With all the illnesses and god knows what else I have going on inside my body, something I started doing a few years ago was to keep a health diary.
How do I record this information? I don’t use an app of any sort, I use the old fashioned method of a notebook and pen. I started a health diary for the different aspects of my health to keep track of everything. I have a food diary, an exercise diary, a blood glucose level diary and an overall health diary. This does involve a few notebooks, but you know, any excuse for new stationary is something I am all for. I fill it in on a daily basis before I go to bed and it helps me flag up any changes or causes for concern.
I want to be able to understand what my body loves and what my body hates in terms of medications and food and drink. I want to see if any symptoms I have from CF coincide with either medications or my diet. I may as well call myself a doctor.
There are benefits in keeping a health diary/diaries. It’s allowed me to feel present with my body and my health. I’m able to spot anything that is wrong quite quickly. After all, we know our own bodies better than anyone, we know when something doesn’t feel normal. It’s allowed me to see the everchanging patterns within my health and what works well for me and what doesn’t. If something isn’t working out well with me, I can speak to my consultant and ask his/her advice and discuss the options and plans A, B and C’s. I find it ever so reassuring logging everything. At the end of the day, our bodies are important to us individually. It’s the only one we’ve got and I personally want to take care of my body! I like having that better understanding of my body’s needs.
Keeping a health diary isn’t going to be everybody’s cup of tea. But it just doesn’t have to be that you need to be disabled or chronically ill to keep tabs on your health. It could be that you would like to keep track of your menstrual cycle, contraceptive use, supplement use, water intake, your mental health, your sleeping habits etc.
Also you don’t have to buy tons of notebooks to keep a health diary. There are plenty of apps that are there for you to record this health data. I’m just somebody who prefers to write things down. Making daily observations is kind of fun for me and I like analysing what I’ve written down and just comparing notes.
Growing up with a life threatening illness, I had to learn how to analyse my body’s data very quickly in regards to my health. Learning to understand my body has been a momentous task, especially with an illness like Cystic Fibrosis throwing obstacles in my way a lot of the time. It’s allowed me to become more observant. You’d think I would have become a hypochondriac doing all this. Surprisingly though, I haven’t. Purely because I don’t Google any symptoms (worst thing to do when you have anxiety) and I am fortunate to have a team of health experts at the end of the phone should I need their advice.
Taking charge of my health is hard work but it’s worth it. Look after your bodies, they’re the only ones we have, show them a little love and care! And always, if you think something isn’t right, don’t be afraid to make an appointment with your GP. Don’t feel silly for having any concerns, it may be nothing, but it’s always important to get it checked out.
Do you keep a health diary for yourself? Let me know!