Family: recent publications

When Working Full-Time With Chronic Illness Leaves Me 'Chronically Choosing'

I sometimes look back on life before lupus and psoriatic arthritis and feel startled by the richness of my days back then. I woke up, exercised, taught a full day as a preschool teacher, studied, and often went out for a drink or coffee with a friend before winding down for the night. My schedule required fewer choices than it does now. I thought nothing of how that kind of fulfillment from everyday activities merited keeping — or what the cost would be to my mental health were I to lose any major life activity.

As my lupus developed along with psoriatic arthritis, working full days grew difficult, and working full weeks was impossible. Exercise turned from a joy into a challenge. My friendships transformed from meetups to texts. My thinking transformed from always sharp to often cloudy. I could no longer keep up with the life I had been living.

I realized there was a choice before me. What pieces of my life did I want to keep, and what would I have to let go? Working brings me meaning, direction, and a sense of growth and self sufficiency that I refuse to lose. I’m so grateful that my body still allows me the option to work, even though working comes with many caveats. Teaching no longer fit with my body, so I found a job in social work with a more flexible schedule. I now work with an organization that supports individuals with disabilities who want to work and sets them up with employment positions. I’m setting people with disabilities up for success — a mission that resonates with me.

When I work, I look capable. I handle my caseload well. I complete my administrative tasks thoroughly and on time. I work well with the individuals and families I advocate for. I love my job, supervisors, and coworkers. However, when I

Family life feelings
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Family: Readers Choice

Those of you who are pet lovers or who have a pet of your own probably know how important it is to have a bond with your pet. I own an adorable 11-year-old beagle named Milo. We rescued him from a beagle rescue after the founder of the rescue found Milo abandoned with a broken pelvis. We adopted Milo when I was about six.
I sometimes look back on life before lupus and psoriatic arthritis and feel startled by the richness of my days back then. I woke up, exercised, taught a full day as a preschool teacher, studied, and often went out for a drink or coffee with a friend before winding down for the night. My schedule required fewer choices than it does now. I thought nothing of how that kind of fulfillment from everyday activities merited keeping — or what the cost would be to my mental health were I to lose any major life activity.

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