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Would appreciate your opinions since I know you're all going through it right now.
I started feeling unwell about 4 years ago. I'm 39 now. Started with bouts of extreme fatigue, extremely dry mouth, and gastrointestinal problems. Also, I developed inflammation of the costal cartilage on my 2nd rib, left side, as well as the breastbone next to the 2nd rib (sternocostal joint). I went to my primary care doctor who was concerned the inflammation may be autoimmune since it runs in my family (RA and MS). He ran a battery of tests (ANA, lupus, Rheumatoid factor, Lyme disease, CBC/blood chemistries) and everything came back normal/negative. Then a few months later my right collarbone around the sternoclavicular joint (where the clavicle meets the sternum) seemed inflamed. No swollen lymph nodes or fever or anything...just the bone seemed pushed up a bit, like there was inflammation below it or something. And sometimes it would throb and be painful. That joint was inflamed for about 5 months, and then it returned mostly to normal, though it still sticks out a little more than it used to. The inflammation of the costal cartilage/breastbone at my 2nd rib is still there - no change.
Since then, I've continued to have bouts of severe fatigue, and I have developed a very noticeable and frustrating rash across my face. See pics below. Initially I thought it was rosacea, but combined with my other symptoms, I started to wonder if it was the malar/butterfly rash. Would love to hear your thoughts.
Here are other symptoms I have - some persistent, some come and go:
--Dry eyes and dehydrated skin (persistent)
--Feeling like I can't get a deep breath (comes and goes)
--Fluid retention, particularly in my face, arms and hands and much moreseo on my left side. Facial puffiness particularly bad in the morning after waking
--Resistence to exercise. I've always been fit/exercised, but I'm having an increasingly hard time. I can no longer run as it causes severe joint pain and "puffiness" to the point my pants don't fit for a few days. It also takes me longer to recover from exercise, and sometimes I'm so fatigued after exercise I just fall asleep
--My brain is mush
--Inflamed gut (I have had a colonoscopy and upper endoscopy which show microsopic lymphocytic colitis, inflamed duodenum, mild gastritis, GERD, and IBS)...my stomach feels frequently inflamed to the point that I have to exercise daily by twisting and flexing to help reduce the inflammation
--Degenerative Disc Disease (lumbar) and herniated discs in my spine (lumbar, thoracic and cervical)
--Increasingly severe knee pain. An xray showed I have chondromalacia and patellofemoral pain syndrome (Runner's knee), but it's getting to the point where even moderate walks are excruciating.
--Rashes: In the last year, I've mainly just had the rash on my face, but over the past 4 years, I've had a variety of rashes on my arms, elbows and tops of hands that seemed to pop up whenever the weather got warm and I went out in short sleeves, so there is some question of photosensitivity. Dermatologist diagnosed me with dishydrotic eczema and gave me a steroid cream which worked wonders.
--Severe allergies. Went for allergy testing. I'm allergy to every tree, weed, grass, cats, dust, mold, etc. I always used to have seasonal allergies, but now I have allergies year-round, which my allergist can't explain.
Anyway, it's been a few years since I had a blood test done, and I'm debating going back to either my primary care doc, a dermatologist or a rheumatologist. Just trying to figure out the best approach. Tired of feeling like a tired, bloated old lady!
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