I'm not even sure where everything started. I have 3 children ages 7, 11 and 14. I had pre-eclampsia with each pregnancy. the 3rd was bad (year 2000), I delivered 8 weeks early, was on magnesium sulfate, my kidneys were shutting down. I was sent to a hospital that handled "high risk" pregnancies. The head doctor there was stumped. He said that most times he sees situations like mine, the patient tested positive for Lupus... but not me. I had/have a strong history of auto immune diseases in my family. I thought the doctor was a little off the wall with his thinking that it was Lupus... I was just a "tired and stressed mother" as my own GP so often reminded me...... so, I dismissed it...
fast forward a few years..... my fatigue turns to extreme fatigue, I start having joint pain, swelling/edema, migraines, muscle pain and spasms, my mother makes a comment one day about my face looking like a lupus rash(I said it's just a sunburn). I am olived skinned.. I don't usually burn! I start to really think maybe I need to have my dr look at things closer. my then husband (now my ex!! ) treats me like I am a hypochondriatic. I go to doctors and they still act like I am "just a tired mom". Then.... a nurse practitioner runs regular blood work, my liver enzymes were a little high and my white count was low... I test a low posititve for anti-smooth muscle anti-bodies. My dr says I have fatty liver. the white count/joint pain does get me sent to a rhuemy though. Not by the doctor.. but the Nurse practioner!! She runs a bunch of tests and finds that I have a very low compliment C4 level.
I still to this day haven't had a positive ANA. I'm okay with that because. I know that having the DX of Lupus can make it harder to get life insurance. My rhuemy treats me for mild Lupus and believes I have it. I have had low white counts numerous times, I was mildly positive for anti-phisiolipid anti-bodies(sp?), my C4 continues to be low. I respond well to plaquenil. I found out that I have low magnesium levels. When I was pregnant, my kidneys were very slightly damaged and it causes my kidneys to not retain magnesium. When I started magnesium supplements, it helped me quite a bit. My headaches stopped, as did the horrible muscle spasms. I would wake during the night with a charlie horse type cramp. It wasn't just in my legs but in my arms, or even my stomach muscles. I know that the lupus doesn't cause the muscle cramps but, indirectly, it did. The Urologist said that the Lupus caused the kidney damage that causes my magnesium levels to be low. At first my doctor thought I was having MS symptoms because of the muscle spasms and cramps.
My Rhuemy said I have mild lupus and my heart goes out to those that have more severe symptoms than I have. I find certain times of the year I am worse, that eating poorly affects me, and not getting enough sleep. I have to stay away from sweets, get exercise, and take my meds. If I do those things, most days I feel normal and actually can do most things. That is when I start to fail... I start to eat poorly, and not take my meds. I feel like I am better and then I miss a day here or a day there... next thing I know, I totally forget to take any meds. I recently went through this, it wasn't a good time of year to do that. I did all I could to "get through Christmas". Now, I am doing a little better but only after getting back on track with the meds. My new boyfriend must think I am insane at times. We've only been dating since the end of October. There have been a few times since Christmas that I had to say to him, "I just can't do it". I sent him and email with "The spoon theory". He seems to understand! I told him that I just need some time to recoup. It is very helpful to have someone that understands!
Presently I am not working. It is hard financially. I had a job that I loved. I was let go in Sept. I find that if I don't like a job that I am working at, it causes me to flare. I recently turned down a job with decent pay because I knew I couldn't sit at a computer all day, on a phone, and type. I know from experience that it wasn't a good combination for me. My body needs a break from sitting all day. I had a similar job and I did all I could to just stay awake!! Anyways, I start a new job next week but I think it will be one that will work for me. Pay is less but, I have to think of my health first and foremost. I'm still going to college... I realize I can only do so much!!!