Cancer / Cancer Survivor

Cancer survivors: Appointment fatigue

Man in waiting room with a clock on wall with head in handsFor cancer survivors, it’s easy to get stuck in a time warp, feeling trapped with nothing to do but see specialist after specialist. Scans, blood tests, radiation, chemotherapy, you name it. Doctor’s visits seem endless.

You get prodded, poked, asked to fill out endless paperwork and spend half of your life in the waiting room. It’s a full-time job and there’s no paycheck.

Welcome to “appointment fatigue.”

I’ve lived through this cycle and somehow survived it. The worst part was right after my diagnosis in 2014 when I went for CT and bone scans. Waiting on those results was torturous. Luckily, the cancer had not spread, but the experience left deep emotional scars. The cancer recurred in 2015 and once again, CT and bone scans. No spreading then either, but those scars got deeper.

I spent eight weeks in radiation, five days a week, and fortunately have been able to dodge the chemo bullet so far. But fate had in store for me other medical problems – a persistent anemia coupled with a big weight loss, and a shoulder infection that required surgery. Each entailed multiple doctor visits.

So, appointment fatigue drags down not only cancer survivors, but anyone facing multiple health problems. If you are post-65, the odds are almost guaranteed that numerous visits are in store for you.

It helps to have balance in your life. Getting the proper rest and a nutritious diet are only the starting points in attacking appointment fatigue. Add to that taking a hike, going to a movie or any brief activity that you could shoehorn into a busy schedule visiting physicians.

Also, cancer survivors can link up with Gilda’s Club (or Cancer Support Community) for socializing and moral support or take in classes through their local cancer institute.

Don’t let appointment fatigue wear you down!

© Ron Cooper

Ron’s latest book focuses on the important link between cancer survivors & their caregivers

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