Official Enviroklenz Affiliate! MCS-approved Cleaning Products

Hey guys! I’ve talked before about how much I love Enviroklenz, and I’m still using their laundry products and air filters every day. You can read my thoughts in-depth by clicking here.

If you’re interested in getting some of these environmental protection products for yourself, and supporting this blog at the same time, I now have a handy button at the bottom of every page on this site! When you order using that button, I get a little commission and every little bit helps me keep this blog up for you guys. Plus you get some great, safe cleaning products for yourself. Using stuff like this helps lighten the day to day chemical load you put on your body, which lowers your chances of MCS and other chemical reactions and helps keep you healthy.

I’m also going to put a couple of big banners in this post since we’re here and they’re cool.

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Ya need to clean anyway right? Plus, you know that I wouldn’t put a permanent button on this website for any product I didn’t believe in and use myself. I’m not going to sell out on you guys – this button is really here for you. I hate shopping for cleaning stuff. I read the labels to try and be informed and usually can’t find a single thing with little to no harmful chemicals and fragrances. I don’t have MCS or eczema (if you do then you probably already use things like these) but I’ve always been sensitive to fragrances products, especially laundry stuff. So yes, I really am using this and it really has helped me.

I promise to stop talking your ear off about it now! Just know that handy button will always be down there just for you the next time you need cleaners or air purifier stuff.

Love you all! And OF COURSE don’t forget to make a rage comic and enter the #spoonieragecomiccontest! It’s free and there’s prizes! Go go go!

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The Health Disrupter Journal from The Allergista!

The Allergista is one of my favorite bloggers, and I’ve talked about her many times on here. She was kind enough to reach out to me to give me a chance to try out her health disrupter journal and share it with you guys!

Now, I have a confession to make: she asked me to do this a looooong time ago. Like, months ago. And I have not adjusted well to keeping up with blogging and parenting a 1 year old. Add journaling on top of that and I majorly failed. But I wanted to complete the journal before writing this post, so… here we are, months too late but honest!

So this isn’t my first health-journaling rodeo. I’ve kept a diary of what I eat and my digestive reactions before, and I’ve also tried out a few apps to track symptoms along with diet, sleep, and other things. I have a love-hate relationship with journaling this way. It’s great because it’s shown me patterns in my health, and helped me to discern what foods/habits cause my pain to flare up, or cause my IBS to get bad. But it’s really hard, at least for me. The first few days go well. I’m excited and write down everything in detail. But after that… life happens. I try to jot down some notes at the end of the day, usually while half-asleep, and soon I miss entire days.

And of course, when I do get sick, journaling is hardest of all, and also most crucial. So this is a huge challenge for me. The great thing about journaling is that even small bursts can be helpful in solving health mysteries. So with the Allergista’s health disruptor journal, that’s exactly what I did. I journaled for a week or two at a time, then took a hiatus. Not by design, but because that’s kinda just how it happened. But I still solved some of my own health mysteries.

The journal has four basic parts: a daily log, a weekly notes section, a weekly summary of symptoms, and a monthly calendar. To be honest, I didn’t use the monthly calendar much, but only because I have another one that I keep all my appointments and life notes on. I know in this day and age, most people don’t have a monthly paper calendar posted up anymore, so this would probably be more useful to someone who didn’t have another system in place.

The daily log is set up for allergies, but is easily adapted to chronicle chronic pain or gastrointestinal problems. The only section I didn’t use much was logging skin problems, since that’s pretty exclusive to tracking allergies. But I liked the tally system of giving each symptom a number and totaling it. The higher the number, the “worse” a day is symptom-wise. This is great because when you’re in a flare, you can feel like “oh I’ve felt horrible all week” but looking at the numbers you can see that there are days where even though you have symptoms, you’re feeling a little better. That can be really encouraging, especially in a long flare.

I like the body location symptom tracker. I’m a very visual person, and I like to doodle, so it was fun and also informative. I could see pain “make its rounds” so to speak. I like that a lot.

Finally, the notes section. At first, this was the biggest chore, mostly because I was unsure what to put there. But I ended up using it as my place to pose questions and come up with hypothesis. I could look back at previous weeks and see if I’d proven my ideas or answered any questions.

The biggest health mystery this journal helped me solve actually had to do with anxiety. When I have a panic attack, it almost exclusively happens at night. My anxiety keeps me awake, and eventually builds until I’m sweating, pacing, and generally loosing my mind. I found out through journaling that there are two things that I thought were helping me that were actually contributing to my panic attacks.

One was drinking. I had gotten into a bad habit of always having a glass of wine at dinner or bedtime most nights, thinking it helped me relax. It kind of did, but on nights when I didn’t drink I was much more likely to sleep well. Stopping this habit didn’t completely eliminate my anxiety attacks, but it helped a LOT.

Second was reading. Yeah, the thing EVERYONE tells you to do when you can’t sleep! I adore reading, and I read paper books with no irritating backlights to disrupt my sleep cycle. But I think I must love it a little too much. I noticed I tended to have trouble sleeping after reading, and noticed that I get a little too into books to relax. I stay awake thinking about the book (especially suspenseful ones) and end up in the anxiety zone. Now, I’m careful to only read either books I’ve read before or calm, non-suspense/mystery/adventure books before bed if I read at all.

So what’s my final verdict? Health journals are great, and the Allergista’s is one of the best I’ve tried! If you’re like me and can only journal in spurts, remember that it’s better than nothing and you can still benefit from what you learn from it. I highly recommend this one for it’s organization, it’s tracking tools like tallying and body diagramming, and it’s coverage of all areas you need to track in an easy format. You can download it by clicking

HERE!

I hope you all check it out and give journaling a try if you haven’t already. You’ll be surprised what you can learn! Plus, if you have an attentive doctor, they may like to look over it and help you find patterns and give you advice.

Also, don’t forget to enter the #SPOONIERAGECOMICCONTEST! There are free prizes to win and I’ll let you in on a secret: there’s not much competition right now. So enter today! Google “rage comic maker,” choose your favorite, then create a comic that has something to do with health, chronic illness, allergies, doctors, medicine, or anything in between! Then upload it to twitter or instagram with the hashtag #spoonieragecomiccontest.

Can’t wait to see what you come up with!

Invisible Illness Survival Kit – Purses

Hello blog people! I hope you had a lovely holiday and you’re enjoying some time relaxing. No, baby has not made their grand debut yet, and we are t-minus 12 days to the due date. It could be any day now!

Now, I don’t know how spoonie guys handle their invisible illness supplies, but for us lady spoonies, a purse is an absolute must. I know because I hate purses and would never carry one if I didn’t have to. Even I have to admit that carrying a purse has saved events and created extra “spoons” for me when there were none. (to read the “spoon theory” click here).

There are about a million things that can save a sudden onset of symptoms if you have constant access to them. Medication is the most obvious item. Some people are so organized that they can keep one or two pills from each medication in a fancy box, and there are services like PillPack that can do that for you:

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Or of course you could use a pill box, and if the SMTWTFS isn’t your style, check out the Do I Look Sick store for some cute ones!

But I’m lazy and usually just keep my prescription bottles in my purse. I don’t have a ton, so I can – people with a wider array probably can’t get away with that. Of course, most spoonies keep over the counter meds on them too, like tylenol for pain, benadryl for allergies, etc. No matter what, it usually ends up being more pills than one can really stuff into a pocket. Or at least the pocket of women’s pants.

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Maybe this is why guy spoonies don’t need purses.

Anyway, there are a lot of other handy things to keep on you at all times. Another big one is food. Whether you have allergies, stomach problems, or just need something to take pills with because sometimes it’s hard with just water, keeping snacks that agree with your digestive system and keep your blood sugar up are essential. You might show up to an event serving food you can’t eat, or you might end up staying out longer than planned and need a boost or food to take with medication. No one knows you better than you, so you know what snacks will get you farthest. Relying on buying the food you need while you’re out won’t always pan out, especially if you’re stranded with a vending machine or impulse buy candy at the register and nothing else.

On a less fun note, it’s also important to have your insurance on you at all times. If you’re chronically ill, you’ve probably been to the ER. There are many situations in which you may need to go to an ER that isn’t at your usual hospital. If you do, you’ll want all your insurance info, IDs, and medical alert tags/IDs on you.

So yes, despite my aversion to purses, I carry one. But I don’t carry some regular boring purse. I might as well like the purse I carry. For a long time, I used a little backpack I got as a kid –

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My walking pharmacy was disguised as an adorable cat. Yes, it’s the cat from Trigun, which I’ve never watched and know nothing about. Baby!Rachel just liked that it was a cat, and so does adult!Rachel. I recently switched out, though, for a tote bag that I actually received from a reader!

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I could not for the life of me find one of me holding it but it’s the cute blue tote in the background with the white lucky cat on it. Thanks Tosha! Check out her blog Bottled Time! Not only is it adorable but it has a little pocket at the top on the inside that I can stick my phone or keys in so they’re not lost in the sea of pills and miscellaneous flotsam in the main bag area.

Plus my mom’s all white cat Jane really relates to it on a spiritual level. This is a live picture of her right now:

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So you don’t have to go get some fashiony purse for your portable pharmacy if that’s not you. If you must have a purse, have one you love!

Or buy guy pants with pockets that are actually useful. 😉

Stay tuned, I do have updates on our birth center plans! Plus baby will be here soon, along with plenty of pictures!

Black Friday + Good Cause

The “spirit” of Black Friday is…erm, well, not always in the right place, is it?

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There is the idea that people can go out and get gifts for their loved ones that they may not normally be able to afford, and that’s nice I suppose. As someone who is going through financial difficulties currently, I can appreciate the dilemma of wanting to get everyone extravagant gifts but not being able to afford it. Sales are a great way to save some money. But if I ever partake in Black Friday, it’s from behind my keyboard at home.

In my family, Black Friday is a day you stay home. Because out there, there be monsters. This is Texas, y’all. People carry guns, and they might want that xbone a lot more than you do. Plus the roads are full of angry, sleep-deprived people. More than usual. Texas roads are already dangerous on the regular.

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But like I said, there’s nothing wrong with a good sale! So why not start now? Our Do I Look Sick awareness gear is on sale right now. Raising awareness of invisible illness is always a great cause, but including some of this stuff in a gift to someone struggling with invisible illness? Imagine what that would mean to them!

Just use the code BLACKFRIWEEK at checkout for these awesome deals. Click on the picture to go to that product’s page, or just click here to browse our entire store.

Including a magnet with a regular gift or as a stocking stuffer is a great way to acknowledge someone’s good fight.  They’re 65% off TODAY ONLY (Nov. 25th – ends at midnight). The rest of the deals will continue through the end of the week, but this one is especially for TODAY!

 

ALL WEEK LONG, you can get 40% off mugs! These make a great gift, especially if you include some herbal tea or hot cocoa mix! This is my personal favorite design in the shop.

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20% OFF pillows…

And %15 OFF EVERYTHING ELSE!

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving and safe travels. I’ve got more baby updates coming soon, plus the next episode of the Spoonie Experiment is almost complete! I also have a book review coming up for you soon too, so stay tuned!

I’m truly thankful for each and every one of you who reads, comments, and shares the things I post here. Thank you!

Christmas in July!

Christmas is kind of a big deal in my family. My mom’s birthday is December 28th, and she LOVES Christmas. So of course we’re watching her favorite movie – Elf – today and enjoying some early cheer.

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In the spirit of the “season,” everything in the Do I Look Sick Store is 20% off! And since this is a Christmas in July special, our Invisible Illness Awareness ribbon is 60% OFF! Just use the code JLYCHRISTMAS at checkout!

We’re halfway to the holidays, so why not treat yourself? And remember that we need awareness all year long – so this is truly a gift that will keep on giving not only to you, but to the half of Americans that live with a chronic, invisible condition.
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Want to know why Christmas is extra special this year? Our little bundle of joy is due January 8th, but it’s entirely possible for them to make their debut as a Christmas baby! Or a New Years baby. Or my mom might get a birthday buddy!
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Have a happy weekend and remember to smile – smiling’s my favorite.
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