Welcome to our family! I am sorry that your surgery did not give you the relief that you hoped for. Many of the symptoms that you describe are familiar to those of us with auto-immune diseases. Many of us suffer from more than one overlapping illness. A positive ANA and positive RF factor does not necessarily mean Lupus. However, they are highly indicative of some sort of auto-immune issue occurring. You are right, the diagnostic process can be quite lengthy as it is really a process of elimination until the true source of your issues are found. Sometimes, we never get a definitive answer and are told that we have MCTD (Mixed Connective Tissue Disease combines features of scleroderma, myositis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and rheumatoid arthritis. Some doctors also include polymyositis, dermatomyositis, and inclusion body myositis and, as such, making MCTD and overlap syndrome.
Another diagnoses that we often receive in lieu of a firm Lupus diagnosis is UCTD (Undifferentiated connective tissue disease). In this case, many people who have features of connective tissue disease, however, they do not have enough symptoms of any one disease in particular that would fulfill the diagnostic criteria established for any one disease. In such circumstances, they are often considered to have "undifferentiated" connective tissue disease. Over time, people with UCTD may evolve into one of the more specific connective tissue diseases, such as lupus, Sjögren's or scleroderma.
There is a genetic predisposition for connective tissue diseases and/or auto-immune diseases. So, it is good that you explained the fact that your mother suffered from Lupus.
I hope that I've been helpful.
Again...Welcome to our family
Peace and Blessings
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