Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Annandale, Virginia - USA
| | I need some advice.
I am 20, female, caucasian. <- basic information
I have been having problems with just about every part of my body for as long as I can remember. Today, I was volunteering with a cat shelter when a visitor and I struck up a conversation about lupus, and it got me wondering.
BASIC SYMPTOMS LIST:
-Intermittent nausea and stomach pain for (at least) the last decade; the stomach pain can be crampy, like gas pains, or a dull ache in which I can feel my pulse throbbing in my lower abdomen, around the bellybutton area.
-Intermittent diarrhea for over two years; there seems to be no rhyme or reason to it, but it MAY be a side effect of my colchicine - I plan to bring it up with my doctor at the next visit.
-Painful skin ulcers; these usually occur on my lower legs, but I have had several on my upper and lower arms, back, and one on my chest. These take weeks to months to heal, and leave behind large scars. (Currently, I have five that I can see: three on my upper right arm, one on the lower right arm, and at least one on my back.)
-Canker sores; I have gotten these all my life, but they seem to be getting significantly worse. I have had some so large that they leave scars, and it seems that I have at least one in my mouth at all times. (Currently, I have three.)
-Severe reactions to insect bites; I develop large welts sized anywhere from a dime in circumference to as large as a quarter aroung. The swelling goes down after a few hours, and appears within 5 to 15 minutes of the bite. Sometimes, the previously mentioned skin ulcers develop from the insect bite; our beach home was infested with fleas back in May, and without a pet to bite, they all gravitated to me. At least 15 of the flea bites turned into large skin ulcers.
-Cold hands and feet; When I get chilly, it seems that my hands and feet get colder than the rest, even if I'm wearing shoes, socks, or gloves. People yelp if I touch them sometimes; it's like my hands were just removed from the freezer.
-Anxiety and depression; These grew severely worse in my sophomore year of high school, requiring a visit to a clinical psychiatrist. These are currently being remedied (somewhat) with Zoloft, 100mg.
-Fatigue; I have been sleeping up to 12 hours a day on days my parents aren't home to forcibly drag me out of bed. Even so, I'm still tired throughout the day, but at night, usually after midnight, I become significantly more awake, and it seems to swing around into insomnia.
-Dizziness; Occasionally, upon standing, I get extremely dizzy and my vision black out - I don't think I've ever passed out, but I certainly feel like I'm going to.
-Numbness; Occasionally, some of my toes go numb without an obvious reason. This actually happened just now, which is why I thought of it. It's usually my smallest two toes on my right foot.
I've probably forgotten at least one; I'll post more if they come back to me. *facepalm*
STUFF I'VE BEEN DIAGNOSED WITH:
-ADHD; diagnosed in 3rd grade, currently being treated with Concerta, 36mg. It works well, but kills my appetite.
-Asperger's Syndrome; self-diagnosed in 11th grade - professionally diagnosed within two weeks. (My doctor even exclaimed, "How did we miss this?!", my symptoms were so obvious.) Currently being remedied with weekly therapy visits to overcome anxiety and stress related to the condition.
-Irritable Bowel Syndrome; diagnosed in '07, took medicine for several months, no change in condition, medication discontinued. Still no improvement, unsure if this is a correct diagnosis.
-Depression; diagnosed in 10th grade; being treated by a therapist as well as Zoloft, 100mg.
-Inexplicable Canker Sores; still no formal diagnosis; taking Colchicine, 0.6mg, twice a day. This used to alleviate the sores and shorten their duration and frequency, but lately, is doing less and less to help.
-Inexplicable Skin Ulcers; still no formal diagnosis. Have been on at least 6 different antibacterial creams, and at least four different antibiotic pills. No improvement. Nothing seems to shorten the duration or reduce the scarring or pain.
-Bilateral Femoral Anteversion; both of my femurs are twisted inward; my knees point toward each other, and my feet cross, so I trip a lot when walking. I also have occasional hip and knee pain which may or may not be associated with the condition.
MEDICINES I'M CURRENTLY TAKING:
-Colchicine, 0.6mg 2x per day
-Loestrin 24Fe (a birth control medicine to reduce the severity of my mestrual cycle - my periods are so heavy that I become severely anemic, weak, dizzy, and pale.)
-Lorazepam, on an irregular basis, for severe anxiety. (For example, root canals. Or bloodwork. I panic, throw up, and pass out. :x)
Sorry for writing a novel!
My whole point is, I think there's an underlying condition that encompasses most, if not all, of my symptoms.
I have little to no test results, as they are never communicated to me directly. Even though I'm 20, I look VERY young for my age, and am frequently asked what middle school I go to.
Because of this, no doctor has ever taken me seriously - when I express my concerns, they're written off as "Drama Queen", "Hypochondriac", "It's-All-In-Your-Head", or the most common, "Learn To Live With It."
I'm wondering what I should do next. I'm sick of... well, being sick.
The reason I'm wondering about lupus is because of the woman I spoke to at my volunteering job this afternoon. Normally, I wouldn't decide based on one person and the internet's cache of symptoms, but she mentioned her skin ulcers looked very similar to mine, and my scars seem very similar to hers.
This is obviously not a diagnosis-making moment, but it's making me wonder if maybe there really IS an underlying cause for everything.
Honestly, I'd take any diagnosis at this point - I just want an ANSWER.