Re: Could it be???
Dear totallyafraid, Just wanted to say "hi" & that I can appreciate the problems you describe (joint pain, GI problems, rashes, strange breathing). I had such things also. But these things can happen, I think, in diseases other than lupus, so the trick is for someone to focus in on things that are "specific" to some particular disease. Not easy, for drs. or patients, sometimes...
Dermatologists (or dermatopathologists) can biopsy rashes & perform stain tests, which can add a lot to your Dx by suggesting that you do/don't have some form of lupus. Did your dermie biopsy the rash he (she?) thought was excema? Do you see any correlation to sun exposure? Does the rash recur? Did any meds designed for excema help, or not help?
Did your dr. examine your painful joint bumps? I *think* some people with lupus get these small nodules, but I also *think* they can occu in other arthritic conditions (RA, etc.). (I say "think" because I'm not medically trained---we're just patients here.)
FYI, if you want to do more reading, there are some excellent lupus hardcovers in most libraries & bookstores, e.g., one by Dr. Wallace and several by Dr. Lahita. Also, the "Resources" tab above can take you into MedLine Plus, then Health, then Rheumatology, then Lupus.
Hope you post more as the mood strikes! Bye for now. Sincerely, Vee