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Survivorship A to Z - : Summary
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Information about all aspects of finances affected by a serious health condition. Includes income sources such as work, investments, and private and government disability programs, and expenses such as medical bills, and how to deal with financial problems.
Information about all aspects of health care from choosing a doctor and treatment, staying safe in a hospital, to end of life care. Includes how to obtain, choose and maximize health insurance policies.
Answers to your practical questions such as how to travel safely despite your health condition, how to avoid getting infected by a pet, and what to say or not say to an insurance company.

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INFORMATION ABOUT EACH OF THESE SUBJECTS IS CONTAINED IN THE OTHER SECTIONS OF THIS DOCUMENT

Ideally, you should have both a primary care doctor for your overall health and a specialist experienced in treating your health condition.

While there is no right or wrong way to obtain health care, common sense says you will do better if you go for the best quality you can, choose your primary care doctor and specialists with care.

  • Preferably choose doctors who are Board Certified in their specialty who have a significant amount of recent experience treating your situation. 
  • Consider the hospital with which a doctor and specialists are associated when making a choice.
  • Time with doctors is short. Learn how to maximize your time with them.
  • If the doctor allows, record important conversations.
  • If possible, bring a person (a "patient advocate")  with you to important meetings with doctors.

Do what is necessary to get a second opinion when you want one. If you get major news (even if it's good news), consider getting a second opinion.

Consider bringing a mental health professional on board to help with the emotional responses to changes in your health. 

Decide how much you want to participate in your health care. Studies indicate that patients who take an active and informed role in their health care treatment decisions get better treatment outcomes. If you want to have control over your own destiny, be pro-active: 

  • Learn about your health condition, including the relevant medical jargon and the markers to watch for. (It's not rocket science.)
  • Decide what kind of relationship you want to have with your doctors.
  • Keep track of your medical condition.
  • Understand that you have the right to take, or not take, any drug or undergo any treatment.

When it comes to deciding whether to take a particular drug or treatment, be an educated consumer. It's up to you to decide whether: 

  • To take drugs or undergo treatments, and, if so, where to obtain them.
  • To use complementary medicines and/or therapies.
  • To get cutting edge treatment by joining a clinical trial and/or undergoing experimental treatments.

Adopt a wellness lifestyle. If it helps to make the change, think of it as part of your ongoing treatment. 

If you have more than one health condition ("Multiple Health Conditions"), thinking and acting like an educated consumer becomes even more important.

In case of an emergency, know what to do and what your rights are. If you do not have health insurance or cannot afford medical care, there are steps you can take  to get appropriate medical care.

If you are likely to need long term care and do not have Long Term Care Insurance, consider planning ahead to qualify for Medicaid. (If you are not likely to need long term care because of your current health condition, the condition may not prevent you from purchasing Long Term Care Insurance).

If you have a short life expectancy, keep in mind that It is your choice how to live your last days - not the doctors' and not your family members. Executing legal documents known as "Advance Healthcare Directives" will help assure your wishes will be honored even if you become unable to speak for yourself. They are free, and easy to complete. 


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