Hello, I'm hoping for a bit of insight regarding several new symptoms I've been experiencing recently. I am a 29 year old female with a history of back and neck problems, spinal surgery (ACDF) in 2010, and fibromyalgia (diagnosed in 2009). Over the past few years my fibro symptoms have become fairly predictable, with weather changes, stress, insomnia, and caffeine being my biggest pain triggers.
Last month, I had a set of new symptoms all arise within the span of several days. First, I was out in the mid-day sun for less than five minutes when my skin suddenly began to feel severely burned. (I'm fair-skinned, so I've always burned pretty easily, but not in a matter of minutes.) I found some shade quickly, and when I got home, I found that my face, upper chest, and arms (which were all exposed to the sun) were burned bright red and felt tender and warm to the touch. That was over a month ago, and the "sunburn" hasn't faded. In fact, the redness over my cheeks, nose, and forehead sometimes begins to flush a deep red and becomes painfully hot.
One week after the sun exposure, I began to have vision problems. I was diagnosed with a retinal hemorrhage, specifically a "Roth spot", and had blood work done (CBC and ANA panel). It all came back normal. Which, according to the opthalmologist, rules out RA and lupus.
During the week following the hemorrhage, I began to experience new and severe joint pain, redness, and swelling in my hands and wrists. The palms of both of my hands began to burn and feel like I was holding them against something hot. And I had the worst overall pain/fatigue episode that I've had in months. This all hit me on the same day, roughly two weeks after the sun exposure triggered my facial rash/burning.
I'm feeling better overall, though the facial redness is still there and occasionally burns, the joint pain/redness/swelling has not gone away, my palms still burn, and I alternate between days in which I have a fair amount of energy and days in which I am so stiff and exhausted that I can barely make it up a flight of stairs. My strong suspicion is that this is more than fibromyalgia. However, when my CBC and ANA came back normal, I was pretty much told by the eye doctor that there is nothing wrong with me and that the Roth spot was just "one of those things". Is it possible that I'm experiencing less common fibro symptoms for the first time? Does everyone suffering from fibro experience these things at various times? Or is there a possibility that I could have something else going on (like RA or lupus) even with a negative ANA?
Thank you so much in advance for your time. I realize this is a lengthy post, but I would greatly appreciate any feedback or advice you could give.View Thread
Since my initial post last week, I've developed even more symptoms. And I have remembered some symptoms I've experienced in the past that could possibly be related.
New symptoms: tender skin on scalp that feels like a sunburn, "flank pain" that migrates but mostly is centered near my left kidney, extremely heat-sensitive red rash on my upper chest that hurts when shower water hits it, acid reflux at bedtime (every night for a few weeks now).
Past/continuing problems: significant hair loss that began in my early twenties (permanent, so far), extremely allergic to sulfa drugs, unexplained gallbladder pain (no stones), and what one dr called an "exuberant" immune system -- leading to prolonged swelling of lymph nodes and rapidly developing ear infections (my last ear infection ruptured my ear drum within hours of its beginning and eventually traveled into my inner ear as well . . . my ear, nose, and throat specialist said that it was one of the worst he'd ever seen).
1wareaglefan: I have also heard that it's possible to have negative blood work at one point that later changes to positive. I'm hoping my doctor will listen to my symptoms with an open mind and consider the possibility that the blood tests may not be the last word on my condition.
xperky: Thanks for the suggestion. I have now started keeping a journal of my symptoms, activity level, and what I eat. I have an appointment in one week with my family doctor, so hopefully the information in the journal will be helpful. I am not taking any prescription medications, though I am highly allergic to sulfa drugs and had a severe reaction as a child. Knowing what I know now about lupus, I wonder if this sulfa allergy could possibly be one more small piece to the puzzle of what is going on with my body right now.
I appreciate the caring and support that the members of this board seem to show for each other. Thank to everyone who has responded to my post. We'll see what my doctor says next week, and go from there.View Thread
Thanks for the feedback and encouragement. I guess at this point my biggest concerns are the facial rash and burning (because it's a completely new symptom) and the joint pain and swelling in my fingers (because that seems more indicative of actual inflammation). Has anyone begun to experience these symptoms and ended up being diagnosed with something like RA or lupus in addition to the FM?View Thread