More questions than answers
Hello. I don't yet have a diagnosis. About 6 weeks ago I started having stiffness and pain in both hands. I took naproxen for a couple of weeks, thinking it was probably just some osteoarthritis, but it didn't get better. In fact, I started having pain in my toes. I am 60 a y/o woman, have always been very healthy, and am very active(I've ridden almost 2000 miles on my bike this year.) So, I went to the doctor, who also initially thought I was just starting to have some osteoarthritis, gave me an rx for 20 mg of prednisone for 5 days, and lab orders for an arthritis panel. Two days later, he calls and tells me my ANA was very high(1:1280) and said we have to rule out lupus. The tests for RA were negative. So now I have a referral to a rheumatologist in a week. This whole thing has thrown me into a tailspin. The weird thing is, from reading this forum and other sites, most people have other symptoms, feel really crummy, extreme fatigue, etc. I have had no other symptoms. I feel fine other than this. No unusual fatigue, fever, nothing. It's just joint pain in hands and feet. As long as I take the naproxen it pretty much controls it, although the stiffness and pain in my hands never completely goes away. I didn't take the naproxen for a few days and it got really bad. In the morning I would have severe pain in my feet and hands. It hurt to walk and hurt to do anything using my hands. The longer I was up, the better it got and by evening I would have almost no pain/stiffness. Two doses of naproxen later, it had improved greatly. By the way, as far as I can tell, the prednisone did absolutely nothing. So far, nothing I have read has sounds like my experience. Everyone seems to have lots of other symptoms and really feel sick. Furthermore, I know that being diagnosed after 55 isn't real common either. Has anyone here had a similar presentation? Does this really sound like lupus? It seems that between the very high ANA and the joint pain, some AI issue must be going on. I'm really wondering what impact this is going to have on my life. Will I have to give up my cycling, and become unable to do other things I love, like playing guitar? More than anything, all this talk about cognitive issues terrifies me. Can treatment prevent it? Ok, I know I'm rambling. I know people here aren't doctors, but I also know there is a wealth of knowledge through personal experience here. I really appreciate any responses.