First of welcome to the site. I'm in the same boat as you are...just trying to get sorted out.
I've been seeing a rhuemy for almost a year now. So I can help ya with your first questiong.
Take some time and write down three lists. The first list is all the sypmptoms you've had and try to give a time reference...when and how long.
Second list, all the questions you have.
It's best to write things down and have then out when you go into the doctor's office. Nothing worse than getting half way home and realizing you forgot something important.
Also prepare a list of and/or take all medications you are taking...and I do mean all. Even if it's a cream for a rash.
It can take awhile to get a clear diagnosis...so be patient...the answers may take awhile to get.
As for the sevarity of lupus...other's can probably answer that for you. I know that you can go into remission for long periods and short periods of time. Flares can vary in intensity from flare to flare. It depends on alot of different factors.
The biggst piece of advice I can give you is be patient with your self, and brace yourself for alot of hurry up and waite appointments. There are no quick answers.
Glad you found your way here...it's a friendly supportive site...I'm sure the others will be along soon to welcome you