In retrospect, the first signs of lupus started when I was about 13, but the real pain started in October 2000, when I was 25. I lost 40 pounds in two months without trying. That was my first clue that something was really wrong.
The first doctor I went to said that I needed to lose the weight anyway, so it was nothing to worry about. Needless to say, I did not return to that doctor. I was working crazy hours, and I didn’t have time for doctor shopping, so I just ignored it for a couple of weeks.
Then the pain started in my joints, and I got an ulcer inside my nose which would bleed profusely every time I sneezed. I went to another doctor, but by the time I could get in, the ulcer had healed. This doctor suggested that I was depressed—I didn’t return to this doctor, either.
The pain got worse, not just my joints but my muscles as well. I was always tired, even after sleeping 8 or 9 hours. Over the course of 9 months I saw over a dozen doctors.