Greetings to the group, I've been living with pain and swelling and exhaustion for many years with no understanding of what was happening to me. I've had no medical insurance for the past 7 years so I've been unable to seek help except through the ER. My medicare came in at the start of the month and my wonderful new Dr. did the right tests and my numbers were very high. She feels sure it is Lupus, but is sending me to a specialist to be sure. My gratitude is huge. So far my internal organs seem to have been spared and only my fingers, toes and spine are affected. As the sole caregiver for my husband, he had a stroke in 2000, I am now understanding that I will have to accept more help and with a name to the problem I am no longer ashamed to ask for it. I think the hardest thing for me has been swallowing my pride and seeking help. I have always been the caregiver and holiday dinner cooker and this is harder emotionally than I thought it could be. My Dr. stated me on prednisone and after several days of taking it I do feel much better..almost "normal" LOL, guess I haven't really felt normal for years but this is not so bad and if it holds I'll be fine. It's good to see the people here and to know I am not alone, it's scary to be alone and confused.