I have MCTD and had an extreme case. Patients vary from almost no symptoms to life threatening and can have symptoms of any or all of the diseases. Normal treatment is prednisone (cortisone is a local treatment typically used for arthritis and other joint problems and injuries) which suppresses the immune system and reduces inflammation throughout your body. Docs will usually put you on another prednisone sparing med (like imuran or methorexate, etc) to suppress your immune system and then slowly taper you off prednisone. Resistant cases like mine can be a challenge to find an effective treatment and often require IVIG, rituxan or other treatments.
What kind of a doctor are you seeing? Is he/she familiar with AI diseases? MCTD is very rare.
Here are some sites with lots of info.
Ask all the questions you want. It is a confusing disease but I am an example of someone who almost didn't make it, was completely crippled (lost 40 lbs of muscle in 1 week) , had kidney, liver and GI tract problems, joints and extreme muscle involvment, and could not swallow anything. That was 4 years ago and I have made a remarkable recovery...no relapses and I have returned to an active life of skiing, hiking, golf and best of all, I can eat and drink anything. 4 months with a feeding tube was not fun.
Hang in there but I would recommend getting a second opinion from a rheumy who is experienced treating AI diseases. Treatment is always to suppress the immune system in some way and then deal with pain and secondary conditions as they develop.
MCTD (lupus, scleroderma, polymyositis). Diagnosed 2005. Kidney, liver, GI tract, dysphagia, raynauds, Barretts esophagus, quadriplegic in 2005. Recovered and now active in skiing, tai, chi, hiking, golf. Meds: prednisone 2.5mg, imuran 25mg, amlodipine, benazapril, omeprazole, potassium, folic acid, vitamins, maxide and various supplements and vitamins.
Remain optimistic and you can overcome the odds.