I really don't have any idea what to think. I was tested because I was having hand pain and swelling and cold hands (but not Raynaud's). This went on for over a year with using various arthritis/Raynaud's gloves, heating pads/blankets. I did not go the doctor until I starting having decreased use of my hands (could not hold a knife to cut vegetables/meats, hard time holding a pencil, jar lids a nightmare). Having any degree of limited use of my hands is not acceptable with my job. A trial of steroids completely resolved my symptoms (temporarily).
Looking back, I have a pretty extensive list of issues that I never considered related but now I wonder. Symptoms started 10 years ago at age 35:
-Some unknown vascular issue that caused severe post partum bleeding (requiring blood transfusions), 2 D&Cs (with severe bleeding after each) and ending with necrosis of my uterus after the birth of my 3rd child (had hysterectomy when he was 5 weeks old). Pathology done twice but cause was unknown.
-Esophageal spasms: 1st scope showed severe GERD and narrowed esophagus, 2nd scope 2 years later (for same symptoms) showed visible Barrett's but negative biopsy. Gallbladder ultrasound and hepatobiliary iminodiacetic acid (HIDA) scan 2 years later (for same symptoms) showed no stones and decreased function of gallbladder but did not need surgery.
-5 years after hysterectomy (at age 40) developed pelvic collapse of everything down there (bladder, vagina, rectum). TERRIBLE surgery with severe bleeding needing multiple units of blood.
-2 years later, had repeat surgery to fix the failed attempts to fix the rectal issue but had also developed rectal prolapse and had 6 inches of bowel removed.
-I have sleep apnea and sleep with CPAP but have issues with swallowing air that is most likely caused by relaxation of esophageal sphincter (so my sleep physician states).
-Continued bowel issues that drives me absolutely crazy! Afraid to tell my surgeon that I still have prolapse and the other issues I was having trouble with are even worse now than before the surgery. I see at least one more surgery in my "near" future but I had complications after each surgery and need to forget the painful recovery (and waking up with a medical team and a crash cart sitting next to me when my brain decided it did not need to breathe anymore).
-Tried to take up running a couple of years ago (thinking if I was in better shape, I would feel better) and despite running 3-4 times a week for 6 months, I could never run (jog) more than 1/2 mile at a time due to shortness of breath and tightness in the chest (was very hard on myself and thought I was just a lazy, horrible out of shape woman (but was never overweight) and gave up the idea of running).
I have no skin issues. Just cold hands with occasional swelling.
So my symptoms are a bit weird. They very well may not be related to anything but it sure seems like a lot of problems for someone less than 46 (just had a birthday). I was not expecting ANY abnormal lab results so was very surprised when I saw the results. My rheumatologist put me on plaquenil 4 months ago and my hands are remarkably better!! No swelling, no pain, have not been wearing gloves or using heating pads, and I can cut my own meat now. I still have issues holding a pencil/pen and writing much - thank goodness for computers!! Filling out clinic forms can be very difficult!
So I continue with plaquenil and wait and see. Maybe all this goes together or maybe I just have a bummed-out body at age 46. Either way, it is a bit depressing.
Thank you for the advice!!