A person with lupus holds a magnifying glass to inspect a purple butterfly in a field of wildflowers.

What Is LOOMing?

When we have the privilege of waking up each morning, we are (in essence) all granted the same 24 hours that day. We have that opportunity to make the most of the 1,440 minutes. But for someone living with lupus, each day they wake up, while they are granted (in essence) the same 24 hours, or 1,440 minutes…they have to view their time through a drastically different lens. We are calling this lens the LOOM or the Lupus Order of Magnitude.

What is LOOM?

Of course, the natural first question is, “What is LOOM or the Lupus Orders of Magnitude, and how does it actually apply in these situations?" Well, let’s start by agreeing that an order of magnitude is simply a value, that when applied to another value, allows the original value to maintain its respective ratio, but increases or decreases in actual amount. When you have lupus, the amount of time or energy that an activity will take is considered through the lens of LOOM.

Wedding decisions

I recently got married (yay!) and decided to have a very small/intimate wedding. Part of the reason we wanted to have just a small ceremony was due in part to the restrictions of the pandemic as well as our inherent minimalist nature. Even still, my mom (who battles with lupus) was instrumental in planning, organizing, and coordinating the wedding ceremony.

One of the first decisions we made was to have the wedding outdoors. So, given that my mom cannot spend an extended amount of time in the sun without experiencing negative side effects, we decided to have the wedding in the evening. While this would address one of the problems, another concern would be that she would still be moving around quite a bit during the day.

LOOM for the big day

Given these parameters, we now have to consider the big day through “LOOM.” I woke up the morning of the wedding, ready to help set things up, prepare the outdoor setup, and pick various things up as necessary. However, with my mom having lupus, she was faced with a dilemma the night before and morning of the wedding. Should she take a dose of her infamous steroids as a proactive measure? Doing this would undoubtedly help her throughout the day; but the wedding was set for the evening and there is a side of effect of the steroids that seem to come after several hours have passed and leave her feeling as bad, if not worse than she did prior to the steroids.

LOOM would also suggest that she would have to strategically decide how active she would be during the day and when the optimal times of her activity would be. If she timed things improperly or over-exerted herself, she would feel the arthritic repercussions.

Making considerations for lupus

It is so easy sometimes to take our time and energy for granted. When I wake up and realize that I have a full day to accomplish things, I’m not necessarily faced with the burden of thinking about how much of an impact that day’s activities will have on future days. In essence, everything that my mom has to do has to be scrutinized through the LOOM — the amount of time or energy she requires is and always should be measured on a different scale. LOOM is not a form of sympathy! It is an acknowledgment that NOT all time and energy expenditures are created equally...Lupus Orders Of Magnitude (LOOM) needs to be taken into consideration.

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