Old Lupus....Newly Diagnosed
I'm new here and really appreciate this board. I was diagnosed with SLE, a few months ago although there is no doubt in my mind that I have had it for a long time. I'm a male, 42 years old. My mother also has Lupus.
I'm sure this is similar to so many of you, but I went years with unexplainable pain, heart problems, TIA's, etc, etc, etc. I even have the classic facial rash, but every doctor passed it off as either something else or just in my mind....until I tested positive.
I have struggled with so many aches and pains that I'm not sure how much more I can take. As Director of Risk Management, I'm in a very stressful job...not to mention that I'm in the blistering sun of Alabama.
My question that I'm hoping some of you can help with is this: If I opt for long term disability through my work, is it a decision that I make, is it a decision my doctor makes...or both? I know one thing, I can't handle much more of coming home with horrid headaches, pain in all my joints and so forth. It's driving me crazy because I want to work, but I also don't want this to turn to my internal organs either.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
I suspect your doctors may have thought lupus only affected women, so they assumed you had something else, even though your symptoms sound like classic lupus.
I grew up in Alabama and most of my family still live around Hoover and Tuscaloosa, so I understand the heat factor. Definitely avoid the sun whenever possible.
As for disabilty, your benefits or HR director should know the specifics of your LTD policy. Different insurers have different standards for what they consider disabled - some only require that you be unable to perform your specific job, while others will not pay unless you are completely disabled from doing any work whatsoever. Unfortunately for people with white collar jobs or college degrees, this can be harder to prove as insurers consider these jobs less physically demanding.
It is crucial to talk with your doctor if you decide to apply for disability, as the doctor has to certify that you are in fact disabled from working. If your doctor isn't supportive and willing to help, you may have problems. You may also have tp take an independent medical examination by a doctor selected by your insurance company. It's also important to show that you have complied with all your doctor's treatment recommendations.
You may also want to consider social security disability, which is a different issue.
I assume from your title that you are in a salaried position - is there any chance you could take a leave of absence or reduce your work load? Just lowering the stress level can sometimes help.
I don't know much about this but think you'd have better time getting disablilty from your employer that social security. It took me 6 years to get ss. and I have to have a ss doc rexamine me yearly. My daughter got hers from her employer less painful and quicker
Thank you for your responses. I really appreciate it. I have actually tried to take more time away from work...not a leave of absence per se, but truly using the vacation time that I have coming. It definitely helps a lot, but as soon as I get back to the grind and the stress, the health issues come right back. It is very frustrating.