How I Keep Track of My Disease
I think I say this so many times that anyone who has read my previous articles is probably tired of me saying it, and that is that sickle cell anemia is an unpredictable disease. I say that because it is true and anyone who has the disease is likely to agree.
Sickle cell effects everyone differently
The disease doesn't affect everyone the same and the disease isn’t always consistent. So because of that, I have to make sure that I am listening to my body and what it is telling me. This isn’t something that comes naturally to me. It took me years to actually know and understand what my body needs and what it is lacking. I still struggle with it sometimes.
Keeping proper track of health is important because it makes a world of difference. Keeping track of my health keeps me out of the hospital and allows for proactive treatment.
Reflecting on my health
If I begin to realize that I am not feeling well, I have to take the time to sit back and reflect on what I did or didn’t do that got me feeling the way I am. In the past, when I do this reflection, I tend to notice that it may have been a couple of stressful days. Making sure that I keep track of my mental stress It’s just as important as making sure I keep track of my physical stress.
Managing mental stress
People underestimate how much mental stress can affect you physically. Sometimes it’s unavoidable, and I just have to find ways to release that stress. One of my favorite ways is by praying. Another way I find extremely helpful is my journaling. I started journaling at the beginning of 2021, and I have found it extremely helpful. My favorite part about journaling is looking back to see my progress and how irrelevant certain things are that used to stress me out.
Managing physical stress
Keeping track of physical stress is also very important. I find this to be a lot easier than mental stress. I keep track of my physical stress by just making sure I don’t do too much in one day. If I have a physically exhausting day, and make sure to find time to relax and rest the following day. I know that if I have back-to-back days that are physically stressful, I am more likely to fall into a sickle cell crisis. That’s why it is important to listen to your body and what it is telling you. I find that physical stress can almost always be avoided, which makes it easier than mental stress.
If there’s one thing we know about sickle cell, that one thing is that hydration is our friend. Staying hydrated helps our cells to flow better within our bodies. So I like to make sure I’m keeping track of how much water and overall hydration I’m giving my body.
I’ve been blessed with such an amazing doctor that allows me to come in for hydration as needed, and she has set it up where all I have to do is make a quick phone call. I like to go in for hydration after my menstrual period, a physically stressful week, when I am just feeling weak, if I have had a sickle cell crisis at home, or before I travel.
Tracking your health
If you are someone who has sickle cell disease or you’re taking care of someone with sickle cell disease and you’re having a hard time keeping track of all the various things.
- I encourage you to start by tracking your doctor's appointments, how often you need to go.
- Then the next thing should be keeping track of your medicine. How often do you need to take them, and what types of medicine you need to take.
- The next step would be to listen to your body. What are your triggers? What makes you feel sick? What makes you feel good?
- If you have a sickle cell crisis or you end up hospitalized, think about what you did prior. What was going on in your life prior? What foods did you eat? How much water did you drink?
Listen to your body
These are all the things to consider when trying to get your health on track. Lastly, remember to listen to your body. Although sickle cell disease can be unpredictable, our bodies can sometimes alert us when something is going on.
Keeping track of your disease takes time and is always changing.
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