I've been having some strange things happening to me for the last several years and after reading this board, I've been wondering if it could be lupus?? I hate to ramble, but here are a few things that have been going on:
First of all I've been having pains in my hips, knees and the joints of my fingers for a few years. And during the past week, I've had pain at the top of my shoulder blade and the front of my chest which seems to make my breathing labored. Also I've developed these small bumps under my skin, usually at the joints (elbows, foot, toes) that are painful touch, but goes away after a while. Last year I had rashes that my demertologist didn't seem concerned about and said was eczema, gastrointestinal problems believed to be IBS and once a problem with the hearing in my ear that the doctor said was an imbalance of the tube in my inner ear.
I've had general aches and pains that I really can't explain, but been trying to ignore. I don't want to sound paranoid. I just want to know what you think...
Welcome! A good place to start here is to read the 2nd and 3rd stickies at the top of this thread as the 3rd talks about the common lupus symptoms (if you have 4 or more it's likely you may have lupus) and I'll add that the "mouth sores" listed as one symptom can be so tiny that you are unaware they are there - my dentist found mine. The 2nd is about APS syndrome that can be a factor, too, so it's worth a read. After reading them, ask yourself if any parts of all this information sound familiar to you? If so, print that information and get an appointment with your doctor. Many of us started with a GP or internist and end up with a rheumatologist who had lots of lupus patients since two main annoyances of lupus are intense fatigue and arthritis. Lupus takes time to diagnose, so get ready to be patient.
Once you see a doctor and have some blood tests done, the 1st sticky will be informative.
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