I learned my cancer diagnosis on May 24th. Tomorrow will mark 6 weeks since learning the information that if not turning my life upside down, has shaken things up quite a bit. As you know, I have a private psychology practice. What you may not know is that the busiest time of the year for my practice is the end of the school year. Since I specialize in disorders that greatly impact school, there is a rush at the end of the year to get testing done so that support plans can be started before everybody leaves for the summer.

I have a very busy practice and there is a sizable wait time for an initial appointment. By the time I learned of my breast cancer in late May, I already had testing appointments scheduled into late August as well as having planned two separate week long vacations during that month. Now I’m not denying that I am very good at my job but part of my popularity has to do with the fact that there’s a big shortage of specialists who do what I do. I also accept insurance and I am on some major insurance company networks, which is not true of a number of child/adolescent psychologists who specialize in testing. Dealing with insurance is a pain but I make a good living at what I do, for which I am grateful, and I am able to work with a broader range of families, not just people who can afford to pay my fees out of pocket.

When I was diagnosed, I was very worried that I would not be able to finish all of the assessments I had scheduled between 5/24 and the end of August. I’m not concerned that I will not be able to administer all of the tests. That’s the easy part. The time consuming part is scoring, reviewing background information (for example, I request all past progress reports/report cards going back to kindergarten), figuring out what it all means, and writing up the report. A short report runs about 5 pages and a comprehensive assessment (which is the norm for me) runs about 7-9 pages. To honor all of those commitments I will have needed to have finished 17 reports between 5/24 and 8/17. The kid I scheduled for testing at the end of August, will not need his report done until early September at the earliest.

So yes, I have felt overwhelmed by the amount of writing I need to get done each week and each week, I wonder whether I will be able to finish it all. It is still unclear as to whether I will get all of this done but using my strategy of focusing on what I have already accomplished instead of just on what looms in the future, I made a list of everything that I’ve finished as well as what is still to be done.

So, here are my tallies. Since I was diagnosed with cancer on 5/24, I have written 8 of the 17 reports. By the end of the week, I will have completed an additional two reports for a total of 10 reports. After this week, this is my to-do list for testing between next week and the end of August:

Administer testing to three kids.
7 reports to write
9 parent feedback sessions to go over reports and my recommendations.

This still seems manageable to me. I know things can change and I’ll deal with that when it happens.

Yeah, I know this post is kind of boring. But stress management is not exciting. I have too much excitement in my life, hence the excess of stress, and the use of boredom as an antidote.