It’s all about using your tools.

Well howdy, party people!

I got an email this morning from Teva Pharmaceuticals letting me know about the launch of their website for Shared Solutions.

Now, I am a BIG fan of Shared Solutions for several reasons, not least of which is the fact that they have taken care of me by immediately accepting me into their copay assistance program from the beginning when I started using Copaxone in 2006, when I was first diagnosed with MS. I tell you this because I am of the opinion that it is always important to be up front about these things when you are writing to an audience, not because I think that the work that they do is any less valuable or important to our MS community.

They have a wonderful tool called the More Solutions Planner on their website that can be used by anyone! It doesn’t matter if you have MS or not (but it helps! – The injection planner probably wouldn’t be as useful for those of you who aren’t injecting meds.) This planner helps by letting you set up optional reminders for medications, ordering refills of those medications, keeping your health insurance current, and giving you reminders about your doctor’s appointments and any other appointments you choose to put in there.

Prior to this, I had been using Google Calendar to do something very similar, but I hadn’t included a “where I injected” thingamabober or a “how am I feeling” part of it, so this gives me an opportunity to track my health at the same time as keeping up my planner. It sort of takes the health and community upkeep of Patients Like Me and mixes it with the organizational convenience of a calendar program. And anything that makes self-care easier and more efficient is good in my book.

To that end, I’ve created a tool to help myself and others with some basic self-care needs.

One of the things I’ve been having a very hard time with, thanks to a mixture of crushing depression and cog-fog is remembering to do the basics. And I mean the very basics, like brushing my teeth and showering for days. Sometimes, just having a self-care chart to tell you what needs to be done, and that you can put a sticker or a checkmark in after you’ve done them, helps you to stay on track. I mean, it’s one thing to think, “Eh, who cares if I brush my teeth.” for one day. It’s quite another to go several. With a self-care chart, you can see how many days you’ve gone as well as how much better you’ve gotten if you started back after you’ve fallen off track. That, and it gives you an excuse to use stickers! Hooray for stars and smiley faces!

I’ve uploaded em to my server – the pdfs look sideways because they’re landscape format. Once you print them, they’re good to go. I kept the spreadsheet in an open database file so you can edit it using a program other than excel if you want to edit it. It’s just pre-populated with my stuff. So, if you want to follow my routine, you don’t have to change a thing. šŸ™‚

Self-Care Awesomeness Chart – In Black & White
Self-Care Awesomeness Chart – In Color
Self-Care Awesomeness Chart in Open Database Format

Because sometimes, even grown-ups need to be able to take it back to nothin. And there ain’t no shame in that game.

We all fall down. It’s how we conduct ourselves when we’re gettin back up that makes all the difference.

I hope I’ve made it a little easier for any of you all to stand on your own when it’s hard. Scrounging for the little bits of what make us human can be tough sometimes. ā¤

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