If you have cancer, you know that everyday with this illness can be different. Some days you’ll feel weak and low energy; other times, you’ll be restless. To help you keep track of everything from your appetite to pain, we’ve got free tools to help you out.
Here are the top five reasons to use a daily symptom tracker and journal throughout your cancer journey:
Notice subtle differences every day. Recording what’s happening daily will allow you to notice if there are subtle differences in your symptoms day to day. Being thorough in how you’re feeling in every way (physically, emotionally, spiritually) will help you and your doctors be aware of how your daily life is impacted by cancer and the subsequent treatments. We recommend recording where in your body you feel any pains, aches or weakness; whether or not you were focused; any moods you might be feeling throughout the day; whether or not you have an appetite; any symptoms that might deviate from your normal healthy state (ie, mouth sores, a new cough, shortness of breath, anything that might impact your quality of life).
Identify environmental triggers. Maybe a chore you did caused a ripple effect of pain or a social encounter left you feeling drained. Using a daily symptom tracker along with analyzing your daily life will allow you to modify your environment so you can be your healthiest self.
Track medication side effects. By writing how you feel every day and the dosage you’re taking of your medication can help you and your doctor to see how the medications are impacting you.
Notify your doctor of your progress. Even if you feel like you’re healing well, tracking your symptoms will tell your doctor how quickly or slowly treatment is working. If you’re healing at a slower rate than anticipated, they can then modify medications and treatments accordingly so you have the best quality of life possible.
- Make treatment feel less chaotic. If you listen to your body and carefully track symptoms, you’ll find that patterns emerge in terms of how your body reacts to the treatment. You might be tired on day 2, nauseous day 3, and achy on day 4. Knowing how your body will react will help you be prepared for each cycle and better able to plan your life around how you’ll be feeling.