All posts for the month June, 2011

Has anyone seen the Sandman? Darn Insomnia Strikes Again!!!

Published June 29, 2011 by Kristel Goodspeed-Correa

Insomnia~  Ugghhhh  this symptom is on me like white on rice!  [waving my lil fist at it]  Go Away already and let me sleep!  This is a very common symptom for those of us with Lupus and RA.

I have to work today!!!!  Thats not playing nice!!!  Of course, its too late for me to go to sleep now.  I had to technically “get up” for work 1/2 an hour ago.  Now I have to wait until I get home around 1:30 pm and hope I can sneak in a nap at least.  Thankfully, I have a short shift today.

For the most part, I dont get a lot of sleep these days.  On the average, maybe 3-4 hours a day.  Once in awhile, I will have a good day and sleep 6 whole hours!  Yayayayayay!   For whatever reason, my body has decided it prefers to be a Zombie almost every day [shrug].  Not sure what the heck is up with that. I’ve tried begging and pleading with it to fall asleep, it just wont listen 😦

I often joke that my Big Bad Wolf and my Gargoyle are just nosey and wants to know what my online friends are up to in other areas of the world- like Australia, Indonesia, England, Cyprus, etc.. Ironically, it is probably because of the insomnia (as well as the Lupus and RA too) that I met these wonderful online friends that I treasure very much.

So if anyone happens to see the Sandman somewhere in their travels today, please send him my way.  I am desperately seeking some much needed sleep.  I work 6 days this week and could really use whatever rest/sleep I can get to make it through the work week.  Thanks 🙂




Pets- Nature’s Angels for the Chronically Ill- Lupus Magazine article for July 2011

Published June 27, 2011 by Kristel Goodspeed-Correa

When I was first diagnosed with Lupus, I actually bought myself a puppy to help remind myself that “life goes on, despite Lupus”.  No matter what happens with this disease, we always need to remember that.  I also named my dog “Hope” to further remind me that the cure is out there, it’s only a matter of time before researchers find the missing pieces to the mysterious puzzle known as Lupus.

I can tell you so many stories about how my pets are a Godsend to me.  Animals love unconditionally and do not discriminate.  Humans could learn from them in how we treat our fellow man, that’s for sure.  Animals certainly have mankind beat when it comes to compassion and empathy.

I have both cats and dogs.  Both are equally loving and supporting of me, especially when I am really sick.  They sense it and provide extra love to me when I need it the most.  I would definitely recommend getting a pet to anyone who is chronically ill.  Mine make me smile and feel better all the time.  They have unique personalities that provide hours of entertainment in their quirkiness. They are always making me laugh- goofballs, just like their Momma  LOL

At my sickest back in 2007, when I was pretty much at death’s cat, Shadow took on the role as nurse.  I didn’t have to ask her to, she just did.  She knew something was wrong and instinctively did everything she could to make it better.  She would keep tabs on my heart rate/breathing like she was checking my vitals.

Shadow would come and sit on my chest and lay her head over my heart and listen to the beats.  I honestly believe she was very concerned at the abnormal rate my heart was beating.  At the time, the Lupus had caused my periods to go haywire and I was slowly bleeding to death.  Doctors tried all sorts of things to stop the bleeding to no avail.  Everything just made it worse.  The doctors told me that because was bloodcell count was so low, that my heart had to pump that much harder to get what little blood was there to pump through the rest of my body.  I used to get severe chest pains any time I would have to go up the stairs to the bedroom or to the shower.  Scary, scary time.

I eventually had to have a hysterectomy but it took months before my bloodcell count was within safe limits to even perform surgery.  (I talked about this more in depth back in December in my “Meet Someone With Lupus” article that you can read in the Lupus Magazine’s archive

Another interesting thing that Shadow was concerned with back then was the amount of sleeping I was doing. I honestly believe she realized how close I was to dying because if she thought I slept too much, she would come over, place her cold nose on me to see if I was still breathing.  When she was satisfied that I was, she would either go back to doing what cats do, or lay there next to me purring.

To this day, my animals still sense when I am not feeling well.  They’ll come cuddle me as if to tell me “Its ok Mommy, everything will be alright” and “We love you no matter what”. My dog “Hope” is actually good for my Rheumatoid Arthritis part of my diagnosis so my joints don’t get stiff and ache more.  She is always bringing me stuff to throw so she can play fetch.  One of the things with RA, is its actually good to have movement, and will often lessen the pain to do so.  Hope’s a smart cookie.  It is fascinating how animals just instinctively know what is good for you and do it.  I think she has taken on the Physical/Occupational Therapist role.

Of course “Hope” is also my little buddy.  She follows me everywhere to make sure nothing happens to me.  She enjoys talking to me (she is a very vocal dog, sometimes bossy too when she wants me to do something I don’t want to do)  LOL Stubborn!  She will yip and yap at me “Now Mommy, you know this will make your joints loosen up, just throw the blue Monkey for me to chase and fetch”. Then she will smile at you, wagging her tail at you “I love you Mommy”.  LOL Sneaky methods and it’s a good thing she is cute 😉

I have lots of other friends with Lupus and various chronic illnesses who also have had wonderful experiences with their pets when it comes to their illnesses.  Some of the pets even have their own facebook pages to help share in the love and caring worldwide.

Animals truly are angels sent from God to make us feel better.  They just love us unconditionally. You will never hear them tell you “ohh but you don’t look sick” or “Oh, Lupus- that’s no big deal”, or “well your chemo cant be all that strong if you take it as often as you do”.  Animals sense the truth and just KNOW what you need the most- love, compassion and understanding.  They are hands down the best means of emotional support a chronically ill person could have.  They love us no matter what. I honestly don’t think I would have the same attitude towards my disease without my pets being here to make it better for me.  They give me hope.

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Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes…. Time to face the strange- Lupus Awareness on the internet is growing

Published June 25, 2011 by Kristel Goodspeed-Correa

Back in 2008, when I was first diagnosed with Lupus, I was amazed at how very little information there really was out there on this disease, despite the fact that it has been around centuries!

One of the most frustrating  issues with Lupus is the lack of  public awareness and understanding about it.  So how do we correct that?  We, the patients are stepping up to the plate and put it out there ourselves by documenting our own personal experiences.  We cannot rely on government or organizations to do it for us, if we did, there would still be very little information available out there.

As more and more patients are taking the initiative to talk about their experiences with this disease (and other diseases) via blogs, personal memoires, books, etc…more and more information is getting out there.

Anyone from a high school student doing a research paper for a health class to just  people wanting to know about this disease are getting more and more information available to them in the search engines.  This is a good thing, it helps others get a better understanding and education about this disease from firsthand experience, not textbook answers that may be outdated and confusing.

My blog has only been up a week now, and its already been spidered by some search engines.  I stumbled upon this the other day. it spidered my article at the Lupus Magazine’s archive too (as well as Kim’s too!)


So keep talking and blogging people.  We can make a difference for the future by educating the public and helping them understand Lupus from our own perspectives.




The good news: Lupus Migraine is gone. The bad news: RA back pain is still here.

Published June 24, 2011 by Kristel Goodspeed-Correa

Lucky for me, I was actually able to get in a little sleep after my last post, which is always a good thing.  I get a lot of insomnia with  these diseases.

I have noticed that my tolerance to pain depends on how much or how little sleep I am able to get.  Its amazing how much better I feel if I am able to actually get some decent sleep in.  I do have a stubborn case of insomnia because most of the time, NOTHING will help me to sleep.

Maybe insomnia is the diseases way of keeping us weak so they can attack at will???  I think overall, that the Lupus and the RA tend to target the weakest parts of my body.  Why?  I think its because its the easiest for them to do.  I tend to think of them as the bullies of the immune system.

The Excedrin and the Vicks did help alleviate the Lupus migraine, however, I still have some severe RA back pains today.   The back pains are always difficult to get rid of, mostly because they are in areas where I cannot reach! I will ask Joe if he can rub in and massage that area with some arthritis cream later on when he comes home from work and hope it helps.

Ohhh a Double Team~ Big Bad Wolf of Lupus and the Gargoyle of RA strikes again… Lupus Migraine and RA back/neck/shoulder pains :(

Published June 24, 2011 by Kristel Goodspeed-Correa

Uggghhh  a double whammy!  How Rude!!!

Dont my monsters of autoimmunity  have anything better to do?  Like sleep, perhaps?  A night without insomnia would be a nice welcomed change of pace.

Today, Wolfie  has decided it would be fun to wrap his gigantic furry paws around the back of my head and squeeze with all his might.  It feels like there is this gigantic set of invisible hands trying to crush the base of my skull in 😦   It also feels as though I am being jabbed in the temples with a letter opener or something too.

And if that isnt bad enough, his partner in crime, the infamous Gargoyle of RA is taking a few whacks at me as well in the center of my spine and up into my shoulders.

The reason I nicknamed my RA, “The Gargoyle” is because of how over time, it can cause some major deformities.  I’ve already seen some of his “artistry” on my pinky finger to my right hand.  It now resembles a bowling pin.  Both of my knees are horrific looking too now compared to what they once were

4:30 am- Took 2 Excedrin Migraines and coated my temples and forehead in Vicks Vaporub.  I also rubbed the Vicks into the back of my neck.  Sometimes both products will help.  Unfortunately, I havent found anything that works 100% of the time.  Bummer!  But heck, even if it lessens it to a more tolerable level, I am happy with that.

I am paranoid of becoming addicted to pain medications so I always start off trying to alleviate the pain with non-narcotics first and work my way up to the Vicodin.  Giving at least 6 hours inbetween so I dont have an accidental overdose or drug interaction.  I rarely use the Vicodin unless I am truly desperate for pain relief because I cant stand the side effects it has on me.

In case you arent aware, Vicks Vaporub actually has a topical analgesic in it’s ingredients known as Camphor.  I think the camphor and the eucalyptus that is also an ingredient in the Vicks seeps into the veins and helps to  open them up so blood flows better.  I dont know that for sure, but thats my theory 😉

Wish me luck [crossing fingers]

Congrats to my niece, Samantha Goodspeed- class of 2011- Nashua High School

Published June 19, 2011 by Kristel Goodspeed-Correa

I am very happy and excited to see that Sam has taken an interest in Nursing/Health!

Of course, secretly hoping she will decide to specialize in Autoimmune Diseases/Rheumatology/Medical Research, but that is her own path to chose, not mine.  Still very excited & proud for her whatever she choses to pursue.

Go and change the world, Sam xxooxx ❤   I know you will make a difference  in the lives of many.  Wishing all the best for your beautiful and bright future in the medical profession.

Happy Father’s Day

Published June 19, 2011 by Kristel Goodspeed-Correa
Happy Father’s Day!!!!!!

picture from

To all the Fathers out there~

Years ago, when your children were small;
you encouraged us as we learned how to crawl,

The joy you felt the first time you heard “Daddy” from the mouth of your child;
excitement filling your heart, as you looked down upon us and smiled,

Soon enough we started to walk and getting into just about everything;
you babyproofed the house to minimize the bumps, scrapes and stings,

You taught us how to play ball and how to ride a bike;
you even took us on our first mountain hike,

As the years passed by and you looked on anxiously;
We hope that we grew into the people you always hoped us to be.

Happy Father's Day, Dad

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