At work about nine months ago I noticed that my left hand near the pointer finger joint was hurting as I typed. I also noticed my blood veins looked a little extra puffy in that area. In the back of my mind I was thinking that maybe I was becoming arthritic as both mom and dad had arthritis. For some reason I pulled out my Iphone and snapped a photo to document my “discomfort”.
Throughout the following months I would experience migrating swelling, redness and pain all over my body, mostly in random joints and tendons from head to toe. It would kind of twinge in the early afternoon and by the evening be full blown discomfort. After a night of near sleeplessness, and even the sheets causing discomfort, the morning would come along and within a couple of hours everything would kind of ease up or completely stop hurting. I began to realize that this was not normal and I should get it checked out. More photos.
I visited my General Practitioner and he decided to run several blood tests since there was a history of arthritis in my family. The results of those tests came back showing that I was severely deficient in Vitamin D (I thought it might be due to the fact that I quit drinking milk and I am not someone who spends much time in the sun) which could possibly be the cause of my pain. So for three months I took 10,000 I.U.’s of Vitamin D and my numbers came back up to a normal range. But alas, the pain was still evident. He recommended that I see a Rheumatologist who could delve deeper than his expertise and referred me. I made my appointment for the next week.
After my consultation visit with my Rheumatologist, I had more blood work and x-rays done, with the results being given to me yesterday. My wrists looked good on the x-rays for whatever she was looking for, no Lyme disease, but I was positive for SLE, otherwise known as “Systemic lupus erythematosus”. Plain words, my immune system is way too active and is actually attacking my own body! Well that definitely explains the pain!
I was a bit overwhelmed yesterday, I know I have a lot to learn about my new and challenging condition. There are a lot of serious things that can accompany this diagnosis and hard core management is of the utmost importance. I may even wind up joining a Lupus support group near me if there is one. One bright thing, patients with Lupus need to stay out of the direct sunlight. No problem here, I am definitely NOT a sun worshipper!
More to come as I experience and learn…