Congratulation on your good health!! I'm so glad the meds worked for you.
Good question...and I'm guessing there will be a lot of different answers. I expect that having a flare would mean that you are NOT in complete remission. 'Course, the definition of 'remission' is even in question. My rheumatologist tells me that she would not consider me in true 'remission' unless I'm symptom-free WITHOUT meds. Now, I just can't imagine that happening. I read an article that I found on the Lupus Foundation of America website that says less than 5% of patients with SLE actually go into complete remission. What's more common is that people will progress from severe forms of lupus to a milder form of lupus. Wish I could find the article again - I'm guessing if you search for it, it's out there.
"If you trust Google more than you trust your doctor than maybe it's time to switch doctors."