October is Lupus Awareness Month
Our super administrator Sheryl wanted to share her experience of lupus and fibromyalgia, which are both hidden disabilities
She shares how employers and work colleagues can help people in a similar situation to hers.
If an employee has either of these conditions you need to be aware of the symptoms and how the condition affects your employee. You will need to be flexible, I find that working at home suits me better as I can pace myself through the day.
If working at home is not possible, regular breaks to stretch and flex are important, being able to stand up and walk around is very beneficial.
If your employee works in an office, a comfortable work area is essential, I am sensitive to light, smells, noise and temperatures so you need to think about these issues. A comfortable workstation and suitable DSE is a must. Although this will not stop the pain, it can help me not to seize up too quickly and be able to work a little longer.
Memory issues or "brain fog" is a major issue that you should be aware of. I find it very helpful to have tasks written down with deadlines and priorities so that I am aware of what exactly I need to do and then I can pace myself. Colleagues need to be patient when brain fog takes over as I know what I want to say and do but my body doesn't seem to get the message. It is very frustrating and an understanding colleague is essential.
Flexible hours are also very helpful as I do not have specific times when I feel better than others. Just be aware that every day can be totally different in terms of energy and pain. As long as you have an open and honest dialogue with your employee and are aware of their limitations, you should be able to help your employee to do their job.
How do Lupus and Fibromyalgia affect the body?
With lupus the immune system produces too many antibodies (specific blood proteins). Instead of defending the body from infection, these antibodies attack the patient’s own healthy tissue and organs. This can directly or indirectly cause problems in almost any part of the body by inflaming and occasionally damaging the tissue. Lupus mainly affects females and can affect any part of the body.
Fibromyalgia is a long-term condition that causes pain all over the body, accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. People with fibromyalgia may look okay on the outside, but are definitely hurting on the inside.
Symptoms can be mild to incapacitating, it is important to remember that no two people are the same.
Famous people who live with these conditions
Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta aka Lady Gaga (Singer, actor)
Morgan Freeman (Actor)
Janeane Garofalo (Comedian)
Sinead O'Conner (Singer/Activist)
If you would like any further information regarding Lupus or Fibromyalgia, you can click on the buttons.