...I had chest pain - sharp, intense, terrible pain that kept me up at night. Although my primary care physician was reluctant to order chest x-rays, I insisted, as the pain had migrated to my back and side, and I struggled to sit, stand, and breath because of it. The x-rays revealed that the lining around my lungs was filled with fluid, called pleural effusion, and I'd developed a fever, swollen glands, joint pain and swelling throughout my body. I was referred to a pulmonologist, and then a rheumatologist, who both confirmed that I had SLE. I consider myself lucky, because within three weeks of getting the results of the x-rays, I had a diagnosis. Immediately my team of doctors put me on a high dose of prednisone and several other medications, but when the fluid remained, I had to have it removed two separate times, via a procedure called a thorocentisis. It took almost 6 months before I felt like my disease was even somewhat manageable. Until then, I really struggled with the concoction of medications, my limited mobility, and the adjustment to life with a chronic illness. If you're in the beginning stages of a diagnosis, don't lose heart. Life with Lupus does get better. It just takes some trial and error, a little bit of guesswork, and a whole lot of patience. The LFA website has a great series of articles geared toward the newly diagnosed. Check them out here!