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You are Still You

This post was originally published at GoesGreatWithChemo™

Visit Jo’s website if you are in need of care, extra love and attention, and a tendency toward laughter in the face of turmoil in whatever life has thrown at you.

When you have a cancer diagnosis, this is a particularly sensitive time to have such a conversation; because you are already in the midst of receiving health care services. You’ve had multiple health care professionals provide you with extensive amounts of information and a shortened amount of time in which to make your decisions. Your health care providers are offering the best of the best to you during your treatment, so what about taking a few minutes to pause and consider what it is you really want for health care services and how you want to participate in your medical decisions.

Consider these ideas as you proceed with your health care team.

First, you are still you, you still have all your hopes and dreams, responsibilities, joys and sorrows in addition to your cancer diagnosis and treatment plan.

Second, you are in control. You get to tell your medical professionals, your family, friends, everyone you want that you are in control and that you have something to say about how you are going to participate in your medical treatments and health care. So, say it. Be brave, this is your life you are fighting for and you are worth it! That’s one of the main reasons I know every single health care professional shows up for work each day. To help you fight for your life.

Third, record your medical preferences now, as you begin your treatment or very soon as your treatment progresses. You are still your own person; you have making decisions all your life, some easy ones and some difficult ones. Use the same criteria for your health care decisions that you would use when making any important life decision and then know that you have the right to change your mind. Record your thoughts in writing, document what matters to you, such as how you want to be addressed during treatments, how you want to be cared for during and between doctor visits, treatments, receiving reports regarding your prognosis. These written medical preferences are sometimes referred to as Advance Directives, but I suggest you consider more than picking a person to speak for you in the case that you are not able. I suggest you record your own values and personal understanding of wellness and well-being even in the midst of dealing with an illness such as cancer and on going chemo treatments. This is the valuable information that your health care professionals want to know about you but sometimes miss in the urgency of treatments and exams. Recording your medical preferences give you the control and the power to go through this experience and come out on the other side a stronger you!

Finally, if you want a break and needing to see life for being life; find some avenue to be yourself separate from the illness that your medical professionals are treating. Give yourself a treat, instead of a treatment, find a treat in life and enjoy it; a book, a movie, coffee with a friend (and NOT talk about IT), a scenic trip into the mountains.Colorado has some great getaways. In short, keep doing the things that make life meaningful and important to you, even the little things each day and every day after.


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