Tracking Tools for Living with a Chronic Illness
Editor’s Note: This post is brought to you by Johna Jenkins, a nurse practitioner, and the co-founder of our sister brand A Plan for Health.
I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease a few years ago. Part of managing a chronic illness is monitoring symptoms and keeping up with regular doctor’s appointments.
There is a lot of information to keep track of when you suffer from a chronic illness. Over the last few years, I’ve found myself scribbling things on random pieces of paper or attempting to keep track of it all in my head. I often found myself thinking “I HAVE to remember to tell the doctor this the next time I talk with him.”
It was really becoming a mental burden, leading to overwhelming anxiety, especially right before doctor’s visits! The few days leading up to the appointment I would find myself trying to remember all of the things I wanted to tell my doctor. I’d rack my brain for any important pieces of information I may have forgotten.
Another source of anxiety was remembering all of the questions I wanted to ask my provider. I usually remember half of them once I’m out the door and back in my car after the appointment! This was starting to become a problem. The stress wasn’t helping my diagnosis and I felt out of control in working with my doctors to address symptoms.
The answer to many of these problems was having a dedicated place to track everything that comes along with a chronic illness. I use two of our A Plan for Health products to help me keep track of symptoms, medications and their side effects, as well as questions to ask my doctor.
I’ve shared before how I track medical information on a daily basis. When you’re dealing with a chronic illness it’s especially important to write everything down, including how you’re responding to medications. I’m going to share the tracking tools that have helped me most in living with a chronic illness!
The first must-have product for living with a chronic illness is a Weekly Tracker to help me monitor all medications and supplements! This is an area I have to be vigilant with, but as a busy mom, it’s hard to add one more thing to my to-do list. When I was first diagnosed, I realized quickly that tracking medications were essential to addressing my symptoms.
I keep this Weekly Tracker Notebook or one of our new tracking notepads beside my pillbox in the medicine cabinet. I use one page per week which allows me plenty of room to track symptoms. This is especially important because many of the medications are supposed to target those symptoms. Tracking every medication allows me to share feedback with my doctor so we can make better health decisions.
The next tracking tool that has helped me live with my chronic illness is a journal specifically designed for health appointments. The Healthcare Visits Notebook has been a game-changer for keeping track of information before, during, and after doctor’s appointments!
I recently had a telemedicine visit with my doctor for symptoms related to my Lyme Disease diagnosis. I used the top half of the page prior to the appointment. The guided prompts allowed me to document important information prior to my visit. Those questions I was concerned about forgetting? This is a perfect spot to document those between appointments!
I use the bottom half of the page during the visit! This was a telemed appointment so there weren’t any vital signs (except for pain—I made sure to note any pain!), but it’s nice knowing there’s a spot for me to keep track of those results. There were several medications and supplements prescribed and I was glad to have a spot to track those too. I made note of any instructions shared by the doctor and am grateful to have that all in one place to reference later on.
A weekly tracker and a healthcare visits journal are two important planning tools for living with a chronic illness. These tools help me stay organized and give me a sense of control. Living with a chronic illness is difficult enough, a few planning tools can help make your life a bit easier!
Shop our entire health and wellness planner collection on WhitneyEnglish.com. The goal of A Plan for health is to help you advocate for your own health!