Handy Tips

  1. It pays to do research of your own. All the information I have provided in this blog is a share of my personal experience after feeling that I had to learn a lot of things the hard way! I hope that it will save someone else the headache of learning some things the hard way too, however everyone’s journey is different and you may not encounter any of the same issues. If you have your own experience to share it would be greatly appreciated – I feel there is a lot to learn from other patients who have been through similar experiences.
  2. Always keep a record of every meeting and phone call you have with anyone relevant to your cancer journey, e.g. medical professionals, Centrelink, financial providers etc. It may seem like you are being too cautious, but you never know when you are going to need that information. I kept the habit of carrying around with me a little A5 sized note book. It was easy to have on hand in my bag and it had important details listed, or conversation briefs re-written, in case I received a phone call whilst out and about.
  3. Always ensure both parties involved in every conversation 100% understands each other. Always relay back to someone you have spoken with/ had a consultation with what you have understood and either have them agree with you or have them explain again. If you are not 100% sure that both parties are on the same page, do not let it go! And keep a record of what was agreed at the end of each meeting.
  4. Always review forms that are filled out by others. Never assume that the doctor or consultant knows best! Do not leave their office until you are both 100% comfortable with all terminology and both of you have agreed to the contents of any signed documents. I certainly learned this the hard way when I had a doctor fill out a medical form that I needed to provide the RTA in order to be cleared to drive again… Upon arriving at the registry, the woman entering my drivers’ medical clearance pointed out to me that the medical form said I was epileptic! It was a simple mistake and I try to point out that the wrong box on the form had been accidentally ticked (“Brain cancer! Not epilepsy!”), however it had to be recorded and I had to return again with a letter from the doctor stating they had made a mistake.
  5. Don’t be shy to be vocal about your financial situation. Many people have a problem with how others perceive them and would rather act as though they have their situation sorted than ask for help. Don’t fall into this trap! People cannot guess that you are living under a tighter budget or that you could use their assistance with food, bills etc. At this stage, your health is priority number 1 – your pride should never get in the way of this. Let people know what is really going on for you and be willing to accept any help they may offer. If you are having trouble with this I strongly recommend seeking out help from a professional counsellor – it certainly helped me!

 

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