I didn't get a chance to welcome you on your other thread so let me do that now. Hello and Welcome....I'm Lori.
I'll try to answer some of your questions. If I don't address something, I know others with more knowledge will be along soon.
First off, It's completely understandable to be overwhelmed with everything. You've been thrown into this headfirst...going in for a sinus infection and ending up with this diagnosis. That'll knock anyone off balance. And then when you first hear the word Lupus, most all of us get overwhelmed with all the information that's out there...trying to sort through it and match it up with what our doctor tells us. So, what you need to do is slow down and don't expect yourself to figure it out all at once. You need to take things one day at a time...sometimes one hour at a time. You are starting in the right direction though, by joining this forum and seeking answers. There is a wealth of collective knowledge from our members and some really great people to provide reassurance and support at all times. There's always someone here to listen.
I'm wondering...have you read through the 'Sticky' posts that are at the very beginning of Lauri's Lounge? They are full of very valuable general information about Lupus and how to live with it, that some of our experienced members have posted. They stay at the top of Lauri's Lounge so new members can find them easily.
There's a 'Sticky' post about protecting yourself from the sun. You definitely need to read that one. For pretty much all of us with Lupus, the sun is our enemy. You need to be very careful when you are in the sun. It's important to protect yourself with a good sunblock and hat to cover your head. You need to wear clothing that will keep your body exposure to a minimum. Several of our members purchase UV protective clothing which you can find on a website called Coolibar. I think it's quite expensive, but worth it for the protection it provides.
The zoo pass is such a great thing when you have children, and I don't want to discourage you from enjoying that experience with your daughter. What I would suggest is that you protect yourself as much as possible from the sun, make sure you bring plenty of water for hydration and maybe try to get there as early as possible in the day, before the sun is at it's strongest. You might even think about carrying a UV protective umbrella to pop up when you're standing in the sun for a period of time. Just as extra protection. Or you might try arranging your zoo time by alternating time out in the sun with some time in the shade, like a bench under a tree for a break, or step inside a building to view the animals so you can get a break from the sun. I would suggest the same thing for your trip to Florida. Don't plan too much outdoor time all in one day...or go out early morning till about 10 am and then head back to the hotel for some rest and shade by the pool. That's what we did with my kids at Disneyland when they were little. In the hottest part of the day, we'd head back to the pool and my husband would swim with them, while I found a shady spot by the pool to read or nap. Then when the sun went away, we'd head back to the park to have dinner and enjoy more rides. You don't have to avoid your special vacation...with a little planning ahead, you can still enjoy the fun.
As far as the flourescent lights, many of us on this forum have been talking about them and it seems as if they do cause us problems. We are sensitive to Ultraviolet lighting, and that does include flourescent lights. I think most of us are finding ways to avoid them or change out the bulbs for other kinds if we can. It wouldn't hurt to talk to the administration at your school to see if there are other options for your workspace.
Your kidneys....I remember one of my biggest worries when I was first diagnosed was that it was going to attack my kidneys and I'd lose them. I've had Lupus for 27 years now, and I've had several kidney infections and had kidney stones (wow, they are incredibly painful aren't they?) after my second preganacy with my daughter. But each time, they have been treatable and I've never had any long term problems. If you've got a good Rheumatologist, you can most likely count on them to keep a close eye on your kidneys. Just be sure to inform them if you suspect any problems or concerns so they can stay on top of any problems. One thing I can tell you for sure is that stress and worry can very much affect the course of your disease. I know it's hard not to do, we all do it when we have Lupus, but you need to try to keep your stress to a minimum. When you find yourself doing the worrying thing, try to distract your mind with something else to keep you busy.
Exercising....yes it's a good thing to keep you healthy...just be careful in everything you do and try not to overuse any one joint too much. When you use the free weights, move around frequently to different muscle groups, so you don't use to much repetition on one particular joint. Make sure you carefully stretch out before and after each workout....that's my faithful rule when I workout at Curves. And if you find that one particular area or joint is having pain or problems, then skip that one for a workout and give it a rest. And for the days when you might have too much pain to workout, just try very gentle stretches. And your question about Ibuprofen for pain...that's what I use and it works great. Just be sure your doctor is okay with it. If you're having joint pain, there's no reason to suffer needlessly. If you find an over the counter med, and it's ok with your doctor, then definitely use it.
Kristi...I didn't mean to write you a book to read here...but I could 'hear' your desperation in wanting some information, so tried to jump in best I could. I know if I missed something, others will be along to fill in or add to what I've shared. And please keep asking your questions of us....we are more than happy to help those that are new to this. When I was diagnosed at age 18, I had not one single other person with Lupus to talk to at all. This illness can make you feel so very alone at times and I want you to know that I care about you and don't want you to go through this alone.