a medical appointment unsure of what the doctor said? Or realize that you forgot to ask a key question? Or you became so upset by what was being said that you simply stopped absorbing information?
If so, know that you are not alone.
Patients forget 40% to 80% of medical information they receive, according to a recent medical study. What’s more, almost half of the information patients receive is remembered incorrectly.
Doctors understand this. That is why a good doctor will be supportive of you with appointments in whatever way works best for you:
- Bringing a family member or friend along with you to your appointments
- Taking notes by hand or on an iPad during appointments
- Designating a friend or family member to come to appointments and take notes
No doctor should be annoyed or distressed by you bringing a wingman to your appointments. On the contrary, they should be glad that you are getting mesothelioma help that will improve the outcome of your visits with them.
Mesothelioma Help With Taking Notes During Appointments
For optimal mesothelioma help from your medical appointments, don’t rely on your memory. Even under ideal circumstances, everyone’s memory can be flawed. Add the stress of mesothelioma and the challenge understanding all the medical terms you’ll be hearing, and your ability to accurately recall everything may be affected. Find a way that works best for you to retain all you’re being told: a notebook or three-ring binder, or if you’re comfortable with technology, an iPad or other electronic tablet. Whatever tool you choose, don’t be afraid to ask your medical providers to repeat any information you didn’t understand.
One reason taking notes on either an iPad or notebook is an invaluable practice is you can carry your Health Care Power of Attorney with you. By carrying your Health Care Power of Attorney with you to your doctor’s appointment, your doctor has the opportunity to copy it or add to your medical charts.
Try bringing along a designated note-taker. When it comes to doctor visits, two sets of ears are better than one. Having a friend or family member at the appointment can help you focus on what the doctor is telling you while your mesothelioma helper focuses on taking notes. Another benefit of bringing a trusted friend or family member to your appointments is that he or she can help update everyone else who is concerned about your mesothelioma.
Take a moment to review your notes regarding home instructions or changes in medication before you leave. This helps make sure that you take home reliable information. It also gives you an opportunity to ask questions while the doctor is still there. For example, which treatment side effects should prompt a call to the office? This is also the right time to request copies of lab tests to add to your personal files.
Mesothelioma Help With Tracking Your Medical Appointments
Mesothelioma help can come from keeping an ongoing list of questions. Jot them down as you think of them in a notebook or tablet you will take to your appointment. From your very first question — What does my diagnosis mean? — to others dealing with treatment options, side effects and clinical trials, your need for answers will continue throughout your mesothelioma treatment. Writing them down as they occur to you will help keep you informed and better prepared. Then when you’re scheduling your next appointment, request a time when the doctor will be able to answer your questions and not have to rush to the next appointment.
Organize your notes and records and keep them in a easy to find place. In today’s computer-linked world, everyone involved in your care should be up-to-date on your treatments, medication and insurance arrangements. But that doesn’t always happen. Having your information handy will make it easier to access in case of emergency or for visits to different healthcare providers. Using individual file folders or a three-ring binder with document holders and tabs to sort paperwork by category (medication list, lab tests, imaging results) can help you and family members get a quick review and allow quick copying by your physician’s staff. Add contact information for all the doctors involved with your mesothelioma help so others can communicate with them if needed.
To help you with your mesothelioma treatment process, your doctor’s office may provide you with a notebook to help keep information about your treatment, medications, and appointment schedules organized. You can use it or use your own if you prefer.
If you are comfortable with digital technology, taking notes on a tablet or laptop will be helpful for you to create electronic files you easily can refer to and send to others involved with giving you mesothelioma help. And then there is no worry about deciphering anyone’s handwriting – even your own.