A.S. Face 0138: Mary Anna

Diagnosed with Lupus about 14yrs ago, recently diagnosed with a form of AS, I have Psorioratic Spondylitis. Right now I am dealing with a LOT of pain and a fair amount of depression along with it. I am 46, and I am worrying if I have passed this to any of my 5 kids.   I actually started nursing school in 1989, and I got so sick  my doctor thought I was dying. I had been hospitalized for: kidney stones, Peptic Ulcer Disease, Pancreatitis (recurrent), cellulitis in my eye, pneumonia 3 times in four months (once I was diagnosed rheumatologist said it was Lupus Pneumnonitis) and of course I had arhtritis…can’t remember what al else, but I had all of the above within 6 months time. I was only 22, but my doctor said I was dying and he called and faxed my school and HE withdrew me…this was the darkest time of my life as I was on the Dean’s List each quarter and had only 1 quarter left to complete. Five years later, I didn’t know I was in remission as I had not been formally diagnosed with lupus. I went pack to nursing school and they said they could not allow me to only finish the one quarter that I needed because my clinical hours were too old. I said, FINE, I am NOT a quitter…sign me up to do it all again. I graduated with honors and a GPA 3.898 out of 4 with 4 children and 7 months pregnant with my fifth. I finally realized my dream of being a nurse.   After working as a nurse for 4 yrs, I got sick again. This time I told my doctor I thought I had Lupus. He laughed and said, I love it when nurses diagnose themselves. He did an ANA screen and 3 days later came to my floor and handed me a card~ I asked, “what is this?” He said,”this is your new doctor, she is a rheumatologist” I said, “I have Lupus don’t I?” He said, “I am not gonna tell you that, but she will”   In 2009, I went into respiratory arrest from multiple (too many to count) Pulmonary Embolisms. Two years ago was diagnosed with Sjrogren’s after having MULTIPLE eye problems, uveitis, abrasions and eye ulcers. Psoriasis is DESTROYING my nails and nailbeds. This year had my third heart attack 99.9% blockage in proximal LAD and almost died AGAIN.   A couple of months ago, I went to my doctor and told her I was pretty sure I had cancer in my spine. When she asked why, I told her I was having so much pain that if I wasn’t dying ~ I wanted to.   Now HLA-B27 POSITIVE, x-rays POSITIVE… so much has changed … I haven’t worked since the respiratory arrest in 2009 I keep my nursing license current for my mental health Over the last 22 years I have had to go on disability 3 times. Unfortunately, this time is the count out. I’m down. After the respiratory arrest they said I wouldn’t likely live another 5 years. That was 2 1/2yrs ago, but I am taking it day to day.   I have lost my career, home and care three times, and once had all five of my kids repo’d when they were sure I was dying. I don’t think I will ever be able to return to work and that hurts more than the physical pain, but I just move forward one step at a time. God Bless You ALL !

Indiana United States of America


4 Responses to “A.S. Face 0138: Mary Anna”

  1. Dear Mary Anna,
    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. One word comes to mine Courageous! You have my respect, my admiration and sincerest appreciation for you sharing your reality with us. I wish you the best and looking forward to getting to know you.
    Sincerely Cookie

  2. i hate this illness

  3. Wow! I am amazed at how strong you have been – thank you so much for sharing your story… I too hate this illness – all the fear and unknown.

  4. Mary Anna~ thank you so much for sharing your AS story. You are an incredible example of strength and determination. You are in my thoughts and prayers and I send positive healing thoughts to you

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