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Lupus & PN

Posted By rose on October 20, 1998 at 21:07:01:

I am a 40something female.  I was diagnosed with Lupus almost 20 years ago.    Since then the lupus has been mild, no major organs involved other than pleurisy, mild asthma, and arthalgia.  The lupus has been quiet (according to blood tests) for the past two years.  One year  ago I had foot surgergy after an automobile accident.  After the surgery I developed painful peripheral neuropathy in feet, legs, hands, arms and face; I am ataxic;  sometimes my legs won't move and I can't walk, and I am falling alot.  The neurologist says the neuropathy is from lupus; the orthopedic (for accident) says its from the accident and surgery.  My rheumatologist says it can't be from lupus, the lupus is quiet.  However the recent blood tests I took showed low wbc (3.0), anemia, sed rate high (30), ANA (speckled) borderline 1:80.  Negative Anti-DNA and normal complements.
I have been feeling so weak its hard for me to stand up sometimes.  My rheumatologist says (after the recent blood work) that the lupus is still quiet.  Now I don't know who to believe!   My questions are:  
1.  Can someone develop neuropathy from lupus if the lupus is quiet?
2.  With the test results that I have listed, should I see another rheumatologist; or does it really look like the lupus is still quiet?
3.  Can complement levels be normal with active lupus?
I am in a lot of pain and am quite disabled.  As much as I hate the thought of taking prednisone (I have been up to 40 mg.); at least if it's lupus - the predisone will make my condition better and I can get back to some form of normalcy.  Presently, I am on no medication other than 75 mg. elavil for the neuropathy.   I am totally confused about what to do next.  Thank you for your attention.
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