Setting up your team.
Updated: Oct 14, 2020
There isn't a lot of information out there on how to "set up your life" for this journey. The period of diagnosis can be nerve racking. The logistics of getting the diagnosis alone can derail anyone's life. I know mine world blew up. The blood tests, the scans, the mammograms, the insurance, the second opinions, the biopsies, the genetic tests...need I go on?
Between these various tests, small existential questions penetrate. How long? How bad? How serious? One of the ways I coped was by seeking guidance. I wanted to know what I was getting into. I reached out to various mentors of mine who had gone through cancer themselves. One piece of advice I received was instrumental in ensuring that I remained sane. One of my mentors told me to set up my personal life as I would a team at work.
You see, I had previously worked as a consultant. At the start of any consulting project you break down the problem into various work streams. Each work stream has associated with it a specific team member. That team member is responsible for all the activities within that stream. My mentor encouraged me to think of this just as I would a consulting project.
These were my streams.
You might be worried that you may not have a big community. The thing about cancer is that the world responds. Support will come, sometimes in ways you imagined, and very often in ways that you never did. Often loved ones won't know how to be there for you, and will rely on you to ask for the help.
It still takes me a while to ask for help. Sometimes with small errands like picking up my clothes or cooking dinner. And often with the big things, like making the decision on which drug regimen to take.
What I can tell you is that setting up my life with these work streams really helped. It helped my community to know to call my brother for an update. It helped my loved ones to know how to support me, and it helped me accept the love and support from them.