This Blog is Still a Thing *Hiatus Update*

Lots has been going on, my dear readers (if any of you are still out there). But I promise that I haven’t quit blogging just because I’m pregnant and I have a toddler now. Although that’s a big part of it.

We’re in the process of selling our house and buying a new one. That’s pretty big.

When I initially stopped blogging, though, there was one major reason: my Grandmother was extremely sick. She had a fall, and had already been battling Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s for a while. When she was first admitted to the hospital, our son had RSV so we weren’t able to go up there right away. A week or so later, we went up to the hospital every day.

Before this, the extent of my knowledge of Alzheimer’s was that you forget things. Sad things, like who your family members are and who you are. But after watching this disease, I see that those are dumb things to focus on. Eventually, you forget things that are actually important. Like how to eat. How to swallow. Eventually, how to breathe. No one talks about that. I didn’t know that was what was going to happen.

My Grandmother died at her home, just three days before her son’s (my dad’s) birthday. And I thought, just three more days. Just a few more months and she would have celebrated 60 years of marriage. The obituary says 59. Just a few more months and she would have met another great grandbaby. But no matter what, we’d always be asking for just one more. Just one more birthday, just one more Thanksgiving dinner. Just one more Christmas. Just one more anniversary. Just one more Sunday morning at church. Forever and ever and ever.

So that was in May. And since then there have been times I could have sat down and wrote a post and said life is busy and I’m pregnant but that’s not the real reason I went on hiatus. So blogging got all tied up in that loss emotionally, even if logically the two weren’t related.

Today was the last day of my Granddaddy’s estate sale. I got to take home a lot of my Grandmother’s clothes, and soon he’ll be moving to a smaller house. He used to be a real estate broker, so it’s been fun to talk about all that stuff with him while we both search for new homes and new beginnings.

This is a video I made for her memorial service. I wanted to share it here because it’s special to me, and we’re still missing her a lot right now.

More blogging soon I hope – we may be actually moving very soon, and of course the baby is due at the end of September. So blogging will probably be erratic and random for a little while, but I’m still here, and this blog is still a thing. I’m sorry I totally missed the WEGO Health awards this year, that’s always so fun and I encourage you to check out the nominees and support them because WEGO always finds the coolest people.

Talk soon!

~Rachel

BIG NEWS

So as some of you know, it was really hard for us to get pregnant with Junior. It took two years, medical assistance, and lots of prayer before God blessed us with our miracle baby. But the blessing kept on going…

Miracle #2 coming September 2017

True story rage comic

Check out this great entry into the #spoonieragecomiccontest! Only a couple more days to enter and win free prizes! Just google “rage comic maker,” make a comic, and post it to twitter or instagram using the hashtag #spoonieragecomiccontest!

Living, Being, Doing with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Rachel at Do I Look Sick? is hosting a rage comic competition for spoonies. I LOVE this idea because spreading awareness needs to happen on every platform, humour is awesome, and rage comics are relatively simple to put together.

Here is my contribution – a true story about my first weekend in Canberra!

true story rage comic

Click here to read about and enter Rachel’s rage comic competition.

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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.

air purifier for allergies

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!

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!