My best friend told me that she was diagnosed with Lupus last month but hasn't known how to deal with it and just told me today. I don't know how to support her really and she is losing a lot of her hair. Not sure if it is from the Lupus or the stress. Any tips on how I can be there for her? It would really, really help me out!
I was diagnosed with Lupus 15 years ago, and it takes a while to adjust to it. Hair loss is one of the giveaway symptoms of Lupus, so she needs to deal with this practically to minimise the loss. The first thing I did was swap my hairbrush for a wide toothed comb. It's much gentler on the hair, and if she keeps it in a long style, the loss won't be so noticeable.
Lupus causes a lot of random inflammation all over the body, so advise her to look up anti-inflammatory foods and include as many as possible in her diet. Fatigue is also a major factor in Lupus, so she needs to get plenty of rest when she needs it. The best advice I can give her is to learn to manage the disease, rather than trying to fight it, because she won't win the battle. If you can come back with more specific queries, I may be able to help some more.
I think you have to be brutally honest. Let your friend know this is a path you have not taken before. Let her know you understand she will face some bad days ahead of her and you will be there for her. Maybe even join some support groups for friends and family of those with Lupus and encourage her to join some support groups for the patients as well.
You can't know 100% what she is going through, but others with the condition can. Let her know that. And research it together. Do the lupus fundraising walks together, etc. I hope things work out well.
Lupus can make a person feel so exhausted that they can hardly get through the day. The best thing you can do for your friend is to help her with simple everyday things. Bringing over a casserole dish for a meal, offering to pick up things for her at the store, washing a dish or two while you're over there visiting, or you could grab the vacuum cleaner and run it over the carpet. Little things, but to a person with Lupus while they are having one of their flares, it could be like climbing a mountain.
I too have a relative who just found out that he has Lupus. He is in his early 40's with two daughters, who are wondering if their Father will pass away with this disease. I didn't know anything about it so have not been much help, but reading this post has given me more insight on the subject. Now I feel that I could be helpful to him and his girls!