Helpful Hints

Need ideas for simplifying your life? Consider the following:

  • Hire a cleaning service
  • Order your groceries online and have them delivered
  • Outsource yard work
  • Accept meals from organizations catering to the sick or homebound
  • Mail-order your prescriptions
  • Order gifts online and have them shipped to the recipient directly
  • Have gifts professionally gift-wrapped – save your swollen fingers the trouble
  • Hire a caterer when you host a party
  • Bring a side dish from your favorite restaurant to your next potluck dinner, or buy pre-made shes from the grocery store
  • Pull into the full-serve gas pump every once in awhile to give yourself a break
  • Say “Yes” when the attendant at the grocery store asks, “Need help outside?”
  • Ask the store clerk to help you with hard-to-unwrap items (e.g. CD’s and DVD’s, anything with a twist-off cap) immediately after you’ve purchased them, if no one is at home to help you
  • Hire someone to walk/groom/care for your pets
  • Hire a handy man to help with everything and anything around the house
  • Ask your grocery store deli or bakery to slice, cut, or pre-package items so that you don’t have to
  • Use a dry cleaning service that picks up and delivers
  • Use the skycap service at the airport or a bellman at a hotel to handle your luggage
  • Let someone help you when assistance is offered – each and every time

  • Schedule doctors appointments or errands during your most mobile, agile time of the day or week
  • Switch your wardrobe to pullover tops and pull up pants or skirts. Forget the buttons!
  • Wear clasp-less jewelry – slide-on bracelets and necklaces can be just as cute
  • Invest in soft, wireless bandeau bras if the hard wires of traditional bras are painful to you
    and don’t worry that they might not be as flattering. When you have a grimace on your face because you’re in pain, you’re probably even less attractive. (You won’t have to remove them for X-Rays, either!)
  • Use weekly pill organizers to manage your medicines
  • Use a health managing app like KnowYourMeds to help ease the burden
  • Use lightweight plastic cups instead of heavy glassware. Your joints will thank you
  • Alter your hairstyle so that you have an easier ‘do with which to work. Don’t you remember Julia Roberts in Steel Magnolias?
  • Buy a wig if you’re losing your hair or invest in a couple of cute hats. You’ll save yourself the aggravation of trying to make those thin little wisps of yours behave
  • Utilize a cane, walker, or wheelchair when necessary. Don’t be embarrassed – hobbling
    around as if you’re about to collapse is what calls attention to yourself. Breezing along with the help of a walking device does the opposite!
  • Buy easy-open toiletries, groceries, etc.
  • Invest in a letter opener for mail, etc.
  • Replace your kitchen utensils with the easy-grip brands – they really make a difference
  • Make life with pets as easy as you can – if picking them up is too strenuous, purchase an ottoman so they can hop up and down on your lap without your help
  • Wear silky pajamas to bed, making it easier to turn over without disturbing your joints
  • Swap out hard-to-turn faucets or door handles for easier turning levers
  • Buy or request large print books from the store or library, if your vision is failing you
  • Buy single-use packets of dishwashing soap and laundry detergent so that you don’t have to measure out or pour anything
  • Carry non-zip bags and purses, and empty them of all of the heavy items you shouldn’t be lugging around
  • Ditch the over the shoulder duffle bags and always opt for wheeled luggage
  • Pay your bills online

Chronic Control Chart

Need an organized way to keep track of your myriad symptoms, prescriptions, and more? Try creating your own version of my Chronic Control Chart (C3). For more information about my chart, click here.


SYMPTOMS - Joint Pain, Joint Swelling, Sore Throat, Swollen Glands, Neck Pain, Heartburn,
Chest Pain, Fever, Hives, Stomach Cramps, Digestive Problems, Chills, Fatigue, Muscle Soreness,Hair Loss, Vomiting, Headache, Tooth Sensitivity, Ear Ache, Numbness, Skin Discoloration,Blurry Eyesight, Lightheadedness, Hot Spots, Mobility, Angioedema, Skin Breakout.

LIFESTYLE – Travel, Hours Worked, Hours Slept, Nap Length/Time of Day, Exercise, Overall
Morning/Day/Night, Food, Alcohol.

MEDICATIONS - List all prescriptions you currently or intermittently take; also list OTC cold
medications, pain relievers and vitamins that you take in addition to your prescriptions.

TEST RESULTS - CT Scan, X-Rays, Blood Work, Urinalysis, Bone Density Test, Pulmonary
Function Test, Blood Pressure, Platelet Count, Ultrasound, Weight.

DOCTORS – List all doctors you regularly visit. I found that although my eye doctors, dentists,
gynecologists, and podiatrists weren’t originally treating me for lupus, they eventually contributedto my treatment. Therefore, I included them on my chart.


Anna said…
I've made my "chronic control" spread sheets and getting my haircut tomorrow! Thanks Sara- I've read your book once and working through it again. You're changing my journey so much!
Life's a Bowl said…
I found your blog via WellSphere and so glad I did. I was diagnosed int he fall of 2008 with SLE and it's been a roller-coaster of a journey... I stared my own blog last fall and have been following a handful of healty living blogs but never thought to search for Lupus-related blogs! It's nice knowing that others understand the pains that can come from just the everyday life...
Cathy Eberhardt said…
I just finished reading your book and learned so much! I'm 58 and been diagnosed for 2 years officially but pcp tried to dx at least 10 years ago and then rheumy said no! I'm not familiar with excel but going to attempt a chronic control sheet. Wish me luck! and Thanks for an awesome book. I could see myself in it in so many places and my reactions.
Sara Gorman said…
Just seeing this comment now...i hope your haircut went well! And thanks so much for your kind words. so glad the book is working for you.
Sara Gorman said…
Thanks so much for your comments. So glad you found me, and i'll be sure to check out your blog. there can never be too many lupus blogs out there!
Sara Gorman said…
Fabulous to hear from you! I think any sort of tracking system will help, so anything you come up with will do the trick. Getting it out of your head and down on "paper" is key!! So glad you can relate and i wish you well.
Kelsey Kim said…
I stumbled upon your blog while picking up my lupus medication from the pharmacy. I was diagnosed just a month ago, after being married for four months, moving to Virginia, and starting graduate school. At times, like today, I feel overwhelmed at my inability to predict or control my lupus. I just wanted to say that I will keep reading your blog because, though today is a disheartening day, it has helped already. Thank you for putting yourself out there, for the benefit of people like me.
Sara Gorman said…
Kelsey - Thanks so much for writing, and I hope you WILL keep following. Lupus can be so stinking unpredictable...but even just acknowledging that fact means you're moving in the right direction! Now - learning how to embrace it (i.e. by honing your spontaneity skills) is the next step. I'm still working on it myself! Best of luck and thanks - SG
Cassi said…
I was just hospitalized and diagnosed with lupus nephritis one month after giving birth to my first child. I have been feeling so frustrated and lost these past few weeks when I randomly stumbled upon your blog. .and thank you! Thank you for sharing your journey, as I'm about to start mine. And I can't wait to order your book.
Sara Gorman said…
Thx so much for your comments! Best of luck with your little one. I hope you're settling into your diagnosis - and finding ways to manage the disease with a newborn in tow. What a lot to process! Take care - and we'd love to hear how you're doing!
Unknown said…
It is so interesting how it works - I was just getting my thoughts together to create a control sheet and stumbled upon this page. Thank you so much for your tips and inspiration!
Sara Gorman said…
Elena - So glad this page is helpful, and thank you for your kind words!

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