For those of us with Sjogren’s syndrome, life can be full of unpredictable complications. This means we have to be prepared at all times. Usually, I do this by carrying a purse full of stuff others might not even think about. Sometimes it takes an entire extra bag of stuff.
But there is something I have learned in my 21 years of being diagnosed and listening to my body and its triggers: there are things that reduce the need for some of this excess stuff. There are actual products that have been invented that help me as a person with Sjogren’s, though I doubt that was their original intention. Here are my favorites and why:
1. My tablet: OK, this is not a new invention, but as an English Lit major, I love to read. And I am quite good at it, meaning I can devour a book in a day or two tops. I never thought I would give up my paper books. I love the smell, the turn of the page, the feel… But lately, my hands have been getting weaker, and I have started to drop the books while I am reading. It is also getting harder to turn the pages due to my essential tremor. Shaky fingers make everything more difficult for me. So I switched to ebooks. No more dropsies, no more hand cramps, and the back lighting option is so much easier on the eyes that it eliminates headaches for me as well!
2. Migraine glasses: These have eliminated a lot of tension headaches for me and reduced many of my trigeminal headaches. They are designed for people with extreme light sensitivity. And as people with Sjogren’s, so many of us have that issue due to our extremely dry eyes. These have a pleasant pink hue, and I am currently rocking the over Rx pair before I decide if it’s worth it to tint my everyday-wear glasses.
3. Wrap shoes: I know, you might be thinking, what? These are relatively new on the market, but I was intrigued when I saw them. Sjogren’s can cause neuropathy. Not in all of us, but from reading my support group pages, it seems to me a great many of us have it. At this point, I really cannot feel my feet. So I get into a lot of trouble because I love walking around barefoot. Enter these wrap shoes. The sole is rubber, the top is rubber and fabric. The can be worn indoors and out. Not exactly for rock climbing, but then again, when was the last time I went rock climbing? They are comfortable, easy, and protective. What else do I need in my oh so hectic (LOL) life?
4. Litter boxes: There are a lot of new “scoop free” litter boxes out there. With three cats and three recorded back fractures (only two of which I remember — go figure), scooping each and every clumpy thingy became impossible. My new sift tray system has made cleaning three boxes quicker than cleaning one was previously! My back feels so much better with these. And in the long run, the litter isn’t getting wasted, adding to the overall benefits of this system.
5. Light-up water bottle: My overall favorite is my new water bottle. Though I wish it held more, its sensor syncs with my phone and keeps me on track with my hydration. As someone with Sjogren’s, I need to drink more than the average person. But as an average person, I sometimes get caught up with day-to-day activities — talking, watching a movie, running errands… If my own thirst does not become overwhelming, I can often forget to keep up my hydration at regular intervals like I should. Like we all should, to be honest. I can program this bottle to my hydration needs and it will track my intake and remind me with texts and flashing lights when I am falling behind. To be honest, even the best of us could use reminders like this. It has been a real eye-opener about my drinking habits!
I know to some of you, these objects may seem odd and a waste of money, but these items have been the answer to problems I have been struggling with on a daily basis. And I totally understand that not all people with Sjogren’s will develop all the same symptoms, but knowing there are products out there just in case, at least in my mind, could be really helpful if the need arises. I spent months thinking about and researching these items, and then thinking about trying them. They all actually worked for me. By writing this, I am hoping to bring some hidden but helpful products into the light.
We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.