:confused: About 15 years ago, I suddenly developed stiff joints everywhere, and my finger joints became much larger. When I woke mornings I could hardly move my hands. The stiffness became less and sort of stabilized after a few months. I refused to take NSAID's because they made my ears ring (I am a musician.)
I had caught some kind of severe virus in Mexico six months before these symptoms started, was very ill for two weeks and very weak for months afterwards. My hair started to fall out at the same time the stiffness started.
I had various tests done for SLE and RA, all but one came back negative. The first MD that examined me said, "Probable early SLE or RA." I was told that in these diseases, the blood tests sometimes do not show positive for years. The one test that was positive was elevated to 3 x's the normal level. This was in Germany. The MD's here would not even consider this test result.
Fatigue and pettichae on my trunk, neck, upper legs and arms are also part of this picture. My hair falls out as soon as I am under the least bit of stress - one night with too little sleep, for example.
Because I do not have a diagnosis, I have a hard time getting people to understand the fatigue. I am in a doctoral program and when the professors are unrealistic in their expectations, the other students can just stay up all night for days on end - I can't. But without a diagnosis, I am viewed as simply a whining hypochondriac.
Thanks for your help.