A.S. Face 0187: Samantha Moller

My Journey to Naming my Enemy…

In 2009, after the birth of my second child at the age of 33 I believed pregnancy had taken it’s toll on my body.  A rollercoaster started off feeling fine and then not so fine.  There is no room to be lazy when you are a mom of two and working full time.  Finding myself every second month at the GP with bladder infections became ridiculous.

Then I was referred to a Urologist who found nothing to report.   After returning to the Urologist he decided to do a CT scan and found sacroillitis and then referred me to an Orthopaedic Surgeon.

The Orthopaedic Surgeon sent me for a MRI scan and further blood work.  The doctor confirmed I am HLA B27 positive and he referred me to a Rheumatologist and the diagnosis is Ankylosing Spondylitis.

Anky what???

My head played games with me for so long.   Was I crazy?  Is this pain in my mind?  I have the pain now.  I feel the pain now.  How do I prove it?  After a routine visit to the gynaecologist just to make sure all is fine he says to me ‘I hope your back gets better’.  Huh? Seriously?   So not just my pain is imaginary but so is AS to some people EVEN doctors.

For the first time I understand what my body is feeling and the pain which I cannot verbalise.  That when I feel ‘old’ I am not just over exaggerating or lazy or unfit.  At this point the daily pain is manageable even though I can’t stand or sit for long and have the need to alternate positions a lot.  Then when it flares up every few months the pain is agony.   Someone else wrote “I look pretty average and healthy. And I don’t want to look otherwise. It’s hard for people to understand that just because I’m not complaining, it doesn’t mean I’m getting better. It’s just that when you ask me how I am, I’m more likely to tell you how I am despite my disease, not because of it. I am more than that. “

After seeing the Rheumatologist on 5 January 2012 she confirmed the diagnosis.  Fortunately I am in early stages and have been diagnosed much quicker than most but I have lost some mobility in my spine already.  I now drink anti-inflammatory medication daily and need to find an exercise routine.  In three months’ time I will go back and will check on the progression.

So this marks the beginning of acceptance for me.  I have AS.  Nobody will see it.  Few will understand it.  Many will dismiss it.  But I know it.  My pain is real.  It is daily.  Although it fluctuates it is here to stay.

At least now I know I am not crazy and I will do my best to live life to the fullest despite and because of AS!


Pretoria – South Africa

13 Responses to “A.S. Face 0187: Samantha Moller”

  1. I was diagnosed one week ago, so it is easy for me to relate to your story. I know the feeling of wondering if you are crazy. Thank you for sharing your private, yet candid story.

  2. This is how I feel also not as progressed as some but still in pain always. Nobody can tell but me. That is good but then people don’t believe that there is anything wrong when you aren’t at your best; they think you are making things up to get out of work. Thanks for your story.

  3. If your ever feeling like your crazy or not being understood.This is a perfect place to come.Everybody understands and everybody feels like you feel.Nice eh!!!

  4. I am a mommy of 3 kids I have had to explain away how I feel, we have thankless jobs and when you throw in AS then at the end of the day you kids are healthy, you can give yourself an extra pat on the back for making it through crazy kids and AS. We are awsome

  5. Dear Samantha,
    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. The fact that doctors still refer to A.S. as a back ache, is what drives me. Thank you for helping me with my vision with your positve attitude.
    Sincerely Cookie

  6. @Lauren – thanks for relating to the ‘crazy’ and good luck with all that there is for us to learn about AS
    @Janna – i totally hear you that it feels like people dont believe you but the pain is real…know that you are not alone
    @Paul – this website is a wonderful place…
    @Shelly – sometimes juggling everything is really hard but we do the best we can…
    @Cookie- you are and angel and a blessing to us all and i thank you for hearing God’s call and acting upon it…

    • Dear Samantha,

      I am no angel, but I am a person who is blessed and humbled with the fact that I am trusted with the baring of our souls. Thankyou so much for your kind words and for being a part of my vision.

      Sincerely Cookie

  7. I’m proud of you Sam! I see you daily and you’re a blessing. Know you have friends that understand, mwa xxxxxxxxxx

  8. My conversation with my new reumetologist started with me explaining that I am not crazy and there is something wrong with me please help me find out what it is. After all my tests he called me in and he said good news your not CRAZY bad news you have Ankylosing Sponylitis. My reaction very similar to yours….WHAT?

  9. ash…you are a pillar of strength to me…sam

  10. Love the photo with your bracelet.
    Love you lots Mom

  11. There is always time to complain but we need to make an effort to share the good news too…my mobility has improved this year…thanks to the anti-inflammatory meds…or perhaps my busy life for keeping me on-the-go? Either which way i am grateful!!!

  12. Sam, your story is amazing and so inspiring. You’re in my thoughts. From a fellowe As-er and South African. Ash (Face of AS #670)

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