Monday, January 28, 2013

Do you have a Survivorship Plan?

Updated 2/4/13
Last week, I joined the Breast Cancer and Social Media (#bcsm) tweet chat. The topic of discussion was survivorship plans.  A few years ago the Institute of of Medicine (IOM) studied what care was provided survivors after they finished treatment . They found that little support was available for survivorsor their doctors regarding medical or pyschosocial issues. The IOM suggested that each survivor on completion of treatment be provided a summary of their treatments and a follow-up care plan.

Kathy LaTour editor of  Cure Magazine and author of the recently published article "Planning for Cancer Survivorship" was part of the discussion. She tweeted that only 43% of the NCI comprehensive cancer centers provide their patients Survivorship Care Plans (SCP)when they finish treatment. Since a large survivors are treated at their community facilities a majority of survivors do not have plans. I know I did not get a survivorship plan when I finished treatment although I had discussions with my doctor about what I should look out for and of course I had kept copies of all my scans and treatment summaries .  But I was very interested in hearing what she and other participants said about the key items of information that should be in the Plan.

Not only did we discuss what information should be included in a SCP but a few participants shared links to sample SCPs. Just because survivors are not provided personalized SCP does not mean they shouldn't have one. They can develop their own with the help of some great resources. And then the next time you see your oncologist/ radiation specialist you can have them fill in the blanks. Here are some great sources on SCPs.

You can download a sample plan from the article Kathy LaTour wrote.

Here is a survivorship plan ( pdf file) for ovarian cancer which is part of the SGO Survivorship toolkit.

Here is a link to the IOM's fact sheet on Cancer Survivorship Plans.

LiveSTRONGCare Plan  / Penn Medicine Oncolink
Answer a few questions and this program will develop a plan that you can discuss with your health care team

ASCO provides forms that you can fill in with your doctor

Memorial Sloan Kettering provides a concise 2 page form you can fill in with your doctor.

So fellow cancer survivors at your next follow-up visit be sure to ask your doctor about a SCP or better yet bring one of the forms with you and ask for help to fill in the blanks. This is one thing we can do to make our survivorship better.

Every Day is a blessing!

Friday, January 25, 2013

A Procedure with Pictures

I spent the day on Tuesday prepping for my colonoscopy. Yes even cancer survivors need to have regular screening tests. I had my last one a little over 5 years ago. When I went to see Dr. M-P, my gastroenterologist, in November about some issues I was having, she recommended I have the test but thought it was ok to wait until January.

The prep this time was actually pretty palatable. It was clear liquids only on Tuesday. Then I took Dulcolax pills and drank a Miralax/ Gatorade drink the evening before and morning of.  In the early afternoon Nick drove me up to the Ambulatory Surgical group to have the procedure done. I was feeling good.

The hardest part of the entire procedure was finding a vein for the IV. I am a bad stick. The veins are hidden and the prep didn't help the situation. One of anesthesiologists in the group came out and was able to find a vein in my hand and we were ready to go. I was able to feel when she entered the vein and told her so. She told me that it is very unusual for a patient to feel exactly when the needle is in. It is just like me to be unusual - I feel it every time.

After being brought into the procedure room,  I chatted with the anesthesiologist, technician , nurse and my gastroenterologist, turned on my left side and quickly went to sleep. A little while later ( the procedure itself only took 30 minutes) I woke up to a very nice nurse telling me the doctor would be out to see me soon.  She then asked me what I would like to drink - tea, coffee, juice or  water. I felt a little cold so I opted for the tea. I realized how hungry I was after quickly eating the saltine she brought with the tea.

When Dr M-P came out she told me everything looked normal. Here is the funny part. Along with the procedure report were a series of 8 photos of the inside of my colon. Now I have seen different parts of my body in CT scans, ultrasounds and MRI's but this was the first time I saw my colon in living color. What a view!

So if you read this blog, are over 50 and have not had a colonoscopy go ahead and make the appointment - it really isn't a bad procedure at all.

Every Day is a Blessing!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Elixir Fund's 10th Anniversary Celebration

I've eaten at the Jersey Girl Cafe and the food is delicious. 
Help support a foundation that supports cancer survivors. 

Every Day is a Blessing!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Play Bingo and Raise Funds for Ovarian Cancer

The Teal Tea  Foundation Spring Bingo 

High Fashion and High Tech 

Something for Men and Women

Doors Open @ 6:00 P.M. / games start @ 7:00 P.M.
ELKS CLUB, 835 West Bridge Street
MORRISVILLE, PA (across the street from Squirrel’s Nest)

Brighton®, COACH, DKNY, Michael Kors, Vera Bradley, tools, iPod Shuffle and HD Kindle Fire

cash bar and aDDITIONAL FOOD FOR SALE by elks club
No Outside Food or Beverages Permitted

 DKNY Men’s Watch; COACH Collection;
Jewelry by Fortezza
Jewelry Sales
50/50 raffle

For information or Tickets
1-855-Teal-Tea (1-855-832-5832) or

Supports OVarian Cancer Awareness AND RESEARCH

Every Day is a Blessing!