1. Choose a doctor you trust. My oncologist is known as the best, but more importantly, he's the best for me. I believe this is the medical team God has chosen for me. I have full confidence in my oncologist and every staff member. We all just click!
2. Be honest. Don't let pride get in the way. After I finished chemo, I wanted to be the poster patient... ...the one they applauded and said, "Look what we did!" Instead, I was the one still struggling. So, at first, I kept quiet, hoping the problems would disappear. I didn't want to 'complain.' However, you must provide useful information so your medical team has the tools they need to move forward.
3. Keep a journal. Each day I'd write a few words on the calendar to describe my health. Over time, I can finally see some vague patterns and be encouraged by the (slow) progress that is taking place. I don't think I'd recognize the progress without this journal.
4. Be an educated patient. I research every aspect of my particular cancer, the drugs I receive, and today's treatment plans. So when my oncologist talks, it resonates.
5. Make a goal for each physician visit. What do you want to accomplish with this precious time? Write it down. List your questions. Include information you want to convey. Be brief but thorough. I've referred to my list while speaking with the oncologist. That way, nothing gets forgotten.
6. Don't go this alone. Bring someone with you to medical appointments for another set of ears. They will hear things you may have missed. Their job is simply to listen and discuss with you later.
7. Pray. Pray for yourself and those closest to you. Pray for your medical team. Recognize the fact that, ultimately, God, who loves you so very much, is in control. Be at peace.
8. Listen to this song. It'll help you with #7.