I too am sorry to hear of your health issues as well as being dismissed from your prior job due to your illness. To answer your question, yes, lupus is considered a disability under Social Security Disability, so you should be covered under the disability act if you had a diagnosis.
I am on massive amounts of pain killers and still have a lot of swelling and joint pain, so I'm not sure there is a good answer out there for individuals like us with chronic pain. I have been on Norco for a year now, it helped control the pain quite a bit in the beginning, now it's like taking candy. In March of this year I began seeing a pain management doctor, he has added oxycontin to my list of meds. When I first began taking the oxycontin it was as though I had a new lease on my old life, I could actually go out and run errands, go out to eat and things of this nature without massive set backs like horrible exhaustion or headaches, etc from performing these activities. That said, I have been on the oxycontin now 3 months and my body is already screaming it needs something more intense to fight of the effects from the summer heat and sun. I was hesitant to start the oxycontin to begin with because of the addictive traits is has, now my body is needing more just to get through the day, I am just living with the pain because I do not want to add more narcotics.
I am currently alternating a heating pad and ice pack on my swollen and painful joints. This helps somewhat, it does relieve the pain to some degree and along with lunesta and melatonin I am able to get some sleep. You might try 3mg of melatonin along with your ambien, of course ask your doctor first, but this is what my rheumy suggested for me and so far it has helped me get some sleeep.
You will find lupus to be a very mysterious disease, by this I mean one never knows what might be of help and what might not. What seems to work one day, might have no effect the next. Our world is basically trial and error.
I wish you the best, good health and restful nights sleep.
Lupus - 1997 Fibro - 2001 Sjorens - 2007 Raynauds - 2008
Plaquenil, Imuran, Prednisone, Synthroid, Topomax, Effexor, Norco, Prilsec, Xanex, Elidel, Restasis