Saturday, September 29, 2018

Guest Blog - C.J. Ellisson Shares Tips for Tracking Your Health

Thanks for having me on Creatively Green, and today I’m going to talk about tracking your health! Doesn’t sound too glamorous? Well read on! I just might surprise you. ;-)

For years, I’ve battled with managing the numerous doctor requests regarding my health. Whether you’re living with Diabetes, Fibro, Lyme, POTS, EDS, MS or even Lupus, there’s always more to track on a daily basis than the average person can handle.

Problem: I need to take five different medications throughout the day, and my memory is spotty at best.

Tip #1: It’s easier to share your symptoms, medication log, and daily concerns with your doctor(s) if the data is all in one place.

Solution: Write shit down.

Suggestion: Have you heard of bullet journaling? Tracking pertinent info in grids you make by hand is a great way to customize a record keeper to meet your needs. If you don’t have the energy to create grids monthly or weekly, you could try a straightforward lined page and take a ruler to it, or check out the product I designed with the help of hundreds of chronic illness sufferers, called Plot Your Health.


Problem: I never remember the questions I have for the doctor at my appointment.

Tip #2: Write down questions as they occur to you, don’t wait to try and recall them all the day before (or day of) your doctor visit.

Solution: Keep notecards handy and store them in the same place after use, so you can find them easily before your next appointment.

Suggestion: Do you lose notecards easily? Do you forget where you store things? Buy a brightly colored notebook specific for your health concerns and treat it like a daily journal, referring to it often and entering important information. We designed our three-month tracking notebooks with brightly colored covers so you wouldn’t easily lose it on your counter, desk, or in your bag.


Problem: I scribble down test results when the doctor calls, and then forget to file them or where I put them.

Tip #3: Treat medical test results with the same respect as your kid’s first finger-painting. Save that stuff!

Solution: Create a file for test results. Ask your doctor to mail you a hard copy, rather than just reporting results over the phone.

Suggestion: If you hate having to hold onto paperwork you don’t understand, write down the pertinent data and dates from your tests and store them all in the same notebook for quick reference. Comparing this data to tests run three or six months later can reveal a lot about your progress or lack there of.


Problem: I think my lack of sleep is affecting my mood and energy levels, but I don’t have any proof.

Tip #4: A doctor is more likely to take you seriously when you have supporting data to back up your claims.

Solution: (This is where I start to repeat myself) Write shit down. Seriously.

If you can’t remember what you had for dinner last Monday, how are you supposed to accurately give a verbal accounting to your health care provider?

Suggestion: Logging hours of sleep, time you went to bed, time you woke up, the weather, barometric pressure changes, time of the month in your menstrual cycle, your mood and how you felt on a day to day basis can help the doctor determine if you’re suffering from insomnia, anxiety, depression, or something worse.


Problem: I think I have a gluten sensitivity, but eating totally gluten free is hard, so I still cheat once in a while.

Tip #5: Take your health seriously, or don’t expect anyone else to either.

Solution: Stop eating gluten. Seems obvious, right? You can’t cheat. That’s like admitting you’re allergic to poison ivy and going out in the backyard to play with it.

Once you master not cheating, go one step further and don’t fill that gluten-hole with expensive gluten-free products. Start to slowly replace processed grains with grain-free choices or GO WITHOUT.

Suggestion: If you’re serious about finding out what is bothering you regarding a possible food intolerance, you must track what you eat. There is no other way around it. Do the freaking work already! If you don’t take care of YOU, who else will?


Problem: I’m so damn tired, I have no idea what’s wrong. My doctor says I’m fine, all my tests look normal.

Tip #6: If your doctor isn’t able to help you, no matter what the problem is, go find another doctor.

Solution: Be your own best patient advocate. Don’t swallow every doctor explanation as if it was the gospel truth. Do your research. Take to people. Look stuff up online (and read it with a grain of salt). Know yourself. Don’t ignore a problem and hope it will go away. Usually it doesn’t go away, you just ignore it for so long your body stops sending you signals.

Suggestion: Join online support groups related to what you’re experiencing. Ask questions. Become engaged. Do not let your illnesses and disabilities limit your social interaction and thirst for knowledge. You will get better. But only if you work your ass off to do so.


Today’s post was a little tongue-in-cheek. The problems I shared might not seem serious and neither might the tips or solutions I suggested, but your health is no joking matter.

If you’re suffering from a chronic illness, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. And if you aren’t, count your lucky stars. Good health seems to be the one thing most of the world takes for granted, until they don’t have it.

Creatively Green was kind enough to have me on their blog because I’m a best-selling fiction author and they often have guest posts from authors. I’ve developed a non-fiction tracking notebook, the one I mentioned in the first suggestion, Plot Your Health, for chronic illness sufferers who need help managing all the numerous details associated with their health problems.

You may not need it — you may be healthy, or not ill enough to need something this detailed. But I know you know someone who does need it. We all do. There are over 100 million people in the US alone who suffer from a chronic condition. Help them out. Show them you care by suggesting a tool that will help them remember to take their medications and log their symptoms. And for less than $6, the three-month tracker makes a great gift, too.

Plot Your Health, a Journey to Wellness Planner
C.J. Ellisson

Genre: health/medical non-fiction

Publisher: Red Hot Publishing

Date of Publication: September 25, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-938601-583
ISBN: 978-1-938601-590

Number of pages: 220

Cover Artist: C.J. Ellisson

Book Description:

Are you struggling to stay on top of multiple medications and supplements throughout your day? Or maybe your doctor has asked for daily details on your symptoms? Do you miss treatment appointments, or have problems juggling all the details? If you need space to log your steps, moods, hours of sleep, blood sugar levels, or even foods — we've got you covered!

Introducing a one-year wellness planner for managing severe and chronic health concerns! Terrific for parents managing a child’s complex care, teenagers or adults who need to organize their health concerns, or for caregivers and adults managing the care of senior patients.

220 pages in length, with a repeat of multiple tracking pages for twelve months.

Notebook Contents:

-        Owner’s Info page with room for doctor info, personal data, emergency contacts, allergies and more!

-        Two pages for Condition Details, room to list six per page.

-        Four pages of Medicine and Supplement Records, six per page.

-        Four pages for tracking test results, scans, and blood work throughout the year.

Twelve monthly sections, each with the following:
  • Undated monthly calendar pages, for jotting down doctor appointments, wellness visits, physical therapy, IV infusions, or whatever you need.
  • Two Doctor/ Wellness visit pages, for questions to ask at each appointment, room for notes, and an area to jot down tests needed.
  • Treatment Record pages, with room to track nine treatments per month, plus an extra lined page for notes or more appointments.
  • A two-page Symptom trackers, each with room to track twenty symptoms for an entire month.
  • Three-pages per month of Medicine and Supplement tracking grids. Each contains room to track four meds that need to be taken three times a day, and room to track twenty-one meds required twice a day. (This area can be customized for more meds if they are taken only once per day).
  • Mood-tracking coloring image. Assign a color to a mood and color each section per day according to how you feel.
  • Additional two-page grid for tracking sleep, food, blood pressure, habits, blood sugar, oxygen levels... pretty much anything you need! Eighteen spaces to track for each month.
  • Two lined pages per month for additional needs.
  • Future planning area on the last page for appointments and scheduling for the next year.

About the Author:

C.J. Ellisson is a NYT and USA Today bestselling author who writes urban fantasy, mystery, romance, and has ventured into non-fiction with Plot Your Work, the Writer’s Project Planner and Plot Your Health, a Journey to Wellness Planner. She lives in northern Virginia with her husband, two teenagers, three dogs and two cats—reporting to love the energetic zoo that’s become their home.

C.J. turned to writing in 2009 when she could no longer work outside the home due to chronic illness, and claims the escape of writing fiction helped save her sanity. A self-proclaimed Lupus and Lyme Warrior, she is working toward getting stronger, putting her Lupus back into remission, and staying healthy.

Instead of dozens of pills, IVs, exhaustion, and pain, C.J.’s days are now filled with writing, walking dogs, exercising, eating healthy, and leading a novel-writing club in her daughter’s school. It all leads to a fun-filled, busy day, and she’s incredibly grateful to be so involved in life again.

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