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Fran: Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Disease (UCTD)

At thirty-one, I feel like I am ninety years old.

Fran's Wedding by Shelley Ensz After years of suffering from a long list of unexplained complaints (fatigue, muscle/joint pain, rashes, fever), I was diagnosed with UCTD in June of 1998 by my rheumatologist. At that time, I was overwhelmed with my upcoming wedding and the possibility of being "sick."

Although I had Lyme Disease in 1989, my doctor did not feel there was any connection between the two. My rheumatologist suggested I try plaquenil, which I did. I suffered from adverse side effects including severe pain in both of my eyes. I was taken off that medication and told that I could treat my symptoms with anti-inflammatory medications as needed and see how I did. My doctor suggested taking EPA Fish Oil tablets daily which proved to be extremely helpful with my symptoms.

I got married in August of 1998 feeling great, and I continued to do well until June of 1999. All of the symptoms reappeared — muscle pain, rashes, fever, lethargy. I went back to my rheumatologist last week and he confirmed my diagnosis as UCTD and ran extensive blood tests.

It is so frustrating to be diagnosed with something starting with "undifferentiated." Although I do not hope to be diagnosed with a specific disease, I wish I knew what was wrong with me. I am so tired of hearing people say, "It's just stress," or "Maybe it's the weather," or "You could be run down." My symptoms are real and at thirty-one, I feel like I am ninety years old when I experience a flare up.

I will be getting my blood test results in two days, although I do not expect to get any definitive answers.

To Contact the Author

New Email address needed 04-29-08 SLE.
Old Email Prefix: fran74
Story posted 7-20-99 SLE

Story Artist: Shelley Ensz
Go to Franchina: Systemic Sclerosis
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