A.S. Face 0013 : Laura Miller

I am 33 years old and I was diagnosed with AS three years ago.

When I was pregnant in 2007, I experienced mild low back pain. I thought it was due to pregnancy or hormones so I didn’t think too much of it until it continued well beyond the birth of my daughter.  The pain began to increase in intensity and spread to other parts of my body.  A year after my daughter was born, I was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis.

Three years, four  rheumatologists, three physical therapists, and ten medications later, I am  still here and my AS is still here. For me, the pain is constant but moderate.  I have had roughly five pain-free days since 2009, and I have yet to find a medication that effectively reduces my pain for more than a month or two.

On my worst days, I just lay down on the floor with my daughter and read her books. When I tell her my back hurts, she says, “I’ll  rub your back, mommy, to make it feel better.” The funny thing is, she does make me feel better and gives me one more reason to peel myself out of bed in the morning, even though everything hurts. I am thankful for her, for my supportive and helpful husband, and for God. Without these people and without faith, I know I wouldn’t make it.

I  am so glad that people are seeing the faces of AS. In many cases, people who suffer from this disease look normal and healthy. It is so important that our voices are heard so we can fight for each other and for a cure.

Thank you, Cookie, for making this happen.

Laura Miller

Washington, D.C. United States Of America

12 Responses to “A.S. Face 0013 : Laura Miller”

  1. Thanks for posting Laura I’m glad you have reasons to make you keep going its not easy but keep it up as best you can.

  2. Dear Laura,
    I know that it’s difficult being a mother with a chronic illness, sometimes the best memory we have as a child is that pancake that is made to look like Mickey mouse, or an indoor picnic, or just being cuddled with your mom as she reads to you. Love, is the best gift we have to give anyone, especially as a mother.
    Sincerely Cookie

  3. Laura
    That is a beautiful baby.You are such a excellent mom.I am also a Ankylosing Spondylitis diognosed guy since the early 90s.I hear you loud and clear.

  4. Laura, I too have never had a pain free day since diagnosis, I send you love and support xxoo

    Deb Wilcox said this on October 15, 2011 at 6:34 am

  5. Dear Laura,

    Thank you for such a beautiful story. I had a really bad day today, and have been struggling emotionally and physically as well. Your story touched my heart and that you mentioned me in “your” story, there just isn’t words.

    Sincerely Cookie

    Cookie Has AS said this on October 13, 2011 at 1:33 am

  6. Laura, my son really kept me going too. He is 23 now and we have learned so much about AS and disability as he grew up. I think that it has made him such a special person, who is compassionate and understanding. I am sure your daughter will be the same. Thanks for sharing…

    Diane Scribe Niiganii said this on October 19, 2011 at 4:17 am

  7. I was diagnosed today and have to small babies. I live in Maryland and wondering about support groups I am very scared.

    • Jessica- sorry about your diagnosis, but at least you now have one. It is a terrifying prospect to face the rest of your life with this disease. I’ve had the diagnosis for 5 years, and still have a hard time wrapping my head around it. You will get through this initial shock. There is a support group in Baltimore that I have heard of. You can probably find it through a web search. Do you have a spouse or other family to help you through this time?

  8. Hi Laura,
    Thanks for sharing your story- it really sounds like mine, except I knew I had AS before getting pregnant, which of course poses all kinds of ethical quandaries to agonize over! I just hope my son doesn’t have this disease. I also live in the DC Metro area. Do you belong to an AS support group in our area? I know there is one in Baltimore, but haven’t made time to join yet. I guess I’m not sure how to extend a hand of friendship online, but it would be nice to know someone else who is going through this who lives close by:)

  9. Hi Tanya and Jessica,
    Sorry for the late reply. I just saw your messages. I had my second child two months ago and am now starting Humira. I would also like to be part of a support group but there isn’t one yet in D.C. I have actually considered volunteering to be a co-leader just to meet others with A.S. Do either of you have Facebook? That might be a way we can connect. I hope you both are doing relatively well. Thanks for your comments.

  10. Hi Laura,
    Congratulations on the birth of your new baby! Hopefully Humira works well for you- it has been very effective for me. I’m on Facebook as Tanya Nosek. I’ll try to find you and send a friend request. If you start a DC group, I’d definitely be interested in coming/helping with it.

  11. Hi Laura, My pain started while I was carrying 1st child in low back, but then went away for about 10 yrs.

    You have a beautiful outlook on life and a beautiful child to wake up to. sorry You haven’t found treatment that helps. Remicade infusions have been gold to my veins. most people feel it the first treatment. I was ready to quit after 4 months because I wasn’t improving and my Dr. told me to try and stick with it for 1 yr. thank God I did because the very next treatment helped.

    (It took 6 yrs. of debilitating pain to get diagnosis). Hope this helps. I also waisted much time with Dr’s who were too afraid to treat my pain & prescribe pain meds. Don’t stop moving, my best advice, I gave up & sat on couch & stayed in bed and it took me almost a year to recover. People used to always tell me to slow down, I walked too fast.I’m much slower than I used to be, but am moving. I have learned to accept what I cannot change and a lot of peace comes with that!

    hugs & prayers for You!!

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