Hi NikkisNYmom and welcome to the board!!
First off, I have to apologize that I haven't responded yet. I have been so busy with doctors appointments and all that fun stuff.. anyway!
I read through your stuff above, and it really sounds like you could have Raynaud's Disease for sure. Have you reviewed all the symptoms of Lupus in this forum? There are the 11 Criteria from the American Medical Association as well as the St. Thomas Hospital criteria, where one of the worlds' best works out of. The symptoms do not have to occur RIGHT NOW. They can be accumulative, over the years. I will ask you some questions here
You can highlight these questions and paste them into a "reply" so that its easier to answer them if you want to!
Have you ever had mouth sores?
Do you get very tired really easy?
Do you get black circles under your eyes, and do people ask you if you aren't feeling well?
Have you ever had kidney inflammation episodes, or documented inflammation of the heart, lungs, or other major organ?
Do you get headaches?
Do you feel like your eyes are dry or get the feeling that there is something in them?
What happens to you when you are in the sun?
What happens to your skin in the cold?
Have you ever had a positive ANA (anti-nuclear antibody), or other autoimmune tests? (like thyroid, etc)
Sorry there are so many, but this will give me an idea of what to think! Remember to think over the years, not just right now. I hope that this will help! It does sound to me like you definitely have the symptoms of Raynauds! The stomach problems could be Lupus related too, I have chronic gastritis from my Lupus.
At the end of your post, you asked a bit about Lupus. Every person with Lupus is different! Some people have very mild occurances of it, while others have quite severe symptoms (like your friend's cousin). With that being said, if we take care of ourselves and don't "over do it" then we can try and get ourselves as healthy as we can. Some people are healthy and only have flares once in awhile and others seem to be flaring all the time! A flare is when the body decides to attack itself and the person gets really not fun symptoms that occur. I am flaring right now- my stomach is very sore and all that. Also, the joint pain can get worse, the rashes get more pronounced etc. Not fun! With your friend's cousin, it could be that she may have gone a long time with Lupus and not been diagnosed properly. Sometimes it takes up to 10 years to finally get answers, and by that time irreversible damage is done to the body. Early detection and treatment is key before the damage occurs. I really hope this helps, please try not to be too scared- we are all here for you! Take care