Keeping a chart on yourself

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      One of your doctor’s and nurse’s best tools in caring for you is your chart, it can also be one of your best tools post surgical and during treatment. I started doing this to track my health stauts while I do Nivolumab. I use my fitbit for sleep, nutrition, heart rate and exercise but have taken it a step further by recording things that are listed as common side effects for the therapy I take, Opdivo. Common side effects can be bowel related so I “chart” BMs. Headache are common so I chart if I get a headache, same with joint pain. I will document time of day, day of treatment cycle, severity on a scale of 1-10 and what was effective to treat the symptoms. By charting like this I can watch for possible issues, see patterns to help predict “bad” days and how to work around them and I can offer my doctors and nurses an more accurate picture of my day to day experience with treatment. A good example of how this has helped is on day 10 following my second infusion of Opdivo I noticed a rash. I wrote down where it was, a description and what I did to treat it as well as if what I did was effective. I did end up having to place a call to my doctor and get a steroid cream but I was able to quickly and accurately describe the issue. I ended up going through a couple different approaches to heal the rash but when I had a new spot on day 12 after treatment 4 I was able to look at my notes and treat immediately so it did not progress. I think it is of vital importance that we watch our bodies while we are post surgical and during treatment, not just for our physical wellbeing by our psychological wellbeing as well. Charting on ourselves just makes that easier.

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