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Jenna’s Fight Like a Girl Story (Possible Lupus)

Lupus Ribbon My journey started when I was six years old. When I was six I had noticed some white patches on my skin. I then went to a dermatologist, who had found it was vitiligo, an autoimmune disease. I had been through several skin creams, and by the time I was ten I started puva! I started puva and had success. After using that for a while I had noticed some unexplained bruising. The dermatologist recommended that I stop using puva, and that I see a hematologist.

I then went to a hematologist who ran a series of tests. She gave us an idea of what it could be, she said it might be the early stages of  lupus. The labs all came back fine. She said whatever it is, it now isn’t showing in the lab work and it might come further down the road. By this time I was about 12, I started having some mild joint pains. My family and I had just assumed it was from competitive gymnastics that I had been doing for the last six years. So I just dealt with it.

As years went by, I had later became pregnant. In December of 2009, I had my little girl. Not long after having her I seemed to be feeling worse. My joint pain had become more painful, I started bruising, getting mouth ulcers, I became very pale, and was extremely tired all the time. I’d get sick at least once a month for about a week and a half, to where I’d have to miss work. I also had become depressed and was on medication for it. I went to my medical doctor for a refill on my medication and he said I looked like I was run over by a truck.

He then decided to run a series of test which included a thyroid panel. I waited a couple days and my lab’s had verified my thyroid was almost nonexistent. I was then sent to an endocrinologist and found out that I have hashimoto’s thyroiditis (yet another autoimmune disease.) After being on the medication for a while I started to feel better. But then, on came a different kind of flare up. My hair started falling out, I had a slight rash on my face,  and my finger’s were turning purple and numb. I had more ulcers in my mouth, bruising, would get tired all the time, even after I would take a nap, and had joint pain to the point that I couldn’t walk. By then I had switched my medical doctor.  My new doctor decided to run more tests (muscle tests, ANA, ESR, RA). I waited a couple of days and a new symptom came up, I had been really dizzy, light-headed, and I almost fell.

I went to the doctor and they had said my ANA came back positive, and so did my RA. My doctor had then said she feels this is a lupus case. She referred me to the rheumatologist. I waited two weeks to see him and finally got in to see him. He said from what my lab’s looked like and my symptom’s he felt this is Lupus or connective tissue disease. He ordered more labs, which consisted of a COMPLETE ANA, ESR, and CRP. It took two weeks for those labs to come back. In the mean time I had to just wait. After the two weeks I went back to the doctor and got my results. Everything had come back fine. He said it’s not showing up right now but it could. He said I do have four tissues that are damaged. He just doesn’t know what’s causing it.

The tissues being damaged were from the vitiligo, mouth ulcers, thyroid, and joints. After that appointment I was then put on PRN .  When I have a flare up I have to go back after about 5 days. I had gone into a full flare up, to the point I could hardly walk into his office. He  had seen how much pain I was in trying to make it down the hall. He then decided to put me on steroids for my inflammation. I took that for two weeks, and then I went back to the doctor and I had never felt so good. At this next appointment he decided to ween me off the steroids and put me on plaquenil, which is a drug he uses for lupus. I still haven’t gotten the full diagnoses with lupus but he said it could be years before I get a full diagnoses.

Jenna
Florida
Submitted 5-15-2012

The informational content of this article is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.

This article is intended to convey general educational information and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.

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