New Cancer Diagnosis?
Overwhelmed. Scared. Anxious. Uncertain. Confused. Grief-Stricken. Shocked. Guilty. Angry. Isolated.
These are just some of the feelings that you may experience when you find out you have cancer. I know, because I've been there. When I found out I had stage IV breast cancer in 2013, I was devastated, but I was able to take some comfort in knowing how to access the best care possible since I was a registered nurse with experience in cancer care. Now I draw from my professional and personal experience to help others dealing with cancer. Here's how I can help you as a healthcare advocate.
Provide Emotional Support
You can take comfort in knowing I am walking this journey with you and know firsthand how scary and isolating a cancer diagnosis can be. When you are feeling anxious, scared, or just unsure, I am there to help.
Research Top Physicians
When you get a cancer diagnosis, you want to find a medical oncologist (cancer doctor) who is a leader in treating your type of cancer. I can identify physicians for a first and/or second opinion and assist in making appointments.
Translate Medical Information
Getting a serious medical diagnosis is like being dropped in another country where they speak a different language. I can help you understand your test results, labs, pathology reports, and other medical information you will be given.
I attend appointments with you and make sure that all your questions are answered and you understand what was discussed. I provide detailed notes that you can refer to and share with concerned family or friends. Note-taking is especially important because the stress of a new diagnosis can make it difficult to remember what was said.
There is much to consider with a new cancer diagnosis such as deciding on treatment, whether to continue working, or participating in a clinical trial. I help you weigh your options and decide on what is best for your goals of care
Organize Medical Records
Once diagnosed, you will see multiple physicians and receive many copies of reports, provider notes, and lab results. I organize these records so that they are easily retrievable to share with other providers or when needed for insurance or other purposes.
It is estimated that 80% of medical bills contain an error. I review medical bills for accuracy and work with providers and billing departments to correct any discrepancies.
There are many resources available for cancer patients — from free housecleaning to patient assistance programs for medications. I identify resources that will help you so you can concentrate on the business of living your best life while undergoing treatment.
Clinical trials can offer access to new, cutting edge therapies. There may be a time when you'll want to consider participating in a clinical trial to have access to other therapy options or to help future cancer patients. In this case, I identify potential research trials and assist in the application process to be considered for a trial.
Help Develop Advance Directives
I believe everyone, regardless of age or health, should have Advance Directives. I help my clients make decisions regarding their care goals and facilitate the completion of a Healthcare Power of Attorney and a Living Will.
Solve Other Practical Issues
Cancer patients may become overwhelmed with some of the day-to-day logistics that become difficult to handle while undergoing treatment. I can ease the burden of these tedious tasks, like making appointments, applying for a handicap parking tag, or completing FMLA or disability insurance paperwork.