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Public Health-Social Service-Community Involvement

Personally, I believe we all have a purpose. Some of people are not called to work with the public and especially with people in need. Its hard for me to switch gears and stop being an advocate even when I'm being treated at the doctors office.

Burn-out is normal for people working in public health and social work. I can tell you from personal experience in working with HIV, its a lot to deal with. Early on, we had to face death daily. You hear horrible stories of abuse, addiction, etc. It does become quite tiresome. When you've become tired, use your vacation. Take a break. Do something. Why would anyone who is already ill want to deal with someone evil in front of them? You're adding to their stresses.

I do understand being tired. There were days would I would allow my staff to close the door and chill. We'd just play music and talk. We needed to take advantage of the downtime and heal ourselves. So I can relate.

I don't care for cynicism. If you've become cynical, then its time for you to leave your field. I know I have gotten very cynical of the HIV arena in Indiana and I had to remove myself from it. It was hard for me to advocate for the women I served because I trust any of the instituations in place who were suppose to care for people who were HIV positive. I'm still fighing through that cynicism. I still care about HIV/AIDS as a vital issue but its very easy for me to become upset with the "industry". I involve myself in ways where my cynicism won't find its way back.

If you're in the business of care, remember that we are charged to be client-centered and CARING. I realize that some folks can get on ya nervous. I know that people taking advantage of the system is troublesome. I know that people will talk to you crazy. I've been called colorful names (ha!) but as the provider (expert), we must learn to adjust and handle all types. Being mean spirited to everyone who walks into your clinic, agency, hospital, etc. only adds to the stresses the client may already have to do with. We just need to check ourselves. We need our own mental health check ups and breaks.

Care for yourself first.


Lupus - Killer of Black Women

Today, I ran into a former co-worker who is battling Lupus. She is so beautiful. When I saw her, I lit up! We spoke about her battle. We spoke of how hard her journey has been. She so gratiously told me I looked great and God bless her for that cuz this sista has gained 15lbs this year. Believe me, I smiled. She told me her story and I was blessed for it. I'm so blessed for her re-entering my world.

It got me thinking that there isn't enough information about Lupus being disseminated. This is another killer of black women. I know....(sigh) but here's some information. I'm going to also post some stuff on the CWUW blog. This month is about breast cancer awareness and early detection is so very important for black women but there are so many issues that effect our community that its hard to just concentrate on one or two. I think Lupus needs to be put on our radar. Our women are LIVING with this illness and they need our support.

Here's some info about Lupus:

Lupus is an autoimmune disease that can affect various parts of the body, including the skin, joints, heart, lungs, blood, kidneys and brain. Normally the body's immune system makes proteins called antibodies, to protect the body against viruses, bacteria, and other foreign materials. These foreign materials are called antigens.

In an autoimmune disorder like lupus, the immune system cannot tell the difference between foreign substances and its own cells and tissues. The immune system then makes antibodies directed against itself. These antibodies -- called "auto-antibodies" (auto means 'self') -- cause inflammation, pain and damage in various parts of the body.

Inflammation is considered the primary feature of lupus. Inflammation, which in Latin means "set on fire," is characterized by pain, heat, redness, swelling and loss of function, either on the inside or on the outside of the body (or both).

For most people, lupus is a mild disease affecting only a few organs. For others, it may cause serious and even life-threatening problems. Although epidemiological data on lupus is limited, studies suggest that more than 16,000 Americans develop lupus each year.

The Lupus Foundation of America (LFA) estimates between 1.5 - 2 million Americans have a form of lupus, but the actual number may be higher. More than 90 percent of people with lupus are women. Symptoms and diagnosis occur most often when women are in their child-bearing years, between the ages of 15 and 45.

In the United States, lupus is more common in African Americans, Latinos, Asians, and Native Americans than in Caucasians.

There are four types of lupus: discoid, systemic, drug-induced and neonatal lupus.
Discoid (cutaneous) lupus is always limited to the skin. It is identified by a rash that may appear on the face, neck, and scalp. Discoid lupus is diagnosed by examining a biopsy of the rash. In discoid lupus the biopsy will show abnormalities that are not found in skin without the rash. Discoid lupus does not generally involve the body's internal organs. Therefore, the ANA test may be negative in patients with discoid lupus. However, in a large number of patients with discoid lupus, the ANA test is positive, but at a low level or "titer."

In approximately 10 percent of patients, discoid lupus can evolve into the systemic form of the disease, which can affect almost any organ or system of the body. This cannot be predicted or prevented. Treatment of discoid lupus will not prevent its progression to the systemic form. Individuals who progress to the systemic form probably had systemic lupus at the outset, with the discoid rash as their main symptom.

Systemic lupus is usually more severe than discoid lupus, and can affect almost any organ or organ system of the body. For some people, only the skin and joints will be involved. In others, the joints, lungs, kidneys, blood, or other organs and/or tissues may be affected. Generally, no two people with systemic lupus will have identical symptoms. Systemic lupus may include periods in which few, if any, symptoms are evident ("remission") and other times when the disease becomes more active ("flare"). Most often when people mention "lupus," they are referring to the systemic form of the disease.

Drug-induced lupus occurs after the use of certain prescribed drugs. The symptoms of drug-induced lupus are similar to those of systemic lupus. The drugs most commonly connected with drug-induced lupus are hydralazine (used to treat high blood pressure or hypertension) and procainamide (used to treat irregular heart rhythms). Drug induced lupus is more common in men who are given these drugs more often. However, not everyone who takes these drugs will develop drug-induced lupus. Only about 4 percent of the people who take these drugs will develop the antibodies suggestive of lupus. Of those 4 percent, only an extremely small number will develop overt drug-induced lupus. The symptoms usually fade when the medications are discontinued.

Neonatal lupus is a rare condition acquired from the passage of maternal autoantibodies, specifically anti-Ro/SSA or anti-La/SSB, which can affect the skin, heart and blood of the fetus and newborn. It is associated with a rash that appears within the first several weeks of life and may persist for about six months before disappearing. Congenital heart block is much less common than the skin rash. Neonatal lupus is not systemic lupus.

Demographic Information on Lupus
Cases of Lupus

The Lupus Foundation of America estimates that approximate 1.5-million Americans have a form of lupus.

Although lupus can strike men and women of all ages, 90% of individuals diagnosed with the disease are women, and 80% of those afflicted with systemic lupus develop it between the ages of 15 and 45.

Approximately 70% of lupus cases are systemic. In about 50% of these cases, a major organ will be affected.

Discoid lupus (affecting only the skin) accounts for approximately 10% of all cases.
In approximately 10% of all lupus cases, individuals will have symptoms and signs of more than one connective tissue disease, including lupus. A physician may use the term "overlap syndrome" or "mixed connective tissue disease" to describe the illness.

20% of people with lupus will have a parent or sibling who already has lupus or may develop lupus.

Only about 5% of the children born to individuals with lupus will develop the illness.
Lupus is two to three times more prevalent among people of color, including African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, Asians, and Native Americans.

It is difficult to determine the annual number of new lupus cases, or the number of individuals who die from health complications of the disease. However, due to improved diagnosis and disease management, most people with the disease will go on to live a normal life span.


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