[A guest post by Cancer Nurse Rach]
I was so excited when I found it!
The ultimate, essential accessory to help people cope with cancer and chemo brain and accompany them throughout their journey – The Grace Files Care + Notes journal.
If you have just been diagnosed with cancer or have already begun your cancer journey and are starting to suffer the effects of chemo brain, I highly recommend you read on to find out why I think it is essential for you to have a beautiful Care + Notes journal to help you to cope.
Who am I and … why do I think I’m qualified to suggest a journal is an essential requirement for people undergoing treatment for cancer or coping with chemo brain?
Well… I’ve been a Cancer Nurse for over 26 years now. During that time, I have learnt that people with cancer need to be supported by a multitude of measures to help them get through their journey and the effects of chemotherapy and cancer treatments.
It’s my job to care for, advise, educate and support the person with cancer and I’m always thinking about ways I can help improve their life & make this life challenge a little easier.
Caring for people with cancer is my passion. I absolutely love helping others.
Since I have started writing as another way to support people with cancer, I decided that I wanted to find what great resources were out there — fantastic resources or tools that I could confidently recommend to my readers.
Why is a journal an essential tool?
When someone is diagnosed with cancer, life changes forever! Priorities change and what you now think is important is vastly different to what you thought was important before cancer.
Your life is basically turned upside down and you might scramble for a while to get some order amongst the chaos. Not only will you have lots of medical appointments that mess up your daily schedules but you will find that there are plenty of things that you will struggle to keep track of or even remember, potentially as a result of chemo brain.
One of my jobs as a cancer nurse, when I first meet a patient, is to sit down with them and guide them through the process of what to expect, how they might feel and what they can do to help themselves get through their treatment better.
One of the first suggestions I make is for the patient to get themselves a journal or planner so that they can keep everything they are going to need in one place. There’s no question about it — it’s essential! Keeping organised whilst undergoing cancer treatment, I can tell you, is hugely beneficial, especially if you have access to an excellent, practical journal.
You will need to have a place where you can write down appointments, health team details, your medications and treatments, what symptoms you experience and so on. These are just a few of the fundamentally important bits of information you’ll need to keep a record of.
Not only am I a believer in being organised, but I also think that having somewhere to write down your thoughts, feelings or goals is a vital part of the process of healing and coping with any life challenge. The act of journaling is such a valuable process for you (the person with cancer) to adopt and will definitely contribute to a more positive experience.
I understand that not everyone likes to, or has the time to write things down or journal. Not all of us have kept journals throughout our life but life has now thrown up a huge challenge to you, so I say, it is really worth giving writing, recording, planning and journaling a go.
When I first looked at the Care + Notes Journal I thought ‘wow — this gorgeous journal has everything!’ Beautifully divided into the must-have sections I was talking about earlier. I haven’t come across a journal quite so amazing that I feel has covered all the required needs, which makes it the ideal accompaniment through a cancer journey or for someone coping with chemo brain.
My first impressions of the journal are still my impressions now. I think it is so meticulously designed, it’s filled with all the appropriate, essential requirements a person with cancer will ever need along their journey. I wanted to tell all my patients about the Care + Notes journal immediately!
I have found that in most hospitals/day units I have worked in, even though most have their own versions of a journal or diary that they recommend or have designed, none have been as comprehensive (or as beautiful) as this one.
The way the journal is designed, however, doesn’t include a calendar of dates and it’s not intended for use as a diary. You can, of course, keep records of appointments etc. as there is a section for this. These days many people tend to use phones to pop in their dates and appointments anyway.
What Is ‘Chemo Brain’ And How Can The Care + Notes Journal Benefit When Coping With Chemo Brain?
For those of you who have begun your cancer treatment and are having chemotherapy than you will understand that one of the side effects of chemo is ‘Chemo Brain’. This is brain fogginess when you have difficulties with your memory. During this time, you will forget things, names, appointments — many things so it becomes important to get into the habit of writing everything down. If you don’t then yes, your life may become a little harder. This is another reason that keeping a journal helps you to manage your life and cope so much better.
I highly recommend the Care + Notes Journal as an essential item to accompany you through your cancer journey and help you when coping with the effects of chemo brain.