Thanks for the info. Good to know about the tummy rumblings. My rheumy told me to take two plaquenil/day, but start off with one a day for about a week so as not to upset my system. Perhaps he was referring to the GI issues related to plaquenil.
Erin, I do have an official dx of RA. But neither my rheumatololgist, my GI doctor, nor myself actually believe I have RA. I have a positive RF with the symmetrical joint pain and raynaud's. No swelling or deformities that are typically associated with RA. I also have bad upper GI problems. In the past, I've had lower GI issues, which led to a colonoscopy last August. They found ulcers throughout my colon, but biopsies were negative for IBD. Nevertheless, IBD is also a possible issue--hasn't been ruled out, despite the fact that my most recent colonoscopy (Feb) was clear. GI doctor and rheumatologist feel that the medicines I've been on (sulfasalazine and Humira) would have taken care of the ulcers. We just don't know what caused the ulcers to begin with. I've always suspected that I was experiencing early lupus or MCTD (the polymyositis associated with MCTD can cause GI inflammation), but my bloodwork has not caught up with my symptoms yet. My mom had a positive RF and a negative ANA for years before being diagnosed with SLE.
I've also read, Erin, that enbrel can take up to 6 months (in fact, my rheumatologist has told me that). I didn't question him further about taking me off it in another 6 weeks, but I suspect that maybe my bloodwork isn't optimal (perhaps not abnormal, but borderline), and continuing with the enbrel, if it's not doing anything, is probably not worth the risk.
Quite honestly, it freaks me out to think I could be developing the same thing my mother died from (not that I would die from it, but when you grow up seeing your mother in and out of ICU, you might get that impression). The only person I can really talk to about my fears is my husband (and he is wonderful). My siblings are even more freaked about the possibility of my having MCTD/lupus than I am, and I would never in a million years mention it to my father.
I feel like I'm getting too caught up in this diagnostic stuff, though. Truly, as my rheumatologist reminded me yesterday, the bottom line is I don't feel well. I would do better to place my energies in symptom reduction than trying to figure out what disease I'm developing (although that certainly is important in the long run).
Oops, didn't know I turned this into a huge vent. Sorry--and thanks if you've bothered to read this!