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!

DoILookSick Online Caricature Event!!! Sign Up Now!

Health isn’t just skin-deep, and many of us don’t look as sick as we feel. But on the flipside, being chronically ill can have a very negative effect on our self-image. When we look in the mirror, we often see someone who is tired, a failure, lazy, too skinny or too fat, not strong enough, or any other innumerable examples of negative self-talk.

One remedy to these feelings is to see yourself through someone else’s eyes. That can be easier said than done. One whimsical way to do this is through drawings. Check out this video from Dove where a police sketch artist draws each woman twice – one based on her description of herself, and one based off a description given by someone they just met.

I love this idea. And I love having drawings done of myself! I think it’s so interesting to see how someone else sees me.

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So this idea has been rolling around in my head for some time now. I’m hosting an online portrait/caricature drawing event! You do NOT need to have an invisible illness to participate! The whole point of “Do I Look Sick” is that looks alone can’t tell you what’s going on inside a person, so we need participation of well and sick alike.

Since September is Chronic Pain Awareness Month, let’s get a good visual of people from all backgrounds and age groups and show that you can’t tell by looking who is dealing with chronic pain.

GROUP PORTRAIT – FREE

Anyone and everyone can sign up to be a part of the group portrait! It’s completely free! All I need is for you to send a picture of yourself to diehardguardgirl@yahoo.com with the subject line “GROUP PORTRAIT.” It will be in a similar style to this one I did of me and my coworkers a while back:

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SOLO PORTRAIT – $2.00

This will be the exact same drawing from the group portrait, but singled out so you have a nice little doodle of yourself. Send $2.00 via paypal as a gift (“to friends and family”) to diehardguardgirl@yahoo.com and write SOLO PORTRAIT in the note. Email me your photo and you’ll automatically also be included in the group portrait!

SUPER YOU – $5.00

A while back I did an entire blog post where I illustrated some of my favorite bloggers using their blog title to design them as a super hero. If you would like me to do this for your blog, just send $5 as a gift (“to friends and family”) via paypal to diehardguardgirl@yahoo.com and in the notes include a URL to your blog. You’ll also be included in the group portrait! Don’t have a blog? You can still be a superhero! Just tell me what powers you want or what you want your name to be and I’ll take it from there.

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MY BEST EFFORT – $10

For $10 (gift “to friends or family”) via paypal to diehardguardgirl@yahoo.com I will sit down and do my best portrait attempt for you. Write “MY BEST EFFORT” in the notes and email me your picture and I will include you in the doodle-y group portrait but I will also do a “real” portrait of just you in my style using all my patience and great effort. I don’t have any kind of recent examples of portraits I’ve done, so here’s a random drawing I did of Maleficent with some eyeball problems:

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Disclaimer: I’m not a real artist and I’m kind of a weirdo BUT I promise I will draw you with the correct amount of eyeballs in the proper places. You’ll also be included in the group portrait!

BIG SPENDER REAL LIFE PORTRAIT – $20

There are no example pictures here because it’s pretty rare that I get out real paper and pencils and paint and like, make an actual physical picture. But if you send $20 as a gift via paypal to diehardguardgirl@yahoo.com, we’ll test my artistic prowess together. Email me your photo and mailing address and I will send my original painting to you. You will of course be included in the group portrait as well!

Commissioning artwork of yourself is fun and promotes good self-image and self-talk. I’m excited to see how this portrait of all of us together comes out. I think it’ll be a really cool keepsake commemorating our community here.

The sign up period will END on September 18th – that gives you 10 days to sign up and spread the word so that our group portrait is full of awesome people! The group portrait will be posted by the end of September (which is chronic pain awareness month – don’t forget!). After September 18th I’ll let you know when the other commissioned portraits will be done depending on how many people sign up for them.

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Happy Pain Awareness Month! And remember – love yourself!

Reshare: Illness Saved My Sex Life

I’ve been seeing a lot of buzz on twitter and other blogs I follow about sex in relation to illness. I’m really glad people are talking about this because it can be a very difficult thing to navigate!

I wanted to take a minute to reshare a post I did a while ago for Hearing Elmo titled “Illness Saved My Sex Life” since it’s a hot topic right now. CLICK HERE to read it and keep the conversation going!

I know my blog has been a ghost town for a while. I’m still trying to figure out this whole “getting anything done with an infant in the house” thing. Hopefully this reshare and my last post about Linus and his blanket will tide you over while I work on some exciting things for you including a review of a really cool tool from The Allergista!

Stay tuned…

MFW: Chronic Illness Edition

I love MFW (my face when) reaction gif blogs, so here’s mine. 😉

My body whenever I don’t perfectly balance every aspect of my life:

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When I’m trying to function while sick/drugged vs. on a good day:

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MFW I think I’ve finally joined the world of the living:

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When you’ve completely forgotten social graces:

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When your illness/latest surgery/medication comes up at a family gathering:

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When you start to enjoy being a hermit:

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When you decide to eat something delicious that you know will make you feel bad:

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The aftermath of that decision:

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When you use your precious energy stores to go out with friends but it turns out to be super lame:

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When you see your doctor and he asks what your health goals are:

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Your doctor’s response:

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When you covertly try to take medicine while eating:

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When you can tell your illness is about to flare up and someone asks what’s wrong:

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When you suggest an approach to treatment you’ve researched well and feel would be a good fit, and your doctor’s just like:

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When you try to politely cancel plans while your body falls apart:

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When you’re actually feeling pretty well for a while, and have no excuse when you f*** up:

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When you inevitably discover your spirit animal is…

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When people are too excited to relate to you when they find out you have chronic illness:

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When someone actually succeeds in being helpful to you while you’re sick:

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When you’re on your way to the ER:

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When people start trying to figure out what you did to get a chronic illness:

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When you step out of your home into the public realm:

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When you can stay calm during your health disasters:

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When you find a friend who loves you, illness and all:

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And when you get to enjoy things twice as much as healthy people because you’ve been down so long:

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