Daisymum, I had problems for decades. From age 3 or so, I had a real procession of problems: pneumonia, encephalitis, widespread blistery rashes, sinus infections, chronic fatigue, elevated sed rate & abnormal WBC, low-grade fever, shin pain, joint pain, UTI's, stones, sciatica, migraines, hair breakage, wild & chronic irritable bowel, and irritable bladder. Two problems were flat-out life-threatening: the encephalitis, and at 35, an episode of what *may* have been systemic vasculitis (I'll never know for sure).
Finally two new things appeared that were more "useful": recurrent photosensitive, nonscarring, targetlike rashes on arms & torso; and anemia. Even so, I had those rashes for 8 yrs. with no answers. I tried 5 or 6 dermies, plus gastroenterologists, urologists, and rheumatologists.
I finally took myself to a teaching hospital rheumie who sized up my history & my rashes in mere minutes. He ran more tests (ANA, plus eveything else in the ballpark) & also he sent me to a dermatopathologist for one last skin biopsy, including immunofluorescent stain testing.
Dx: subacute cutaneous lupus (SCLE), negative ANA but positive for anti-Ro. (SCLE was identified as a subset of SLE in the late 1970's, so it wasn't precisely new. My local docs were clueless, though.)
Rx: Plaquenil & very strict sun precautions.
Outcome: VAST improvement, with only one meager sinus infection since Dx. While l still some fatigue & pain, they are minor blips on the radar screen.
Lapsed years: over 4 decades. I was classically "subacute", it appears. My luck...! To be fair, I don't know at what point it became diagnosable as lupus, maybe only with the first big targetlike rashes? But even when those hit, with all that history behind me, locally I was given such sage advice as, "Get RID of your DOG!" (
And fat chance!)
Anyway, yell if anything here catches your eye, OK? All my best, Vee