A lot of _________ (you fill in the blanks!) goes on when you have cancer. Seems like somebody is always doing something for some reason – to you. Most of the time you will want to know everything, but some days, you won’t care about anything. You’ll be too sick, too tired, or too bummed out to want to do anything but sleep and hope it all goes away. Most teens report that they feel more in charge when they know what’s going on. But sometimes it’s hard to keep track of everything. Matt, 13 years old and recovering from a bone marrow transplant for ALL, gives this advice for getting straight answers from your doc:

  1. Ask them to tell you the definitions of all those big medical words (and how to pronounce them!)
  2. Have a notepad nearby to write on. That way when what they tell you blows you away and you don’t have a clue, you won’t forget.

To add to Matt’s ideas, it’s a good idea to keep a notebook for keeping track of your medication schedule and side effects, plus any tests or procedures you have. If you don’t have the energy to do this (you probably won’t), ask your parents to help. It’ll give them something to do while they’re worrying! One day will melt into the next and it’s easy to forget what happened when. Someday you may want to look back and remember how much you’ve been through. You will be amazed at how strong you are! Some kids keep a calendar posted on their wall where they count down days left for treatment. You might also keep track of your blood counts. Another idea is to keep a journal where you can write down anything that comes to mind – how you’re feeling, what you’re thinking about, what you’re dreaming of. You can use it as a sketch book or to write poetry or music. Maybe you can keep a journal on-line – that way you don’t have to worry about anyone reading it! Remember what Confucius said (I think it was him):

“The shortest pencil (or keyboard in today’s electronic age) is longer than the longest memory.”

Tell us if you’d like a section on this site for on-line journaling: email the TLC editor.