I sure hear your frustration. Actually some of us at this forum are not yet dx'd. I have been dx'd with lupus and then undx'd by another doctor. One says Lupus, one says UCTD (undifferentiated connective tissue disease), Hashimotos, Arthritis . . . etc. Depending on how bad and how chronic your arthritis is, a rheumy may put you on plaquenil. It is first guns for auto-immune/connective tissue disorders. It is used in conjunction with other anti-inflammatories like Ibuprofin, Tylenol, Naproxin Sodium (Aleeve). You take to plaq every day, even when you feel well. And you take the anti-inflam as needed (but most of us need it every day).
My issues (joint pain, all-over flu-like achieness, fatigue, brain fog, numbness and tingling, etc.) are only kept under control if I take both meds ALL the time. As soon as I back off on either, I get in trouble. When I flare, this combo won't help me and I have ended up on up to 9 different rx meds. . . . But I have no organ involvment nor systemic disease . . . so I am considered mildly affected.
It is REALLY hard for a doctor to really nail this down and call it a particular name. The best they can do, until they get it figured out, is to treat the symptoms. I actually appreciate that I don't have the word Lupus in my medical file because it can make it difficult to switch medical insurance if you have a gap in coverage. Some doctors will stand on their heads to keep from giving the Lupus dx for this reason. They just treat the symptoms.
Make sure to read the posts in "Lupus Resources" (link at the end of my signature). There is some info we have pulled from the forum for new members that may be helpful to you.
Hang in there . . . this really does take lots of time to dx unless you end up with extreme symptoms like kidney damage or way wacko blood work. If you get rashes or mouth sores . . . make sure to take pictures because these can be very helpful to a rheumatologist. By the time we get in to see them, the rashes and mouth sores can be can (and usually are). Keep a symptom journal and bring your list with you to the doc.
The ibuprofen can be very helpful if you take it 3-4 times a day EVERY day. If you wait and take it just when the pain reminds you, it is much less helpful. You want to "attack" the symptoms . . . not "chase" them. If taking the ibuprofen for a couple weeks straight isn't helping, get a referral to a rheumatologist and spend a lot of time working on your symptom list (see post in Lupus Resources).
In His Grip
AlwaysRosie "We can't control the waves, but we can learn how to surf!!"
Co-Moderator - Lupus Forum
UCTD, Hashimotos, Inflammatory Bowel, Inflammatory Arthritis
Clickable Links: Lupus Resources Lupous.Org Lupus Criteria (4 of 11) Lupus Chapter Locator