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!

New Hydrocodone Laws

When I heard about the new laws regulating hydrocodone I didn’t think it was a huge deal. I’d been on it for 5 years and my doctor and I agree it’s the most effective thing for my situation. I felt confident that he and I could work through this.

But here’s the big problem: with doctor and patient working together and doing everything they can, this medicine is still almost impossible to get. I had to leave work early Tuesday trying to get to the doctor’s office in time but traffic was too bad. Then on Wenesday I was 2 hours late to work after “stopping by” the hospital where I had to wait, then have a pow wow about these new laws and how ridiculous they are and how it’s very hard to get around. In fact we mostly discussed other pills to try that were easier to get.

Well that sucks! Because I’ve been doing this for five years and yeah, I’ve tried a lot of other medicine. Meds that didn’t work, or made me sicker, or stopped working over time. Hydrocodone has been good to me. Now I have to start all over.

On top of that I now had to pay for a doctor visit AND hospital parking – making my usually $5 pills cost $37 not including gas and time missed at work.

Just look at the prescription pad both the doctor AND pharmacist have to fill out:

triplicate perscription form

So after a deep interview with my doctor I had to all but do a background check at the pharmacy. It feels like we’re all guilty until proven innocent with this law. Except that there seems to be no way to prove innocence.

I apologize for the strong language – but the war on drugs has seriously fucked us over.

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Man, jumping through all these hoops sure would be hard if I was in pain with no treatment – OH WAIT.

Generally people need medicine when they’re most sick, so this is NOT a good time for me to be running around like this. Not to mention the havoc it’s wreaked with my anxiety disorder.

All of this on top of the mental anguish of infertility, transitioning from full time to freelancing, and regular life problems.

If you want some more insight into why these new laws are so tragic, check out this video. I have it cued up to what I think is the most shocking and depressing fact, but if you have time I encourage you to watch the entire half-hour.

LINK

((WARNING: If you watch all the way to the 26 minute mark, there are graphic medical images that may be disturbing to some viewers. Digression advised.))

And, for the record, these laws have NOTHING to do with the Affordable Care Act or “Obamacare.” I’ve had a lot of people say “Oh yeah Obama made me switch insurance” or “we’ve had to jump through hoops to get -insert regular schedule III medication here-” – No. Just, no. This has nothing to do with that. You aren’t listening.

Almost forgot to mention – NO REFILLS. So now I’ve got to ration the shit out of these 30 pills before DOING THE ENTIRE THING FROM SCRATCH ALL OVER AGAIN.

What do we do, guys? This is important. Would a petition help? Do I need to chain myself to something? I’m not usually a protester but

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Tummy Store

When I was a little girl, I was hilarious. And I’m not just tooting my own horn, either. I don’t remember being hilarious, but I’ve seen the videos and it’s true. I was a laugh riot.

baby rachel says

Guess which one I am.

Here’s a few Baby Rachel quotes:

(walking in on mom breast feeding younger sister)

Baby Rachel: What’s she doing?

Mom: She’s drinking milk!

Baby Rachel: (pointing at mom’s other breast) Is the other one apple juice?

***

As you can see, I’m hi-larious.

I wanted to share one of the most quoted Baby Rachel quotes. Some hippie people might say that I had a strong childhood intuition. Some jaded people might say this is a statement on society. I’m not sure what I think of it, except that it’s pretty funny, and I was so right.

Whenever Baby Rachel did not feel well, she would say:

“WE NEED TO GO TO THE TUMMY STORE!”

This is an accurate summation of my entire life.

stomach plush toy cute

Click to buy this cute but not functional new tummy! FOR ME!!! Or yourself. Whatever.