Judging either work or disability as superior to the other, or more appropriate for a lupus patient, would be incredibly unkind and short-sighted. However, some dueling pros and cons of work vs. disability do merit a little discussion. For each lupus patient, the side of this debate they find themselves on may change from one season of their life to the next.
Lupus is predictably — unpredictable!
Work or Disabilty?
Some of us with lupus may never have to face the decision of needing to draw on disability benefits, but very many lupus patients do. Patients with milder lupus may never experience symptoms that threaten their ability to hold down their job. However, some of us find that activities of daily living nearly or completely become an insurmountable challenge.
Sometimes, life with lupus is just plain difficult, and this can threaten our livelihood.
Driving to Work
Some days I carry on a silent debate in the interior of my car while commuting. Should I keep on working with lupus if it is very hard to do so? As I work through my arguments against my imaginary debate opponent, there are a few competing points I make. Routinely, for the fair and complete exposition of the issues, I switch sides with my opponent. As I weigh these issues, I invite God to join my debate, and to counsel my heart with His wisdom and to lead me to each change in path I should take.
The Case for Working
Many factors help make the case for continuing to work with a lupus disability, versus dropping out of the workforce due to chronic health difficulties. No matter what it takes, some people like me feel compelled to try to keep their jobs as long as possible, even against sometimes almost insurmountable personal odds.
Here are some of my favorite arguments in support of working that compel me for the present to remain in the daily battle:
The Case for Retirement
Here are a few of my opposing arguments, that, if they become true could cause me to switch sides in the debate:
These are the some of the issues that are vetted out during my ongoing debate about working vs. disability. It is during the most overwhelming times of lupus flare that I am forced to focus on the nearing crossroad ahead, to view the split in the path before me heading in two contrasting directions. Several times in my career, I have approached the crisis of such a crossroad.
I keep working, and my debate continues. In the quiet of my car I drive on toward work each day, and ponder the road that lies ahead. If in the interior of my vehicle, the speedometer, car radio, or steering wheel ever respond to my solo conversation, I will know with certainty that the long debate is finally over.
Until then, to quote the seven dwarfs of Disney cinema fame, I whistle and sing the happy song, “it is off to work I go.”