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Old 10-06-2012, 08:44 PM   #1
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New here, overwhelmed, need diagnostic advice (auto-immune?)!

Hello everyone. I am sincerely hoping for some guidance! I'm brand new here and just beginning to suspect I might have an auto-immune condition, but the doctors have not yet been helpful, and I'm somewhat overwhelmed and confused. I could really use advice on what tests/blood work to ask for, and whether this even sounds like autoimmune or something else.

After a very intense several weeks of typing this summer (writing a book), I developed symptoms of what I thought was an RSI: tingling, swelling, and pain in wrists, hands, elbows, and arms (I did finally get diagnosed with tennis elbow, but believe me, that's the least of it). Soon I realized the pain wasn't contained in my hands/arms, nor did it let up when I took several weeks away from the computer. The pain is muscular and neurological, usually upper body, but sometimes experience all over body pain, and significant back pain. Arms/hands get cold, tingly, itchy, swollen, even my veins are swollen. Ugh.

Despite reducing typing dramatically (got an ergonomic keyboard and dictation software) the symptoms have not abated much. Have had x-rays (negative), EMG (not carpel tunnel after all), and blood work (not arthritis). I have been on prescription skelaxin and etodolac for 6 weeks, which has helped with muscular pain somewhat (not entirely), but the neurological symptoms are still intense, and I really feel like something is Wrong. Trying to make sense of the evolving and multiple symptoms: inflammatory/dietary? large-scale auto-immune? a vascular or organ situation? I have appointments lined up with a neurologist and a rheumatologist, but thought I would see if this rang any bells for anyone, and whether there are tests I should ask my PCP to run (she has been pretty lazy about this so far--e.g. we haven't yet checked for lyme or diabetes, though I really doubt it's one of these). FWIW, auto-immune runs in my family somewhat (sister and cousin have MS, which I'm pretty sure this is not). Symptoms are bilateral. Besides the above, I have noticed a sensitive stomach recently, and other odd things that may or may not be connected: an out-of-the-blue nosebleed, excess salivating/congestion, recent TMJ diagnosis, some difficulty focusing (stress!), depression/anxiety.

I'm an otherwise-healthy (or usually have been) active, happy, 43 year old woman, though with several serious stresses. Enormous thanks for any thoughts.

Last edited by bibliogal; 10-06-2012 at 09:11 PM.

 
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Old 10-06-2012, 10:12 PM   #2
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Re: New here, overwhelmed, need diagnostic advice (auto-immune?)!

I think it is reasonable to see a rheumatologist and get checked for autoimmune conditions. Do you know what tests have already been run? Can you get a copy of those to take to rheum so there is no duplication? Some of your symptoms do sound like carpal tunnel. Did you have a nerve conduction study with the EMG? I would ask to have CK tested, a muscle enzyme that is released when muscles are inflamed, as well as the usual tests for autoimmune disease.

 
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