Hello all. I was diagnosed with lupus and RA just this past Monday after suffering through symptoms for about eight years. I had got so tired of doctor's giving me the run-around that I had pretty much given up on doctors completely until this past May, when I suddenly it seemed as though my kidneys had gone into overdrive and my legs started swelling badly. My boyfriend (training to be a nurse) became very concerned and urged me to find a compassionate doctor who would really listen to what I was saying and take aggressive steps toward discovering what was wrong. The visit with a new GP led to a referral to a rheumatologist, and that referral led to a diagnosis. I am scheduled to have a kidney biopsy next month.

Considering that I've been suffering from symptoms for so long, I was completely unprepared for the depression that I'm now experiencing. When I first received my diagnosis, I was relieved to FINALLY have an answer as to why I feel so ill and am in such pain so much of the time. I expected to react the same way I do with any other obstacle in my life, and just roll over it without giving it much of an emotional investment. But very quickly, that relief faded and was replaced by the deepest bout of depression I have ever experienced. I guess some small part of me was really hoping that the doctor would tell me that there was nothing really wrong and I just needed a good night's sleep, and that everything would be better in the morning. :roll:

My mother had MS and her conditional went terminal when I was twelve years old. She went into a coma a year later and was completely life-support dependant. She died when she was only 42 years old. Two years ago when I experienced my first full-on major flare up of multiple symptoms, I saw a doctor who was concerned that I might be showing signs of the same disease. But when my MRI and all other tests come out negative, I thought I was in the clear. Now I'm having to deal with the reality of a chronic illness and I feel lost and very, very frightened. It may sound silly, but I desperately do not want to end up like my mother. My head is completely out of sorts. I don't even feel as though I'm the same person i was a few months ago. My self-confidence, drive and determination have all mysteriously vanished and it's starting to badly effect my personal relationships. I've gone from being a tremendously self-reliant, confident, unbreakable person, to being a scared, needy little thing who cries about everything. Needless to say, the emotional stress of the situation is exacerbating my physical symptoms. though i'm only 32 years old I've been hobbling around like an old woman (RA is in my hips), have experienced such extreme fatigue that I'm pretty much useless by about 2 o'clock in the afternoon, and just feel generally crappy. :cry:

I'm sorry to be unloading all of this here, but I feel more than a little desperate at the moment. I stumbled on this forum and after reading through a lot of posts, it seemed like a place that wouldn't mind me venting a little bit. ops: Thank you very much for "listening"

-Annie