Patient & Caregiver Stories Main Menu

(English) by First Name: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V-Z

By Language: French   German   Greek   Italian   Polish   Romanian   Russian   Spanish   Turkish

By Illness: Main List, Linear/Morphea, Systemic Scleroderma, By Symptoms

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
Most Recent Donors

Winn Schillberg
Reading Voices of Scleroderma Books: Diana Kramer.
Sharing Scleroderma Awareness Bracelets: Deb Martin, Brenda Miller, Vickie Risner.
Thanks to UNITED WAY donors of Central New Mexico and Snohomish County!

In Loving Memory

Patricia Ann Black: Marilyn Currier, Shelley Ensz, Richard Howitt, Gerald and Pat Ivanejko, Juno Beach Condo Association, Keith and Rosalyn Miller, and Elaine Wible.
Gayle Hedlin: Daniel and Joann Pepper and Nancy Smithberg.
Janet Paulmenn: Anonymous, Mary Jo Austin, Shelley Blaser, Susan Book, Dennis and Pat Clayton, Grace Cunha, Cindy Dorio, Michael and Patricia Donahue, Shelley Ensz, Nancy Falkenhagen, Jo Frowde, Alice Gigl, Margaret Hollywood, Karen Khalaf and Family, Susan Kvarantan, Bradley Lawrence, Jillyan Little, Donna Madge, Michele Maxson, Barry and Judith McCabe, John Moffett, My Tribute Foundation, Joan-Marie Permison, John Roberts, Margaret Roof, Maryellen Ryan, Mayalin and Kiralee Murphy, Nancy Settle-Murphy, and Bruce and Elizabeth Winter.


SCLERO.ORG is the world leader for trustworthy research, support, education and awareness for scleroderma and related illnesses, such as pulmonary hypertension. We are a service of the nonprofit International Scleroderma Network (ISN), which is a 501(c)(3) U.S.-based public charitable foundation, established in 2002. Meet Our Team, or Volunteer. Donations may also be mailed to:

International Scleroderma Network (ISN)
7455 France Ave So #266
Edina, MN 55435-4702 USA

Email [email protected] to request our Welcome email, or to report bad links or to update this page content.

TOLL FREE HOTLINE 800-564-7099
Free to U.S. and Canadian Callers. Ask for our Free Info Packet by mail or email!
Scleroderma, Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension, and related illnesses.
Privacy Policy.

The most important thing in the world to know about scleroderma is!
Donate Now
Copyright 1998-2016, International Scleroderma Network. AKA Scleroderma from A to Z and SCLERO.ORG. All Rights Reserved.