help needed in my lupus diagnosis
I am male at the age of 32. I started to have migratory joint pain with redness and hotness in my fingers, wrists, and knees as early as when I was 25 (7 years ago). The pain came every 2-3 of months. I did not pay attention to it since the pain was only 4-5 times every year. However, during the year 2007-2009, the flares-up became more frequent and it came every couple of weeks. It was obviously migratory around my knees, wrists, and fingers. Sometimes I got stiff and painful muscle in the bottom of my toes. However, between flares-up, I was completely healthy. I played tennis and had other exercises regularly. I started to see a doctor in 2009. Blood tests result showed positive ANA and equivocal ds-DNA AB (the value is 9 where <9 is normal). The doctor only prescribed Celebrex for me and kept me on observation. I took Celebrex on demand (only when flare-up occurs) and the pill is magic for me. One pill can kill the pain within 2-3 hours.
I stopped blood tests and seeing doctors for the whole year of 2010 due to some reasons. The frequency of the joint pain became once a week and I took Celebrex weekly to kill the pain. Early in 2011, I started to visit a new doctor and do blood tests every 1-2 months. ds-DNA AB oscillated around the value of 9 (<9 is normal). The doctor put me on Plaquenil from March, 2011. My pain became less frequent at the very beginning (after 3 weeks). However, it became the same as before but no worse. Then the doctor added Methotrexate in July, 2011. My pain became a little better at the beginning again, but it went back after 2 months. In Jan, 2012, the doctor replaced Methotrexate with CellCept. CellCept worked very well at the beginning and my ds-DNA AB even became normal (<9) from Jan to April. However, my pain was still there but obviously less frequent. However, everything became the same after April. The flares-up become 1-2 time every week and ds-DNA AB became 20-25.
During the past one and half year, at most of the time ds-DNA AB oscillates between 9 and 25 (<9 is normal) except the time between Jan and April 2012. During flares-up, I can feel low-level feverish (but actually no fever). All other blood tests are normal for me and I am completely healthy when I have no flares-up. I have some pimple-like rashes on my face. The dermatologist told me it was possibly malar rash and rosacea combined.
Now the doctor is going to put me on Benlysta, which is a pretty strong drug for Lupus. However, I have very big concerns. Firstly, I am still young and just started my career. I do not want to be put on such a strong and expensive drug so early in my life. Secondly, I am completely well except 1-2 joint pains every week. The existing Celebrex controls my pain very well and I take 1-2 pills every week. I even doubt if I really have Lupus or my symptom is caused by something else. Do I need to change a new doctor to see what other doctors say about my symptoms? I know there are many friends who are experiences in tackling Lupus. Therefore, I came here to solicit some helpful suggestions. Any suggestions are well welcomed. Thank you so much.
Last edited by wannago; 09-09-2012 at 12:58 AM.