A.S. Face 0203: Laurie Losier
Laurie (Cook) Losier
January 27, 2012 — I am 44 yrs old, here’s my story!
Around 16 years of age, I started with knee problems. The pain would typically start at night and make my right leg ache so badly from my hip to by ankle that I would end up in tears. Off to the doctor I go and my Mom is told they are “growing pains”, plus I was very active playing Ringette (it’s like hockey and we skate while playing) so I started to believe that I was just stressing out my knee myself. Fortunately, I was sent to a specialist who did x-rays, removed bones spurs from my knee and advised me that I had Osgood-Schlatter disease. I felt so much better once my knee healed!
Years passed where I felt very healthy, and at age 25 I had my son! After a year or so, I started having trouble getting out of bed in the morning (major warning sign of A.S.!) because my lower back was incredibly stiff and sore, I remember just wanting to get my morning coffee and take some Ibuprofen for some relief. Another few years passed with the morning pain and stiffness so my family doctor suspected a type of Arthritis, and I was referred to a Rheumatologist.
The usual full examination, blood tests (HLA-B27 positive), and x-rays confirmed Ankylosing Spondylitis! My Rheumatologist told me his findings and I started to cry. I wanted to be healthy, and have a quick fix, but I knew this was not the case. His next words to me were “Well, you’re not going to die from this”…I was shocked by his words. Needless to say, I have a new Rheumatologist who understands that this condition is life-long and is very painful, and goes through periods of flare-ups and remissions. Dr. Julie Kovacs in Toronto has been great to me!
So, almost 15 years after the A.S. diagnosis, I believe that my lower spine has mostly fused on its own, my neck has been surgically fused (C1 to C3) by the amazing team at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto, I have mild Crohn’s disease, and bouts of Iritis. Most of this is controlled by Humira, and I’m thankful that I’m now working for a great company that has a drug plan that covers this medication which costs about $20,000 per year.
I have recently found out that my best friend likely has A.S. as well. She is working through the diagnosis but is HLA-B27 positive and has had ongoing lower back pain, and just like me, it also quickly progressed after having her first child. My son is soon to turn 19 years old and I just hope that he does not end up being diagnosed with A.S., he is not showing any symptoms as of today.
I have become a better person because of what I have had to deal with and I’m doing my best to love life and I am grateful for my life despite this condition. I don’t let it win.
Whitby Ontario Canada