A.S. Face 0505: Rhonda McGrath
My name is Rhonda McGrath and I am 48 years old. I was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondilitis in May 2012. After having my 5th child who is now 14, I became really sick. The day after I was discharged from the hospital I came down with a high fever and a rash on my inner thigh. I went to the ER and they admitted me. I was told I had Cellulitis and after running more tests was told I had a Strep A blood infection, Toxic Shock Syndrome and Necrotizing Fasciitis. (my back was swollen and the skin was peeling off) Infectious disease doctors were called in and they told my hubby and I there was a 60% mortality rate. I had just given birth to my 5th child and they were telling me I might die! I spent 17 days in the hospital, about 10 of those in ICU before they finally got things under control.
After returning home, all of my joints hurt so bad I couldn’t hold my newborn or change her diapers. Everything hurt! For the next 3 months I went back and forth to doctors who all said it was remnants from all I had been through. Finally, my husband went with me and ordered something to be done. After months of horrible pain, they sent me to a Rheumatologist who after one look at my blood work told me I had Rheumatic Fever. I was treated for 3 or 4 months and told I could end up with heart trouble later in life due to the Rheumatic Fever and that I should get checked ever few years by a Cardiologist.
Since then, I have never been pain free and have been in and out of physical therapy, had shoulder surgery, and been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. I knew deep down it had to be more than Fibromyalgia but doctors always blamed my pain on that. About 6 months ago I felt a hard lump on my sternum and went to the doctor. She ordered a CT Scan which showed new bone growth and after several months of tests (CT’s, a Nuclear Bone Scan and MRI’s) I was told I had AS. It was a relief to finally get a diagnosis. I have flare ups that last about 2-3 months at the time. I am on Humira injections and it seems to helping some.
I am thankful to have found this website and enjoy reading others stories. You are all an inspiration to me!
Virginia United States of America