Book Review by Ben Rathbun, Director of the Michigan Lupus Foundation

of When Lupus Throws You for a Loop

by Donna Oram, MSW, ACSW

In my tenure as the executive director of the Michigan Lupus Foundation, I have met hundreds of lupus patients of all ages, races, and genders, as well as their family and friends, and I cannot think of even one who would not benefit from reading When Lupus Throws You for a Loop by Donna Oram, MSW, ACSW, (available at

Donna Oram specializes in understanding the emotional and social impact of this disease. Not only is she an experienced professional in the field of social sciences, but she is also a member of the lupus community. As she states in the book, she has the disease, but the disease does not have her.  It is important for an author to understand the true impact of her subject, and she demonstrates a mastery of lupus with wisdom and wit to help the reader be prepared for the very unpredictable symptoms that are felt both physically, emotionally and socially.
Her many years of experiencing this disease in the first person as well as helping countless lupus patients through counseling adds an extra layer of depth and credibility to the book which manages to wed both statistics and anecdotal stories in a seamless, creative and engaging manner. Readers will stay engaged as the author’s style of writing is simple, conversational and to the point.
For the newly diagnosed this book will be a field manual to guide them through the surprising and unpredictable rollercoaster ride that is lupus. It will give them help and hope. For the seasoned lupus warrior, this may not provide new information, but it may be something even more valuable: a confirmation and validation of what they are feeling that can lead to a new found freedom to live a life that is not focused on or defined by this disease. Finally, for the friend, family member, or spouse of someone with lupus, I highly recommend reading chapters 1, 10 and 11. In fact, reading these chapters with the lupus warrior in their life would be beyond beneficial and truly life changing.
I cannot recommend this book more highly, and I plan on using it in our support groups as curriculum and in our conferences as reference guides to a disease that has for too long been under the radar. Donna Oram has been instrumental in raising the awareness of a neglected, prolific, under-funded, and deadly disease. 

Ben Rathbun

Executive Director
Michigan Lupus Foundation