I do not have a positive ANA, but I am sure that what I am facing must be Lupus.
I have tested positive for antiphospholipid antibodies, raynaud's phenomenon, hashimoto's thyroiditis, and polycystic ovarian syndrome. I have had a false-postive syphilis test which I am told is very much an indicator of Lupus. I have had severe allergies my entire life, and in fact, the lower lobe of my left lung is entirely destroyed, so cat scans show a very clear 1 full lung and 1/2 a lung. I have thousands of clots in my legs, but they are all superficially lodged in the tiny blood vessels... I can't be treated for clots until I have a DVT. The doctor says I just have to put up with my intensely painful legs. I am not sure I am enamored of waiting for a potentially fatal event, thanks, but I take my one aspirin daily anyway. (Edited to add) I have also once been found to have a sedimentation rate off the charts, but I haven't had a sed. rate done since then.
Early this spring, I began having severe symptoms - pain, fever, and edema in my lower extremities, and exhaustion to the point where I couldn't function at work. The doctor ordered an ultrasound after I complained of pain below my right rib cage and found that I have an enlarged liver with signs of early fatty liver (not present the previous ultrasound last year), and my spleen was also enlarged. My doctor had told me last year that "they'd keep an eye on it". Over the summer, I've had a low grade fever on 2 of 3 consecutive visits.
By June, my liver and spleen were sticking out from under my ribs, not just palpable, but visible. I was sent to an oncologist who stated that he felt I might have lymphatic cancer, but the cat scan was negative. After that he said: "Your spleen isn't all that bad. You're a big girl, it may be that your spleen is just right for your size." Huh??????
I can't eat most meat, anything with fat, or any form of alcohol without repercussions... at one point (most of August) I put all my food in a blender and drank smoothies every meal just to avoid vomiting or bowel problems. You'd think I'd lose weight, but I didn't.
My feet are now so swollen that my shoes no longer fit and cause deep bruised "V's" in my skin when I wear them. When I wear my sports sandals, the swelling pushes out of every
opening. Any activity now exhausts me. Attending Parent Night at the middle school last night for two hours has left me sleeping until noon, every joint aching, and barely able to function.
I don't understand how things can go downhill so fast. From Fall 2005 to October 2011, I worked as a retail store manager averaging between 65 and 90 hours per week... I ran circles around everyone. Sometimes it was hard with joint pain and bruising but I always found a well of strength to get myself through. I left that job to move to NY and found an industrial job, which I had to leave within 2 months because the chemicals in the air caused a severe systemic allergic reaction. So I got an office job, 40 hours a week, which should have been a piece of cake, but then, the above problems surfaced. My husband and I discovered that, after the cost of gas to work (55 miles one way), and the cost of insurance co-pays and lost time at work, I was netting - LITERALLY - $5 per week. As a result, I am now at home, unemployed.
My health problems have been blamed on my weight. I am a "flexitarian," which is to say, I am mostly vegetarian but sometimes have meat or fish. I don't load up on sweets, but you CANT tell a doctor that. They look at me, and at least two have said - quoted exactly - "you need to stay away from the cakes and pies." When I went to the doctor and showed them the deep bruises that showed up about
3-5 days following aching pain, he said "You probably bumped into something." To which I replied "with only my joints? You're saying that my coffee table, counter, etc, singles out only my hip joint, knee, and elbows? And I wouldn't recall having hurt myself?" for which he had nothing to say. All other bruises are pinpoint reddish-purple spots that show up on the inside of my arm and forearm and upper thighs. The fevers that come and go are "probably allergies." My normal temp is 97.7, so when a doctor who doesn't know me sees 98.9, it's not a fever. My fevers this summer average 99.9, however, so that's not so easily explained away. For the fatigue, I should just go to bed earlier. If I sleep during the day and the fatigue is too much to handle, well, I should go out and exercise more. The brain fog? Depression, thyroid... even though my thyroid is under control with medication.
I also get these small, painful to the touch but extremely itchy bumps on the insides of my fingers.. sometimes they occur in clusters, and I've had that from childhood.
Some days I feel so fragile that I wonder if I will live to see my kids graduate from college, get married, or bring me my first grandchild. It's scary, not just because I can't find a doctor who can help me without judging me, but because I feel so alone in this. I am a "don't whine about
it - fix it!" person, but there is no "fix" for this. More and more, I feel like everyone looking at me sees someone who is making this stuff up and obsessing over every ache.
Post Edited (XSusanX) : 9/14/2012 3:14:51 PM (GMT-6)