I am a Journal Pusher
I admit it, I am a pusher. I will push my ideas on anyone who will listen. Ask me a question and you could be stuck for quite some time.
Welcome to my daily journal
I will regale you with what works and what doesn’t. I have cute stories to tell you. The best thing is that you can start anytime and skip a few days if you please. You can draw, express yourself in poetry, or keep a list of motivational memes. Here is where you keep an organized list of trackers to gain knowledge about what triggers your symptoms. Welcome to my daily journal.
Self-advocacy and self-care
I learned to journal in the very early days of my diagnosis while attending respiratory rehab. Part of our course was psychology and we learned about CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy), mindfulness meditation, self-advocacy, and self-care. Part of our self-care included increasing our knowledge about COPD and how to gather evidence-based proof of our changing symptoms. We were told that was how we would report at each doctor’s visit.
Book and pen selection
Picking the book is the best part for me. I could order online, but I love to go to the book store. I love the smell of new, fresh paper. I love the variety and choices presented to me. Every choice I make now will be with me for about a year, so I make sure to choose wisely.
Then we are on to the pen section. So many to choose from, so many colors. I stop for a long time, testing pens on the paper provided. Finally, I pick the one I like, and I get it in several colors. Spring is coming and I want a colorful journal with lots of flowers and bright colors.
Numbered and blank pages
Now that I have selected my book and my pen, I am almost ready to begin. I start by numbering my pages. To speed up the process, I usually number every second page because it is easier to count by twos, and I usually do 30 to 40 pages at a time. Having numbers on the page allows me to create an Index in the front of the book.
Leave about 30 pages blank to create lists for the year: phone numbers, doctor's appointments, prescriptions, dosage, and repeats, and anything else you want to keep a list of.
What do you want to keep track of?
Start by adding a date to your page. Then it is time to decide what you want to keep track of in your journal. I create charts to track most of my information. I like to track my exercise in steps, distance and time, so I make a chart that tracks just that.
Being mindful of retaining water, every morning I must weigh myself. I make a small chart to track my weight, the girth of my ankles and my chest. As my weight fluctuates, I have been instructed to take or eliminate certain medications. This tracker allows me to keep tabs on my water retention.
Moving on, I track the weather, humidity, dander, and air quality. I like to fill this chart with drawings for the weather. I trace a stencil then color it with pencils or gel pens. I like to track what I am grateful for as I set my intentions for the day. Finally, I track my weekly goals, what books I have read, and what new things I learned this week.
How do I feel?
Just before bed each night I take 10 minutes to jot in my journal. I leave space at the bottom of the page to put an entry in for how I feel each day, what I did and who I saw and keep track of special dates. My doctor is impressed with my journal and asks me for it at each visit.
How has your experience been navigating the healthcare system as someone with COPD?