My quest for healing has thrust me into spending hundreds of hours on the internet researching everything I could think of; various possibilities for my symptoms, scans and tests that could determine the cause; doctors who specialize, unique treatments, side effects, hospitals, gurus, and on and on. The information I gained from this effort propelled me into a world of knowledge that, in a million years, I would never have thought possible. Armed with this knowledge I have been able to ask the right questions and get to the best doctors for treatment that ultimately helped me be “cancer free.”
In my Book, PUT UP YOUR DUKES: Your First Three Steps to Winning the Fight, I discuss the necessity of getting prepared to step into the ring as soon as you hear the “news.” Research is not only the very first step, it is an ongoing process in my three-step cycle. I encourage you to get your own free copy of this book by clicking here.
But let’s face it, you are in the heat of it right now. Your head is spinning and you don’t know what to do. I’ve been there, I know. So HOW can you possibly add cancer research to your list in the midst of doctor appointments, treatments, family time and meltdowns?
AND, might I add, how do you face the information you get as you do the research. Can you? Should you?
Here’s my two cents. YES you can. I will show you how. And YES you should.
Before I show you how. Let’s address the “should.” First off, I have always hated the word “should.” I’ve told my sons all their lives to never use this word. “Should” conveys a message indicating obligation, duty, or correctness, typically when criticizing yourself or someone else’s actions. I tried to teach them to use the word “could” instead. But with cancer, yes you “should” do your cancer research. It’s imperative!
Yet to this day, many well-meaning family members and friends (and sometimes even doctors) will tell you to stay away from the internet. Are you kidding me? Facts are facts and I want to know what is going on with my own body. I also think it is very important that you know these facts as they pertain to your personal situation. Plus, I don’t think you would be reading this article if you didn’t agree. If you are here, you are researching. Your goal is to kick this. You can’t kick something if you don’t know what it is, how fast it’s coming or where it is coming from.
I have seen so many patients accept what their doctor told them as fact only to find out they were wrong, or they didn’t have up to date information. You have heard it many times. You need to be your own advocate. I believe knowledge is the only way to combat misdiagnosis. Do your research!
So, “How Jan?” you say. And, “This can’t possibly be easy!”
First, my searching tells me 99% of the population ages 18 to 49 (95% over age 50 and 84% over age 64) have cell phones. Of these, depending on the demographic, 73% to 94% are smart phones. This means, statistically you probably have your cancer research tool in the palm of your hand.
Now, ask yourself this: How much time do you spend waiting in the doctor’s office or sitting in a treatment chair or plopped at home in front of the TV or just laying in bed? I would venture to say hours, right? There you go. You can use this time to your benefit. Remember, your life has changed with the cancer news. Your habits need to change as well. Once you get the hang of it, you will relish it. I see people all the time reading People magazine in the waiting room. I’ve done it too. But now I don’t even have the urge to pick up a 14 month old recycled “rag” laying around. I actually get much more pleasure clicking on a pertinent article that is always at my fingertips. I especially love it when I have it ready to show my doctor on the spot!
So let’s get kickin! Here’s your 4 EASY steps:
NOTE: These are VERY detailed steps for the beginner. I hate it when I ask how to do something and someone says, “Just research on your phone and keep track of your list.” Responses like this leave me with so many more questions. I’m providing you with the answers to those questions.
1. Familiarize yourself with your phone.
With my iPhone I know if I hit the center button all my options and apps pop up. I can simply click on the internet button and type OR speak my search. If you have a Droid, I’m sure you know your way around it. Though you may not realize you have the “speak” feature. Every smartphone has a microphone and there is a way to talk your search rather than type it. Speaking is a time saver. If you can’t figure out how to use this feature, ask your child or grandchild. I’m serious!
2. Get Google as your Search tool.
I have Siri on my iPhone, but I really like Google. It’s a free app. To download the Google App look for the App Store button on your screen. Click it. At the bottom of your screen there should be a magnifying glass. Click it to “search” for the app you are looking for…in this case “Google.” Type or say “Google.” Once it comes up, click on it to download. The Google App is now installed and will show up on your phone.
3. Search and Save
Once Google is installed, all you have to do is click on it, hold down the button and speak. Just say “Hey Google, show me articles on Breast Cancer.” Immediately a screen will pop up with an endless list of articles. NOTE: Articles at the top of the list are always identified as ADs. Scroll below these and look at the list that follows. Read the highlighted subjects of each to choose the article that applies to you. Click and read. The more you do this the better you will get.
As you come upon articles that contain great information, you will want to save them. Or perhaps you are in the middle of an article and you don’t have time to finish reading it. Trust me, you will not remember which article you were reading. What then?
First, you need a location to save your list of articles. On my iPhone I use the Notes app that came with my phone. You may have a similar app on your Droid. If not, simply search for a notes app in the App Store just like you searched for Google. Read up on a few if you want. I know Evernote is good. Once you decide on one, use the same process to install it on your phone.
Now you have a place to store your list of articles, but how do you get them there? Here’s the coolest trick: When you are reading an article, look at the search bar in Google at the very top. It will display the exact title of the article you are reading and the link; e.g., Breast Cancer Causes, Types, Symptoms, Signs and Stages, followed by www and the link. You want to COPY this link and paste it inside your “notes” app. To copy the link:
a) Tap and hold the words in the search bar. A toolbar will
b) Tap “Copy” on this toolbar.
c) Your phone will memorize this copied link so just go to your
notes app and open it.
d) Once your notes app is open, press and hold your finger
where you want your link to appear in your list. The toolbar
e) Tap “Paste” on this toolbar. Wha-la! Your link to the exact
article will appear in the notes.
What I usually do is type right after the link a little note to remind me what this article is about. When you have a number of articles on your list it is very helpful to have them identified. Now when you want to go back and read an article on your list all you have to do is press and hold the link in the list on the notes app. It will take you directly to the article. You don’t have to cut and paste or anything.
4. Research is ongoing…Just Do It.
Make yourself do this. Start by googling the type of cancer you have. Look at the statistics. Investigate different treatments. See if there are specialists in your area…or out of your area. Google your personal cancer diagnosis. Google treatments for this diagnosis. Google doctors who specialize, hospitals, treatment centers, natural therapies and protocols. Google it all.
This is how you will research the latest drugs and the newest findings. I Google every single day. Every leaf overturned leads to new information. I found my oncologist and my surgeon at Mayo Clinic this way. This is also what keeps me in the position of helping others which is now my life’s work.
If you haven’t done it already, once again I suggest you get my FREE eBook, PUT UP YOUR DUKES: Your First Three Steps to Winning the Fight >> Click here.
I’d love to hear your progress!
Always remember you are powerful!