Posted 8/1/2015 1:58 PM (GMT -7)
Summary: Black male, unremarkable blood tests including ESR and CR-P. Positive ANA, possible exposure to Lyme Disease (and positive Lyme ELISA, waiting for Western Blot results). Normal urine tests. Very sudden onset of symptoms affecting my whole body, most prominently numbness, tingling and joint pain. No fatigue and no fever and no weight loss. No Raynaud's, no photosensitivity. No decline in cogniftive function, no brain fog... No history of medical problems, no (known) family history of lupus or other chronic conditions.
Me: 23-year-old black male Blood tests, etc: Normal WBC, RBC, hemoglobin, platelet count and so on. Normal sed-rate and CR-P. Everything smack-dab in the middle of the normal range except for my positive ANA.
Before this episode I had had no ongoing health issues of any sort. I was the kind of guy that rarely even came down with a cold; the last time I was ill enough to go to the doctor was when I got food poisoning in 2012. But at the beginning of July, tingling/numbness began in both of my arms; they would go to sleep totally if I held them a certain way and then "wake up" after moving them a bit. Soon the same sensation spread to my legs. Shooting, stabbing pains began in my thighs and both feet and a similar thing happened in my arms. I began to have severe back pain. I went to the doctor, who told me to stop lifting weights and also told me I was depressed and anxious (who knew that suddenly having your whole body rebel against you could make you depressed and anxious?). I was prescribed prednisone (50 mg/day for 5 days) and muscle relaxants. Neither helped one bit.
As the month has gone on, my list of symptoms has grown longer. I'm now experiencing muscle twitching in all four extremities, dry eyes, joint pain in my hands, elbows, knees and toes, back pain, and headaches in the back of my head. The pain isn't so horrible that I've been wallowing around all day every day, but it is very significant, probably 7/10 at its worst. The odd thing is that, while I do feel weakened by this illness, I'm not experiencing any real fatigue and I've been sleeping just about like normal. I don't know whether or not I have the butterfly rash on my face. At times it seems like I do, but I have to really lean into the mirror and squint to see it, and I feel like I may be seeing something that isn't there.
Another consideration is that I've tested positive for Lyme Disease. I had an episode in mid-May where I was traveling in a foresty part of eastern Europe with a large number of infectious ticks. I walked around outside for a whole day without shoes. I don't REMEMBER having been bitten by a tick but that kind of thing also wasn't on my radar because I had no idea about tick-borne infections. The ticks that carry Lyme look so different than the dog ticks I grew up seeing that I probably wouldn't even have recognized it as a tick...
Shortly after being in that area, I came down with flu-like symptoms (fever-headache-swollen lymph nodes-sore throat) that came and went; then I had diarrhea with no other symptoms for about a month. I was abroad and was shy about going to see a doctor, which was very stupid in retrospect. After the diarrhea ended these symptoms that I'm having now started. What's mainly got me worried is that a) my ANA was positive and that b) apparently, people with lupus often falsely test positive for Lyme Disease.
Looking at the list of 11 symptoms necessary for diagnosing lupus, my symptoms don't seem consistent with more than 3 of them or so, but this positive ANA really has got me worried. Can lupus really hit a person so suddenly? I'm sorry if this post is inappropriate or stupid sounding, I'm just scared that I could be joining the ranks of the few and the proud men with lupus. At the moment I'm anxiously waiting for the results of my confirmatory Lyme tests. I also have a rheumatologist appointment but, unfortunately, not until the end of September :(