When you hear the words “you have cancer” – it hits you like a Mike Tyson uppercut in his prime. You hardly see it coming and are immediately knocked into another dimension. Then, a myriad of feelings and emotions run through you and over you. Fear is a big one – particularly if there’s history in your family that did not turn out well. Then, Fear’s friends follow along in short order: Panic. Anxiety. Anger. Sadness. Depression. They come fast and hard and make their presence well known. It is no small challenge to wade through all this and get to a place where you can start making the decisions that need to be made.
Take a Breath/Start to Plan:
It is this decision-making and planning that is crucial on so many levels. First and foremost, once you come to terms with what you have been told and get some education on what you are facing, it is the act of making the plan that helps deliver you from the emotional depths and puts you back into a place that does not feel like The Twilight Zone. Just the mere process of sitting down and formulating what needs to be done helps snap you out of the doldrums.
The Plan/The Team:
And the plan itself, obviously, is even more important. This is where your team plays a critical role. The first question is: do I have the right medical personnel engaged on my behalf? Are there better ones and if so, what are the obstacles to obtaining their services? Are they located far away? How will that work for any required surgeries? Treatment? Follow-up care? Or is there someone just as qualified that is closer and easier to see, which will, in turn, cause less stress? To answer these questions, you need people in your corner that know people. Sometimes it takes three or four degrees of separation to get there, but you need the right starting point. So, while it is impossible to have a contingency plan in place for all of life’s potential pitfalls (who wants to live like that?) – it is important, when choosing a trusted advisor, to choose those who are dialed in and have many resources to call upon for you. This can make your life infinitely easier when faced with something like a cancer diagnosis.
Eliminate As Much Stress as Possible:
Once you have your medical plan in place, then the other details come into play. What is your medical insurance situation? What is going to be covered? What out-of-pocket deductible must be met first? Do you have enough in your emergency fund to cover this without causing financial stress to your family? What leave time do you have at work? Will it be paid or unpaid? Again, what is in that emergency fund to cover any payroll shortfalls? Is all your “paperwork” up to date? You know – the morbid stuff – your Will, Health Care Proxy, Power of Attorney, life insurance policies and beneficiaries, etc.
All of these are important and, if not current, can lead to a great deal of stress and worry. And if there is one thing that is of paramount importance as you deal with a cancer diagnosis – it is to eliminate as much stress as humanly possible. This, again, is where your team comes into play. Do you have that trusted advisor in place who can quarterback much of this for you? Better yet, has that advisor already guided you through most of this so that it is not even a blip on your radar? If so, you can now focus on the big stuff: finding the right physicians/formulating the best medical plan. That is where you want your attention.
When it comes to navigating the rapids and the waves of life – Strategic has you covered!
Tyson famously said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” That is very true in boxing, but when it comes to this, it is the plan that gets you past the initial punch in the face. It is what saves you. And when it comes to that plan, choose your team wisely. Those you have in your camp will get you through the tough rounds and to the end of the fight with your arm raised.
And as a bonus public service announcement – be vigilant about your mammograms, prostate blood work and colonoscopies. Push your physicians to test early and often. Be your own advocate and be an aggressive one. Early detection is everything.
Footnote: The author is fine and back to a healthy and active life. The offending party mentioned in the article has been successfully evicted from the premises and no other bad actors were found. All is well – keep grinding – there is beauty in the grind!
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