If it looks like a duck, acts like a duck, quacks like a duck…

Many years ago, I had the mumps; 4 times in one year! An astute doc at the student health clinic (I was in college) scratched her head when I appeared 2 months later. Yes, mumps, AGAIN. She didn’t buy it:  “A person doesn’t get the mumps this often,” yet I had all the signs; fever and my chipmunk cheeks.

Then, I mentioned my dry eyes, very dry mouth and the bespectacled doc dug a bit deeper: Long story short, no mumps at all. One lip biopsy and a + Shermer’s test (where the tears in your eyes are measured-I FLUNKED) later-Sjogren’s Syndrome was diagnosed. We finally knew what it was and instead of treating mumps, the doctor’s treated the infectious parotitis of Sjogren’s Syndrome.

It (Sjogren’s Syndrome) was a minor inconvenience, despite the bouts of tremendous pain when I had parotitis. Quickly, I learned how to manage it and what antibiotic worked for the parotitis. Then, I was ‘yanked’ from that comfort zone when that diagnosis was switched to lupus with secondary Sjogren’s. The main effect of lupus was on my joints with osteonecrosis and pulmonary problems. Then gradually, pains in my muscles increased, so:

Then, gradually pain in my muscles caused me to see my rheumie today: He explained that lupus and many of the autoimmune diseases were different all the time and it was explained that things had changed: Sjogrens had  moved into “first place” with lupus now second. Recent labs done on several occasions indicated that I no longer had as many lupus antibodies; now Sjogren’s antibodies were in the ‘majority.’  He said that autoimmune diseases typically ‘morph’ to become another illness. What was 6 months ago lupus became today’s Sjogren’s Syndrome.

The symptoms are so much the same and I still don’t understand what causes the autoimmune diseases to ‘morph’ into another closely related-but different-disease. But the doctor DID say that at one time, I had the antibodies of lupus; now, I don’t. But I do have Sjogren’s Syndrome antibodies prevail.

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