Fight the Fog (Including 7 Strategies for Coping)

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Lately I’ve been noticing that I’m having a difficult time remembering information–dates, where i put things, tasks–and I’m a teacher! I’d write my to do list and lose it, commit to completing a task and forget its due date. Oh! Forget about the professional development meetings where I’d be asked to reflect on a lesson and have such a hard time remembering what I even taught! At first these occurrences seemed sporadic, then suddenly they became more and more frequent. I would laugh them off to hide the embarrassment, and in the back of my mind question what was happening to me.

During my next doctor visit, I casually mentioned my concern to my rheumatologist and the response that she gave me only stirred up a number of questions. She claimed that difficulty with memory was common among Lupus patients and was called “Lupus Fog”. 4 years with this disease and I’d NEVER heard of this fog thing so you KNOW the questions were pouring! What is it? What are the symptoms? Are there treatment options? Is it progressive?????? I learned that Lupus Fog is actually the term that references cognitive impairments that appear in patients with Lupus. These impairments, unfortunately, aren’t limited to memory. They also include issues with concentration, confusion, and difficulty expressing oneself. All of the pieces were slowly coming together and my doctor’s synopsis made perfect sense to me! I was exhibiting all of these symptoms! There would be moments when I’d start a sentence and completely lose my train of thought, consequently being incapable of finishing. I’d ask for simple directions to be repeated during professional learning community meetings. I would have all of my thoughts clearly organized in my head, and have the most difficult time articulating them for others. 

Here is yet another challenge that Lupus patients are faced with on a daily basis. Thankfully, symptoms do not get progressively worse (they’re actually as unpredictable as all other symptoms). As a professional, this can further interfere with one’s ability to perform at work. As frustrating as this is and difficult to accept, there are a few coping strategies that I’ve found! Some of them I’ve already incorporated into my day and others I look forward to trying out. For those struggling with Lupus, try them! If you know someone with Lupus and are beginning to notice some of these symptoms, please practice patience and understanding as your loved one learns to balance and manage all of these unforeseen challenges.


7 Strategies for Coping with Lupus Fog

1. Jot it all down! I’ve gotten used to bringing paper and pens with me everywhere! According to Dr. Janet Foley Orosz who has suffered with Lupus for over 20 years, during time periods when Lupus Fog symptoms are heightened, it’s important that you put less stress on your working memory. You can do this by writing everything down–grocery lists, birthdays, tasks, important dates and meetings–everything! In doing this, you’ll likely be more successful at maintaining organization and productivity.

2. Organize, organize, and organize some more! I love post-its–I’m not sure that there’s a teacher in the world who doesn’t! I also love using them to jot down my to do lists which is a big no-no. Choose one place (daily planner) to keep all of your notes and appointments so you don’t end up misplacing them, or even worse, with random non-meaningful pieces of paper all over.

3. First things first! Let’s be real–we’re human. It’s nearly impossible for many of us to get all of the items on our to-do lists completed in the time frame that we wish–especially for Lupus patients! I have accepted this and feel minimal remorse when I’ve only checked off 2 of the 5 items on my personal to-do list. You must be able to prioritize your tasks based on their importance. It’s entirely okay if you don’t complete everything…life goes on!

4. Work it out! Just like every other muscle in our bodies, our brain needs exercising too! Reading, playing word games, and solving puzzles (crossword for example) can help enhance your memory. This is even more impactful when you find time to incorporate brain work into your daily routine! Try finding various ways to exercise your mind!

5. Say what you’ve got to say! I take full advantage of having a second teacher in my classroom and share everything with her! As soon as a class relevant thought comes to my mind, she’s first to know! “Things seem to stick better in the short-term memory if you say them aloud,” says Robert Katz, MD, a rheumatologist and associate professor of medicine at Rush Medical College in Chicago. In my case, sharing my thoughts with those around me is like having insurance!

6. Quiet Time! Determine your most productive time of day and run with it! Sit and get any assignments, tasks, chores, etc. completed. I personally work best early in the morning right after my medication settles in. By the end of the day, I am beat, so I try very hard to be productive before 12:00pm. It’s also a great idea to schedule any appointments or meetings with doctors during this time!

7. Be happy and healthy! You must take care of yourself! Reduce the amount of stress you are exposed to, take naps/breaks throughout the day (if possible), get an adequate amount of sleep at night (minimum of 7 hours), and exercise! Doing all of these things can significantly improve your Lupus Fog symptoms. and overall health!


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If you know anyone suffering with Lupus and/or any other “Invisible Disease”, please feel free to share with them directly!

Copyright ©2017 Joezette Joseph. All Rights Reserved.

36 thoughts on “Fight the Fog (Including 7 Strategies for Coping)”

  1. I know this too well! It can be extremely frustrating and frightening to deal with. I write everything down, then forget to look at it. Texting information to myself has been the most effective reminder.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You’ve an amazing approach towards life. Always keep up this positivity and continue inspiring . I really liked how you described everything it would only end up making people calm.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awe thank you so much! I really appreciate that! I’m trying really hard to stay positive in spite of everything because negativity only makes things worse…I’m just happier and healthier when I focus on the good things in life and ways to work around the things I can’t control:)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for sharing your amazing journey! As someone with ADD, I can relate to a lot of the “fog” symptoms… I rely heavily on writing everything down and having systems to organize my life! I hope things get easier for you!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Jozette, thanks for following my blog. I am following yours now. I do not have lupus, but I know someone that does have it, so reading your blog will help me understand their situation a lot better. I wish you well and look forward to reading more.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Kathy! Thank you for following! Please please share the posts with your friend! Encouragement and support is so beneficial when battling this disease. Your friend is blessed to have you! I look forward to keeping in touch!! ~Joe

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks I will let her know. She is actually my sister-in-law. Thank you Joe. We all can use the encouragement that’s for sure.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank-you for sharing your story. I was diagnosed though spinal tap fluid with Central Nervous System Lupus back in 2010. But I have been sick since I can first remember. At the age of 14 I was having dizzy spells, headaches, etc. And told I was hypertensive, and the doctor back then in the early 90’s well thought it to be odd because I was extremely athletic playing softball and volleyball. Having a history of heart disease, HBP, Cancer, etc. On my father’s side. I was put on medicine only to find sadly today I’m at end stage kidney failure, My Lupus has never gone into a remission. I have daily fought this continual flare for years fighting with doctors, being miss diagnosed, and all the pills. None have worked. I have a 5 year old daughter and my husband took his life on July 7,2016. Accidental suicide was never ruled. But I know. So to get to the point, What can I do? Any advice is welcomed as I am open minded. However please know I have exhausted all corners where western medicine is concerned, and now am looking into cannabis oil and pills possibly to help with the never ending pain, nausea, vomiting almost daily now to day the least. I live with my 5 year old daughter 74 old mother and 2 roommates as well on a small farm like area. I’m 38 and in desperate help of prolonging my life, my “quality of life”. I have suffered one heart attack in 2011, and at least 5 mini strokes since then. Only damage was this last summer my right lower corner of my visually to me had 3 black blinded spots. It lasted about 3-4 months and eventually went away. However my vision has remained more damaged then before. I’m sorry I feel like a basket case, everything in my life is falling to pieces. Your story reached out to me. Thank you again!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Firstly, you are a remarkable woman and oh so strong!!!!! It is amazing that you have fought through so much–I admire that tremendously! It sounds like your Lupus has been beyond unfair to you:( Initial medications such as prednisone, plaquenil, and rituximab have worked to keep my inflammation at a minimum. Ofcourse the pain is still there, but I am however able to work still. Have you been on any of these medications? My doctor is also currently working on asking my insurance company to cover Benlysta treatments. We are hoping they will be more effective than my current treatment plan. I can’t imagine what discomfort you must be going through. The best advice that I can honestly give you is to find solace in the Lord. He is the only thing that keeps me sane. I think I would be an emotional wreck if I did not have my personal relationship with God to carry my through this walk. You have been going through the storm for such a long time, I know it is difficult to have faith, but I am a firm believer that these battles that we face have a greater purpose that is beyond us and that in His strength, we can push through and watch that purpose come to life! I will be praying for you and your health…You are not alone! I really hope that things begin to work out in your favor<3 ~Joe

      Liked by 1 person

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