Finding Stability

Managing Moving Stress and Cancer Treatment To Find a Balance

Moving stress can give you anxiety during cancer treatment. Knowing when to ask for assistance, like hiring a moving team or assembling friends to help you pack, can save you stress during your move.

Moving stress, and all the anxiety that accompanies packing up your belongings and going to a new home, is hard for healthy individuals. Add in your cancer treatment schedule, and it may seem nearly impossible to complete your location change in good spirits and health. While moving stress adds more to your already busy life, planning ahead and knowing when and where to ask for help can make it successful.

Plan, Plan, Plan Ahead

When working on your move, it’s best to plan in advance. This practice can buy you time to keep your moving pace slow and steady as opposed to fast and furious. Manage moving stress by laying out a time line in your calendar that includes major milestones and deadlines, as well as treatment appointments. When it comes to packing, try to set realistic expectations on what you can accomplish without feeling too overwhelmed, tired or sick. While you’re packing, make sure your medications and supplies are organized and ready to go, but don’t forget to lay aside appropriate doses. This means when you arrive, you aren’t spending time unpacking your next medication. Have a separate box for your treatment-related items, such as extra headscarves, blankets and medical devices, so you have easy access during all the chaos.

Communicate with Your Doctor

To maintain your health, keep your oncologist in the loop with your moving plans. If you’re only going locally and will be able to maintain your current treatment schedule, be sure your chemo or radiation appointments are in sync with your moving obligations. However, if you’re moving farther away and plan to transfer to another institution for treatment, work with your current care team to find a doctor and get a formal referral. Make certain your oncologist sends all of your records in advance so the new team is ready to take over your care. Also, take time to research what it’s like to be a patient there before you arrive, perhaps while you’re house hunting, and see if there’s an orientation program for new patients.

When you have cancer, it’s important to consider the logistical implications of moving so your chemotherapy, radiation or other treatment plans aren’t disrupted. Work with your current and future providers to assure your treatment time line stays on target even while you’re moving to a new location. This step can seem overwhelming at first, but with open communication, you’ll find that your current and new care teams will work together and take over the heavy lifting. Just be sure to address any prescriptions or medical supplies you may need through the transition.

Ask for Help

Moving stress is only exacerbated by your feelings of being alone or needing to get everything accomplished on your own. Thus, the more you ask for help from friends, family and medical professionals, the smoother your move will be. Beyond asking for assistance with scheduling appointments and meeting new oncologists, ask family or friends to help you pack, load up moving vans, drive you to your new city, take you to your new cancer treatment center or make meals to stock your new freezer. Enlist recommendations for moving tips from your local peer support group, and see if anyone has a teenager who could help you move or pack for a few bucks. This could keep moving costs down as well. Rally your community around you during this stressful time, and you’ll end up moving while feeling confident and capable.

By planning ahead, working closely with your medical team and asking for help, you can remain healthy and energetic throughout the transition.

Haley Burress
Haley Burress