Hello my name is Tommy Pickett and I have Ankylosing Spondyilis(AS CRAP) I am 55 years old I have been happily married for 29 years.I have 2 children my daughter is 28 and my son is 24 years old,they are my life.I had a great childhood,a lot of kids on the block,I made life long friends on that street.We played everyday, if the game had a ball we played it.We would play football all year round,in the snow,tackle in the street nobody ever really got hurt bad(5 or 6 trips to the ER my parents had their own parting spot). When we got older it was softball for beer loser buys.We got married had kids,bought motorcycles and some of us even grew up and now are kids are friends.My wife and I would go camping with the kids our friends and their kids,sometimes even vacation together.Everything was great,and than…………….
In August of 1997 I broke my back,it was real bad,i had surgery the doctor said that I was the one in ten thousand that could walk after the injury I had.I went though 12 hours of surgery,missed 6 months of work,pushed my family and friends to the limit.In the spring of 1998 my parents died 12 weeks a part,both from cancer.February of 1999,broke the femur in my right leg,missed 4 more months of work.
By 2005 my back was a train wreck(doctors words)I was in so much pain,I tried everything,pills,shots,epidurals and PT.
In 2006 is when I found out that I had AS CRAP,it took me 3 weeks to learn how to say it right.My pain doctor(Dr. Pain not his real name) thought i might have AS CRAP so he made me go to a new rhumy,he was older but he was cool,so he did the blood test,B 27(not bingo,AS CRAP).By than my neck was getting stiff,I had a hard time looking up and from side to side,more PT(didn’t work)my neck had started to fuse.He put me in a neck braes,first a soft one,than a hard.After a year or so he said that he could not help me anymore that he was in over his head.
In 2007 the pain was in control of my life,you are not going to work today,no sleep for you,your not going anywhere,here sit in the lazy boy and get more depressed(witch i did,when pain talks you listen).Dr. Pain thought I might want to try something new,a Neurostimulator,it’s like a tens unit,but better.So more surgery,first one to put the wires into my spine,than a week later the neurostimulator placed just under my skin by my left hip.I have a remote control to turn it off and on or how strong,but it only works for my lower back and legs.
2008 the pain in my neck and back hurt so bad i was eating 2 percocets in the morning before going to work(breakfast of champions)2 more before lunch,3 before dinner,AS CRAP had me by the balls.October 1st I went to work the boss told us to tell the workers not to work,2 hours later we were told that the plant was sold and we were all out of a job(I was there for 30 years).2 weeks later in went to the social security office to file disability(my doctors said back in 2000 that I should not be working,I was to proud)I got it 6 weeks later.
In the fall of 2010 I had a new rhumy,he said that I should be on enbrel,best drug i ever did,it helps so much,keeps the pain where I can handle it but I still have bad days.
Two months ago i had to get my gallbladder removed it was so bad they made me stay in the hospital for 4 days.I had to stop using enbrel for a month,the pain was back better than ever(wonderful).
AS CRAP has taken so much for me and my family,a lot of the things i love.I am what”they” call a type A personality i would try anything for a thrill,had to be first,best,and fastest.I like being that way,my wife didn’t to many trips to the ER.I use to(usetocould)ski down the steepest mountain,ride a fast motorcycle,fight,run,ect,ect.I have let my family and friends down time and time again,i hate AS CRAP.
I have so much wrong with my back and neck,cervical and lumbar spinal stenosis,2 new broken vertebrae,severe thoracic kyphotic deformity,exaggerated cervical lordosis,concentric endplate spurring and rheumatiod arthritis.To be honest I don’t know what most of that stuff means,but I do no it hurts like hell.
Today I try hard everyday not to let AS CRAP run my life,don’t think about the things I can’t,but what I can do.I keep care of the house and yard,I like to cook(my wife calls me the kitchen bitch)on the grill even in the winter.Have 2 big dogs(100 LBS.each) to keep me company.My daughter Krissie and son Tom who have helped me so much,i love with all of my heart.My brother and two sisters always had my back.The friends i have i can’t tell you how many times they have helped me with all this crap,I love them all.I also have friends that i have never met at ASRA UNITED they understand my troubles and this AS CRAP,love you guys.But most of all my wife Holly,she is an angel,she puts up with me,nurses me,care’s for me when i down,understands my pain and love’s me,i love her for ever and always.
That’s my story and I am sticking to it,i may have some dates wrong,but I tried.I wish this story has a happy ending but…………
My name is Tommy and I am a face of Ankylosing Spondylitis.
P.S. AS CRAP
Ohio United States of America