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What to do with all this paperwork
Otterjam
99 Posts

I thought I would throw out a question on paperwork. I have amassed a huge file of paperwork over the past 4+ years related to the whole cancer journey (invoices; tax stuff; insurer stuff; letters; physician stuff; health records, etc.). The end of my five-year cancer survivorship window is coming up and I am not sure how long I have to hang on to this paperwork for. What is the recommended amount of time? What do others do? Thanks. 🙏

9 Replies
Runner Girl
2730 Posts

@Otterjam

I have put all of my paperwork into a bankers box and tucked it away in the basement. I will hang onto it forever, in the event that a recurrence happens for me I will be able to refer back to my journal, medical reports, etc. But that's just me, always plan for the worst.

supersu
1108 Posts

@Otterjam

hmmm. great question!

I also have quite a pile accumulated. I very recently looked at it and thought to myself: 'I have to get rid of this crap'. 😅

I am working with a minimizing group to ‘simplify’ my life…..so I hope I will be able to ‘let it go’; or at least digitize the important stuff to get rid of the clutter!

I am my fathers daughter tho, (he never got rid of a piece of paper in his entire life), so have them all piled on a shelf in my office space; labeled ‘sh*tstorm 2020-’

like @Runner Girl I think about recurrence and in some weird part of my brain think that the documents might be ‘helpful’ should that happen.

and TBH I never once used the various publications that were doled out to me as I traveled thru cancer land---those could/should go out immediately.
I am sure if I do enter the system again there will be new pink publications to be had.

I will follow this thread & hope it inspires me to clear off that darn shelf.

cheers
su

#cancerpaperwork #purgethepapers #fearofrecurrence #lifeaftercancer #meproblem #simplify

Otterjam
99 Posts

Love that label! 😂 And advice above. I just want to forget and move on, but yes, you never know when the paperwork will need to make a sudden reappearance. For me, the pile is part of that ball and chain that keeps me tethered to limbo land. But practicality must prevail. Thank you!

Littlebeth
143 Posts

Hi @Otterjam

I just finished organizing all of my cancer “stuff”. Even though I kept quite a lot of it, I found it helped ease my mind just to store it away, out of sight, so that it wasn’t a constant reminder. The tax related materials I keep for 7 years then chuck.

@supersu Love your file name - Mr. Lahey would be proud! Were you a fan?

Cynthia Mac
3876 Posts
Otterjam‍ , like Runner Girl‍ , I am an office admin (retired) and I get bonus points for having a mother who ran on paper like America runs on Dunkin!

About 20 years ago, I kind of started a war on paper. Envelopes were the first target, and to this day, I make a point of ditching them off my desk as soon as the bill/ letter/ whatever arrives in the house. I got especially diligent about this after mom passed away, because I discovered that after she paid EVERY bill, she folded it back up and put it back into its envelope. WHYYY?

My situation is a little different in that my Dad passed away. Of course, I’m keeping their financial records for the required 7 years, but I believe I let go of Dad’s medical journal about a year after he passed. I kept the journal of his last month in hospital for at least a year after, but, like supersu‍ , I ditched the brochures and symptom diaries sooner - partly because I moved house months after Dad died.

I think that, like the others, you as a cancer patient would want to keep some information - severe side effects, types of medication, test results, etc., but you probably can purge things like appointment cards, symptom diaries, and your Q&A notes you had with your doctor.

#decluttering #paperwork #lifeaftercancer
supersu
1108 Posts

@Littlebeth

until cancer I rarely watched TV etc etc so was unaware of the GOLD that Mr Lahey brought to this world.

I am besotted.

thank you
su

#swearsy

@Otterjam

So I'm kinda weird when it comes to paper. I was a packrat for years. Bankers boxes full of stuff. But a few years ago I did a “Mari Kondo” tidy up of my tiny space. All the cancer stuff went except my index cards. “Does it spark joy?” is an amazingly powerful question for decluttering.

I track questions and appointments on index cards and track significant answers on the cards. I have only had occasion to go back to the cards once. But a simple rubberband for the archive, and a big paperclip for the current stuff.

Digitally I have a kept a timeline of appointments on a separate web page - for all the world to see. (https://journey.anguspratt.ca/waypoints/coles-notes-timeline)And I have a folder of recording because I record all my appointments with the consent of my doctor - I only share those with my caregiver. But I was looking at those the other day and wondering if maybe I should ditch those too.

I'm a great believer in simplicity and the advances of medicine. By the time I see changes, the protocols will almost certainly have changed and my old records won't be worth much.

Angus

Otterjam
99 Posts

@WestCoastSailor thank you! I am very impressed with your organization (and other filing systems described above). The only card I keep is my pink card (aka achievement badge, which I hope to frame one day - not sure if you know which card I mean!). The rest are medical/health, insurance, tax, appt., prescription records. I am a bit OCD when it comes to the paper trail so I will hang on to everything for a little while longer. Even though nearing the end of my 5-year survivorship window, I am still getting scans every 3-5 months and must follow-up on a few things (e.g. new liver activity), so limbo-land for me and my pile of paper for the next little while. Sending you wellness and a note of appreciation for your positivity and generous spirit!

Otterjam
99 Posts

I didn’t know you could record appointments!!! That’s brilliant! That would have really helped me had I thought to remember that!

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