02-16-2012, 07:51 AM
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Pennsylvania, USA
Asking for advice...
Hello...my name is Becca and I am a 39 year old mom of three. I am here posting today because I am worrying myself sick over what may or may not be symptoms of an autoimmune issue. Let me give you my background and see what you think...
January 2001 - I was diagnosed with Lyme disease. I did a year long course of Doxycycline because it had manifested itself neurologically and the doctor prescribed two week course of amoxicillan didn't cut it. So, when that happened, in the slew of bloodwork that they did on me, they found positive Lyme tests, but also a mildly positive ANA 1:80 Homogenous, negative RA factor and a mildly elevated Sed Rate at 25. The doctors I saw assured me that my numbers were probably from the Lyme and not to worry.
September/October 2001 - After going through a good period and improving, symptoms because more pronounced for a period of time. That bloodwork found positive ANA 1:320 Homogenous but Sed Rate negative, nDNA Ab (DS) negative, Anti Sm negative, Anti RNP negative, Anti La negative, Anti Ro negative, C3 & C4 complement negative...basically aside from the increased ANA - it was all negative. The doc actually told me to continue out my year of Lyme treatment and to get regular massage therapy and acupuncture. It made a huge difference and by early 2002 - I was nearly symptom free.
March 2004 - Delivered my third son with an uneventful and wonderful pregnancy and delivery.
September 2004 - Diagnosed with stage 0 Malignant Melanoma. Completely resolved.
From here on out - regular doctor visits have never revealed anything out of the ordinary. I am completely symptom free. My mother was diagnosed with Graves disease in 2003 (I think), and had her thyroid shut down shortly thereafter. So, autoimmune stuff is not lost on my family.
Then - last Saturday - I went out on a very cold and snowy night to pick up takeout for dinner. While I was out, I experienced what I think was an isolated incident of Raynaud's. On my pointer finger on my left hand, though just a triangle on the pad of the fingerprint, went numb and turned white. Within about two minutes it was back to normal. I have tried to replicate the situation, but I have not been able to get it to happen again since then. My hands often feel cold, but they don't turn white or bluish even. I will say that my hands also often feel puffy in the morning, but it resolves each day as I get moving. It's just been something that has always been that way.
So - I guess my question is this...is one isolated incidence of Raynaud's reason to be concerned since I have had a positive ANA test? Even if it was so many years ago? Should I be rushing to a rheumatologist? Or should I wait it out and see if it happens again? In the meantime, I have managed to create other symptoms in my head like trouble swallowing (never mind the post-nasal drip I have nor the fact that my nerves cause the lump in my throat feeling all the time), I am looking at all my past scars from all my skin cancer surgeries as possible skin changes...basically driving myself nuts. To be completely honest, I had a friend who died of scleroderma about three years ago and that has always haunted me.
What would you do? I know my labwork is old, but it was very clear and indicative of my body at that time. And I have been basically symptom free until now - and my only symptom is that one incidence of what I think was Raynaud's... I'm sure that my mind has been playing tricks on me. At least I am hoping. I know that autoimmune diseases can lay dormant for extended periods, but I don't want to jump to conclusions either.
For any of you I may be offending who are actively fighting disease, I apologize. I guess I just wanted some advice from people who many know the ropes of this a bit more than me.
02-16-2012, 02:12 PM
Join Date: Oct 2004
Re: Asking for advice...
I actually have the limited form of systemic scleroderma, or CREST, so ask away.
I think your finger may have gone into spasm as a response to the cold but is not Raynaud's. Of course, I'm only a patient and only a Dr can make proper diagnoses. The reason I think this is because what you experienced may well be a normal response to cold, especially if your fingertip brushed against something, even if you didn't notice it at the time. Also, Raynaud's doesn't happen just once. And lastly, Raynaud's is bilateral and affects both hands, not just one. In reference to you ANA titre, yours is considered borderline by most rheumatologists, at best, and the pattern is that which is most often seen in healthy people with a positive ANA titre. I also wanted to mention that ANA titres are generally higher in close relatives of a person with an autoimmune disease such as Graves. BTW, not all forms of scleroderma show skin changes. When I have trouble swallowing it is usually due to either my GERD or sicca (dry mouth - I haven't gone anywhere without a water bottle in years, even to bed, LOL) Autoimmune diseases are not diagnosed by labs alone, but symptoms as well, so if you don't have any symptoms, yay! If it would make you feel better, go ahead and get your labs redone, but I wouldn't fret unduly. If I can answer any other questions more specifically, please feel free to pm me.
Last edited by luca689; 02-16-2012 at 02:16 PM.
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