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!

Recharge with 50% off this new pillow * Great for gifting!

Hey guys!

Are you cutting it close this Christmas? I am. I still have a TON of shopping to do! Well never fear – let’s knock one gift out right now. This is perfect for just about anyone – chronic illness peeps will get a kick out of it as much as your geek-chic, punny friends will.

And I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s wallet is letting out sad, small coughs about now. So this pillow is 50% off! Just use the code 4GIFTSFORALL – that code will also get you 20% off everything else in my store! Today is the last day zazzle can guarantee pillows by Christmas, so this sale is for TODAY ONLY!

Not only will you be getting a marvolous Christmas present for someone, but you’ll also be giving Do I Look Sick a little Christmas present too! Remember that all proceeds I get from sales go straight into this website and therefore, back to viewers like you. Thank you. 😉

Merry Christmas everyone! Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a bajillion and three things to do in the next two weeks. See ya!

Columbus Day Sale!

Happy weekend everyone – you made it!

Why not kick back and relax this long weekend with some retail therapy for a good cause?

Just use the code SALETHEOCEAN (as in Sail the Ocean Blue….) at checkout to get….

50% off stickers!

30% off mugs!
And 20% off t-shirts and bags!
Happy Weekend!

Coming Soon: The Spoonie Experiment Episode 3

I’m very excited to announce that I’m working on the third installment of the Spoonie Experiment review videos, and this one is going to be the most exciting yet! I’ll be reviewing the book The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and taking a look at how it relates to life with chronic illness. But wait! There’s more!

I’m thrilled to have Molly from Based on a Sprue Story joining me in this video! That’s right – our first ever guest reviewer! We happened to be reading the book at the exact same time, so it was meant to be. We’ll be presenting our Spoonie’s Guide to the Galaxy and talking about the answers to life, the universe, and everything – so don’t miss it!

the hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy review spoonie experiment

What is the Spoonie Experiment? Click here for more info!

See Episode 1 – REPO! The Genetic Rock Opera here!

See Episode 2 – Spirited Away here!