Tips and Tricks to Stay Organized

I have been fortunate to be surrounded by people who have helped me get all my responsibilities in order so that I can concentrate on beating cancer. Here are some of the tips and tricks I have used from items to keep handy to ways to utilize all those offers of help that one receives when diagnosed with a serious illness. These can also be useful to someone who is wanting to help a loved one and may need some guidance on what might be needed:

* Medicines – I need to take several different medicines. Some I take once each day, some I take more than once a day, and some are less frequent. I bought one of these from WalMart to help me keep track:

Medicine Organizer

* Calendars – I have a calendar for my appointments and one for my medicine schedule. I keep them on my bathroom mirror and check them off each day:


* “Chemo” bag – When I go for chemo, it is important that I have my medicines, my blood pressure cuff (who knew that you now get charged $85 each time you don’t bring your own?!), chemo treatment info, planner (a gift from some friends to keep track of everything), a Velcro seatbelt cover to cushion the port site on the ride home, water, snacks, wet naps, and a book. This bag is kept packed and ready to go at all times.

Chemo bag and its contents

Packed Chemo Bag

* An overnight bag with a change of clothes and toiletries. I keep this in the car in case I am not able to make it home after a doctor’s visit or a chemo treatment.

* In addition, it is very important to have any legal stuff in order including medical directives, durable Power of Attorney (if applicable), and an updated will. The cost for all of these is not great so please don’t hesitate to take care of these needs. You can also seek out an attorney in your local community or religious organization to see what can be done at a reduced cost. Having the piece of mind that your wishes are written down greatly reduces stress.

* Car pooling – I have people who have offered to drive me to treatments as well as help transport my kid to/from school and school activities. Take people up on their offers to help. Set them up on a schedule if needed and rotate through them.

* Cleaning – I now have a person come to clean my house on a regular basis. If you have offers of “please call me if I can do anything,” put these offers to good use and set them up on a rotating schedule and have a different person come each week to help clean and do laundry. That way, no one person has to take on the whole responsibility and it allows your friends and family to really help you. It is not a burden for anyone who has offered assistance to you to come and help you clean, do laundry, or go grocery shopping – don’t be too proud to accept the help when it’s offered.

These are just a few ideas. Please share any that you may have!

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ellen Lavenson Stanclift
    Nov 16, 2011 @ 15:28:53

    These are EXCELLENT ideas! It’s very easy to get overwhelmed when you have cancer. I remember wandering around in circles trying to remember things…which is compounded by “medicine head”. Your tips are fantastic because they eliminate so many worries. Also, the ‘chemo bag’ is a great plan…you never know when you will want your own face wash or a clean shirt.Hugs!


  2. candid about cancer
    Nov 17, 2011 @ 12:55:30

    Thank you, Ellen! These things have really helped me. Hugs!


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