A.S. Face 0007 : Jenn Farrell

Rolling on the floor laughing Hello everyone!
My name is Jenn.  I am a 39 year old (currently unemployed) single mother of my 5 yr old son Hunter. After suffering low back pain and hip pain since 2006, I was diagnosed in January of 2009 through the Rheumatologist my Mom goes to (she also has AS -diagnosed 1995). She has both hips and knees replaced and has lots of trouble with her eyes and lungs due to AS.  I am hoping that since I was diagnosed at a much younger age, I can possibly avoid so many problems.  At first the doc didn’t think I had AS, but after blood tests (I am HLA-B27 positive) and full body scan showing lots of inflammation in my lumbar back and pelvis, I was able to get diagnosed and start Enbrel in February of 2009.  So my therapy is Lexapro 20mg daily and Enbrel 50 mg once a week.  I also go to aqua therapy at a local rehab center and it does help with my pain and stiffness.  BUT  I still have lots of pain in my neck, right shoulder (injury in 2006 from carrying too much baby stuff) lower back, both hips, knees and feet.  I am hoping working out in the pool will help me get some strength back and maybe lessen the pain.  I tend to have flare ups when the stress in my life is high, so I am trying very hard to keep it minimal.
The Rheum. and my family doc think my symptoms were triggered by my son’s birth in 2006, after which I had lots of pain in my feet, knees, hips, lower back, neck and shoulders that never went away. My labor with my son was very long (39 hrs) with severe pain in my lumbar spine and pelvis.  He was stuck in the birth canal and I had an emergency c-section.   One month after my son was born, I had my gallbladder removed due to losing 30 lbs. in a month which caused it to become very inflamed.   I descended into post-partum depression that was not treated until 2009 due to an unsupportive, verbally & mentally abusive husband who I divorced in May 2009.
My son, who has high functioning Autism is my greatest joy and my greatest challenge.  Hunter tantrums a lot and has lots of trouble with his father.  He does NOT like his father at all.  He is only 5 and already tells me “Daddy is mean all the time, I don’t like him, I want him to be lost.”  It breaks my heart to have to force him to go with him 2 evenings a week and every other weekend. Having so much stress in my life does not help with my AS at all.
I am also trying very hard to find a job (I worked as an Administrative Assistant in both a Medical and Aviation setting).  I have been unemployed since January 2009.  My benefits run out this January and I am getting scared!  If the economy does not pick up soon, I don’t know how I will be able to make ends meet.  I am very thankful that my son and I am living with my parents, otherwise.  They took us in and are my god-send. My son and I are a team and we help each other cheer up on difficult days with tickles and sillyness and building stuff with lots of legos!  I hope you all have enjoyed hearing my story.  Gentle Hugs to all!  Red heart – Jenn Farrell
Connecticut, United States Of America

7 Responses to “A.S. Face 0007 : Jenn Farrell”

  1. Thank you Jenn I wish you and your son all the very best for your future and keep fighting that posture. Just look at my photo to remind you what can happen xx.

  2. Dear Jenn,

    I wish you the best and hope that things turn around for you soon. Please know we all care. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us.

  3. WOW, I’m so sorry to hear about your troubles! But am great-full for your story 😉 As I read every ones story I find a little bit of myself. Pertaining to your story, and having to deal with some of the issues, except I cant have kids. I can not imagine how bad it must be for you, and having to endure so much for yourself and your son. I hope that you will find what you need and that your son will be stronger for it later down the road. On my AS journey which is not easy by any means, I found a lot of support and resources through SAA (Spondylitis Association of America). I too had a very unsupported and abusive husband, lived in a rule area at the time, and tried so hard to keep working despite it all and my doctors recommending that I start the SS disability application process. Believe me when i say this if your doctors say get on disability, do it immediately, it takes a long time to get it, and by the time you get it, you would have had needed it yesterday. If you should decide to go that route, 95% of the time you get denied automatically, after that you can obtain a lawyer at no up front cost, to take it further, and they will guide you the rest of the way. I wish you much luck!

  4. Dear Jen,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. My heart goes out to you being so young and having the challenges that you do. I have a grandson named Hunter, who is blind and has a rare life threatening illness, so I understand how stress causes trouble for us with Ankylosing Spondylitis.
    I hope that life turns around for you soon. Wishing you and Hunter a life of joy, happiness and peace.

    Sincerely, Cookie

    Cookie said this on October 10, 2011 at 12:16 am

  5. Thank you Cookie, I am glad to share my story and maybe help someone else with our disease see we are in this together! My AS is mild compared to the others on this blog….I am just scared what the future may hold for me even though I am on Enbrel to slow the progression of this….

    Jenn Farrell said this on October 10, 2011 at 1:34 am

  6. Dear Jenn,
    That is the reason I have decided to do this site, was to show the young and newly diagnose that it isn’t “just” arthritis but could become more serious. To educate, your self, ask questions, demand answers, and inform youself so you may live your life to your fullest capability. So that you know you did the best you could. Blessings to you. One day at a time.
    Sincerely Cookie

    Cookie said this on October 10, 2011 at 4:23 pm

  7. Love the Story Jenn! Thank you for sharing!

    Valerie Noel Wulf said this on October 12, 2011 at 1:17 pm

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