Cut it Out Challenge for Lupus

Cut it Out Challenge for Lupus

By Joanna Mechlinski

Joanna Mechlinski

Joanna Mechlinski

Think of all the tiny pleasures that make up your days. You probably start your morning with a cup of coffee, prepared just the way you like it. No doubt you’re able to drive yourself wherever you need or want to go, whenever you want to go. You have a solid circle of friends that you often meet for lunch or to see a movie.

For the millions of people living with lupus, many of the commonplace things that most healthy people tend to take for granted can be a challenge, if not downright impossible. Many are not able to hold regular employment; still others are not able to drive. Some may have had to give up favorite foods or beverages, as they cause their symptoms to flare up. Social outings, even as simple as meeting friends for lunch or at the movies, lead to a great deal of planning as to whether the person will be able to get through the travel, time spent there and travel back without causing themselves too much pain afterward. Many times, a person might think he or she will be able to attend, only to have to cancel on the last minute – something that not everyone will understand, causing the person to lose social connections and become isolated.

Recently the Lupus Foundation of America invited the public to take part in a new challenge, called Cut it Out. Participants are asked to choose one thing they enjoy and to cut it from their lives for two weeks. If there is any cost to the item or activity, they are encouraged to donate the total they would have spent toward lupus research and awareness.

Luckily for the participants, their challenge lasts only fourteen days. However, for people living with lupus – and countless other illnesses and disabilities – there is no end in sight. They must adjust to a life without certain things, period.

That said, this activity is a fantastic idea. While it’s nearly impossible for someone not faced with an illness or disability to really fathom what it’s like to live with one, this small challenge provides a solid glimpse on what it feels like to abruptly give up something you enjoy and likely take for granted. It shouldn’t be limited to the Lupus Foundation. We should help promote the concept to all our friends and family, regardless of the challenges we face, encouraging them to walk in our shoes for only two weeks. Chances are, when that period is up, they will understand a bit more clearly that our everyday walk is much more painful and stressful than they ever imagined. While they can’t solve our problems or take away our pain, a population with greater awareness can help better support us on our daily journey.

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Authored by: Joanna Mechlinski

Joanna Mechlinski is a former newspaper reporter who now works in education. She is a chronic pain sufferer who lives in Connecticut and is a frequent contributor to the National Pain Report. You can follow her on twitter @castlesburning.

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Yes isolation so frequently happens with chronic pain and disease. It’s one of the rarely discussed aspects of chronic pain as well as depression, loss of self respect, loss of hope. These things come all to often with pain that causes loss of work loss of financial stability subsequent inability to participate in social activities due to finances depression pain and illness. Pain is a thief that steals ones life and identity. Any work on behalf of pain patients to advocate for these needs is greatly appreciated

Jean Price

Interesting concept of letting others know a little of what life with a long term, incurable, and painful medical condition is like. For me, and a lot of people I see….the onset of persistent daily pain has been like instantly aging…all the losses of aging handed to us in one package and in a short amount of time! Sometimes with one incident, other times with one diagnosis! The inability….to drive, to care for our homes, to care for the family, to get comfortable even at home, to do the simple activities of personal care and daily living, to go out for socal engagements, or participate in hobbies or even the sports known as “senior sports”….like golf or fishing, to be considered competent (a HUGE loss!), to walk unassisted, to live on a fixed income with many more expenses like medications and copays! Plus, we find a dwindling list of friends who stay in contact or even family who visits or spends time with us, even changes in our body image AND self respect due to our inability to work or just function normally, AND of course all the sadness and grief of all these changes that can so alter our outlook on life in general!!

Trying to explain our situations and our lives to others whose lives are full and whose bodies are active, painless, free of limits from trauma or diseases…well, like the article says….it’s next to impossible!! Yet having them do an activity to cut out something important could at least give them an inkling if they are willing to honestly consider what “cutting that out” long term or indefinitely….and WITHOUT giving permission or choosing would be like. Again..those would be some barriers to their understanding! If they choose what to cut out, that’s not what we get to do! If they do this in full agreement, that’s not what we do! And if they know it’s only for a short while…we don’t get that luxury! It would be better if they were to list five things they injoyed…and they all had to CUT OUT WHAT a certain number…like 2, OR even…1…..UNTIL FIRTHER NOTICE!! Would they do it? Would we? If we had a choice?!


Excellent idea though I doubt very much that even one person I know would participate because their lives are too important to be inconvenienced though they might donate some money.

Tim Mason

I do have my coffee the way I like it in the morning. It is an absolute necessity that I drink 5 cups methylated xanthene with medications before heading off to work. I realized a long time ago that no one really has “friends” at work, only acquaintances. (One could call them (frinememies) I really have no friends outside of work either. I am a social recluse with 7 hounds that are my friends.
Although I do not have lupus I do have chronic nerve pain from previous surgeries. That’s life and part of getting old. Trying to explain that to someone that does not have real pain is a waste of time and breath.
I try and enjoy the condition my condition is in. Laughter and an aging canine companion is all a person needs.
I am a simple man.