How to Help – Notebook

When a friend is diagnosed with cancer, a million things flood your mind. From fear and worry to how can I possibly help. Many times after a diagnosis, a patient doesn’t know what to ask for, because they don’t even know what they need yet.

One of the things that my friends put together for me was a notebook. We’ll call it a cancer notebook (but please, for the love of all that’s holy – if you do this for a friend, do NOT write the words “Cancer Notebook” on it. Maybe just their name or print a nice photo for the front). My friend just put my name on it, very lovingly with stickers from her daughters art supplies. And it was perfect.

I highly recommend making one of these for a friend or doing this for yourself if recently diagnosed. There are so many doctors appointments, decisions to be made (about treatments, doctors and surgeries) that will help keep you organized while your head is swimming. It’s easy to put together and so incredibly helpful.

Here’s what you need…

  • 3 ring binder – 1 ½ inches – 2 inches (keeping it not too small, but not too big and bulky)
  • Tabs – (colored are helpful) so they can section papers – my tabs were: Rx, Chemo Info, Medications, Results, Notes (provide extra tabs so they can fill out what they need)
  • Clear plastic folder sleeves/pockets – for each tabbed section, so they can easily slide papers into that section.
  • Business card page/pockets for the front. As a patient, you have so many cards from so many different doctors, it’s extremely helpful to have them all in one place. And even more so when you have a question for your doctor, you can easily flip to the page and call them.
  • Paper
  • Sticky notes (pack) – tucked in the front
  • Calendar – for writing appointments.
  • Sharpie
  • Pens

You can dress it up, or keep it simple. Other ideas are to add a page at the front that says, “you are loved.” Or something that would be inspirational and loving for your friend.

This notebook stayed by my bedside and went with me on almost every appointment. It was so helpful and something I had no idea that Jason and I even needed. But it helped us get organized during a time when our minds were in a million other dreadful places. It was truly a gift that kept on giving.

Honestly, it doesn’t even have to be for cancer, you could do the same thing with any type of situation that a friend is going through, or having a new baby. So thank you sweet friends so much, for such a thoughtful gift that was so incredibly helpful in so many ways!

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  • Reply Saundra September 2, 2015 at 6:27 pm

    How timely…. we just had a neighbor diagnosed with advanced lung cancer….. I think I’ll assemble some of your suggestions for her…. thanks, Shan

    • Reply Shannon September 2, 2015 at 8:30 pm

      Oh no… Glad it could help a little. I’m so sorry, that really stinks. :(

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