care team

How I Assembled My Care Team

Do you have a Care Team?

One of the great things about writing this blog is the connections it’s making. People who I haven’t heard from are reaching out. Some passing on Grace & Ease to loved ones and friends. Others are sharing stories of what helped them through breast cancer treatment. And still others are shoring me up with more resources. These new resources I can share with you.

One of these resources is a new book a friend from college wrote. She’s Dr. Jade Wimberly. Her book is

The Health Revolution: Give Yourself the Healthcare You Deserve

RIGHT ON SISTER!!!

I’m finishing up chapter one. Something struck me in that chapter I thought was worth sharing. It’s about a Care Team.

What Is a Care Team?

Healthcare, like any other industry or company, has buzz words or phrases. They’re the hot things people are talking about. A trend.

Now, I’m not sure if “Care Team” is a new, hot, buzz-worthy term, though it seemed that way to me as I read Dr. Jade’s book.

She tells a story of a friend diagnosed with stage 4 colon and liver cancer. The friend’s initial oncologist gave her a few months to live verbally signing her death certificate.

Her friend didn’t accept these terms and instead assembled a Care Team that “reinforced her right to live.”

Grace & Ease Sidebar

It’s funny, I had a hard time finding a good definition of what a Care Team is on the web. The Mayo Clinic sites says this – https://communityhealth.mayoclinic.org/care-team/members. But in my experience, that definition is too constrictive only outlining people who work for the hospital or clinic. My experience says a Care Team is broader. And, the team leader of the Care Team is me. I must take on the responsibility of managing and directing my care. This means being my own advocate and working to find care givers like doctors and specialist who align with my health goal. That goal is simple… to live a long damn time. Maybe the concept of “Care Team” is evolving as I write.

Her Care Team “consisted of a more progressive medical oncologist (link to second op), a naturopathic oncologist, radiologist, surgeon, psychologist, chiropractor, a personal trainer, close family, and a loving partner.” Quoted from Dr. Jade’s book.

When I first read that, I thought, “There are naturopathic oncologist? Never knew that.” If I did, I’d have one too.

My Care Team

Then, when I read it again, I realized I assembled my own Care Team. It wasn’t something I was conscious of doing. I just knew I needed shoring up and it would take more than one allopathic doctor to so.

Here’s who I gathered for my Care Team –

Surgeon, oncologist, radiologist, radiation oncologist, acupuncturist, reiki healer, shaman, yogi, nutritionist, psychologist, babysitter, The Food Fairy, friends, family and David (Resources at end of blog post.)

Dr. Jade’s description made conscious for me the Care Team I assembled. It took work to find and vet the people. My tried and true gathering tool was asking questions. Lots of questions to everyone I met who had a connection to breast cancer treatment.

care team

When I met with doctors or PA’s at the hospital, they pointed me to the hospital resource center. That’s how I found my psychologist. And a free wig!

For acupuncture which previously helped me conceive my daughter, I asked my oncologist. She pointed me to a well-regarded practice.

Finding a yogi was easy. Google. I found a wonderful studio with multiple teachers.

Uncovering my reiki healer was more difficult. Google turned up one person in the area. She didn’t run a regular practice. I ended up asking around for a few months. Finally, my acupuncturist recommended Tonya with a disclaimer that I’d be stepping into the woo. I said, “Bring it.” More woo-woo sounded good.

Grace & Ease Sidebar

I brought this up before, the term woo-woo. I’m not talking about the alcoholic shots of my teens and early adulthood. Do remember that drink? Peach schnapps, vodka and cranberry juice. I get a chill thinking about it. Yuck. No, I’m talking about this definition – “A person readily accepting… emotion-based beliefs and explanations. Read more at http://www.yourdictionary.com/woo-woo#ksQxdwAFwis68K7W.99” For me it means walking in the world of spirit, intuition and emotion. When I’m connected to this power within me, I feel grounded. A feel whole. I feel like enough. In my world woo-woo coexists with belief in God as well as ascended masters like Jesus and Buddha. But hey, that’s me.

It took time questioning and trying to feel out what I needed.

My Care Team Now

I met with a 30-year breast cancer survivor this week. An inspiring woman that I’ll write about in a future post.

She said many things of meaning. One stuck out that I want to share with you. It is,

“We’re survivors a lot longer than we are patients in active treatment.”

A statement I believe to be true.

Which means in making health my #1 priority, I need to keep my Care Team going.

My first player, my surgeon, is off the team. Yay! That’s good news. When I saw him this summer, he said, “You’re doing great. Don’t come back and see me. Now, go live your life.” AMEN

My second and third players stay on the team, my oncologist and radiation oncologist. Nice thing is, I only see them once a year moving forward.

I’m keeping my yogi and reiki healer on a regular schedule. I need to move any uncertain energy that arises. I’m only occasionally checking in with the acupuncturist and shaman.

I’m scouting out for a new psychologist. (Like all the team jargon? My husband is the influencer ?.)

The one I worked with was specific for families going through breast cancer treatment.  Now on the other side standing firmly in survivorship, I can see emotional wounds that need tending.

care team

My latest scouting search is for a new general practitioner or GP. I want one rooted in functional medicine and who connects with naturopathic medicine. I want it all when it comes to this person and their practice. Think I’m getting closer to finding this.

What I can see now is a shift after active treatment. My life is about health. Feeling healthy. Being healthy. Without my health, I’m no longer on the planet. It’s straight forward.

Creating and evolving me Care Team is one of the best things I can do for myself.

Hope this helps you or someone you love. ♥

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[Images sourced at Pixabay if not my own.]

 

RESOURCES

UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center

Acupuncture – Oriental Health Solutions

Shaman – Sarah McLeod

Reiki – Tonya Sink

Carolina Yoga Company – Durham Yoga Company – Carrboro Yoga Company

Kundalini – Amanda May

Nutritionist – Mark Mead

The Food Fairy

Babysitter – Care.com

2 thoughts on “How I Assembled My Care Team”

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