2020 – 97 – MEDICAL

Medical: the unknown becomes known?

Hello friend,

Day 240…

Unknown condition (see virtually every medical related blog): At the start of October I suffered a re-occurence of the stomach pain I had over 2012-14 – which ended in me having an upper GI endoscopy (nothing found). Thereafter, I had 3 weeks of near 24/7 nausea and fatigue – at times catatonic. I had previously believed these episodes of fatigue and other symptoms had been caused by my vitamin D deficiency but clearly that was not the case.

Well, after 7 years of raising the autoimmune question we finally have a prime suspect – systemic lupus erythematosus. I actually had a autoantibody blood test 5 years ago but that only tested for 5 autoimmune disorders – this was a blood test for 11! The marker for lupus was raised, albeit slightly. I obtained some information. Symptoms include:

. joint pains – check
. muscle pain – check
. skin symptoms – check
. tiredness – check
. mild hair loss – hard to tell, not much left!
. chest pain – check
. headaches – check

Some of the most telling of the symptoms are that the small joints of the hands and feet tend to be affected most – check; and, the pains may ‘flit’ from joint to joint – check; and, joint stiffness is worse tirst thing in the morning – check.

Even though they say it is not hereditary, I have two cousins – that I know of – who have lupus.

Whilst it is not curable and can be fatal, I am only in the ‘mild’ lupus category. Don’t be fooled by the word ‘mild’. This only means I have fewer symptoms which are not serious or life-threatening but belive me when I say this – these symptoms are the most unpleasant I have experienced. Anything that renders you catatonic and bedridden can’t be good.

You can imagine how it might affect your mood. I’m irritable, impatient and even inappropriately angry – and that’s not who I am. Fortunately, there are periods of remission – I wouldn’t want to be trapped in that mood all the time.

As inflammation is part of the condition, I do wonder if it has had anything to do with my heart condition. It may even be the case that some of the side-effects from the heart medication were not side-effects, after all. So many questions.

I’m waiting to see a rheumatologist for an assessment but – whilst it may be the cse that I don’t have lupus – I’m 99% convinced.

Has anyone out there got lupus? Any info or advice?

Be happy, be safe and be kind.
Graham Coutts, 18th November 2020

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