Hello, I'm 37 and was diagnosed with Lupus about four months ago.

Other than already knowing I had a kidney disease (not nephritis) , I didn't really think anything was wrong with me. I had a strange rash and had a biopsy. I also had some mouth ulcers and stiffness/achyness, but I didn't think anything of it til after I was diagnosed.

I started Plaquenil 3 months ago. So far I do not see any visible difference. Well, the rash has gone away. The last few I have been particularly achy and the mouth ulcers hurt more than usual.

I'm still very confused and scared. Sometimes I get the impression that my life (or at the enjoyable parts of it) is pretty much over. Other times it sounds like if I take the meds, take naps when I need to, etc, I'll almost forget I have it after a while.

Here are some random questions:

1) Did Plaquenil help, in what ways, and how long did it take?

2) What "natural strategies" have helped? (For example, a daily nap, vitamins, etc)

3) I've heard most people with Lupus have to take anti-depressants to cope. Is it really so miserable having this disease?

4) Have your health and/or emotional state improved, gotten worse, or not really changed since diagnosis? Is it going to be a gradual decline for me for the next twenty years, assuming I even live that long? Is it just a matter of time til I'm very sick, in a wheelchair, etc?

5) I have three small children. Anyone here with little kids? How likely is it that I'll continue to be able to take them to the park, the zoo, play with them, etc?

6) What is remission, exactly? Is it likely? Do the drugs cause it, or just dumb luck? Is it something that last years, or a week, or either?

7) Do you EVER have days where you feel normal and healthy, or will I never experience that again from now until my death?

8) (kind of a gross question, sorry) I've been experiencing some pain, irritation and itchiness in my, uh ... well, I guess the medical term is anus. It often hurts when I, uh ... poop. Is that Lupus related? Anything that helps with that? I've had no problems with gas or diarhea or anything like that.

I guess that's it, thanks!

Jenny