A.S. Face 0576: Kelly Jones
Hi, my name is Kelly Jones I am 25 years old and was diagnosed with AS in June 2011. I have always been a pretty active person and have never really ever been a “sick” person. Well, all that changed shortly after I had my daughter in 2007. After having my daughter in October 2007, I became very sick. I had my gallbladder taken out in December of 2007 (My daughter was only 6 weeks old) and another surgery in June of 2008, due to feminine issues related to giving birth.
After my second surgery I was feeling much better and decided to hit the gym to finally shed my baby weight and get back to my pre-pregnancy weight. A few months after working out, I noticed a slight pain in my lower back. I chalked it up to doing something stupid and maybe pulling a muscle, and that it would eventually heal itself. After a few weeks, the pain did not go away and I finally went to see a doctor. The doctor suggested the same thing, so I tried to take it easy for the next few days. A few weeks passed and the pain just became increasingly worse resulting in frequent emergency room visits.
I knew they would not know what was wrong with me in the emergency room (as they never did), but at least I would get some pain relief. Eventually, the pain became SOOO bad that I could barely move in the mornings! I felt as stiff as the tin man on the “Wizard of Oz”. I saw doctor after doctor with no answers! I was referred to pain management, which did help with pain relief, but did not give me the answers I was seeking. I wanted a “title” for my pain. I spent the next few months in pain management and physical therapy, but that just seemed to make things worse.
I was told that I was “too young” to have back pain, that it would eventually go away, and one doctor (after I asked for something for pain) implied I was a drug addict and suggested that a “choose an alternative lifestyle”! Three years later I was still no where. Then, one day at work a co-worker hurt his back and as a result had to have back surgery. He said his doctor was
awesome and that I should go to see him, so I did! He was a graduate of Harvard and the attending physician for athletes for the Atlanta Falcons and Thrashers. He requester I have a lumber spine MRI.
I did this, and he gave me my results. He said nothing seemed “abnormal”, but he did see some inflammation and that it looked like the arthritic process had started in my back. He immediately referred me to a rheumatologist. I went to the rheumatologist and was asked a ton of questions and had blood drawn.
The doctor called me back a few days later and broke the news, I had AS as she had expected. She wanted me to get xrays to validate her diagnosis. I explained I had recently had a lumbar MRI, but she said that I needed an xray of the pelvis, mainly the SI joints. I got the xrays done and had complete fusion in my right SI joint, and tons of sclerosis in my left. I felt the diagnosis was bitter sweet, on one hand I was glad to know I wasn’t crazy and that my pain had a “title”, but I felt depressed knowing it was a disease I would have to basically live with.
I am constantly in painnow, but try to remain positive. No one feels sorry for me, which reminds me that I can’t feel sorry for myself and I just have to keep moving forward! I hope that eventually everyone will share their stories and the world will become informed of this crippling disease!
Research needs to be continued so that more medical options will be available for AS sufferers, and what I REALLY hope for is a CURE!
Good luck to all my AS “friends”
Georgia United States of America