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Althea’s Fight Like a Girl Story (Mixed Connective Tissue Disease)

Althea's Story (MCTD) Hello, my name is Althea. My fight like a girl story begins in 2006. I was in nursing school and realized I was unable to stand for a three hour lab class without sitting down and taking a break. I experienced pain in my joints, had a hard time concentrating, and had  swelling in my hands and feet. I couldn’t understand my weakness and exhaustion. I decided to see a doctor.

I first was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, then rheumatoid arthritis, then Raynaud’s disease, then interstitial granuloma dermatitis (so rare it had to be sent to three different labs and ended up in Texas!). In November of last year I experienced neurogenic bladder, which causes your bladder just to quit! I had had enough; I went to see a new rheumatologist who, after finding I had a positive ANA/RNP, diagnosed me with Mixed Connective Tissue Disease.

It’s nice to finally have a name to give to this series of strange autoimmune nightmares. But I have realized that very few people know what MCTD is. It is very frustrating for a nurse or doctor to look at you with a tilted head and a confused look when you say I have MCTD.

I feel like I’m a woman on a mission now. I want people to understand this disease and what a battle it is to get recognized and diagnosed. I want to create awareness for others who suffer with this rare and serious disease. I am blessed to have awesome family and friends and a wonderful husband, who all support me. I know I will live a long life with treatment and positive care.

Submitted 3-22-2012

The informational content of this article is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.

This article is intended to convey general educational information and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.


  1. Reuben Whitaker

    Beautiful Story!

  2. Stan

    Great read

  3. Kat

    Thanks for posting. I just found out I have MCTD a few months ago. Even though I’m getting treated it just seems to be getting worse. I am a nurse and had never heard of it. One person I have talked to about it knew what it was because her mom has it. That’s it…blank stares from everyone else. I haven’t really told a lot of people I have it….usually when I try to explain it I tell them I have Super Lupus.


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