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I also have a negative double stranded DNA test and I DEFINITELY have kidney disease. I am not a nephrologist either but I have been seeing one every 6 weeks for the past 5 years and I have the results of my kidney biopsy. It very definitely says kidney disease with a lot of permanent damage.
Just wanted to let you know it is not in your imagination. Besides, lupus nephritis is only one of many different types of kidney disease. I know only too well how symptoms can come and go. Take pictures when you can and don't give up. It is not in your imagination. That was the first thing my rheumy said to me and boy was I relieved! Hang in there. Your story is common but you will get answers eventually. Hope you are feeling a little better.