The Manta Planner is an all-in-one tool for cancer patients, caregivers and survivors. This planner helps you stay organized during this overwhelming journey by keeping track of treatment options, tracking & managing symptoms, staying organized, and mindfully checking in with your emotions. This planner doubles as a journal where you can write about your thoughts, feelings or experiences during treatment. You can take this to doctors appointments to keep what they say on the chart.
Inside the planner:
- Suggested questions for your doctor
- Structured pages for you to prepare for appointments
- Undated daily check in pages (30 days)
- Decision making frameworks for treatment
- "Your Space" pages for your thoughts & reflections
- Gratitude & Hope journal
- Structured symptom tracking
- Structured planning for symptom management, nutrition & healing
I received the planner a few days ago and have yet to get it operational. Even at this early stage, however, I can tell that it will be invaluable. To start, my professional job is in the cancer domain, so I probably have a better knowledge of my disease and its therapies than the average patient. But, when I visit with doctors, there is a tendency to get confused. And there are so many doctors, nurses and other support personnel … the planner will help me keep all these sources of input straight when I review my notes. Sometimes I see five or six professionals each day, so having the planner keeps the conversation streams tidy. The “open questions” section is going to be invaluable. Doctors do not have all the answers, but knowing what they do not know with certainty is helpful to me. Again, as a scientist, I can access the literature and try to answer my own questions. My doctors later seem to appreciate learning what I learn. They are busy doctoring and not always able to keep up with the most modern published literature.
The section on updating diagnoses is a must for patients newly diagnosed with less-than-simple cancers. My disease is called double-hit (MYC and BCL-2 rearranged and amplified) diffuse B-cell lymphoma, but it took a few weeks to rule out more likely options (there are many types of non-Hodgkins lymphomas, and I have a rare sub-type). The Planner gives the opportunity to trace the evolution towards a final diagnosis.
Lastly, for now, I like the fact that the book starts with “important information” and “important contacts.” I have been logging this information on my iPad (also a useful resource) but the Planner lets you more easily update recently information when features of your disease become more manifest. On the way leading to my current team, I passed through two others. The first two teams are now in my rear-view mirror. The clinicians that matter most now are the current team … a group of lymphoma experts (my kind of lymphoma) complemented by a team of diabetes specialists (my diabetes profoundly affects my therapy and wellbeing). I strongly advise people who get the Mantra Planner to write in it in pencil. Samira has given us a gift in that the paper she used is high-quality and erases easily. My advice is to understand upfront that things may change in your team and therapeutic regimen and write in pencil … not ink … to take advantage of the updatability of pencil records. I know I could do the same on my iPad but, if you have ever used and iPad to keep records, you know that you write down everything and keep the notes as a permanent records you can use to see the evolution of important stuff over time. The Mantra Planner is a one-stop resource that you can pull out in the high-energy moments you have with your doctors and give them the facts, quickly. I do not know if Samira plans a tablet-based version of the Planner. I think that the paper version is great for the reasons detailed above. I could see a parallel version for a tablet, but that would have to be designed carefully to be a complement, and not a replacement, for the more “organic” version she created first.
What a great tool to have all the details in one place for the ever changing journey of cancer treatment and survivorship. Manta Planner has thought of all the things you need during this difficult time, and even guides you with questions for your medical team. Everyone needs a Manta Planner!
The planner is helpful to take with me to my appointments. I wish there was a digital version of this planner too, something like the weight watchers app would be great. That way I could share it with my oncologist too
The most helpful part of the planner is the visit notes section. I use it to prepare for my appointments and take notes.
The story of the woman who designed it is inspirational! It motivated me to use it to help advocate for myself.