Congratulations on the fantastic job you've been doing on scleroderma. It is hard to locate cross-checked information over this illness in my country and I've learned so much just by browsing forum topics and the site's main categories. My heart goes to everyone out there.
I'm cutting straight to the chase: I'm a designer who has started working as a waitress in a restaurant the past 2 months to make ends meet and I'm undergoing through terrible stress because both my parents are gravely ill and my child is 3 years old.
I have been experiencing a problem with my eye since February - at first it was accompanied by horrible migraines so my general practitioner ordered an MRI scan that came out clear as a bell. I've got astigmatism so I just started wearing my glasses more often and the horrible headache was gone, although the slightly burning sensation in my eye never left - I tried artificial tears that didn't do any particular difference, it always affects one eye.
I've also experienced shooting pains on my right arm and performed a cervical MRI which showed various herniated discs and bone spurs at the ripe age of 35. The ortho doctor ordered a couple of detailed blood tests to put my mind at ease because I was complaining for rheumatic-like pains (knee pain mostly). The blood tests were good (normal CRP & ESR rate, negative Anti ds-DNA, negative RF, normal C3& C4 component levels etc) BUT my ANA came out positive 1:160, speckled pattern. That was around April '16.
My September '15 ANA panel was negative. Of course I started googling away the pattern result and scleroderma appears to be in the list of possible diseases associated with. Since then, my arthralgia-like pain has been more intense and recently fingers and knuckles are in pain with no evident swelling. I've got combination skin on face but rest of the body is mostly naturally dry / sensitive and my rosacea is in full bloom. I've visited 3 rheumatologists and a dermatologist and everybody dismissed my symptoms and associated them to stress. They keep telling me that half of the healthy population out there has a positive ANA panel and I shouldn't fret about it.
A couple of weeks ago, I had another blood test, my ANA seems even higher (1:320, speckled pattern) whilst everything else remains perfectly normal.. All doctors seem totally indifferent about the rise, they prompted me to perform further testing myself at a big hospital lab and avoid private labs.. They told me that if I insist I could perform further evaluation (Anti-Smith, Anti-RNP, Scl-70, Anti-La, Anti-Ro, ΑCA), it costs around around £90 and I cannot afford it so I'm basically driving myself crazy with self-diagnosis.
I just wanted to know, if you guys feel I'm just worrying too much? Overall my symptoms are the following ones: general malaise, stinging sensation on one eye (same eye always), pain in fingers and knuckles with no swelling and no pain when joints are being pressed; my index fingers feels as someone has crushed them, awful burning sensation on my arms and the top of my hands, calluses on right palm, my skin feels sensitive and sore and area around the mouth feels sore as well..
Never experienced Raynaud's, no ulcers, no evident tightening. Do these symptoms sound anything like scleroderma? I hope I don't sound totally insensitive and silly towards people with genuine symptoms.. I just don't know what to do with myself. Thank you for your patience.