Re: what were your first symptoms of lupus?
Duan65, hi. I had signs & symptoms going back to early childhood, but I don't know at what point I "crossed the line". When very young: reactions to sulfa antibiotics precribed for recurrent pneumonia (convulsions & fever of 106F.) Widespread blistery rashes (possibly "bullous lupus" rashes, but it's way too late to know for sure). Over-the-top swelling reaction to insect stings. In early adolescence, episodes of severe shin & joint pain started, with low-grade fever; and crazy prolonged periods started; and bouts of fatigue. In mid-20's, GI episodes lasting weeks, multiple times a year; and episodic B-12/Folate anemia. In 30's, urinary misery & migraines started. In my 40's, nonscarring targetlike lesions started appearing on my upper arms & back, reappearing 3-4 times a year, which were finally Dx'ed as an SCLE rash = subacute cutaneous LE. (I never had a "butterfly" rash.) Last puzzle pieces: my blood finally tested positive for the anti-Ro autoantibody, and a big-city rheumie counted up 4+ of the ACR criteria.
In contrast, in some people, lupus "anounces itself" very quickly. In these people, the best-known symptoms come crahing down fast. It's easier to Dx, probably, when this it comes on like this, I imagine...
Lupus is also quite complex! There are many signs & symptoms, they can vary widely from person to person, and symptoms wax and wane. The ACR criteria also suggest this wide range: one generally has to meet 4 of those 11 to support a Dx of systemic lupus, at some point, meaning not necessarily all at once. i.e., there's no single test for the disease, unfortunately.
I highly recommend you take a trip to your library to look for lupus hardcovers, in which you'll read a real TON of possible symptoms. There are several terrific authors: one is Dr. Daniel Wallace, another is Dr. Robert Lahita.
And have you seen the "ACR criteria" sticky post, and the one with "alternative criteria"? The "stickies" are at the top of the thread list.
What about you? What sort of things are you experiencing? How long have they been going on? What have your drs. done to date? Anyway, hope above helps some. Post more when you can, OK? Meanwhile, best wishes, Vee