November is National Family Caregivers Month

November is National Family Caregivers Month, a time to thank, support, educate and empower family caregivers.

Every single day, 90 million family caregivers fulfill a vital role on their loved one’s care team, There is no better to provide comfort and support, to advocate on behalf of the patient, and to ensure continuity of care.

At the Lupus Foundation of America, Connecticut Chapter, we know how difficult it can be to be a caregiver for a lupus patient. The unpredictability in itself can often be exhausting. However, to honor National Family Caregivers Month, we encourage you to take the time to do one of the following things to support the caregiver in your life!

  • Send a card of appreciation or a bouquet of flowers to brighten up a family caregiver’s day.
  • Help a caregiver decorate their home for the holidays or offer to address envelopes for their holiday cards.
  • Offer comic relief! Give them tickets to a night out at a comedy club, your favorite funny movie to borrow or provide them with an amusing audiobook to listen to while they are performing their caregivermonththx690x400caregiving duties.
  • Offer to prepare Thanksgiving dinner for a caregiving family in your community, so they can just relax and enjoy the holiday.
  • Encourage local businesses to offer free services for family caregivers throughout the month of November
  • Direct any caregiver in need of support here!

There are numerous ways to thank and support the caregivers in your life! They work hard to comfort and encourage the patients they care for. Make sure they know just how much you appreciate them!

For more information on becoming a caregiver for a patient with lupus, read more on the Lupus Foundation of America webpage.

How do I Explain my Lupus Diagnosis to others?

Almost as difficult as it is to diagnose, lupus can be an extremely difficult disease to understand and explain to your friends and family members. Instead of beginning with a broad definition and further explaining in detail, try beginning your explanation with what lupus is NOT.

  • Lupus is not contagious therefore you cannot give or catch lupus from someone else
  • Lupus is not like or related to cancer. Cancer is a condition of malignant, abnormal tissues that grow rapidly and spread into
    surrounding tissues.
  • Lupus is not like or related to HIV (Human Immune Deficiency Virus) or AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). In HIV or AIDS, the immune system is underactive. In lupus, the immune system is overactive.

Then go into further detail about what lupus is.

  • Lupus is an autoimmune disease. In some ways, lupus is similar to an allergic reaction within the body, in which the immune system sees the body’s healthy tissues and cells as foreign. Lupus then attacks those tissues and cells.
  • Lupus is a chronic disease. That means anyone who develops lupus will have lupus for the rest of his or her life. Similar to other chronic diseases, such as diabetes or asthma, there is no cure for lupus yet. However, there are different medications, lifestyle changes and Invisible-Illnesses-8treatment options that help most people live active and productive lives in spite of their illness.
  • Lupus has many different symptoms and because of that, affects each person differently. Lupus can cause a mild skin rash or achy joints, or can involve the kidneys, heart, lungs, brain, or other internal organs. What most people do not realize, however, is how much extra effort it may take you to function day-to-day when you have to cope with extreme fatigue, chronic pain, memory loss, medication side effects, and/or visible skin lesions.
  • Lupus is unpredictable: it is a disease of flares (symptoms worsen and you feel ill) and remissions (symptoms improve and you feel better). Knowing that lupus is unpredictable may help other people understand your physical and emotional ups and downs as well as the changes that you may have to make to schedules, plans and commitments.

Giving Tuesday is December 1st!


Every November, we have one day for giving thanks and two for splurging on steals and deals. In the mix, we threw in Giving Tuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back. On Tuesday, December 1, 2015, charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world will come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give.

Interested in helping the Lupus Foundation of America, Connecticut Chapter celebrate Giving Tuesday this year? Find a way for your family, your organization or your community to come together and give back! To donate to the Lupus Foundation of America, Connecticut Chapter visit and click on the “Donate Now” button. Or sign up for our Huffing Off Stuffing 5K on Sunday, November 29th!

It’s a simple idea, and so easy to do! Join us as we embark on this global movement; let’s celebrate a new tradition of generosity!

Protect Yourself this Cold & Flu Season

Temperatures are dropping and the holiday season is upon us! downloadAlthough we’re immersed in quite a magical time of year, it’s also the beginning of cold and flu season. Not so magical after all!

When you have lupus, you have to take extra precautions to protect yourself from viruses. Not only will you feel horrible from the illness itself, but the virus could potentially provoke a flare! A double whammy during such a busy time of year! Not to mention, the use of strong immune suppressants may put some of you at a higher risk for contracting a virus. This is because the goal of lupus treatment is to suppress an overactive immune system so that it does not produce auto (self) antibodies that cause lupus symptoms. When your immune system is suppressed, you have the potential for increased chances of catching viruses and infections.

With that being said, what are the best ways to avoid catching a cold or the flu? A good starting point is to discuss the annual flu vaccine with your doctor.

While nothing is 100% fool proof, some simple steps you may want to keep in mind to help lessen the possibility of getting a cold, the flu or other viruses include:

  • Avoid anyone- including family members- with symptoms of fever4_065_ColdFluRescue (over 100° F), nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. Specifically you should avoid close, personal contact such as hugging, kissing, and shaking hands.
  • Wash your hands (tops, palms and fingers) frequently with hot, soapy water for at least 15 seconds.
  • Remember that surfaces- especially in bathrooms, on shared office equipment, on store countertops, gas pump handles, any surface of the car, and in restaurants- can expose you to germs. Keep alcohol-based gel or wipes handy, both out in public and at home.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way
  • Shield coughs or sneezes with the crook of your arm. Do not use your hands or handkerchiefs as they carry moisture and spread viruses.
  • Stay home from work or school if you are sick.
  • Please remember that you should never discontinue medications used to treat your lupus without first consulting your doctor!

Jessica Kundapur & Jodie Nimigon-Young: How to be Fabulupus


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Looking for a holiday stocking stuffer?! Look no further!

Fabulupus is the latest book to receive the Lupus Foundation of America seal of approval. Written by Jessica Kundapur and Jodie Nimigon-Young, the book is a guide to living well and being successful as a young adult with lupus. Using their personal experiences of navigating young adulthood while dealing with lupus, Jessica and Jodie provide tips and tricks for dealing with friends, family, finances, planning a career, maintaining a social life and more. We talked to them to find out more about their motivations for writing the book, which you can purchase here.

What inspired you to write Fabulupus?

Jessica Kundapur: The main inspiration was simple; there were no books specifically for young people with lupus! I was diagnosed when I was 26, and though many of the books I read were helpful, none related to my life as a young person. I was still in school, I was dating, I was trying to figure out my career goals, and I was trying to have a fun social life – all while managing a chronic illness. What inspired me to write Fabulupus was that I didn’t want to give up (on anything!) and the other young people I met with lupus didn’t want to give up either. This book is for them.

Jodie Nimigon-Young: I had been involved with volunteering at different levels (local, provincial and national) since my diagnosis, and had heard many stories and the same questions/concerns from youth and their families, that I knew this information, support and encouragement needed to get out there. I had always wanted to write a book but the task seemed daunting to approach solo, which is why I was involved in youth newsletters (in different iterations, when they existed). When Jessica approached me to write a book with her, because she liked my writing style in the newsletter articles, and was equally challenged with initiating to write a book by her self – I immediately jumped on board.

Why do you think it’s important for young people with lupus to read this book?

JK: Fabulupus provides specific tips and inspiration on managing your illness and life in the present and helps young people with lupus plan for a wonderful life for the future. Fabulupus shows that while lupus is tough, you can have an amazing life and reach your goals; but it does take a lot of acceptance, flexibility, patience and creativity.

JNY: This book is the ultimate assurance that you are not alone and that you can come out a better person, on the other side, after facing challenges on a regular basis. There are a lot of useful strategies to tackle different everyday, real life situations that youth face (with or without lupus). We provide examples from our own lives to show how we are all human, that living well with lupus is ever evolving and a constant struggle to strike a balance – but that it is worth the ride.

Is Fabulupus just for young adults with lupus? Can others benefit from reading it?

JK: Anyone with a chronic illness will have faced what they’ve perceived as disadvantages and roadblocks, and this book helps people with a way of dealing with obstacles. One example is the common fear of a ‘gap’ in a resume. Many people (lupus or not) face this same issue and we help guide people with how they can “fill the gap”. More importantly, we empower our readers to not be ashamed that there are gaps, to encourage them to be proud that they were conquering a flare or another difficult time in their lives.

JNY: This book is for anyone with any chronic health condition, those who love them and even for those without a chronic condition who need a little boost through a challenging life circumstance. Even we have found useful information in the book, while re-reading it!

What advice would you give to your younger self that you wish someone had told you about growing up with lupus?

JK: I wish someone had told me that I would still be able to accomplish my goals, though I would have to do it more slowly and with some creativity. However, the message I got was to be “less-than” and to accept that I can’t have what I truly wanted. I learned this is not true- you can reach your goal, but it can take more time (that’s okay) and you need to ask for help (also okay!).

I also wish people would have told me that I could invent brand-new and unexpected goals –like writing a book!

JNY: To continue pursuing my dreams, not worry about what other people think about how I get there (or what I should be doing, or that some things may not be possible because of my illness). It may take some time, but I will get there and have everything I ever wanted – including being stable with lupus, married with children, and working a career I enjoy.

Which chapter resonated most with you when you wrote it?

JK: For me it was the Career chapter because when I was diagnosed, I really thought my ambitious career plans would be over. Writing this chapter allowed me to reflect on how to be flexible, adaptable, and find activities that I really enjoy and this was the basis of what would become a thrilling and fulfilling career path.

JY: There are two, Relationships and Spirituality. These are areas which hit more home and personal for me. Others which were helpful with practical information were Education, Employment, Finances, but didn’t hit me as emotionally.

Can you give us an example of a time you could’ve used the advice you give in the book?

JK: I wish I knew more about the scholarships and resources that were there for students with chronic illnesses. I also wish I had devised a personal ‘disclosure strategy’ with my employers. I often felt I had to keep everything a secret, rather than ask for help and get the extra support that I needed.

JNY: Someone should always check with their doctor or other health professional (depending on situation you are seeking assistance) before 100% following advice in any book. Otherwise, the book is rather universal.

Anti-Inflammatory Turkey Day Treats




  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 medium red onions, finely chopped (2 cups)
  • Salt
  • 10 garlic cloves, minced
  • One 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 2 tablespoons ground turmeric
  • 1 pound carrots, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths
  • 5 pounds green cabbage, cored and cut into 3/4-inch pieces


  1. In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the olive oil. Add the onions and a generous pinch of salt and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger and turmeric and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are fragrant and just starting to brown, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the carrots to the casserole along with 1/2 cup of water and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the carrots are just starting to soften, 7 minutes. Stir in the cabbage in large handfuls, letting each batch wilt slightly before adding more. When all of the cabbage has been added, cover and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is tender, 40 to 45 minutes. Season with salt and serve.






  • 5 pounds russet potatoes, or potatoes of choice, peeled
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced (optional)
  • 1½ cups broth of choice (such as Hearth broth, or chicken broth)3b7592be6980fea1a621b3cb9b5e3293 (1)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • ½ cup melted butter or ⅓ cup mild olive oil (plus extra for oiling slow cooker)
  • ½ cup canned full fat coconut milk, homemade almond milk (see above), or whole milk, cream
  • Extra milk or broth for thinning down as needed.


  1. Oil the sides of the slow cooker. Cube the potatoes into ½- 1 inch pieces (uniformly). Place in slow cooker, and add the garlic cloves, if using, and the broth of choice. Salt with about 1 teaspoon unrefined salt, and a generous sprinkle of pepper.
  2. Cover, and put slow cooker on low, and cook for 3-4 hours, or until the potatoes are soft.
  3. If there are any potatoes on the side that browned at all, you can remove with a spoon, if desired, for a very smooth texture. Using a potato masher, mash the potatoes to desired texture (smooth or slightly chunky).
  4. Heat the butter and liquid of choice, and mix thoroughly into the mashed potatoes. If you want them thinned out at all, simply add more to taste/texture desired.
  5. Now keep the potatoes on “keep warm”. I tested this for about 3½ hours on “keep warm”. The texture near the end of that time started to get a little dry, so I would recommend adding a little more hot liquid before serving if you do. It also will start to turn a little less white as time goes on, so personally, I plan on keeping on “warm” just until serving, but not keeping it on warm for hours







  • 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 small lemon, juiced
  • 1/8 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced fresh basil leaves

394e8fe48e634900a77e99f0daaa6c49FOR THE SALAD:

  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup pitted and diced sweet dark red cherries
  • 1/4 cup goat cheese crumbles


  • 1/4 cup walnut halves & pieces
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar (brown sugar also works)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coconut oil


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and set aside.
  2. While oven is preheating you can start cooking the quinoa. Add 1 cup of water and 1/2 cup quinoa to a medium saucepan; place over high heat and bring to a boil. Once water and quinoa are boiling, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove from heat and fluff quinoa with a fork. Pour into a large bowl.
  3. While quinoa is cooking you can roast the sweet potatoes: In a medium bowl, toss sweet potatoes, olive oil, garlic, oregano, cumin, cayenne pepper and salt together. Pour onto prepared foil-lined sheet and place in preheated oven for 15 minutes or until sweet potatoes are roasted and almost fork tender. You don’t want them to get mushy, so I find that 15 minutes is perfect. Once done, you can allow them to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring them to the bowl with the quinoa.
  4. While sweet potatoes and quinoa are cooking, you can start preparing the candied nuts: Heat a small saucepan over medium-high heat and add walnuts, coconut sugar and coconut oil to a small saucepan; stir constantly until the sugar begins to melt, caramelize and turn golden. This should take 3-5 minutes. Transfer nuts to a piece of parchment paper and allow to cool completely.
  5. Prepare dressing by whisking olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, garlic, honey and basil together in a small bowl. Add dressing to the quinoa and sweet potato mixture; stir well to combine. Fold in cherries, goat cheese and walnuts. Garnish with extra goat cheese and basil, if desired. Serves 4. Enjoy!








  • 1 1/2 cups sweet potato puree or pumpkin puree, fresh or canned (see note below)
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 3 to 4 Tbs. maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice OR 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. allspice, and 1/8 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 Tbs. coconut butter, liquified (see note below), available here




  1. If using fresh sweet potatoes, I recommend this foolproof methodfor baking perfect sweet potatoes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line 10 muffin cups with paper liners.
  3. To make the crust, combine all ingredients. I highly recommend using a handheld electric mixer. You will have a slightly sticky 3fe96283ce700fba7f689a500aada9a1dough. Evenly divide the dough into the muffin cups and press into the bottom of the cups. Set aside while you make the filling.
  4. To make the filling, combine all ingredients, preferably with an electric mixer.
  5. Divide the filling on top of the crusts. Bake the mini pies for about 30 minutes, until the filling doesn’t jiggle when the pan is tapped.
  6. Cool completely. Serve at room temperature or chill before serving. These mini pies store well in the fridge for a couple of days, but the color is most vibrant before they are refrigerated.


Only 2 Days Left to Vote for LFACT!

Help the Lupus Foundation of America, Connecticut Chapter win $5,000 by using #CUsGiveBack on Social Media! Connecticut’s Credit Union is hosting a Give Back contest between October 1st and November 15th (only two days left to vote!!)! Use #CUsGiveBack and mention the Lupus Foundation of America, Connecticut Chapter as your charity of choice to help us win! The Connecticut charity with the most mentions wins so comment as much and as often as you can!10419569_766585666804502_818558464853021272_n

Just comment or post “I vote for the Lupus Foundation of America, Connecticut Chapter to receive $5,000 from @CTCreditUnions! #CUsGiveBack” on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Vine! This post can be tweeted at @CTCreditUnions, made into an Instagram collage, commented on Facebook-or all of the above! Be creative! But don’t forget to use #CUsGiveBack and mention the Lupus Foundation of America, Connecticut Chapter!