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September, a Time of Renewal

September. It reminds me of New Year’s and a time of goal setting and the promise of new things coming into our lives. I was always excited as a kid to begin a new school year. Never top of the class, I always enjoyed learning and acquiring new skills. The smell of new books was heaven to me.

Starting a journal

Being a time of renewal, this is a great time to think of starting a journal. As kids, most girls had a diary to write in every day. It was a safe place to write and often came with a key to keep out inquiring minds, like brothers, that didn’t need to know what was written there. We wrote in our journal every night about our day and goofy guys we met and our goofy response to them. All of our adventures found room in our pages.

Now, our journal takes on a new dimension as this will be where we write about symptoms and illnesses. It will be a place to track our disease as we progress through the many stages and ups and downs of chronic illness. It will be a legacy of our journey for those we leave behind. Your journal will provide an evidence-based record of how symptoms proceeded and tell the true story of what happened and when and why.

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What to track

We first decide what we want to track. Some of the things I want to track are exercise, weather, my mood, my weight, what I am grateful for, and changes to medication I take. While building a tracker for my exercise regime, I start with how many steps I walked, the distance I went, and the time I spent in continuous exercise. At the end of each day, I fill this in this section and compare day to day and week to week.

Weather and moods

Then, on to the weather. I track this so that I can see how weather changes how I function. This is how I learned that humidity really affects my breathing. Sometimes I plan a slow day and build a rest period in the afternoon on humid days.

I track my moods from day to day because my moods can change everything and I know the value of my mental health. Staying the course on my moods makes each day a little brighter. I am often surprised at how I thought I had a bad week, when in fact I only had one bad day that week!

More measuring and formatting

Having a gratitude tracker is a great way to lift your spirits and keep your moods even. Once you recognize that you have a life that you are grateful for, it is spiritually uplifting. It’s not hard; just look around at what you have and the things and people you cherish.

Water retention is something that affects my breathing in a big way, so tracking my weight daily makes sense. Too much water drowns my heart and lungs. It is always best to stay on top of this.

Next, my medication file is kept here. I update often with any changes to my meds along with the doctor who made the changes and my normal dosages. I also keep track of how many times I have needed to use my Action Plan.

Sunday morning is set aside for formatting my spreadsheet. Watching the trackers of my symptoms provides me with the triggers that change everything about the way I feel.

Editor’s Note: We are extremely saddened to say that on January 7th, 2024, Barbara Moore passed away. Barbara’s advocacy efforts and writing continue to reach many. She will be deeply missed.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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