The following post is from Michelle of Mommy Misadventures: Mobile Apps for Lupus
Lupus is a chronic disease where the body’s immune system attacks one or more of the body’s organ systems, causing pain, inflammation, and organ damage. Lupus can affect either gender or ethnicity. However, it is most common in women of color between the ages of 15 and 44. It affects 1.5 million Americans and 5 million people worldwide. Lupus has no known cause, and there is currently no cure.
May is Lupus Awareness Month, and May 10th is World Lupus Day. I am one of the 1.5 million Americans diagnosed with lupus. As part of my contribution to lupus awareness, I’ve compiled a list of apps that I use to help me manage the daily challenge that comes with lupus.
Lupus is a disease that presents differently in each patient. It is also characterized by flares when disease activity increases and remission periods when the disease takes a rest. Flares can sometimes be triggered by different things, such as stress or weather changes. A detailed diary of her symptoms is important to help a patient learn more about her disease patterns.
Chronic Pain Tracker (iOS) – Lite, Premium $9.99
There are a lot of pain trackers on the market, but Chronic Pain Tracker for iOS is my hands-down favorite. It allows you to create separate, custom profiles to track particular symptoms, especially helpful if you have multiple chronic diagnoses to keep track of. What I like best about Chronic Pain Tracker is that it has various pain-tracking variables, including type, intensity, and location, as well as an analysis tool that allows you to compare data over time. Over time, the data collected by Chronic Pain Tracker can help a patient identify patterns or changes and make it easy to share with doctors.
Many patients with lupus experience what’s known as “lupus fog,” which can affect everything from thought processes and memory. For some, the fog is just a mild annoyance, but it can be debilitating for others.
I often deal with mild memory loss, which can sometimes make it difficult to recall everyday information or what I’m supposed to be doing. To help me cope, I rely on productivity apps to help capture and access information that I can’t always remember.
My Evernote account acts like my second brain, from personal notes to client research. I have entered just about everything into my Evernote account, and it has been well worth the time. I love that I can capture information from just about anywhere — manual notes, clipping web pages, photos, voice notes — and then access them whenever I need via Evernote’s search function. While I still prefer Chronic Pain Tracker for symptom tracking, Evernote is great for capturing questions or specific events that I want to talk to my doctor about.
While Evernote allows you to create checklists within notes, the inability to sync with calendaring applications was always a deal breaker for me. Luckily, many task management applications are available that do just that. My personal favorite is Astrid because it has robust notes and commenting feature, allowing me to keep track of the progress of a task. Plus, it syncs with Google, allowing me to see my tasks (and set reminders!) at a glance.
My identity as a writer is second only to my identity as a wife and mother. Nothing can send me into depression faster than being unable to write. More and more, I have found my hands being affected by lupus, and some days they are so painful that typing is an impossibility.
Going a day without writing in some fashion just isn’t possible for me. I use Dragon’s speech recognition software to dictate. To be honest, it took a while to get used to dictating vs. typing but the more I use it, the more comfortable I’ve become. Dragon is an expensive application but well worth it for the paint it saves me when I’m unable to use my hands.
Do you have a chronic illness like lupus? What do you use to help you manage your illness?
|Michelle Mista is an IT professional, writer, and blogger with a love for all kinds of technology. She writes about tech tips and trends for work-at-home professionals on her portfolio blog and muses about motherhood at Mommy Misadventures. She is on a constant quest to balance life, work, and geekery.|