My name is Alex Seidman, I am 22 years old and recently found out that I have AS. This all started my first week at East Carolina University. Before then I had felt fine, although I always seemed to get sick more often then the people around me and I would always stay sicker longer.
During my first week at ECU I developed an episode of iritis, my eye doctor told me that it could last a few weeks but would most likely never come back. This episode lasted the entire semester and drastically effected my grades. At student health when I asked for excused passes from class because of the terrible migraines the iritis caused I was told to “suck it up” and wear sunglasses. When I went to student health for the back pain that later started up I was told it was nothing and the doctor I saw there refused to write me a referral to a specialist, but said she could refer me to the school psychiatrist “to talk about my hypochondria”. After this embarrassment I ignored the pain for almost 2 years, but still got recurrent flare-ups of iritis.
Finally, at the beginning of the 2011 fall semester my eye doctor urged me to figure out what was wrong with my immune system before the iritis caused me to develop glaucoma. This began a year and a half worth of testing that came with no results. As far as my doctors were concerned I was perfectly healthy. My back pain got so sever that my primary physicians PA referred me to an orthopedist, who then diagnosed me with an S-I joint disfunction and a herniated disk. When I brought this information to my rheumatologist he decided to do an MRI of my pelvis. Within a day of the MRI I received a call that we finally had an answer! I was not crazy or over exaggerating, my pain was real and I now had an answer!
I have now been on Remicade for 13 days and will receive my next injection tomorrow. I can now walk normally, I have been swimming, and even though I cannot drink, I plan on going out with my girlfriend and dancing, to enjoy the end of my college career! I am so thankful for the support system I have: my mom, who has been there no matter how whiney I get, my dad, who always has suggestions and worries enough for 10 people, my boyfriend, who sits at doctors appointments with me (when he could still be sleeping at 8am) and pretty much took care of me when I was having sever episodes, and my friends who slow down what their doing so that I can keep up.
North Carolina United States of America