Thank you all so much for your welcome and your posts. I feel so much better (and so less alone) knowing you are all out there.
Lynnwood - I haven't had a rheumy for 2 years since the one and only left our town. I tried to get in with one in Tucson (75 miles away), but at the time, none of them were accepting new patients. My GP has been trying to address my concerns, but didn't know how SLE might affect swelling in the nodes. My husband just insisted yesterday that I get my GP to try again to get me into Tucson. The GP thinks a couple rheumies are now accepting new patients, so hopefully I'll get back to a schedule of keeping track of my SLE status. I used to be so good about my quarterly appointments and testing.
Pat - My GP is working with the insurance company to get me into a high-risk breast specialist. It just feels that time is dragging by during the wait. The GP also did a skin punch biopsy at the place where the rash had been (you could still see a little pink area at the time). Results should be in over the next few days. He said a negative result wouldn't be definitive, but it would be worth doing it anyway. Thanks for the hugs and the kind words - they mean a lot!
Marji - Thanks for the info on the gallium scan - I'll look into it. The info on calcification of the nodes was totally new to me, too. I think when you have a chronic condition for so many years, sometimes one gets lax about keeping up on developments. I have been having night sweats over the last few weeks, but I'm praying they're hormone-related. I'm 53, have been perimenopausal for 4 years, and have had "odd" periods for the last year (some longer, some shorter, mostly lighter). I had my first symptom of the breast problem 2 days before my period was due, but never got the period - just 8 days of very light spotting 2 weeks after the due date. Again, praying it is hormone-related and not something more serious.
Thanks again to all of you for your warm welcome and input. You're truly a blessing.